Asymmetric rhythm dances

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Uneven musical rhythms are found widely through Europe: the Springar and Polska of Scandinavia, Slovak songs and dances, Albanian and Slavic dances from Albania and Macedonia, throughout Bulgarian, Anatolian dances of Greeks, Turks and Armenians, and Romanian dances and songs.

Danubian asymmetric rhythm dances

Romanian musicologist Constantin Brăiloiu termed these "aksak" using Turkish medieval music terminology, but only the term is borrowed and it does not indicate a Turkish origin for these dances. These rhythms use beats of unequal length, the long beat being about 1½ times the length of the short beat.

There are many features of Romanian folklore that are common to both the Romanian and Bulgarian sides of the Danube. These uneven rhythm dances are part of this shared tradition.

The asymmetric dance rhythms are;

Transylvanian asymmetric rhythm dances

Many of the dances within the Romanian repertoire of Transylvania  have stretched beats which are difficult to notate. Those of southern Transylvania are predominantly close to 7/8 rhythm.

Banat Brâul

The many Banat Brâu dances have fixed choreographies with a musical rhythm is 2/4 or asymmetric 7/8 (3+2+2).  This "long-short-short" rhythm, notated either as 3+2+2 or 4+3+3, has examples from Albania through west Bulgaria, east Serbia, Romanian Banat, and into Transylvania. It is thought that this has old origins from the early west Balkans. Similar dances, in steps and rhythm, to the Banat Brâul are found in Serbia, Žikino, and in west Bulgaria, Četvorno.

General Romanian asymmetric rhythms

In addition to the above, asymmetric rhythms are found;

Choreographic form, motifs, music

type names form structure motifs music
Rustemul Rustemul, Resteul, Ghimpele, Bugeacul, Murguleţul, Paiduşca circle, hand hold (normally low hand hold)   crossing steps, hops, swinging arms 5/8
Geampara Geampara, Pandelaşul, Zlata, circle, hand hold, couples   crossing steps, stamps, hops, swinging arms 7/16
Şchioapa Şchioapa, Cadâneasca, Hodoroaga circle, hand hold, men shoulder hold     9/16 or 5/8
Purtata Purtata, De purtat, Româneşte de purtat, Româneşte cu fete, De-nceput, Purtata, Pe sub mână, De-a lungul, P-a lungul, De-a mână couples in crescent     10/16 (4+6), 7/8 (3+2+2 ), 10/16 (4+3+3), or 11/16 (4+3+4)
Asymmetric rhythm Învârtita Învârtita, De-învârtita, scattered couples, trios, or small circles turning as a couple, resting figure can include women's pirouettes, men's heel clicks 10/16 (4+3+3)
and others
southern Transylvanian Fecioreşte   Fecioreasca group walking (plimbări) and figures syncopation, stamps, leaps, hops, heel clicks 2/4 or 7/8
Banat Brâul Brâul lui ...,
Brâul de la ...,
Brâul ...ilor
shoulder hold fixed sequence, often with a number of figures crossing steps, leg swings, hops 2/4, 7/8 (3+2+2)

 

References

BADEA, M. (1971) Folclor Coreografic Oltenesc, Centrul Creatiei Dolj.

BUCSAN, A. (1971) Specificul Dansului Popular Românesc, Editura Academiei Republicii Socialiste România.

GIURCHESCU, A. & BLOLAND, S. (1995) Romanian Traditional Dance, "Mill Valley, California", Wild Flower Press.

CONSTANTINESCU, M. (1980) Folclor Coregrafic Din Vâlcea - Vol 1, Centrul Creatiei Vâlcea.

CONSTANTINESCU, M. (1993) Folclor Coregrafic Din Vâlcea - Vol 2, Centrul Creatiei Vâlcea.

POPESCU-JUDET, G. (1967?) Jocuri Populare Din Dobrogea, Casa Regionala.

POPESCU-JUDET, G. & GAMAN, G. (1961) Jocuri Populare Din Regiunea Bucuresti, Editura Muzicala.

SEVER, T. V. T. (1972) Folclor Coregrafia Românesc, Comiletul Pentru.

 
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