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C.15th painting at Voronet monastry

Apuseni women

Gârcina, Moldavia

This is usually 1.5m to 3m in length and made of well-seasoned deal, maple, ash, lime or hazel wood which is conical or cylindrical bored, slit lengthways, hollowed out and then glued together. In the north it can be made of galvanised iron and folded like a trombone. As it does not have valves or finger holes it can only play the pitches in the natural harmonic series.

The generic term bucium, used in the Muntenian Carpathians of Argeş and Prahova, and in the Moldavian Carpathians of  Vrancea and Neamţ. The name bucium is derived from the Latin bucinum = trumpet blast. 

In the northern regions the name appears to be linked to the Slavic trambica, may be via the Huţul and Rusyn. In Bucovina trâmbiţă, in Oaş and Maramureş trâmbită or trânghită.

In the Apuseni mountains it is known as tulnic, and is often played by women. The derivation for this word is not know. The difference between the bucium, trâmbiţă and tulnic is in the curve and the width; the tulnic is not curved.

The bucium has several different functions:

In common with the Swiss Alpenhorn, Slovenian Rog, Serbian (Vlach Homolje) bušen, Polish & Ukrainian trembita, Lithuania truba, Estonia and Scandinavian luur it is only found in the mountain regions. 


Alexandru, T (1980), Romanian folk music, Musical publishing house, Bucharest

Chelcea, I (1989), Consideraţii etnografice cu privire la bucium, tulnic şi trâmbiţa, Revista de Etnografie şi Folclor, vol 34-1, p59-65.

- (1975), Tradicijska Narodna Glazbala Jugoslavije, Zagreb


© Eliznik2005, First issue 2002, Last updated Apr-07