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Thread: Serbian epic poetry and gusle an instrument that accompanies epic poetry

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    Veteran Member Moje ime's Avatar
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    Default Serbian epic poetry and gusle an instrument that accompanies epic poetry

    Serbian epic poetry (Serbian: Српске епске народне песме/Srpske epske narodne pesme) is a form of epic poetry created by Serbs originating in today's Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia and Montenegro. The main cycles were composed by unknown Serb authors between the 14th and 19th centuries. They are largely concerned with historical events and personages. The instrument accompanying the epic poetry is the gusle.

    Serbian epic poetry helped in developing the Serbian national consciousness. The cycles of Prince Marko, the Hajduks and Uskoks inspired the Serbs to restore freedom and their heroic past. The hajduks are seen as an integral part of national identity; in stories, the hajduks were heroes: they had played the role of the Serbian elite during Ottoman rule, they had defended the Serbs against Ottoman oppression, and prepared for the national liberation and contributed to it in the Serbian Revolution.



    History

    The earliest surviving record of a Serb epic poem is a ten verse fragment of a bugarštica song from 1497 about the imprisonment of Sibinjanin Janko (John Hunyadi) by Đurađ Branković. From at least the Ottoman period up until the present day, Serbian epic poetry was sung accompanied by the gusle and there are historical references to Serb performers playing the gusle at the Polish–Lithuanian royal courts in the 16th and 17th centuries, and later on in Ukraine and Hungary. Hungarian historian Sebestyn Tindi wrote in 1554 that "there are many gusle players here in Hungary, but none is better at the Serbian style than Dimitrije Karaman", and described Karaman's performance to Turkish lord Uluman in 1551 in Lipova: the guslar would hold the gusle between his knees and go into a highly emotional artistic performance with a sad and dedicated expression on his face. Chronicler and poet Maciej Stryjkowski (1547–1582) included a verse mentions the Serbs singing heroic songs about ancestors fighting the Turks in his 1582 chronicle. Jzef Bartłomiej Zimorowic used the phrase "to sing to the Serbian gusle" in his 1663 idyll Śpiewacy (Singers).

    In 1824, Vuk Karadžić sent a copy of his folksong collection to Jacob Grimm, who was particularly enthralled by The Building of Skadar. Grimm translated it into German, and described it as "one of the most touching poems of all nations and all times".

    Many of the epics are about the era of the Ottoman occupation of Serbia and the struggle for the liberation. With the efforts of ethnographer Vuk Karadžić, many of these epics and folk tales were collected and published in books in the first half of the 19th century. Up until that time, these poems and songs had been almost exclusively an oral tradition, transmitted by bards and singers.

    These editions appeared in Europe when romanticism was in full bloom and there was much interest in Serbian folk poetry, including from Johann Gottfried Herder, Jacob Grimm, Goethe and Jernej Kopitar.


    Gusle

    The gusle (гусле) instrumentally accompanies heroic songs (epic poetry) in the Balkans. The instrument is held vertically between the knees, with the left hand fingers on the neck. The strings are never pressed to the neck, giving a harmonic and unique sound. There is no consensus about the origin of the instrument, while some researchers believe it was brought with the Slavs to the Balkans, based on a 6th-century Byzantine source. Teodosije the Hilandarian (1246–1328) wrote that Stefan Nemanjić (r. 1196–1228) often entertained the Serbian nobility with musicians with drums and "gusle". Reliable written records about the gusle appear only in the 15th century. 16th-century travel memoirs mention the instrument in Bosnia and Serbia.

    It is known that Serbs sang to the gusle during the Ottoman period. Notable Serbian performers played at the Polish royal courts in the 16th- and 17th centuries, and later on in Ukraine and in Hungary. There is an old mention in Serbo-Croatian literature that a Serbian guslar was present at the court of Władysław II Jagiełło in 1415. In a poem published in 1612, Kasper Miaskowski wrote that "the Serbian gusle and gaidas will overwhelm Shrove Tuesday". Jzef Bartłomiej Zimorowic used the phrase "to sing to the Serbian gusle" in his 1663 idyll Śpiewacy ("Singers").


    Best known serbian epic song

    The Beginning of the Revolt against the Dahijas (Serbian: Почетак буне против дахија/Početak bune protiv dahija), a Serbian epic poem, is one of the best known and most beautiful poems about the liberation of Serbia. It was recited by Filip Višnjić, a blind gusle player. Linguist Vuk Karadžić heard it from Višnjić and wrote it down in 1815 while he was in Šišatovac monastery.

    About song

    The poem recounts chronologically the events that led to the Uprising against the Dahije and the First Serbian Uprising in 1804.

    In the opening part of the poem, the poet sends an artistic message about the imminent rebellion by describing rare natural events. Solar eclipse, comets and lunar eclipse are all signs which indicate the start of the rebellion against Turks, and it is the ordinary people who will start the uprising.

    Meanwhile, Turks are also watching these occurrences. For Serbian people, the signs mean they should fight the Turks, and for Dahiyas, Turkish leaders, they are bad omens that need to be interpreted. Dahiyas use traditional divination methods: hydromancy and interpreting holy prophet books. All signs indicate the downfall of the Turks. Dahiyas were cruel to the Serbian people and thereby they offended their fallen Sultan’s legacy.

    The sin is as great as the punishment that will befall them. They didn’t listen to Sultan Murad on his deathbed nor to the wise old man Fočo (one of the seven Dahiyas). Anxiety and fear become obvious in an argument between father and son – the old man Fočo and Fočić Mehmed aga. That argument represents the conflict of wisdom and hotheadedness.

    The Slaughter of the Knezes will ensue after the young Fočić arrogantly rejects his father’s advice. The Serbs are infuriated when Turks come to Topola to execute Karađorđe (the leader of the First Serbian Uprising). Filip Višnjić gives the role of the hero to the people and Karađorđe’s victorious speech by the Drina river marks the final revenge of the oppressed.

    The Beginning of the Revolt against the Dahijas (song in Serbian, English and German translation):

    http://www.pocetak-bune.eu/poem_e.html

    The song in Serbian language




    How epic poetry was originally played with instrument gusle






    Serbian epic poetry:
    http://www.umotvorine.net/sr/article...81%D0%BC%D0%B5

    Sources:
    http://www.pocetak-bune.eu/index.html
    http://www.savezguslarasrbije.rs/
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gusle
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serbian_epic_poetry
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Be...st_the_Dahijas

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    Veteran Member Moje ime's Avatar
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    Veteran Member Moje ime's Avatar
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    Singing to the accompaniment of the Gusle

    Inscribed in 2018 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity


    Singing to the accompaniment of the Gusle a simple string instrument is an ancient art of performing primarily heroic epics practised for centuries as a form of historical memory and an expression of cultural identity. Performances involve a complex form of interaction between the audience and performer and are based on the skills and creativity of soloist artists (guslars): the guslars ability to dramatize poetic content, body language and charisma are key for successful performances. The repertoire includes songs predominantly about mythical and historical heroes, events from the legendary past, ancient or recent history and, less commonly, ballads and humorous songs. Stage performances take place locally, at festivals, and as part of commemoration practices. Covering a wide range of topics, the songs reflect the value system of the community and their interactive character fosters community feeling. Most modern guslars acquire the basic singing and playing skills from more experienced players in their family, local community or a guslar association, but the skills are also transmitted in public music schools. Local organizations are assembled around the Union of Guslars of Serbia, whose efforts have resulted in the establishment of the Festival of Young Guslars and the Assembly of the Young Guslars of Serbia.

    source
    https://ich.unesco.org/en/RL/singing...he-gusle-01377


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    Veteran Member Moje ime's Avatar
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    Epic poem "Boj na Mišaru/Battle of Mišar".

    Quote:

    "Mehmed-beg Kulenović is the central figure with his wife in the epic poem by Filip Višnjić, Boj na Mišaru (Battle of Mišar),
    where Mehmed-beg's wife waits for news from the battlefield, that is brought to her by two ravens."





    Poem lyric
    https://sr.wikisource.org/sr-ec/%D0%...B0%D1%80%D1%83

    Poem analyze and description
    https://www.boske.rs/stranice/boj_na_misaru.html

    Battle of Mišar, historical facts (eng)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Mi%C5%A1ar


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    It's still not clear with regards to the origin of this instrument, nonetheless very awesome instrument.

    I love the gusle / lahuta. It's a really deep, heroic instrument.

    Albanian Malesors play the lahuta too.



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    Quote Originally Posted by Moje ime View Post
    Gusle

    The gusle (гусле) instrumentally accompanies heroic songs (epic poetry) in the Balkans. The instrument is held vertically between the knees, with the left hand fingers on the neck. The strings are never pressed to the neck, giving a harmonic and unique sound. There is no consensus about the origin of the instrument, while some researchers believe it was brought with the Slavs to the Balkans, based on a 6th-century Byzantine source. Teodosije the Hilandarian (12461328) wrote that Stefan Nemanjić (r. 11961228) often entertained the Serbian nobility with musicians with drums and "gusle". Reliable written records about the gusle appear only in the 15th century. 16th-century travel memoirs mention the instrument in Bosnia and Serbia.
    Russians have an instrument with basically same name, but is totally different.


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    Veteran Member Ford's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dukagjini View Post
    It's still not clear with regards to the origin of this instrument, nonetheless very awesome instrument.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morin_khuur

    It is to be noted that the gusle from Southeastern Europe (Serbia, Croatia & Albania) is a very similar instrument, and may indicate this is an extremely ancient instrument perhaps even dating back to the outward migration of people out of the Middle East and Central Asia some 40,000 years ago. Often these instruments are depicted with a goat head instead of a horse in Europe.
    This possibility always blows my mind.


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    Veteran Member Moje ime's Avatar
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    These archaic sounding stringed instruments exist in a lot of countries








    Quote Originally Posted by Ford View Post


    It is to be noted that the gusle from Southeastern Europe (Serbia, Croatia & Albania) is a very similar instrument, and may indicate this is an extremely ancient instrument perhaps even dating back to the outward migration of people out of the Middle East and Central Asia some 40,000 years ago. Often these instruments are depicted with a goat head instead of a horse in Europe.
    because the strings were made from horse hairs
    .

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    Probably most famous gusle song.


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