Chords for Croatian Folk Songs

© by Darko Žubrinić, Zagreb (1995)

Index:

  1. Bože čuvaj Hrvatsku
  2. Dobro jutro, moj svečaru (Imendanska, Rođendanska)
  3. Fala
  4. Hej, salaši
  5. Ima jedna kućica
  6. Kolo igra, tamburica svira (himna Bunjevačkih Hrvata)
  7. Kraj kapele sv. Ane
  8. Marijana
  9. Ne dirajte mi ravnicu
  10. Oj, jesenske duge noći
  11. Popevke sem slagal
  12. Ribar plete mrižu svoju
  13. Sidi Mara na kamen studencu
  14. Sinoć kad sam ti proša
  15. S onu stranu Plive
  16. S ponistre se vidi Šolta
  17. Tena
  18. Uzalud vam trud svirači
  19. Već odavno spremam svog mrkova
  20. Veliko je more
  21. Vila Velebita
  22. Vu plavem trnaci
  23. Za nikaj na svetu ja menjal te nebi

Međimurske narodne pjesme

 

North Hills Junior Tamburitzans, USA

Several useful harmonic recepies

The creation of this HTML has been motivated by the interest shown for our folk songs, that I noticed while browsing through the letters sent to the webmaster of the Croatian home page (mr. Josip Jurich). I provide my comments in English, since there are many Croats and their descendants throughout the world who do not speak Croatian any more, or only very little.

Croatian tamburitza band from Busevec near Zagreb,
performing in Cleveland, USA, in 1905 (Archives of Seljacke sloga - Busevec)
many thanks to Mr. Marinko Katulic for permission

Let me start with a very nice (and simple) song Ne dirajte mi ravnicu (listen to it!), which for sure will live among the Croats for many generations.


Village of Samarica in Moslavina, North of Croatia

A word of caution for the Croatian reader: the tone or chord B is used in the meaning of the American notation, which differs from the Croatian: in Croatia we would write H instead of B. Thus

the American B = the Croatian H, and
the American B flat (Bb) = Croatian B.

The American notation, which we use here, is accepted also in some European countries, especially in jazz literature.

Boulder-based Croatian tamburica orchestra in Boulder, Western Australia, 1910s, see [Sutalo]

Ne dirajte mi ravnicu

natioanl costumes from Croatian northMiroslav Škoro

 
G Am
1. Večeras mi dobri ljudi

D7 G
nemojte ništa pričati.

Am
Neka suze mirno teku

D7 G
pa che manje boljeti.



Refrain (2x):

C D7
Ne dirajte mi večeras

G B7 Em Cm
uspomene u meni.

G Am
Ne dirajte mi ravnicu,

D7 G
jer ja ću se vratiti.


2. Mene zovu moja polja,
mene zovu tambure,
prije nego sklopim oči,
da još jednom vidim sve.
2xR.


3. Još u sebi čujem majku,
kako tužno govori:
"Kad se jednom vratiš sine,
ja ću te čekati."
2xR.

My deep gratitude for the above very nice authentic photo goes to Dr. Zdenka Lechner. The photo below I obtained by Mr. Ivo Lusic from South Africa.

Croatian Tamburitza players from Johannesburg,
South Africa, 1940s

I shall try to describe some general principles that are useful for guitar accompaniment. Guitar classes are also useful in teaching these principles. Of course, all that follows applies to any other polyphonic instrument (piano, harmonica), not only guitar. I believe I have some "qualifications'' after many years of amateur experience (I started to play guitar as a student). This manual (or rather a harmonic cook-book) is a gift four You, if You are a "beginner". Let me concentrate on two most important things for the guitar harmony:

  1. back-cycling (in Croatian: ~odmotavanje),
  2. parallel chords,

without dwelling into cumbersome theoretical details. We strive to be practical oriented. Don't be scared with what follows. All this is quite easy if you have a minimum of patience.

Croatian tamburitza orchestra Jadran
Johannesburg, South Africa, 1937

Comments There are three interesting harmonic points in this song: back-cycling, the role of B7 and Cm.

  • The Am (appearing above `ljudi') is a start of a well known harmonic mechanism called back-cycling (from G in our situation). If the tonic (to be defined below) is G major, we simply play two or three chords on the cycle of fourths (12 chords)

    B -> E -> A -> D -> G -> C -> F -> Bb -> Eb=D# -> G# -> C# -> F# (-> B)

    preceding G, i.e.:

    A -> D -> G, or in our situation Am -> D7 -> G.

    In other words, we go BACK along the CYCLE of fourths. The above cycle of fourths, if read in the opposite direction (i.e. by reversing the arrows), becomes the cycle of fifths (quints). You will do a great thing in understanding your guitar play if you try to learn it by heart (this will not come just overnight).

  • For what follows we need a little preparation:
    1. natioanl costumes from Draz, Baranja near DanubeLet us give a simple, practical definition of the parallel minor corresponding to some major chord. I'll give a geometrical definition based on the cycle of fourths. If we start say with the G major chord on the cycle of fourths, then we go three steps BACK to obtain E(m). So Em is the parallel minor chord corresponding to G. Similarly, the parallel minor of C is Am, of D is Bm etc.
    2. Less important, but often useful (especially for some songs from Meddimurje) is the notion of secondary parallel minor chord corresponding to a given major chord. We go one step more back on the cycle of fourths, i.e. four steps (instead of three). Thus for instance, starting from G, then going back four steps, we arrive to B(m), which is the secondary parallel minor of G.
    3. Conversely, if we start with say Em, then we say that G is the parallel MAJOR corresponding to Em. Similarly, G is the secondary parallel major corresponding to Bm.
    4. It is quite important to know the major chords and their parallel minors (and conversely). To summarize, we give a list of six most important triples of chords (in the natural order with respect to the cycle of fourths):

       Parallel Secondary
      Major chords minor chords parallel minors
      E C#m G#m
      A F#m C#m
      D Bm F#m
      G Em Bm
      C Am Em
      F Dm Am

      For the remaining six cases you can try to find the corresponding tripples yourself. In any case, the pairs in the first two columns in the above table are the most important.

    5. If you ever try to harmonize of a song, you first start with a cycle of fourths. Next you think about parallels that will fill a trivial harmonization.
    6. One more convention: if a song is harmonized in, say, G major as a basic tonality (the so called tonic), then its left and right neighbour on the cycle of fourths are called dominant and subdominant respectively.
    7. A very useful remark: if a song has a minor tonality, then for sure you must expect the chords corresponding to the tonality of the PARALLEL MAJOR to appear in the song.
  • The role of B7 in this song is to connect G (tonic) and Em (the corresponding parallel minor). It is possible to omit it, but the accompaniment then loses a lots of its flavor. Note that B7 precedes Em on the cycle of fourths, so it can be considered as a `local back-cycling' from Em with only one step.
  • The Cm can be viewed to have a subdominant role with respect to G (subdominant is C), and it can also be omitted (at the expense of the loss of a very nice harmonic drive). In practice most often Eb is used instead of Cm (Zlatni dukati). Note that the chord Eb (=D#) is just a parallel major to Cm. In my opinion, Cm is much better, and more in the spirit of the song.
  • A small but nice variation is possible in the second line, and the corresponding lines in the song:
     C D7 G
    Nemojte ništa pitati
    We have introduced C instead of D7. Here C is in fact a parallel major of Am. Through this variation of Am we proceed with backcycling: Am -> (C) -> D7 -> G.
  • A useful exercise for the beginner would be to play the whole song using trivial harmonization: G (tonic), D (dominant) and C (subdominant), and then to see how the above mentioned harmonic mechanisms ``fill in''.
  • Exercise: try to harmonize the whole song starting with D as tonic (then try with C, A,...)

Licka vecer

The Lika Night in Bazenheid, Switzerland
two generations of female players of tamburica from Lika


Village of Samarica in Moslavina 1936, North of Croatia

Croatian Christmas on Strawberry Hill, Kansas City, USA

Village of Samarica in Moslavina, North of Croatia

Broken Hill-based Croatian tamburica orchestra in Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia, 1929, see [Sutalo]


salas i djeramLet me add one of my favourite songs, a true jewel in both music and verses, very popular among the Croats and others in Baccka and Srijem. The harmonization below differs considerably from the usual one that we can hear on recorded materials, including also the interpretation of the famous orchestra of Janika Balazz, the uncrowned king of tamburitza (sedam tamburassa Janike Balazza). This Bogdan's song is written in ikavina dialect (for example "divojka, pisma"), typical Croatian dialect, now disappearing among the Croats in Backa (Bunjevci and Sokci), due to intensive serbization. Ikavian dialect is still very widespread also in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and has a tremendous literature since the time of Marko Marulic (15th century).

Vech odavno spremam svog mrkova

Zvonko Bogdan

 Dm Gm Dm G0 D0 A7Dm C
1. Već odavno spremam svog mrkova,

F Bb F C C7 F A7
da se prođem ka-som od miline.

Bb E7 FD7 Gm C7 F A7
Da obiđem staze, staze svog djetinjstva, |
|
Dm Gm Dm C C7 F A7 | 2x
Dm Gm Dm G0 D0 A7Dm |
za salašom želja da me mine. |

Refrain:

F C F
Neću više ići na tu stranu,
jer ne mogu suze oku skriti.
Nema više starog čardaka ni đerma, | 2x (the same
ni debela 'lada od bagrema. | harm. as above)
Ili moram tugom okrenuti glavu, | 2x (the same
il plakati ili se napiti. | harm. as above)

2. Nema više dobrih tamburaša,
fijakera, snaša, i salaša.
nema visse konja, konja koji jure, | 2x
a u stvari nikuda ne žure. |
(without refrain)

3. Vrag nek nosi moje snove puste,
divojačke duge kose guste.
Vrag nek nosi tugom dobre tamburaše,
fijakere, pisme i salaše.

Refrain:

Neću više ići na tu stranu,
jer ne mogu suze oku skriti.
Ili moram tugom okrenuti glavu,
il plakati ili se napiti.
See also another Bogdan's beautiful song written in the Croatian ikavian dialect: Hej, salaši.

Comments:

  • D0 = Ddim. Its usage often yields a very nice `sporadic' bass melody. You can also play A7 instead of D0.
  • E7 is surprising, and sounds very nice. It connects the chords Bb and F. More precisely, the idea is to fill in the passage from Bb to F by using the chord diminished by ONE degree with respect to F: this is E7. In other words, we enter F from below. It is worth noting that it is precisely the seventh in the E7 chord, which gives the same tone as the one in the melody in the moment of usage!
  • To see the meaning of this chord (E7), try to play the song without E7, i.e. with Bb instead.
  • There is a lots of back-cycling here:
    1. C -> F,
    2. D7 -> Gm -> C7 -> F (look at the cycle of fourths above).

CroatiaFest 2005, Seattle, USA, Photo - Jal Schrof

Croatian tamburitza orchestra from Virje, nicely decorated with white scarfs;
beginning of 20th century [Ivancan, p. 121]

Croatian tamburitza orchestra in Australia, 1910


 

Tamburica orchestra from Bjelovar, around 1900.

Another jewel. Kajkavian verses by Dragutin Domjanic, music by Vlaho Paljetak (born in Dubrovnik!).

Popevke sem slagal

 G
1. Popevke sem slagal,

Em D7 G E7
i rožice bral,

Am D7
i (v)su svoju radost

Am D7 G
sem drugim ja dal.

2. Al' žalost navek sem,
vu srcu ja skril,
ni nigdo me žalil,
i sam sem tak bil.

G G7
3. Al' v mojem srcu,

E7 Am
tam suzah vam ni,

Cm G Em
i če mi je teško

A7 D7 G
popevka zvoni.

Če siromak sem
se drugim bi dal
popevke i srce
i ne bu mi žal.

Vlaho Paljetak (1893-1944), born in Dubrovnik, left us beautiful verses and music in kajkavian language of the Croatian north-west.

Vocinski tamburaski orkestar (Vocin tamburitza orchestra), 1928,
photo kept in Zavicajni muzej Slatina

Dragutin Domjanic (1875-1933), a very popular kajkavian poet, wrote that according to their family tradition they stem from Bosnia. He was a stipendist of the cultural society Napredak from Bosnia and Herzegovina. See his verses1, verses2, verses3.

 

Tamburitza players from Virje from the turn of 19/ 20th centuries [Ivancan, p. 205]

Sv. Klara near Zagreb (photo by Ipik, www.ipik.hr, Zagreb)

Many thanks to Ipik for very nice photos of Croatian national costumes.

 

Women in Croatian national costumes from the environs of Zagreb, Bocarski dom, Zagreb, 2006 (festival of Croatian gastronomy)

 


Fala

Verses: D. Domjanic, music: Vlaho Paljetak

 G C G
1. Za saku dobru reč,

C G0 G
kaj reči si mi znala!

Am D7
Za saki pogled tvoj,

A7 D7 D
za saki smeh tvoj fala!

2. Tak malo dobrega,
v živlenju tuj se najde.
I če je sunca trag,
za oblak tak i zajde.

G F E7 Am
3. Jer ti si srcu mi,

Am D7 G
tak puno sunca dala!

G F E7 Am
Kaj morem ti neg reč,

Am D7 G
od seg ti srca fala.
(repeat 3.)

Vlaho Paljetak (1893-1944), born in Dubrovnik, on the photo and on the stamp.

The song has been rearranged by a well known conductor Emil Cosetto, on the occasion of Tito's death in 1980. It is regrettable that the message of this beautiful, innocent song has been so distorted.

Hrvatsko pjevacko drustvo "Lovor" founded in Slunj in 1876.
(Toma Zganec: Rastoke, Na slapovima Slunjcice, Zagreb 1990., str. 106)

Tamburaško društvo Slavonska vila iz Orahovice, 1930, source.
Stoje: Ivica Grbić, Franjo Hocenski, Josip Filaković, Franjo Kikel.
Sjede: Ladislav Hocenski, Vencl Konopek, učitelj društva Viktor Albih (stolar),
Vlatko Voćinkić i Stjepan Bradač.


Marijana

Verses and music: Vlaho Paljetak

Scores: JPG1, JPG2

It is interesting and little known that in Japan there exist two recordings of Vlaho Paljetak's well known song Marijana - in the Japanese language, and the song was very popular in that country!

We invite you to listen to Vlaho Paljetak's tune O, MARIJANA, sung by Seiji Tanaka in Japanese and Croatian, recorded in 1976:

O MARIJANA [mp3] 3.6 MB

By the courtesy of Dr. Drago Stambuk, Croatian ambassador in Tokyo.

I had opportunity to listen them on two records issued in Japan, when I visited Mr. Mario Kinel in his apartment in Zagreb (Mr. Kinel was a well known pop-music composer and translator; he even translated Vu plavem trnaci into Italian and German). Of course, out of Japanese verses I understood only - Marijana.

O Marijana (see bottom on the right), issued in Japan in1976, sung by Seiji Tanaka, Japanese pop singer born in 1947.

Marijana is also very popular in Czechia. It was included in both Croatian original and Czech translation into the book "Sveove Evergreeny" (World's Evergreens), published in Prague in 2000 (Petr Jansky - MUSIC CHEB). Except in Czech and Japanese, Marijana has been translated and sung in Italian, German, Russian, and Romanian.

In addition to this, I learned that a famous american actor Harry Dean Stanton ("Texas Paris Texas") sang the whole Marijana in superb Croatian to Mr Nenad Bach (personal information by Mr Nenad Bach).

United choirs of the Kastav region near Rijeka, 1908

Tamburitza orchestra Spincici in Kastav, 1922

Omaha Tamburitzans, USA
Omaha Tamburitzans, USA
Omaha Tamburitzans, USA

Omaha Tamburitzans, USA


I know it would be a fatal mistake not to provide an example for the people from Dalmatia (they are quite sensitive). Here is a nice back-cycling:

C#7 -> F#m -> B7 -> E

Try to harmonize the rest of this exceptional song yourself.

S ponistre se vidi Šolta

text: Zdenko Runjić
music: Oliver Dragojević

 E
Šoto voce piva klapa,

C#7 F#m
u to gluho litnje doba,

B7
i prolazi ispod skala

F#m B7 E
di se suši tvoja roba.


Do pergula riči lete,
tu se misec smije gradu.
Ti se dižeš iz kočeta,
da poslušaš serenadu.

C#7 F#m ...
S ponistre se vidi Šolta,
piva klapa ispod volta.
U daljini svitle koče,
piva klapa šoto voce.


Ti se ozireš po sobi,
slika je na kantunalu,
onceg ća ga more odni
u dalekem fortunalu.


Opustila davno riva,
zatvoreni su portuni.
Šoto voce klapa piva,
tvoji mirišu lancuni.


Tiho razmičeš koltrinu,
zrila si ka litnje voće,
o ljubavi i o vinu,
piva klapa šoto voce.


S ponistre se vidi Šolta,
piva klapa ispod volta.
U daljini svitle koće,
piva klapa šoto voce.


Niko neće te kaštigat,
kad bi skinila korotu.
Život che te svu deštigat,
A još moreš dat lipotu.


S ponistre se vidi Šolta,
žmiga svitlo ispod volta.
U po volta kada pasa,
piva klapa ispod glasa.

By the way, don't miss the following beautiful Dalmatian klapa songs web site. Chapeau! See also another klapa songs web site.

Tamburitza orchestra performing after Easter Mass 2006 in South Africa
(many thanks to Mr Ivo Lusic, Johannesburg)


Wedding in the village of Samarica, Moslavina, North of Croatia

Tamburitza orchestra in the Croatian reading room in 1908 in Bugojno, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Source Antun Lučić ed.: S Napretkom kroz stoljeće 1906.-2006., HKD Napredak, Bugojno 2006. ISBN 978-9958-9134-0-2


The further step in harmonization would be to describe possible alterations within the same (constant) chord, which in fact leads to the jazz harmony. This can be applied even to such a simple song as:

Sinoch kad sam ti prossa

 A Aj7 A6 Aj7
Sinoch kad sam ti prossa,

A Aj7 F#7 Bm E
mimo te bile dvore vidim te dusso Mare.

D E
Vidim te dusso Mare,

E7 A
di s drugim govoriss.

....

which sounds very nice. Here Aj7 stands for Amaj7. Note the back-cycling here too, which is essentially:

F#7 -> Bm -> E -> E

Croatian litoral, photo by Zdravka Culig

Tamburitza orchestra conducted by left-handed player Antun Kranjec,
Molve 1918 [Ivancan, p. 196]


Of course, many songs do not `tolerate' excessive harmonization, which is probably the case with the above song too. Another `extreme' is for instance Vu plavem trnaci, a real (harmonic) challenge. I like this song very much.

Vu plavem trnaci

Gjuro Prejac

Gjuro Prejac (1870 - 1936)

 G Gm AmD7 G
1. Vu plavem trnaci mi hiža stoji,

G D A7 D
od zelenih vejah je videti ni.

C D7 G Gm AmD7 G
Bogica je z'dreva, ne vufa se reva

G0 G Em Am D7 G
pokazat pred ljudmi kak da se boji.


Em Am B7 Em
Vre slaba je, stara prek stotinu let,

F# B F# B
od njezine brajde posušil se cvet.

Am B7 Am B7
Od blata je zbita, i škopom pokrita,

Am Em C B7
ne moreš prav znati je'l hiža il' klet.


Am D7 G Em
Nju muški su žuli prinesli na svet,

Am D7 G
za onda dok Zagorec bil je još kmet.

Am D7 C0 Em
I bila je bela, i z'mirom vesela, |
| 2x
D#7 G Em Am D7 G |
a danas od tuge se hoće podret. |


2. I vnogi se lajtić vu njoj je ispil,
plebanuš, vučitelj tu vinček je pil!
Z gosponom pogaču i orehovnjaču
je mužek rad drobil i srećen je bil.
Pod malim obloccekom fantić je stal,
prelubleno dekle potiho je zval.
I vnogi je pušlec zamenil za kušlec,
i morti je fantić v komori i spal.
V toj hiži se rodil je vnogi vojak,
i vsaki je sledni bil pravi junak!
Za tujca vojeval i krv je proleval,
za falu su rekli mu da je bedak!


3. I hižica tiha ščekuje on čas,
kad jenkrat i Zagorcu došel bu spas!
Na oko je tiha, al veter zmir njiha,
vu vejah šumechih starinski jen glas:
em Zagorcu samo je Zagorje raj,
nigdar nebu zabil govoriti kaj.
Dok krv je proleval on zmir je popeval:
Še jenkrat bi rad videl zagorski kraj!
Pretrpel je muke črez jezero let,
al zopet bu brajda potirala cvet.
Iz našega gorja vre javla se zorja,
vesela i srećna bu hizza i klet!

Croatian national costumes from Lepoglava, north of Zagreb

Milan Grakalic (Medulin, 1909 � 1979), an excellent Croatian guitarist (and architect), has arranged Vu plavem trnaci for classical guitar, see the scores. For more details see Andrija Tomasek: "Vu plavem trnaci", Matis d.o.o. Pregrada, 2005, ISBN: 953-96561-9-2. Many thanks to Professor Tomasek for scores.

Marina Cingesar, Zeljko Sever and Ivana Komes, Visnjica, north of Zagreb

When you visit the castle of Veliki Tabor, don't miss to see the room devoted to Gjuro Prejac, who was born in the nearby village of Desinic.

Sv. Klara near Zagreb (photo by Ipik, www.ipik.hr, Zagreb)

Tamburitzas of Stjepan Radic, source [Tomicic]

Stjepan Radic with Croatian peasants in Zagreb, source [Tomicic]


The accompaniment of the following very nice song can be also be ``sprinkled'' with back-cycling: Em -> A7 -> D, or B7 -> Em -> A7 -> D.

Oj, jesenske duge noći

Ivan Trnski

 D Em A7 D
Oj, jesenske duge noći, oj!

D B7 Em A7
Oj, jesenske duge noći,

D A7 D
reko dragi da će dochi, oj!

D A7 D
Čuj me dragi čuj!

(repeat last three lines)
....

In the third line you may also use back-cycling:
 D Bm Em A7 D
reko dragi da će doći, oj!

CroatiaFest 2005, Seattle, USA, Photo - Jal Schrof

Children's tamburica orchestra Zvijezda (Star) in Boulder City, Western Australia, 1936, see [Sutalo]

Tamburitza orchestra in Bugojno, Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the first half of 20th century, directed by a nun. Note that there are many girls. Source [Antun Lučić ed.]


Ima jedna kućica

Traditional

 A 
Ima jedna kućica
D
draga srcu mom.
D E A
Ta kućica pod lipom |
E D (A) | 2x
stari je moj dom. |

U njoj živi majčica
dobor otac moj.
A i meni najljepše
živjet je u njoj.

Kućo draga kućice
čuvao te Bog,
jak i vjeran branitelj
starog doma mog.

Ova pjesma se u Hrvatskoj do godine 1945. pjevala na stari način. Nakon 1945. nije se smjela pjevati ili pojavljivati u knjigama u tom obliku (radi "čuvao te Bog"). Da bi pjesma bila spašena, unesena je preinaka u zadnjoj kitici. Složio ju je Velimir Žubrinić, učitelj i ravnatelj OŠ u Kozjaku, malom selu kod Krapine, zajedno sa svojom suprugom Katicom rođ. Suntešić:

Kućo draga kućice,
mili dome moj,
bit će vjeran branitelj
tebi sinak tvoj.

Katica Suntešić je kao dijete tu pjesmu naučila godine 1942. od svoje učiteljice Štefice Rubin u osnovnoj školi u Svetom Križu Začretje (Štefica Rubin je tragično stradala 1943. prigodom partizanskog napada na vlak na putu za Zagreb). Usmenom predajom ta se inačica vrlo brzo proširila ne samo u Hrvatskoj, nego i izvan domovine, pa i među Hrvatima SAD-a koji znadu čini se samo ovu drugu inačicu.

Autori teksta i melodije izvorne pjesme nisu nam poznati. Sadržaj pjesme "Ima jedna kućica" nudi prekrasne motive za domoljublje i likovno izražavanje djece. Treba zahvaliti učiteljici Štefici Rubin što je djecu u školi učila tu pjesmu, te roditeljima Katice Suntešić, Barici i Petru, koji su joj usadili ljubav prema pjesmi. Zanimljivo je da se obje inačice navode u knjizi [Duša narodna], na str. 51 i 88.


national costumes from Draz, Baranja near Danube

Kad se Tena udavala

 G B7
1. Kad se Tena udavala,

C D7 G
od čaše se nisam mako.

G B7
žalio sam sudbu svoju,

C D7 G
Danima sam stalno plako.


Refrain (2x):

G B7 C
Udaše mi moju Tenu,

Am D7 G
Doveli i tamburaše,

G E7 Am
Meni osta samo želja

Am D7 G
I neispijene čaše.


2. Majka vicce: Što si bisan,
zašto konje tučeš sine?
Pa i drugih cura ima,
sve su lipe sve su fine.
2xR.

Many thanks to Mr. Darko Varga for having contributed nice photos representing national costumes from the village of Draz (Baranja near Danube river).

Ivanovci, Slavonija, Croatia, from the blessing ceremony of installing two church bells made in Innsbruck, Austria, 2006. The ceremony has been led by bishop Marin Srakic, born in that village.

 


natioanl costumes from Draz, Baranja near Danube

Uzalud vam trud svirači

Prljavo kazalište

Listen to it!

 Bm Em
1. Sto put sam se evo zakleo,

A7 D F#7
pred jutro te prevario.

Bm Em
Drugoj ja sam bagrem nosio,

A7 D
tebe iznevjerio.


2. Sto put sam se evo zakleo,
pa te prevario.
Sad bih dukate od jada
D0 F#7 Bm
Baš u blato bacio.


Refrain (2x):

Bm Em
A za oblak mi se mjesec skrio,

A7 D F#7
sakrio mi pute.

Bm Em
Uzalud vam trud svirači,

Bm F#7 Bm
za drugog su dunje žute.


2. A ja evo nekad sjetim se,
što moj ćaća znao reći je,
Sveti duše s idile slavonske,
uz pjesmu prebole, al ne oproste.

2xR.

3. Uz pjesmu mi se evo rodimo
uz pjesmu umiremo.
Slavonijo, tko te nije volio,
ne zna što je izgubio.

Croatian tamburitzans in Slovenia around 1910

Croatian tamburitzans in Slovenia around 1910


S onu stranu Plive

Traditional song of Bosnian Croats

 D A
1. S onu stranu Plive

A Em A6 D
gajtan trava raste.

G Em D
Po njoj pasu ovce,

BmA D G D A D
čuvalo ih mo - o - mcce.

2. Momče tužno plače,
još tužnije ječi:
Svaka tuđa zemlja
tuga je golema.

3. U tuđemu svijetu
bez oca i majke,
svaka tuđa zemlja
tuga je golema.

Mixed tamburitza orchestra , 1908, from Kresevo, BiH (photo from the Kresevo Franciscan monastery)

Mixed tamburitza orchestra from Kresevo, 1908, BiH

Mixed tamburitza orchestra from Kresevo, BiH (photo from the Kresevo Franciscan monastery)

Tamburitza orchestra in Virovitica, 1919 (Zivjela sloga)

Virovitica (Zivjela sloga), 1919


Another song by Zvonko Bogdan written in the sweet Croatian ikavian dialect.

PIVAJTE PISME BUNJEVACCKE!

Hej, salassi

Zvonko Bogdan

 A E E7 A
1. Hej, salaši na sjeveru Bačke,

A E E7 A
u vama su pisme bunjevačke.

A F#7 Bm Dm
A tambura tako lipo svira, |
|
E A E A | 2x
ko da note par slavuja bira. |

R. Ni svatova nigdi takih nema,
ko kad baćo kćer na udaj' sprema.
Na snaši se bili šlajer vije,
ko kad zimi snig salaš pokrije.

2. Hej, Bunjevci na sjeveru Bačke!
Sačuvajte pisme bunjevačke!
Pivajte ih još puno godina,
vaša j' grana mala, al' je fina.

R. I lumpujte, al' lipo polako.
Nek se divi i nek vidi svako.
Pa nek vranci pokidaju štrange,
kad se krenu momci na vašange.

štrange = remenovi
vašange = maškare

The melody of the song Fijaker stari, for which Zvonko Bogdan wrote verses, is known in Croatia for very long, at least from the beginning of 20th century. Indeed, Bogdan has taken the melody of an old Croatian song Zrtva ljubavi, known at least from the beginning of the 20th century. I owe this information to Dunja Knebl, well known interpreter of old, forgotten Croatian songs, in particular from Medjimurje.

1930s

Those wishing to learn more about the history of Backa Croats (Bunjevci and Sokci) in today's Yugoslavia may consult the following books written by Ante Sekulich (born in Backa):

  • Baccki Hrvati - Narodni zzivot i obiccaji, Zbornik za narodni zzivot i obiccaje Juzznih Slavena 52, JAZU (now HAZU), Zagreb, 1991 (519 pages)
  • Rasprave o jeziku bacckih Hrvata, Matica hrvatska, Zagreb, 1997 (291 pages)
  • Umjetnost i graditeljstvo bacckih Hrvata, Matica hrvatska, Zagreb, 1998 (171 pages)

Photo from http://www.duzijanca.co.yu/


Pere Tumbas - HajoAnother classic of tamburitza play, one of the most popular among the Bunjevci Croats in Backa.

Kolo igra, tamburica svira

verses by N. Kujundzzich, music by S. Mukich

 D A D
1. Kolo igra, tamburica svira,

G D7 G D G D D A7 D
pisma ječi, neda noći mira.

Svud se čuje, svud se širom znade,
Da Bunjevac dušu ne izdade.

G C G0 G

R. Veseli se, svako mu se divi, |
|2x
D C G D G D G |
nek se znade da Bunjevac živi! |

2. Nije majka rodila junaka,
ko' što j'sinak divnih Bunjevaka!
Nit će majka roditi junaka,
ko' Bunjevca, tak(v)og veseljaka.

R. Kolo vodi, svaki mu se divi,
nek se znade da Bunjevac živi!

3. Ni divojke ne biše u nane,
ko' što j'ćerka bunjevačke grane.
Svilu nosi, a zlatom se krasi,
crne oči, crne su joj vlasi!

R. Kolo igra, svaki joj se divi.
Nek se znade da Bunjevac živi!

4. Ori, pismo, tambur tamburice,
nek se čuju daleko ti žice.
Nek se gori, a i doli znade,
da Bunjevac dušu ne izdade!

R. Prelo kupi, svaki mu se divi.
Nek se znade da Bunjevac živi!

One of the greatest tamburitza players among Backa Croats was Pere Tumbas - Hajo (Bunjevac, dika Bacckih Hrvata iz bile Subotice).

Hajo (third from the right) with his orchestra in Langolen, England, 1952

Hajo (third from the right) with his orchestra
in Langolen, England, 1952

Tamburitza orchestra from Varazdin, Croatia, in the USA, 1900. Note a nice lady playing bass, which is rather unusual. Source: Mr. Vladimir Novak, Zagreb.


Kraj kapele sv. Ane

Marko Vukasović, Stojdraga, Žumberku

 Dm Gm
U tankoj knjizi mojega života
A7 Dm
pronađe se mnoga lijepa strana
Dm Gm
al sreću ćutim ponajveću tada
A7 Dm
kad se sjetim mladenačkih dana.

F C7
Slušam pjesme svojih prijatelja,
C7 Bb7 A7
slušam pjesme radosti i veselja.
Dm Gm E
Vidim dragu što me sad ostavlja,
C F C7
nju mi srce još ne zaboravlja.

F
Kraj kapele svete Ane
F+ Gm C7 F
prošla je mladost naša sva.
F C7
Mala je klupa ona,
C7 F F7
sve slatke naše tajne pričat zna.

Bb Bb0 F Dm
Tamo, sprovodili smo sretne dane,
C7
u zagrljaju ljubavnom,
C7 C7Bb7A7 C7
u carstvu prirodnom.

F F+
Kraj kapele svete Ane,
Gm C7 F
u samoborskom divnom kraju tom

Kapela sv. Ane is near the town of Samobor.

www.croatoan.ca, Croatian folklore ensemble Croatoan, Ottawa, Canada

Tamburitza instruments exhibited in the Museum of Croatian Fraternal Union in Pittsburgh, USA. Source: George Prpic, The Croatian Immigrants in America, New York, 1971.


Sidi Mara na kamen studencu

Traditional Croatian song from Srijem

 Em Am B7
1. Sidi Mara na kamen studencu,

Am6 B7 Em
svoju tajnu otkrila je vincu.

G C G0 G
Suzama ga orosila Mara, |
|
G C G D7 G | 2x
sudbinu je svoju oplakala. |


2. Maro, Maro, od bisera grano,
Maro, Maro, sunce ogrijano.
Lipča si od biloga goluba,
pođi za me i budi mi ljuba.

3. Od lozice mladog vinograda,
Lipa Maro, pravi'ću ti lada.
Nosi'chu te na rukama dvima,
jer od mene boljeg momka nima.

4. Što che meni i srebro i zlato,
kad ja nimam što je srcu drago.
Imala sam svoga zaručnika,
bio mi je i ponos i dika.

vincu = vinac (vijenac) = here has the meaning of prayer-book (molitvenik)

It is little known that this very old and popular Croatian song was originally sung in IKAVIAN dialect. Here we present its version from the city of Subotica, as the Bunjevci Croats used to sing until mid 20th century. I learned this from older people from Subotica, whose grandparents sang it like this.

 

CroatiaFest 2005, Seattle, USA, Photo - Jal Schrof

It seems that "Sidi Mara..." is the origin for the melody of ALOHA OE (Farewell to Thee), famous Hawaiian song and the national anthem of Hawaii. Its words were written by Her Majesty Queen Liliuokalani around 1877. Possible Croatian origin for the melody of ALOHA OE is indicated in an article written by John Berger in HAWAII MAGAZINE, August 1996, p. 41. Very close relation between the melody of "Sidi Mara..." and ALOHA OE has been indicated by Branimir Vidmar, Timmins, Ontario, Canada, 1978. Vidmar also indicated that the melody is close to American gospel "How Great Thou Art," composed by K. Hine. It is also worth noting that "Sidi Mara..." has Austro-German version called Die Träne, and the English version is The Tear (this can also be seen from Vidmar's sheet music). As stated in Ripley's Believe it or not, Hawaiian music is the creation of a German bandmaster captain Henry Berger (1844-1929), invited to Hawaii by King Kamehameha V in 1872. Berger composed the first Hawaiian songs which "he adapted from German folk tunes." He composed 72 famous Hawaiian songs, including ALOHA OE and the Hawaiian national song. We can be pretty sure that the "German tune" adapted to Hawaiian ALOHA OE was in fact Croatian song "Sidi Mara...", which Berger obviously knew as "Die Träne."
I express my gratitude to Adam Eterovich, USA, for copies of sheet music which very clearly confirm the above views, and for the above mentioned article from Hawaii Magazine. It is also worth noting that, according to Eterovic, the husband Hawaiian Queen Liliuokalani was a Croata - John Dominis, whose father was born in Venice, and whose grandfather was born on the Croatian island of Brac, in the lovely town of Pucisca. Recall that Dominis = Gospodnetic, for example Marko Antun de Dominis. Eterovic believes that Hawaiian Queen could have opportunity to hear the Croatian song "Sidi Mara..." when she was hosted by the English Queen.

Fabian Koss, John Hrvacich, other unknown

Very beautiful and original type of songs among Bunjevci Croats in Baccka are the so called GROKTALICE. They are very emotional, sung slowly in a trembling voice, without any instrumental accompaniment.

Croatian tamburitza orchestra Falcon - Hrvatski tamburaski orkestar Sokol,
Argentina, 1919 (from an exhibition Los Croatas en Argentina, Carmen Verlichak,
Matica iseljenika, Zagreb 2007)

Here is a well known children's verse from Subotica, as older people still remember:

Eci, peci, pec,
ti si mali zec,
a ja mala pripelica,
eci peci pec.

Note "pripelica" instead of "vjeverica"!


Veliko je more

Traditional Croatian song

 A
Veliko je more,
A E
ne vidiš mu kraja.
E
Tamo u daljini
E A
sa nebom se spaja.

U dubini njemu
sto se čuda krije.
Galebova jato
nad njime se krije.

Po njem bijela lađa
u daljinu plovi.
Na njoj su mornari
hrabri sokolovi.

Na žalu su djeca,
molitvom ih prate,
da se svome domu
opet sretno vrate.

I learned this song from my mother Katica Žubrinić b. Suntešić, and she learned it in 1942 from her schoolteacher Štefica Rubin in Sveti Križ Začretje.


ZAPIVAJ PISMU RIBARU STARI!

Ribar plete mrižu svoju

Traditional Croatian song

 D G D
1. Ribar plete mrižu svoju,

Bm Em A D
koja njemu triba.

G A D
A tko će je sutra plesti,

Bm Em A D D7
baš ga nije briga.


G D
Zapivaj pismu, ribaru stari,

Bm Em A D
jer to je pisma o moru. 2x


2. More divno, more plavo,
ti si meni drago.
Ti si čežnja srca moga,
ti si moje blago.

Biseru divni, rodnog mi kraja,
lipota tvoja me opaja.

Croatian litoral, photo by Zdravka Culig

Tamburaski zbor "Kluba uciteljica" (Tamburitza orchestra of Women's Professor's Club, Vrbnik, island of Krk), source: Prof. Mira Katunar, Vrbnik - grad "popi i mestric", Vrbnicki Vidici, p 16, 2006, Vrbnik (photo around 1900?)


VILA VELEBITA

 A E
1. Oj ti vilo, vilo Velebita

E A
Ti našeg roda diko

A E
Tvoja slava jeste nama sveta

E A
Tebi Hrvat' kliko:

D A
R. Ti vilo Velebita

D A
Ti našeg roda diko.

A
Živila premila

A
Živila premila

D E A
Živila, oj premila

E A
Ti vilo svih Hrvata.

2. Velebite, vilovito stijenje,
ja ljubim tvoje smilje,
Ljubim tvoga u gorici vuka
ličkoga hajduka.

R.

Tamburitza orchestra "Velebit" from Croatia in the USA, 1919
Tamburitza orchestra "Velebit" from Croatia in the USA, 1919


Croatian Working Society Progress (Hrvatsko Radnicko Društvo Napredak), Kotor 1901
From the front cover page of Stolacko kulturno proljece, Godisnjak za povijest i kulturu, god. VII., 2009.

Note Croatian Coat of Arms on the tricolor flag

Croatian tamburitza players in Kotor in 1901


If you want to create excellent atmosphere at a birthday party, I suggest you the following very attractive traditional song from the north of Croatia, with fantastic music and verses:

natioanl costumes from Croatian northDobro jutro moj svečaru (Rođendanska)

Traditional from Podravina

 D G D
1. Dobro jutro moj svečaru,

D G D
dobro jutro ti želim!

D G D
Ja ti sviram, ja ti pjevam, |
| 2x
Em A7 D |
čestita-am ti rođendan! |

2. Sretna bila tvoja majka,
koja te je rodila!
Koja te je svojim mlijekom
na noge postavila!

3. Srebra nemam, zlata nemam,
nemam ništa da ti dam!
Samo ovu pjesmu pjevam,
za tvoj mili rođendan!

svečar = slavljenik

Many thanks to Mr. Robert Los for permission to use the above photo.

One can hear very often the following variant instead the third stanza (you can add it as the fourth stanza if you want):

3' Mnogo ljeta sretan bio,
mnogo ljeta živio!
U ljubavi sretan bio,
mnogo lje-eta doži-ivio!



Wedding in Zumberak (near Zagreb), 1930.

Beautiful song about Zagreb in the kajkavian language.

Za nikaj na svetu ja menjal te nebi

Unofficial anthem of Zagreb

 G B7 C G
1. Za nikaj na svetu ja menjal te nebi,

Am D7 G C G
moj Zagreb tak imam te rad!

G B7 C G
Svoj dom i veselje se našel vu tebi,

Am D7 G
za mene najljepši si grad!

C D7 G E7
Se vugle ti poznam, se vulice znam,

A7 Am7 D7
vu tebi sem srećen i nigdar nis' sam.

G B7 C E7
I gde god vu svetu, popeval bum rad,


A7 Am7 D7 D+
tu malu popevku posluhni ju sa-ad:



G Am D7 G G7
R. Jer ti, ti, najdrajsš si mi,

C D7 G Em
najslajša popevka v živlenju si mi!

C D7 G F E7
Vu mojemu srcu najlepši si grad,

Am7 D7 G C G
moj Zagreb tak imam te rad!



2. Nigdar se ne vrneju najljepši cajti,
kaj v tebi sem sprovel ih ja.
Ali ipak vu tebi ja štel bi se najti,
i srećen bi bil, to se zna.
Ja sikud bi išel, naluknul se rad,
z uspinjačom otpelal bi v gornji se grad.
Pogledal bi Zagreb, i kušlec mu dal,
još jenput spopeval kaj lepše bi znal!

R.


3. Se kaptolske hiže i vu njem se crkve
se blešćju v sunčeku sad.
Al' ipak to jesu najlepše starine
kaj ima ih naš gornji grad.
I Sava se cakli, i potoki si,
a z Gornjega Grada nam cinkuš zvoni.
I gda buš me Zagreb ti trebal il zval,
svoj život i srce za tebe bum dal!

R.

The Tamburica Croatian Orchestra, 1887 County of Buffalo, Nebraska, USA (see bchs.kearney.net/BTales_198707.html)


Bože čuvaj Hrvatsku

 D Em A D
1. Bože čuvaj Hrvatsku,
D A D
moj dragi dom,
G A D Bm
ljude koji blaguju
Em A D
pri oltaru tvom.


2. Nek se sliju molitve,
sve u jedan glas.
Čuvaj ovo sveto tle,
blagoslovi nas.


Em A D
3. Ako treba Gospode,
Em A D D7
evo primi zavjet moj.
G A D Bm
Uzmi život od mene
Em A D
pa ga podaj njoj.


4. I u dobru i u zlu
budi s nama, budi s njom.
Bože čuvaj Hrvatsku,
moj dragi dom,

Bože čuvaj Hrvatsku, moj dragi dom.


Velebit (Bacic kuk), photo by Zdravka Čulig


Interesting harmonic passages can be obtained in some of our folk songs using + (or aug) chords, for example in ``Poleg jene velke gore'' or ``Kraj kapele sv. Ane''.

 

Croatian national costume from the Pokupsko region (river Kupa, south of Zagreb).

Croatian women from the Pokupsko region (Kupa river south of Zagreb).

Pokupsko tamburitza players celebrating Christmas...

... in their ruined church on the left. Reproduced from [Pokupsko], many thanks to Mr. Bozidar Skrinjaric for permission. On the right is the renovated church (2007), with three shattered bells in front of it, destroyed during the Greater Serbian agression in 1991.

I hope that with these few musical examples I managed to convince You in the usefulness of back-cycling and parallel chords. You will hear them very often on recorded materials on the radio and elsewhere (just listen carefully). I assure you that Croatian folk provides an amazing amount of examples for many interesting harmonic mechanisms! If you don't believe, look at:

Međimurske narodne pjesme

Sv. Klara near Zagreb (photo by IPIK, www.ipik.hr, Zagreb)


More details can be found in my booklet ``Gitara za radoznalce'' (some libraries in Zagreb possess it). For those interested I must say that at this moment it is not available.

Remark In the literature you will see the song ``Oj, jesenske duge nochi'' sometimes attributed to Branko Radiccevich, which is wrong (this error appears in my booklet as well!) - the author is Ivan Trnski, a Croatian poet.

 

CroatiaFest 2005, Seattle, USA, Photo - Jal Schrof


A final remark (with best intentions): The Institute of Folklore in Zagreb possesses an extremely valuable collection of more than 2000 folk songs collected mostly among the Croats in Baccka and Srijem by dr. Josip Andrich (1894-1967). Unfortunately, they are still unpublished. Maybe this remark will be a necessary impetus to make this invaluable collection accessible to the wider audience, especially to those youngsters playing tamburitza. Our national instrument is an object of the study on the Academy of Music in Zagreb, similarly as done by other nations having their own national instruments.

Croats in Punta Arenas, Chile, with their tamburitzas (photo from Lj. Antic, Hrvati u J. Americi, Zagreb, 1991)

Croats in Punta Arenas, Chile (Magallanes region), with their tamburitzas
Croatian tamburitza band Tomislav in Punta Arenas, 1905
Hrvatsko tamburasko drustvo Tomislav, Punta Arenas, 1905
(photo from Lj. Antic, Hrvati u J. Americi, Zagreb, 1991, pp 182 and 266)

The most beautiful book I know, devoted to the thorough treatment of Croatian folk songs in Croatia as well as in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia (i.e. on the territory of ex YU), comprising excellent photos of various dances and national costumes, is

dr. Vinko Žganec: Hrvatske narodne pjesme (Croatian folk songs)

published by Seljaccka sloga, Zagreb 1951, with the parallel text in English. I saw it (to my greatest surprise) for the first time in May 1995. I suspect it was simply removed from our libraries in the fifties, for the reasons we can easily guess. Vinko Žganec collected more than 25,000 songs, among them 15,000 from his native Međimurje.

Tamburitza orchestra "Zivila Hrvatska" (Long Live Croatia), USA,
performed in White House for president F. Roosewelt in 1900.

I would recommend the reader an excellent book by Mr. Leopold, with a short history of tamburitza and accompanied with many Croatian folk songs, as well as some other references:

  • Mihael Ferić: Zasvirajte tambure 1, 2, Kulturni centar Gatalinka, Vinkovci, 2002 and 2003, ISBN:953-98989-1-9 and ISBN 953-98989-2-7 repectively
  • Siniša Leopold: Tambura u Hrvata, Golden marketing, Zagreb, 1995; for those wishing to know more about tamburitza play see
  • Željko Bradić, Siniša Leopold: Skola za tamburicu, 2, kvartnog sustava, udzbenik za 1. i 2. razred osn. gl. skole, Skolska knjiga 92.
  • Stipan Krekić: Tamburaška početnica, 84 str., Croatica, Budimpešta, 2003.
  • Mate Kliković, Feri Sučić: Zajačimo si : zbirka najobljubljenijih hrvatskih jačak - 4. izd. s notami. - Željezno: Hrvatsko kulturno društvo u Gradišću - Kroatischer Kulturverein im Burgenland, 2003. - 159 str.
  • Michael Savor: The Tamburitza and the preservation of Croatian folk music, on this web.
  • Kolar, Walter W., An Introduction to Croatian Musical Folklore, (Tamburitza) Pittsburgh, PA 1981
  • Ivan Ivancan: Narodni plesni običaji Podravine 1., Kulturno-prosvjetni sabor Hrvatske, Zagreb 1989.
  • Slavica i Lana Moslavac: Kad zasvira lane moje, Pjesme i plesovi Moslavine i hrvatske Posavine, Muzej Moslavine Kutina, Kutina 2007.,
    ISMN M-9013596-0-4
  • Slavko Topić, Niko Luburić: Duša naroda, Svjetlo riječi, Sarajevo - Zagreb, 2007., ISBN 978-953-7091-41-5

CroatiaFest 2005, Seattle, USA, Photo - Jal Schrof

Tamburica links in Austria:

Tamburitza music in the USA:

For further information (sheet music, collections etc.) please contact:

  • Muzicka naklada, Zagreb, Nikole Tesle 10, Zagreb, tel. (+385-1) 481 14 41. Musical instruments.
  • LADO
  • Savez glazbeno-estradnih umjetnika izvodaca Hrvatske, Zagreb, fax 01/445716,
  • Skolska knjiga.

Croatian Tamburitza Orchestra Zvonimir, 1900, San Francisco, USA,
photo from Croatian American Web


Mr. Djuro Zaric, Vinkovci, builder of tamburitzas

We would like to provide several addresses for those wishing to buy top quality tambura instruments (bisernica, prim, brac, bas prim, bugarija, celo, bas):

  • Djuro Zaric, Vinkovci, Duga ul. 37, tel. +385 32 334 743
  • G. Tatic, Osijek, Kneza Borne 85, tel. +385 54 163 606 (prim)
  • Nikolic Ilija, Osijek, Medulinska 20, tel. + 385 54 557 224 (brac = bas-prim)
  • Marinko Katulic, Croatia - 10417 Busevec, Novo Selo bb, tel. +385 1 765 238
  • Ivan Djuretich, Velika Gorica, tel. +385 1 714 385
  • Postojnski Stanko, Srebrnjak 109, Zagreb (metal strings for all tambura instruments)
  • Mr Kos, Pitomaca.

Tomo Kos, a well known builder of tamburas,
with his band from Pitomaca, 1924 [Ivancan, p. 177]

CroatiaFest 2005, Seattle, USA, Photo - Jal Schrof

Branimir Kvartuč: Đakovački vezovi (Đakovo Embroidery)



An overview of Croatian History, Culture and Science.