Music of Romania: Wikis


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Romania is a European country whose population consists mainly (approx. 90%) of ethnic Romanians, as well as a variety of minorities such as German, Hungarian and Roma (Gypsy) populations. This has resulted in a multicultural environment which includes active ethnic music scenes. Romania also has thriving scenes in the fields of pop music, hip hop, heavy metal and rock and roll. During the first decade of the 21st century some Europop groups, such as Morandi, Akcent, and Yarabi, achieved success abroad. Traditional Romanian folk music (sometimes performed by tarafs, or bands of Gypsy musicians) remains popular, and some folk musicians have come to national (and even international) fame.



Folk music is the oldest form of Romanian musical creation, characterised by great vitality; it is the defining source of the cultured musical creation, both religious and lay. Conservation of Romanian folk music has been aided by a large and enduring audience, and by numerous performers who helped propagate and further develop the folk sound. One of them, Gheorghe Zamfir, is famous throughout the world today, and helped popularize a traditional Romanian folk instrument, the panpipes.

The religious musical creation, born under the influence of Byzantine music adjusted to the intonations of the local folk music, saw a period of glory between the 15th-17th centuries, when reputed schools of liturgical music developed within Romanian monasteries. Russian and Western influences brought about the introduction of polyphony in religious music in the 18th century, a genre developed by a series of Romanian composers in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Traditional music



In Banat, the violin is the most common folk instrument, now played alongside imported woodwind instruments; other instruments include the taragot (today often the saxophone plays the taragot role in bands), which was imported in the 1920s from Hungary. Efta Botoca is among the most renowned violinists from Banat.


Bucovina is a remote province, and its traditions include some of the most ancient Romanian instruments, including the ţilincă and the cobza. Pipes (fluieraş or fluier mare) are also played, usually with accompaniment by a cobza (more recently, the accordion). Violins and brass instruments have been imported in modern times.


Crişana has an ancient tradition of using violins, often in duos. This format is also found in Transylvania but is an older tradition. Petrică Paşca has recently helped popularize the taragot in the region.


Dobrogea's population is especially diverse, and there exist elements of traditional Tartar, Ukrainian, Turkish and Bulgarian music among those populations. The most popular dance from Dobrogea is the geamparale, which is very different from the other traditional dances of Romania. In fact, Dobrujan music is characterized by Balkan and Turkish rhythms.

Maramureş and Oaş

The typical folk ensemble from Maramureş is zongora and violin, often with drums. Taragot, saxophone and accordion have more recently been introduced.

In Oaş, a violin adapted to be shriller is used, accompanied by the zongora. The singing in this region is also unique, shrill with archaic melodic elements.

Moldavia (Moldova)

Violin and ţambal are the modern format most common in Moldavian dance music. Prior to the 20th century, however, the violin was usually accompanied by the cobza. Brass ensembles are now found in the central part of the county. Among the most renowned violinists from this region is Ion Drăgoi. There are also many musicians among the Csango, ethnic Hungarians who live in the Siret Valley. Moldavia is also known for brass bands similar to those in Serbia.


Transylvania has been historically and culturally more linked to Central European countries than Southeastern Europe, and its music reflects those influences. Inhabited by Romanians, Szeklers, Hungarians, Germans, Serbs, Slovaks, Roma (Gypsies) and others, Transylvania has long been a center for folk music, which was preserved here stronger than in the rest of Romania. Bartók and Kodály collected many folk songs from Transylvania early in the 20th century. In our days, Deep Forest included folk songs from Transylvania on their albums.

Violin, viola and double bass, sometimes with a cimbalom, are the most integral ensemble unit. They are used to play a wide variety of songs, including numerous kinds of specific wedding songs.

Hungarians from Transylvania are known for their vibrant musical cultures, especially around Cluj and other areas, which are famous for hajnali songs and legényes (young men's dance). The Csángós have a distinct Hungarian dialect and ancient music. They are known for a unique stringed percussion instrument called an ütögardon (literally, "beaten 'cello"). This heavy instrument, roughly carved out of a solid block of wood, has four gut strings, all tuned to D, which are struck with a stout stick.

Drum, guitar and violin make up the typical band in Maramureş, and virtuoso fiddlers are also popular in the area. In the end of the 1990s, the Maramuzical music festival was organized to draw attention to the indigenous music of the area.


Wallachia is home to the taraf bands, which are perhaps the best-known expression of Romanian folk culture. Dances associated with tarafs include brâu, geamparale, sârba and hora. The fiddle leads the music, with the cimbalom and double bass accompanying it. Lyrics are often about heroes like the Haidouks. Taraf de Haidouks is an especially famous taraf, and have achieved international attention since their 1988 debut with the label Ocora. The Haidouks first attained visibility as lăutari, traditional entertainers at weddings and other celebratory occasions.


Muntenia has a diverse set of instrumentation. The flute (fluier in Romanian) and violin are the traditional melodic element, but now clarinets and accordions are more often used. Accordionists include the renowned performers Vasile Pandelescu and Ilie Udilă.


Oltenia's folk music and dance is similar to Muntenia. Violins and pipes are used, as are ţambal and guitar, replacing the cobza as the rhythmic backing for tarafs. The cimpoi (bagpipe) is also popular in this region.


The most widespread form of Romanian folk music is the doina. There are other styles of folk music. These include the bocet ("lament"), cântec batrânesc (traditional epic ballads; literally "song of the elders") and the când ciobanu şi-a pierdut oile ("when the shepherd has lost the sheep").

Doina is poetic and often melancholic, sometimes compared to the blues for that reason. Doinas are often played with a slow, free rhythm melody against a fast accompaniment pattern in fixed tempo, giving an overall feeling of rhythmic tension. Melodies are sometimes repeated in differing songs, and typically follow a descending pattern.

Regional styles of doina:

Other styles of doina:

  • Ca din tulnic - unique type in which the melody imitates a type of bugle called the tulnic
  • Ciobanul - shepherd's doina
  • De dragoste - popular form, usually about love; dragoste means "love".
  • De jale - mellow, mournful doina; jale means "grief".
  • De leagăn - a lullaby; leagăn means "cradle".
  • De pahar - drinking song; pahar means "drinking glass".
  • Foaie verde - classical form; literally "green leaves".


George Enescu
  • George Enescu (1881–1955), composer, violinist, pianist, conductor and teacher.
  • Ciprian Porumbescu (1853–1883), composer
  • Dinu Lipatti (1917–1950), great Romanian pianist and composer
  • Marcel Mihalovici (1898–1985), composer
  • Vladimir Cosma (born 1940), composer, conductor and violinist
  • Anton Pann (1790s-1854), wrote Romania's national anthem and the music of the Orthodox Divine Liturgy
  • Grigoraş Dinicu (1889–1949), 20th century composer best known for his violin showpiece Hora staccato
  • Martian Negrea (1893–1973), composer, teacher and conductor. His creation involves all musical forms and genres and is distinguished by a personal melodic inspiration.
  • Nicolae Brânzeu ( 1907-1983 ) - Romanian composer and conductor.
  • Sabin Dragoi (1894–1968), composer and folklorist, is one of pioneers of scientifical gathering of Romanian folklore.
  • Theodor Rogalski (1901–1954), composer, conductor and pianist, he had composed chamber and symphonic music. He is one of the biggest Romanian masters of orchestration.
  • Paul Constantinescu (1909–1963), 20th century composer, best known for religious and vocal music, also wrote music for Romanian films
  • Tiberiu Brediceanu (1877-1968) was a Romanian composer and folklorist;
  • Anatol Vieru (1926–1998), winner of Herder Prize in 1986, his creation includes symphonic, chamber and choral music.
  • Ştefan Niculescu (1927-2008) is a Romanian composer and teacher from Cluj-Napoca;
  • Ion Ivanovici (1845-1902), was the composer of The Danube Waves waltz;
  • Gheorghe Cucu (1882-1932), was a Romanian folklorist and composer;
  • Filaret Barbu (1903-1984), was a Romanian composer, well known for the operetta Ana Lugojana;
  • Constantin Dimitrescu (1847-1928), was the composer of Peasant Dance.
  • Ion Voicu (1923-1997), was a Romanian violinist;
  • Sergiu Celibidache ( 1912-1996 ) was a Romanian composer and conductor;
  • Constantin Silvestri (1913-1969), was a composer, who lived in England;
  • Alexander Flechtenmacher(1823-1829), wasn't a Romanian composer, but lived in Romania; he composed the operetta Baba Harca
  • Eduard Caudella (1841-1924)-wrote the first Romanian opera, Petru Rares
  • Teodor Teodorescu-was the composer of the a cappella work Cucul
  • Mihail Jora (1891-1971)-was the Parent of Romanian ballet; important works: Intoarcerea din adancuri, La piata etc.
  • Nicolae Kirculescu (1903-1985) was a Romanian musician. He composed theatre and film music, amongst which "The Musical Moment, for piano and orchestra", the theme of television programme Teleenciclopedia.
  • George Grigoriu (1927-1999) was the composer of The waves of Danube operetta;
  • Nicolae Bretan (1887–1968) was a Romanian opera composer, also baritone, conductor and critic.
  • Paraschiv Oprea (1937-2004) was a Romanian conductor, musician and composer;
  • Cornel Trăilescu (1926-) is a Romanian opera composer and conductor.
  • Doina Rotaru (1951-) is a Romanian composer of mostly orchestral and chamber works that have been performed throughout the world.
  • Cristian Matei (1977-) is a Romanian composer. Matei studied at the National University of Music from Bucharest, film music composition.
  • Viorel Gheorghe (1953-), Romanian-born composer, conductor and music theorist.
  • George Balint (1961-) is a Romanian composer.
  • Liviu Dănceanu (1954-)is a Romanian composer;
  • Dimitrie Cuclin (1885-1978) was a Romanian classical music composer, musicologist, philosopher, translator, and writer.
  • Valentin Gheorghiu (1928-) is a Romanian pianist and composer;
  • Ludovic Bacs (1930-) is a Romanian composer, conductor and instrumentist;
  • Matei Socor (1908-1980) was a composer and musician;
  • Mircea Hoinic (1910-1986) was a composer and conductor;
  • Ionel Perlea (1900-1970) was a Romanian composer and conductor;
  • Cornel Ţăranu (1934-) is a Romanian composer from Cluj-Napoca;
  • Bogdan Bradu (1968-) is a Romanian composer, singer and violinist;
  • Octavian Nemescu (1940-) is a Romanian composer of orchestral, chamber, choral, electroacoustic, multimedia, metamusic, imaginary, and ritual works that have been heard throughout Europe and elsewhere.
  • Pascal Bentoiu (1927-) is a Romanian Modernist composer.
  • Nicolae Coman (1936-) is a Romanian composer and poet.
  • Dan Dediu (1967-) is a Romanian Postmodernist composer highly appreciated worldwide.
  • Ana-Maria Avram (1961-) is a Romanian Spectral Music composer
  • Ioan Scarlatescu (1872-1922)


Some of the most prominent contemporary musicians of Romania:


  • Cvartet Anima

Avant Garde


  • AG Weinberger - The Transylvanian Guitar Man

Cafe singers





Psych-folk/world fusion


Hip-Hop, Rap

Jazz, Acid jazz

Manga pop

  • Daniel Serdaru
  • Corina
  • O-Zone
  • Alexandra Ungureanu and Crush


Rock and Metal


  • Broughton, Simon. "Taraf Traditions". 2000. In Broughton, Simon and Ellingham, Mark with McConnachie, James and Duane, Orla (Ed.), World Music, Vol. 1: Africa, Europe and the Middle East, pp 237–247. Rough Guides Ltd, Penguin Books. ISBN 1-85828-636-0


  1. ^
  2. ^ Gheorghe Zamfir - Master of the Pan Pipe - Booking & Management Michow Concerts Hamburg

External links


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