Moravian Traditional Music

Moravian traditional music represents a part of the European musical culture connected with the regions around the western Carpathian Mountains. Many styles of Moravian traditional music exist, varying by location and function, but much of it is characterized by a specific melodic and harmonic texture related to the Eastern European musical world. According to Czech musicologist Jiří Plocek, Moravia  is the area where the European East musically meets the West.

Moravian folk bands are mainly centered around a string section and a large cimbalom, which are often complemented by other instruments. Moravian traditional music influenced many Czech classical composers’ work, especially Leoš Janáček, who was at the forefront of the Moravian folklore movement. Towards the end of the 20th century, Moravian folk music had a noticeable influence on the Czech jazz scene, and folk songs have been adapted into rock bands‘ repretoires. Today, there are many festivals still held throughout Moravia with performances from traditional bands and dance ensembles.

Česky: Cimbálová muzika folklórního souboru Ma...

Types of Moravian folk songs

  • Love songs – the most numerous category dealing with feelings of love in various forms (joyous songs, sad songs)
  • Wedding songs
  • Recruitment and army songs including, for example, songs relating to the Battle of Austerlitz
English: Map of ethnographical regions of Mora...
English: Map of ethnographical regions of Moravia, based on Plocek, Jiří: Hudba středovýchodní Evropy, p. 43. Torst 2003 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Map of Moravian ethnographic regions

  • Pastoral songs (in Czech: pastevecké písně)
  • Jocular songs – with ironic and sharp remarks focusing on human weaknesses
  • Drinking songs – in praise of the scent and flavour of wine and spirits; poking fun at those who drink too much
  • Ceremonial songs – carnival songs, work songs, dance songs, carols
  • Funeral choir songs – This form has survived only in the Horňácko Region.


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