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On the occasion of the official opening of Plovdiv - European Capital of Culture 2019 on January 11, the exhibition "The Song of Wood" was opened at the Regional Museum of History in Plovdiv.

It narrates about the traditional musical instruments (bagpipe, gadulka, tambura, zourna etc.) and about those used in the cities after the Liberation - violin, viola, citra and mandolin. At the end of the XIX c., the Kemendzhiyte - gypsy orchestras with violin, clarinet, zourna, tambura and drum appeared in the cities. In the newly populated urban neighborhoods, the horo (folk dance) was in the accompaniment of a bagpipe and a kaval, and later - clarinet and a violin. In some places, the bagpipe was used during Sunday and festive celebrations with folk dances, at gatherings, village weddings and parties, until the middle of XX c.

The national tradition, the oriental influence, the modern European instruments and the church singing heritage created a colourful diversity in Bulgarian music. Even in captive Bulgaria, an urban society with new musical tastes that were introduced by Western Europe was born. So, the violin appeared in the cities along the Danube River in the middle of the XIX c. European music entered the country in different ways: through emigrants, through Protestant missions and their harmoniums, through Bulgarians that lived abroad.

Professional musicians returned in Bulgaria after the Liberation and with them came the masters of musical instruments. And, if larger instruments such as piano and harmonium appeared rarely, the flute, accordion and guitar quickly spread into the cities. Popular excerpts from operas, operettas, marches and folk songs were often performed.

What is the "song" of wood? Old Bulgarians say, "You can’t make a whistle from every tree". For a musical instrument to come alive, you have to choose the right tree - maple, ash, acacia, walnut, zarzala, cornel, etc. They are durable and tough, and their sound protects against evil forces.

The exhibition also includes musical instruments that "tell" the personal stories of real "heroes" from the everyday life of the Bulgarian.

The magic of the Bulgarian bagpipe, gadulka and kaval, combined with the exquisiteness of the classical instruments recreated the spirit of the post-liberational Bulgaria.

The exhibition is organized by the Regional Ethnographic Museum - Plovdiv in partnership with the Plovdiv 2019 Foundation as part of the opening weekend of Plovdiv - European Capital of Culture 2019.

The material was provided by REM-Plovdiv.