Belo Platno (Serbia/Macedonia)

The music of Belo Platno (White Linen) can be found in Byzantine church music, which most of the members of the group are interested in, both present members and former ones. Byzantine church music has been preserved in religious services in certain parts of the Eastern Orthodox world (Greece, Mount of Athos, Near East); services to God used to be held in that manner in most Balkan countries as well.

Music of Belo platno
The main characteristics of the music of Belo Platno are the Balkan modal style, striking female voices and the playing of traditional instruments. The modal style consists of singing and playing according to modes without chordal accompaniment, which is associated with the major-minor scale system. Of musical means, there are rhythm, melody and harmony, which follows the modal structure of the melody. The musical arrangements for group performances are based on fields and other audio recordings. The songs are sung in local Serbian dialects.

The present state boundaries on the Balkans are but a new historical circumstance. Most of the songs and songs for ring-dances performed by the group Belo Platno come from the region of the present-day Kosovo and Metohia, Southern and Southeastern part of Serbia and Macedonia (Pirin, Aegean and FYR of Macedonia). In the past there were strong ties between these, now torn apart, regions. The common features of the music tradition from this part of the world are the sound and style unique to this geographical region. It is the folklore of the Slavic peoples today divided into two ethic corps – Serbian and Macedonian. Striving towards freedom and culture, Serbia turned to Western Europe in the 19th century, and that model was then, during the same century, followed by other Balkan countries as well. Local musicians, educated in European centres for the first time, brought to Serbia an aesthetic and musical system so far unknown here. The modal structure was abandoned and the use of the harmonized (major-minor) system began, and the new music stile brought new instruments (or the style was changed with the instruments) – brass wind instruments, the guitar, the accordion, the piano and others. The result of such a symbiosis was the music that preserved authenticity only in form, but was in essence different from authentic folk music. The opportunity to develop a national school of music, based on Balkan, Slavic and Oriental culture, as our music tradition had been for centuries, was not taken.


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