Bosnian root music

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Bosnian root music (izvorna bosanska muzika) is polyphonic type of singing. Now it is the most popular form of rural music in Bosnia only. The singers are usually followed by violin, dvojnice and šargija. It is connected to ganga and ravne pjesme, which are also characteristic for Bosnia and Herzegovina. The root of the music is unknown, but some characteristics, like different temperament from the standard music, suggest it is an old type of music.


The songs are about all kinds of things from being a "lola" and "baraba", about love of a woman, having a good life, but also about sad things like mostly the war in Bosnia, or the nostalgia that expatriates experience about their home country. More recently Bosnian root music has - in a humorous way - concentrated on some facets of the modern way of life, like the widespread use of Facebook and smartphones.

Bosnian Root Music groups and singers[edit]

The most popular groups in Bosnia right now are "Raspjevane Meraklije", "Mara i lole", and the brothers Begic. The music has proven to be a way for former enemies to become friends again. Root music is popular with Serbs as well as Bosniaks, but also with Croats from Usora, Žepče and Posavina.


Bosnian root music is a polyphonic, or more commonly heterophonic music, which is usually sung by two singers. The first singer starts the song, and after some number of syllables the other joins in. Intervals used in this type of singing are minor and major second, which is characteristic for most of the Bosnian and Herzegovinian music, and some parts of Croatia. Range of the songs is usually very narrow, consisting of only few tones. The two singers differ in the use of ornaments, so usually the first one who started the song uses vibrato and trill while he is singing alone, and when the other joins in he uses no ornaments, while the other uses a lot of trill, which are produced from throat giving the overall performance its characteristic detuned nature.