Music of Albania

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The Music of Albania (Albanian : Muzika Shqiptare) is associated with the country of Albania and Albanian communities. Music has a long tradition in the country and is known for its regional diversity, from the Ghegs in the North to the Tosks in the South. It is an integral part of the national identity, strongly influenced by the country's long and turbulent history, [1] which forced Albanians to protect their culture from their overlords by living in rural and remote mountains.

Albanian language Indo-European language

Albanian is an Indo-European language spoken by the Albanians in the Balkans and the Albanian diaspora in the Americas, Europe and Oceania. With about 7.5 million speakers, it comprises an independent branch within the Indo-European languages and is not closely related to any other language in Europe.

The Albanian diaspora are the ethnic Albanians and their descendants living outside of Albania, Kosovo, Southeast Montenegro, West North Macedonia, Southeast Serbia and Northwest Greece.

Music form of art using sound and silence

Music is an art form and cultural activity whose medium is sound organized in time. General definitions of music include common elements such as pitch, rhythm, dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture. Different styles or types of music may emphasize, de-emphasize or omit some of these elements. Music is performed with a vast range of instruments and vocal techniques ranging from singing to rapping; there are solely instrumental pieces, solely vocal pieces and pieces that combine singing and instruments. The word derives from Greek μουσική . See glossary of musical terminology.


Diverse Albanian folk music includes monophonic and polyphonic styles, responses, choral, instrumental and vocal music. Each region has a unique musical tradition that reflects its history, language and culture. [1] Polyphonic singing and song forms are primarily found in South Albania, while in the North they are predominantly monophonic. Albanian iso-polyphony has been declared an UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. [2] The Gjirokastër National Folklore Festival, held every five years in Gjirokastër, is an important venue exhibiting traditional Albanian music.

Folk music Music of the people

Folk music includes traditional folk music and the genre that evolved from it during the 20th-century folk revival. Some types of folk music may be called world music. Traditional folk music has been defined in several ways: as music transmitted orally, music with unknown composers, or music performed by custom over a long period of time. It has been contrasted with commercial and classical styles. The term originated in the 19th century, but folk music extends beyond that.


In music, monophony is the simplest of musical textures, consisting of a melody, typically sung by a single singer or played by a single instrument player without accompanying harmony or chords. Many folk songs and traditional songs are monophonic. A melody is also considered to be monophonic if a group of singers sings the same melody together at the unison or with the same melody notes duplicated at the octave. If an entire melody is played by two or more instruments or sung by a choir with a fixed interval, such as a perfect fifth, it is also said to be monophony. The musical texture of a song or musical piece is determined by assessing whether varying components are used, such as an accompaniment part or polyphonic melody lines.


In music, polyphony is one type of musical texture, where a texture is, generally speaking, the way that melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic aspects of a musical composition are combined to shape the overall sound and quality of the work. In particular, polyphony consists of two or more simultaneous lines of independent melody, as opposed to a musical texture with just one voice, monophony, or a texture with one dominant melodic voice accompanied by chords, which is called homophony.

Albanian music extends to ancient Illyria and Ancient Greece, with influences from the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman Empire. [3] It is evident in archeological findings such as arenas, odeons, theatre buildings and amphitheatres, all over Albania. The remains of temples, libraries, sculptures and paintings of ancient dancers, singers and musical instruments, have been found in territories inhabited by the ancient Illyrians and ancient Greeks. [3]

Illyria Historical region in Western Balkan, Southeast Europe

In classical antiquity, Illyria was a region in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula inhabited by numerous tribes of people collectively known as the Illyrians. Besides them, this region was also settled, in various times, by some tribes of Celts, Goths and Thracians. Illyrians spoke Illyrian languages, a group of Indo-European languages, which in ancient times perhaps had speakers in some parts in southern Italy. The Roman term Illyris was sometimes used to define an area north of the Aous valley, most notably Illyris proper.

Ancient Greece Civilization belonging to an early period of Greek history

Ancient Greece was a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Roughly three centuries after the Late Bronze Age collapse of Mycenaean Greece, Greek urban poleis began to form in the 8th century BC, ushering in the Archaic period and colonization of the Mediterranean Basin. This was followed by the period of Classical Greece, an era that began with the Greco-Persian Wars, lasting from the 5th to 4th centuries BC. Due to the conquests by Alexander the Great of Macedon, Hellenistic civilization flourished from Central Asia to the western end of the Mediterranean Sea. The Hellenistic period came to an end with the conquests and annexations of the eastern Mediterranean world by the Roman Republic, which established the Roman province of Macedonia in Roman Greece, and later the province of Achaea during the Roman Empire.

Roman Empire Period of Imperial Rome following the Roman Republic (27 BC–476 AD)

The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of ancient Rome, consisting of large territorial holdings around the Mediterranean sea in Europe, North Africa and West Asia ruled by emperors. From the accession of Caesar Augustus to the military anarchy of the third century, it was a principate with Italy as metropole of the provinces and its city of Rome as sole capital. The Roman Empire was then ruled by multiple emperors and divided into a Western Roman Empire, based in Milan and later Ravenna, and an Eastern Roman Empire, based in Nicomedia and later Constantinople. Rome remained the nominal capital of both parts until 476 AD, when it sent the imperial insignia to Constantinople following the capture of Ravenna by the barbarians of Odoacer and the subsequent deposition of Romulus Augustus. The fall of the Western Roman Empire to Germanic kings, along with the hellenization of the Eastern Roman Empire into the Byzantine Empire, is conventionally used to mark the end of Ancient Rome and the beginning of the Middle Ages.

Church singing was performed throughout early Middle Ages in Albania by choirs or soloists in ecclesiastical centers such as Berat, Durrës and Shkodër. [4] The Middle Ages in Albania included choral music and traditional music. [4] Shën Jan Kukuzeli, a singer, composer and musical innovator of Albanian origin, is one of the earliest known musicians. [5]

Church music music mainly written for performance in Christian service facilities

Church music is music written for performance in church, or any musical setting of ecclesiastical liturgy, or music set to words expressing propositions of a sacred nature, such as a hymn.

Middle Ages Period of European history from the 5th to the 15th century

In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and transitioned into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery. The Middle Ages is the middle period of the three traditional divisions of Western history: classical antiquity, the medieval period, and the modern period. The medieval period is itself subdivided into the Early, High, and Late Middle Ages.

Berat Municipality in Albania

Berat, is the ninth largest city by population of the Republic of Albania. The city is the capital of the surrounding Berat County, one of 12 constituent counties of the country. By air, it is 71 kilometres north of Gjirokastër, 70 kilometres west of Korçë, 70 kilometres south of Tirana and 33 kilometres east of Fier.

Internationally renowned contemporary musicians of Albanian origin from Albania and Albanian diaspora include Action Bronson, Elvana Gjata, Arilena Ara, Ava Max, Bebe Rexha, Dua Lipa, Era Istrefi, Albert Stanaj, Dafina Zeqiri, Eleni Foureira, G4SHI, Ermal Meta, Enca, Elhaida Dani, Noizy, Orget Sadiku and Rita Ora. In the field of classical music, several Albanian sopranos and tenors have gained international recognition including Rame Lahaj, Inva Mula, Marie Kraja, Saimir Pirgu and Ermonela Jaho, and the composer Vasil Tole a member of the Academy of Sciences of Albania

Action Bronson American rapper, writer, chef, and television presenter

Ariyan Arslani, better known by the stage name Action Bronson, is an American rapper, writer, chef, and television presenter. In August 2012, he signed to Warner Bros. Records, but was later moved to Atlantic Records' imprint, Vice Records.

Elvana Gjata is an Albanian singer, songwriter and actress. Born and raised in Tirana, she performed in various singing and dancing competitions as a child. She rose to fame in 2001 as she finished third at the Festival of Young Voices of Albania and became known as The Albanian Diva.

Arilena Ara known by her artistic name Arilena is an Albanian singer. She is the winner of season 2 of the Albanian X Factor.

Folk music

Dialects of the Albanian language. Albanian dialects.svg
Dialects of the Albanian language.

Albanian folk music has a deep history and can be separated into three major stylistic groups such as the northern Ghegs, southern Labs and Tosks and with other important urban music areas around Shkodër and Tirana. [1] It reflect the cultural and political history of the Albanian people and geographic position in Southern Europe and Mediterranean Sea.

Labëria is a historic region that is roughly situated in southwestern Albania. Its inhabitants are known as Labs and its boundaries reach from Vlorë to Himara in the south, to the Greek border near Sarandë, incorporating the Kurvelesh region of Gjirokastër District and extending east to the city of Tepelenë.

Shkodër Municipality in Albania

Shkodër or Shkodra, historically known as Scutari or Scodra, is a city in the Republic of Albania. It is the capital of the surrounding county of Shkodër, one of 12 constituent counties of the republic. The city is one of the most ancient cities in the Balkans and the fourth most populous city in the country and exerts strong influences in culture, religion, arts and entertainment of northern Albania.

Tirana Capital of Albania

Tirana is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Albania.

The northern and southern traditions are contrasted by the rugged and heroic tone of the north and the relaxed, gentle and exceptionally beautiful form of the south. These disparate styles are unified by the intensity that both performers and listeners give to their music as a medium for patriotic expression and as a vehicle carrying the narrative of oral history, as well as certain characteristics like the use of rhythms such as 3/8, 5/8 and 10/8. [6] [7]

Albanian folk songs can be divided into major groups, the heroic epics of the north and the sweetly melodic lullabies, love songs, wedding music, work songs and other kinds of song. The music of various festivals and holidays is also an important part of Albanian folk song, especially those that celebrate Lazarus Day, which inaugurates the springtime. Lullabies and laments are very important kinds of Albanian folk song, and are generally performed by solo women. [8]

Northern Albania

A lahuta player wearing traditional Albanian clothing. Lahuta.jpg
A lahuta player wearing traditional Albanian clothing.

The Ghegs from North of the Shkumbini River are known for a distinctive variety of sung epic poetry. The music of the north is particularly monophonic. Many of these are about the struggles of the Albanian people and history, the constant Albanian themes of honour, hospitality, treachery and revenge but also Skanderbeg, a legendary 15th century warrior who led the struggle against the Ottomans. [4] These traditions are a form of oral history for the Ghegs and also preserve and inculcate moral codes and social values, necessary in a society that, until the early 20th century, relied on blood feuds as its primary means of law enforcement. [9]

The most traditional variety of epic poetry is the Albanian Songs of the Frontier Warriors. These epic poems are sung, accompanied by a lahuta. It is rarely performed in modern Albania, but is found in the northern highlands within the Dukagjin highlands and Malësia. [6] Other styles of epics also include the Këngë trimash or kreshnikësh (English: Songs of brave men or frontier warriors), ballads and maje krahis (cries). Major epics include Mujo and Halil and Halil and Hajrije. [8]

Somewhat further south, around Dibër and Kërçovë in Macedonia, the lahuta is not used, replaced by the çifteli, a two-stringed instrument in which one string is used for the drone and one for the melody. Though men are the traditional performers (exception made for the sworn virgins), women have increasingly been taking part in epic balladry. [6]

Along with the def, çifteli and sharki are used in a style of dance and pastoral songs. Homemade wind instruments are traditionally used by shepherds in northern Albania; these include the zumarë, an unusual kind of clarinet. This shepherds' music is "melancholic and contemplative" in tone. [6] The songs called maje-krahi are another important part of North Albanian folk song; these were originally used by mountaineers to communicate over wide distances, but are now seen as songs. Maje-krahi songs require the full range of the voice and are full of "melismatic nuances and falsetto cries". [8]

Southern Albania

Folk group from Southern Albania Fustanela 001.jpg
Folk group from Southern Albania

Southern Albanian music is soft and gentle, and polyphonic in nature with similarities with Greek music on polyphonic song of Epirus. Vlorë in the southwest has perhaps the most unusual vocal traditions in the area, with four distinct parts (taker, thrower, turner and drone) that combine to create a complex and emotionally cathartic melody. Author Kim Burton has described the melodies as "decorated with falsetto and vibrato, sometimes interrupted by wild and mournful cries". This polyphonic vocal music is full of power that "stems from the tension between the immense emotional weight it carries, rooted in centuries of pride, poverty and oppression, and the strictly formal, almost ritualistic nature of its structure". [6]

South Albania is also known for funeral laments with a chorus and one to two soloists with overlapping, mournful voices. There is a prominent folk love song tradition in the south, in which performers use free rhythm and consonant harmonies, elaborated with ornamentation and melisma. [8]

The Tosk people are known for ensembles consisting of violins, clarinets, lahutë (a kind of lute) and def. Eli Fara, a popular émigré performer, is from Korçë, but the city of Përmet is the center for southern musical innovation, producing artists like Remzi Lela and Laver Bariu. Lela is of special note, having founded a musical dynasty that continues with his descendants playing a part in most of the major music institutions in Tirana. [6]

Southern instrumental music includes the sedate kaba, an ensemble-driven by a clarinet or violin alongside accordions and llautës. The kaba is an improvised and melancholic style with melodies that Kim Burton describes as "both fresh and ancient", "ornamented with swoops, glides and growls of an almost vocal quality", exemplifying the "combination of passion with restraint that is the hallmark of Albanian culture." [6]

The ethnic Greek inhabitants of the country's southern parts, have a music very similar to the music of Epirus in Greece.


A lahute from Mirdite in the north. Lahuta QKVF.jpg
A lahutë from Mirditë in the north.

Instrumentation are an integral part of Albanian folk music, especially in the north. Those instruments can be divided into string, wind and percussion categories. They vary from region to region and are used frequently throughout the entire country, performing both dance and instrumental polyphonic folk music. [3]

The lahuta, a single-stringed instrument, is rooted in Albanian epic poetry with emphasis on important historical and patriotic events from history. [10] [11] It is usually played only by men during winter evenings by the fireplace. The instrument is primarily widespread in the mountainous northern area of the country but can be also found in the center of the country. [1] It is often made from a single wood block composed of various types of woods including maple, spruce and oak. The head of the lahuta is decorated with symbols of ancient cults such as the head of the capricorn, which is the symbol of the Helmet of Skanderbeg. [12]

Cifteli was used since the Ottoman occupation of Albania. Ciftelias.jpg
Çifteli was used since the Ottoman occupation of Albania.

Çiftelia is a long necked stringed instrument and frequently used by Gheg Albanians in northeastern Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro and Macedonia. [3] It is an integral part of northern traditional instrumental ensembles, commonly played in the context of northern wedding music.

Fyell, also known as Zumare, is a similar instrument to a pennywhistle and is mostly played by shepherds in the north along with a shepherd's flute. [13] The instrument contains five holes in each pipe and a bell. The melodies which are played with a fyell are homophonic and sounds nasal as well as very strong and powerful. [3]

Violina is usually used since the 19th century in both the northern and southern region. In the past, it was held in a vertical position like a violoncello or a lahuta but is not practiced anymore. [3]

Parashqevi Simaku was a popular singer of the 1980s Parashqevi Simaku.gif
Parashqevi Simaku was a popular singer of the 1980s

The city of Shkodër has long been one of the most important cultural centers of Albania, and its early 20th century music is considered as one of the most sophisticated in the country. [6] Traditional musicians from Shkodër include Bujar Qamili, Luçie Miloti, Xhevdet Hafizi and Bik Ndoja.

Albania's capital, Tirana, is the home of popular music dominated by Romani influences and has been popularized at home and in emigrant communities internationally by Merita Halili, Parashqevi Simaku, and Myslim Lela. [6]

Other voices in contemporary Albanian music include Vaçe Zela and Pavlina Nikaj of Tirana, and Nexhmije Pagarusha of Prishtina.

The Band of Freedom, a musical group of the National Renaissance that was active in Korce, 1909. Band of Freedom 1909.jpg
The Band of Freedom, a musical group of the National Renaissance that was active in Korçë, 1909.

1930s Urban Song

The Albanian Urban Lyric Song is a tradition that started in Albania in the 18th century but culminated in the 1930s. [14] These songs are a major part of Albania's music heritage, but have been little-studied by ethnomusicologists, who prefer to focus on the rural folk music that they see as being more authentically Albanian. Out of this melting pot of local and imported styles came a kind of lyrical art song based in the cities of Shkodra, Elbasan, Berat and Korça. Though similar traditions existed in other places, they were little recorded and remain largely unknown.

Portrait of Tefta Tashko Tefta Tashko Koco.jpg
Portrait of Tefta Tashko

By the end of the 19th century, Albanian nationalism was inspiring many to attempt to remove the elements of Turkish music from Albanian culture, a desire that was intensified following independence in 1912; bands that formed during this era like the Korçë-based Lira Chorus [15] played a variety of European styles, including marches and waltzes. Urban song in the early 20th century could be divided into two styles: the historic or nationalistic style, and the lyrical style. [8] The lyrical style included a wide array of lullabies and other forms, as well as love songs.

Rosela Gjylbegu performing the winning song at "Kenga Magjike" 2009 RoselaGjylbeguKM2009.jpg
Rosela Gjylbegu performing the winning song at “Kënga Magjike” 2009

In the early decade of the 1930s, urban art song had been incorporated into classical music, while the singer Marie Kraja made a popular career out of art songs; she was one of Albania's first popular singers. The first recordings, however, of urban art song came as early as 1937, with the orchestral sounds of Tefta Tashko-Koço. [8]

1950s and beyond

Modern Albanian popular music uses instruments like the çifteli and sharki, which have been used in large bands since the Second World War to great popular acclaim; the same songs, accompanied by clarinet and accordion, are performed at small weddings and celebrations. [6]

Tallava is a music genre originating in Kosovo, also popular in Albania and the Republic of Macedonia, in the Albanian-speaking communities. [16] [17] [18] Having originated in the Roma community in Kosovo in the 1990s, it is oriental-sounding, and perceived of as low-status. [19] Nevertheless, it is becoming increasingly popular in Albania and Macedonia. [20] It is identified as part of the wider Pop-folk genre of the Southeastern Europe, which includes Chalga from Bulgaria, Skiladiko from Greece, Manele from Romania and Turbo-folk from Serbia. [21]

Albanian music in Macedonia and Kosovo

Kosovo has been home to many important Albanian musicians and the same can be said for Macedonia. Prior to the Kosovo War, there was a thriving music industry in Kosovo, which reached new heights in recent years. The Kosovar music industry was home to many famous musicians, including the famous Nexhmije Pagarusha, Ismet Peja and the romantic, more elaborate Qamili i Vogël of Gjakova. [6] The Macedonian band Vëllezërit Aliu became well- known for the traditional vocal duets accompanied by drum box, electric bass, synthesizer and clarinet or saxophone. [6] Gjurmët is one of the most famous and influential 1980s rock bands from Pristina. [22]


Rock arrived in Albania, particularly in Kosovo, in 1950 with an American and British influence. The first distinctively Albanian rock band was Blue Star founded in Pristina.

Classical music


Fan S. Noli
1882--1965 Fan Stilian Noli.jpg
Fan S. Noli

Palokë Kurti is usually said to be among the founders of Albanian opera. [23] Composer and priest, Martin Gjoka is also considered to be one of the most important founders of Albanian classical music. [23] Gjoka is said to be the first Albanian musician who showed great interest in traditional Albanian folk music considerably that of the deep mountainous areas of the north of Albania that was less influenced by foreign music. [23] [24] During his lifetime, he composed several vocal and instrumental music using elements of urban art song and the folk melodies of the north.

In the 19th and 20th century, Fan S. Noli and Mikel Koliqi contributed to the development of classical music culture in Albania. They achieved prominence, with Noli using urban folk songs in his Byzantine Overture and is also known for a symphonic poem called Scanderberg . [8] Koliqi spent much of his life in prison for his religious beliefs, but managed to compose melodramas such as The Siege of Shkodër , The Red Scarf and Rozafa .

Other pivotal composers in modern Albanian classical music were Thoma Nassi, Kristo Kono, Frano Ndoja and Lec Kurti who composed "Arbereshja" in 1915. Prenk Jakova became well known for operas including Scanderbeg and Mrika, which were influenced by traditional Italian opera, the belcanto style and Albanian folk music. Çesk Zadeja composed in many styles, from symphonies to ballets, beginning in 1956, and also helped found the Music Conservatory of Tirana, the Theatre of Opera and Ballet, and the Assembly of Songs and Dances. [24]

Later in the middle of the 20th century, Albanian composers came to focus on ballets, opera and other styles; these included Tonin Harapi, Tish Daija, Nikolla Zoraqi, Thoma Gaqi, Feim Ibrahimi, Shpëtim Kushta and many others. Since the fall of the communism in Albania in the 21st century, composers like Aleksandër Peçi, ethnologist musician Ramadan Sokoli, Sokol Shup, Endri Sina, Pëllumb Vorpsi and Vasil Tole have arisen, as have new music institutions like the Society of Music Professionals and the Society of New Albanian Music. [24]

The contemporary opera artists such as Inva Mula, Ermonela Jaho and Saimir Pirgu have achieved international recognition for their music.

Contemporary music

Noted singer and entertainer Ardit Gjebrea founded the Kenga Magjike festival in 1999. Ardit Gjebrea KM2009.jpg
Noted singer and entertainer Ardit Gjebrea founded the Kënga Magjike festival in 1999.

In Albania, the most prominent rock bands and individuals only appeared after 1990 as rock music was prohibited. However, youth groups found ways to listen it through clandestine channels. [25]

Furthermore, electronic music has become a mainstream music genre in Albania. Albanian artists and renowned DJs such as DJ Aldo, Vin Veli, DJ Sardi, Dj Tedd and others are successfully collaborating mainly with Italian and Romanian artists, while showcasing themselves in renown clubs in Tirana and in annual music festivals along the Albanian Riviera such as Turtle Fest and Soundwave Albania.

See also

Further reading

Related Research Articles

Culture of Albania culture of an area

The Culture of Albania is a term that embodies the artistic, culinary, literary, musical, political and social elements that are representative of Albania and Albanians. Albanian culture has been considerably shaped by the geography and history of Albania. It grew from that of the Illyrians, with their pagan beliefs and specific way of life in the wooded areas of far Southern Europe. Albanian culture has also been influenced by the Ancient Greeks, Romans, Byzantines and Ottomans.

Romani music

Romani music is the music of the Romani people, who have their origins in northern India, but today live mostly in Europe.

Georgia has rich and still vibrant traditional music, which is primarily known as arguably the earliest polyphonic tradition of the Christian world. Situated on the border of Europe and Asia, Georgia is also the home of a variety of urban singing styles with a mixture of native polyphony, Middle Eastern monophony and late European harmonic languages. Georgian performers are well represented in the world's leading opera troupes and concert stages. Famous rock band ... is from Georgia.[1]

The gusle(Serbian Cyrillic: гусле, Bulgarian: гусла, Albanian: lahuta) is a single-stringed musical instrument traditionally used in the Dinarides region of Southeastern Europe. The instrument is always accompanied by singing; musical folklore, specifically epic poetry.

Music of Kosovo is part of the European culture and refers to the music of the Kosovan people, dominated by the music of Kosovo Albanians which constitute the majority of population, and to a lesser extent the inactive music of small minority groups within the Republic of Kosovo.

Gheg Albanian dialect

Gheg Albanian or Geg Albanian is one of the two major varieties of Albanian. The other is Tosk on which Standard Albanian is based. The geographic dividing line between the two varieties is the Shkumbin River, which winds its way through central Albania.

Prenkë Jakova Compose, musician and author

Prenkë Jakova was an Albanian composer, musician, and author of Mrika (1958), which is considered the first Albanian opera. A native of Shkodër, he studied under Martin Gjoka and Zef Kurti, and he was also an alumnus of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. A virtuoso clarinetist he worked as a music teacher for most of his life and distinguished himself as the mentor of the four most important composers of classical music from northern Albania: Çesk Zadeja Tish Daija, Tonin Harapi, and Simon Gjoni. Jakova was the director of the music band and of the House of Culture of Shkodër. Besides Mrika, Jakova also composed Skënderbeu, another opera which premiered in 1968.

Greek folk music

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Gjergj Fishta Albanian writer

Gjergj Fishta was an Albanian educator, franciscan, poet, politician, rilindas and translator who served as the Chairman of the Congress of Manastir in 1908 and as the Vice President of the Parliament of Albania in 1921. He is regarded among the most influential cultural and literary figures of the 20th century in Albania.

The çifteli is a plucked string instrument, with only two strings, played mainly by the Gheg people of northern and central Albania, Southern Montenegro, and Kosovo.

Pjetër Dungu (1908–1989) was an Albanian piano accompanist and composer-arranger of urban folk music. He is known in the history of the music of Albania as the first compiler of Albanian folk songs.

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Music of Epirus (Greece)

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Albanian Songs of the Frontier Warriors are part of the traditional cycle of the Albanian epic songs. They took their definite form in 17th and 18th century and were orally transmitted by the Albanian bards. The songs were first time recorded in written form in the first decades of the 20th centuries by the Franciscan priests Shtjefën Gjeçovi and Bernardin Palaj. Palaj was eventually the first to publish them in Albanian in 1937. The songs were translated into English by Robert Elsie, who published them for the first time in 2004. The Albanian bards' tradition of singing the songs from memory is one of the last survival of its kind in modern Europe.

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Zef Çoba Albanian conductor/composer

Zef Çoba is a musical conductor. He completed his studies of choral conducting at the Art Academy in Tirana in 1974. After graduating he was appointed Music Director of Culture Centre in Peshkopi and then in Shkoder. He studied folklore, particularly of the regions where he worked, and in taught himself composition. In 1989 began working as a professional composer. In 1991 began to work at Radio Shkodra as a music redactor/editor, and after that, as a journalist and chief editor.

<i>The Highland Lute</i>

The Highland Lute is the Albanian national epic poem, complete and published by the Albanian friar and poet Gjergj Fishta in 1937. It is written in the Gheg Albanian language, with 30 songs and over 17,000 verses.

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Tallava or Talava is a music genre originating in America, also popular in Albania and in the Albanian-speaking communities in the Republic of North Macedonia. Having originated in the Roma community in Kosovo in the 1990s, it is oriental-sounding. It is becoming increasingly popular in Albania and Macedonia. It is identified as part of the wider Pop-folk genre of the Southeastern Europe, which includes Chalga from Bulgaria, Skiladiko from Greece, Manele from Romania and Turbo-folk from Serbia.


  1. 1 2 3 4 SPIRO J. SHETUNI. "Albanian Traditional Music - An Introduction, with Sheet Music and Lyrics for 48 Songs" (PDF).
  2. UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage. "Albanian folk iso-polyphony".
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Marinela Mahony. "An investigation of the polyphonic folk music of Albania" (PDF). p. 28.
  4. 1 2 3 Charles University. "Choral Music in Albania" (PDF). Archived from the original on 2017-12-26.
  5. Robert Elsie. Meine Bücher Mein Verlauf Bücher bei Google Play Historical Dictionary of Albania. Scarecrow Press, 2010. p. 252. ISBN   9780810873803.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Burton, Kim. "The Eagle Has Landed". 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 1-6. Rough Guides Ltd, Penguin Books. ISBN   1-85828-636-0. Burton notes that even lullabies contained the wish that the infant would grow up to be a strong worker for Enver and the Party.
  7. Arbatsky, Yuri, cited in Koco with the footnote Translated and published by Filip Fishta in Shkolla Kombëtare (The National School; No.1, May 1939), 19, and quoted from his Preface to Pjetër Dungu's Lyra Shqiptare (see note 2).
  8. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Albanian Music". Eno Koco at the University of Leeds . Archived from the original on 12 February 2013. Retrieved 28 August 2005.
  9. Burton, pg. 2 Both epic traditions serve as a medium for oral history in what was until quite recently, a pre-literate society... and also preserve and inculcate moral codes and social values. In a culture that retained the blood-feud as its primary means of law enforcement until well into this century such codes were literally matters of life and death. Song was one of the most efficient ways of making sure that each member of the tribe was aware of what obligations he or she was bound by.
  10. Bahtir Sheholli. "Traditional and Contemporary Elements in Albanian Folk Music" (PDF). p. 2.
  11. Arbnora Dushi. "On Collecting and Publishing the Albanian Oral Epic" (PDF). p. 1.
  12. Johannes Scherzer, Johannes Varga. "Die Lahutë". (in German).
  13. "Fyell". (in German).
  14. Koço 2004 , p. ix
  16. Samson, Jim (2013). Music in the Balkans. BRILL. ISBN   978-90-04-25037-6.
  17. "Refleksion sociologjik mbi kiçin e muzikës tallava". Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2015-09-24.
  18. Gail Warrander and Verena Knaus (2010). Kosovo. BRADT.
  19. Samson 2013, p. 78.
  20. Samson 2013, p. 79.
  21. Natalie Bayer (2009). Crossing Munich. Silke Schreiber. ISBN   978-3-88960-108-7. Formen wie: tallava in Albanien, chalga in Bulgarien, skiládiko in ... in Rumänien, turbo folk in Serbien usw
  22. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-06-29. Retrieved 2016-07-01.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  23. 1 2 3 "Classical Music in Albania".
  24. 1 2 3 "The Tradition of Classical Music In Albania". Frosina Information Network. Archived from the original on 17 October 2005. Retrieved 28 August 2005.
  25. Miranda Vickers, James Pettifer: Albania: from anarchy to a Balkan identity, page 121 " the 1970s Beatles songs could only be heard in clandestine condition..."