Music of Slovenia

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In the minds of many foreigners, Slovenian folk music means a form of polka that is still popular today, especially among expatriates and their descendants. However, there are many styles of Slovenian folk music beyond polka and waltz. Kolo, lender, štajeriš, mafrine and šaltin are a few of the traditional music styles and dances.

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.

Slovenian-style polka is an American style of polka in the Slovenian tradition. It is usually associated with Cleveland and other Midwestern cities.

Waltz dance

The waltz is a ballroom and folk dance, normally in triple  time, performed primarily in closed position.



The Divje Babe flute, an artifact found in a cave near Cerkno, Slovenia, is possibly the oldest known musical instrument ever. Its age is estimated at approximately 55,000 years.

Cerkno Place in Littoral, Slovenia

Cerkno is a small town in the Littoral region of Slovenia. It has around 2,000 inhabitants and is the administrative centre of the Cerkno Hills. It is the seat of the Municipality of Cerkno.

The history of modern Slovenian music can be traced back to the 5th century, when Christianity spread in Carantania. Liturgical hymns (kyrie Eleison) were introduced, and became the first plainchant to make a connection to the peoples' language.

Christianity is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Its adherents, known as Christians, believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and the savior of all people, whose coming as the Messiah was prophesied in the Hebrew Bible, called the Old Testament in Christianity, and chronicled in the New Testament. It is the world's largest religion with about 2.4 billion followers.

Carantania former country

Carantania, also known as Carentania, was a Slavic principality that emerged in the second half of the 7th century, in the territory of present-day southern Austria and north-eastern Slovenia. It was the predecessor of the March of Carinthia, created within the Carolingian Empire in 889.

Hymn type of song specifically written for the purpose of adoration or prayer

A hymn is a type of song, usually religious, specifically written for the purpose of adoration or prayer, and typically addressed to a deity or deities, or to a prominent figure or personification. The word hymn derives from Greek ὕμνος (hymnos), which means "a song of praise". A writer of hymns is known as a hymnodist. The singing or composition of hymns is called hymnody. Collections of hymns are known as hymnals or hymn books. Hymns may or may not include instrumental accompaniment.

Classical music


During the medieval era, secular music was as popular as church music, including wandering minnesingers. Jurij Slatkonja, a Carniolan conductor and composer from Novo Mesto, became the director of the Vienna Boys' Choir in 1498. By the time of Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, music was used to proselytize in Carniola. The first Slovenian hymnal, Eni Psalmi , was published in 1567. This period saw the rise of Renaissance musicians like Jacobus Gallus. [1] Italy was an important musical influence of the period, especially in sacred music, such as that of Antonio Tarsia (composer) of Koper, in oratorio and opera. A Commedia was performed in Ljubljana in 1660, and an opera in 1700 in the family palace of the Auerspergs.

Jurij Slatkonja composer and bishop

Jurij Slatkonja was a Carniolan choirmaster and the first residential Bishop of Vienna. He was also the first owner of an ex libris among the Slovenes. His crest contained a golden horse, based on a false etymology of his surname.

Carniola Historical region in Slovenia

Carniola was a historical region that comprised parts of present-day Slovenia. Although as a whole it does not exist anymore, Slovenes living within the former borders of the region still tend to identify with its traditional parts Upper Carniola, Lower Carniola, and to a lesser degree with Inner Carniola. In 1991, 47% of the population of Slovenia lived within the borders of the former Duchy of Carniola.

Novo Mesto Town in Lower Carniola, Slovenia

Novo Mesto is the city on a bend of the Krka River in the City Municipality of Novo Mesto in southeastern Slovenia, close to the border with Croatia. The town is traditionally considered the economic and cultural centre of the historical Lower Carniola region.


In 1701, Johann Berthold von Höffer (1667–1718), a nobleman and amateur composer from Ljubljana, founded the Academia Philharmonicorum Labacensis based on Italian models. [2] and the Ljubljana branch of the Roman Academy of Arcadia was founded a few years later in 1709. Apart from Höffer, the Cathedral provost Michael Omerza was also noted for his oratorios. The first major Slovenian opera was performed in 1732, Il Tamerlano by abbate Giuseppe Clemente de Bonomi, maestro di Capella, in the palace of the Carniolan vice-regent, the duke Francesco Antonio Sigifrid Della Torre e Valassina. [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]

Johann Berthold von Höffer was a nobleman from Ljubljana, and an amateur Slovenian composer. He founded The Academia Philharmonicorum, Ljubljana in 1701, and primarily composed Latin oratorios. His artistic name in the Academia was Operose Devius.

Abbate is an Italian surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Beginning in 1768, German theatre companies arrived and became very popular. The 1794 formation of the Philharmonische Gesellschaft was important because it was one of the first such orchestras in Central Europe.

Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra orchestra based in Ljubljana

The Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra is a Slovenian orchestra based in Ljubljana. Its primary concert venues are Marjan Kozina Hall in Philharmonic Hall, Ljubljana, at Congress Square and Gallus Hall in the Cankar Centre at Republic Square in Ljubljana.

19th century

The 19th century saw the growth of a distinctively Slovenian classical music sound based on romanticism, while the German minority continued to push for a stronger Germanic identity. The Ljubljana opera house (1892) was shared by Slovene and German opera companies.

Composers of Slovenian Lieder and art songs include Emil Adamič (1877–1936), Fran Gerbič (1840–1917), Alojz Geržinič (1915–2008), Benjamin Ipavec (1829–1908), Davorin Jenko (1835–1914), Anton Lajovic (1878–1960), Kamilo Mašek (1831–1859), Josip Pavčič (1870–1949), Zorko Prelovec (1887–1939), and Lucijan Marija Škerjanc (1900–1973).

20th century

In the early 20th century, impressionism was spreading across Slovenia, which soon produced composers Marij Kogoj and Slavko Osterc.

Avant-garde classical music arose in Slovenia in the 1960s, largely due to the work of Uroš Krek, Dane Škerl, Primož Ramovš and Ivo Petrić, who also conducted the Slavko Osterc Ensemble. Jakob Jež, Darijan Božič, Lojze Lebič and Vinko Globokar have since composed enduring works, especially Globokar's L'Armonia , an opera. In the 1950s, Božidar Kantušer was the most progressive of all, by dint of his atonality.


Contemporary classic music composers include Uroš Rojko, Tomaž Svete, Brina Jež-Brezavšček and Aldo Kumar. Kumar's Sonata z igro 12 (A sonata with a play 12), a set of variations on a rising chromatic scale, is particularly notable.


The Ljubljana Opera House serves as the national opera and ballet house.

Film music

The composer of film scores for 170 films was Bojan Adamič (1912 – 1995). [9]

Folk music


Rural harmony singing is a deep rooted tradition in Slovenia, and is at least three-part singing (four voices), while in some regions even up to eight-part singing (nine voices). Slovenian folk songs, thus, usually resounds soft and harmonious, and are very seldom in minor.


Typical Slovenian folk music is performed on Styrian harmonica (the oldest type of accordion), fiddle, clarinet, zithers, flute, and by brass bands of alpine type. In eastern Slovenia, fiddle and cimbalon bands are called velike goslarije. Traditional Slovenian music include various kinds of musical instruments such as:

Folk music revivalists include Volk Volk, Kurja Koža, Marko Banda, Katice, Bogdana Herman, Ljoba Jenče, Vruja, Trinajsto praše, Šavrinske pupe en ragacone, Musicante Istriani, and Tolovaj Mataj.

One of the best Slovenian diatonic accordionist is Nejc Pačnik who won the accordion world-championship twice, in 2009 and 2015.

Slovenian country music

From 1952 on, the Slavko Avsenik's band began to appear in broadcasts, movies, and concerts all over the West Germany, inventing the original "Oberkrainer" sound that has become the primary vehicle of ethnic musical expression not only in Slovenia, but also in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and in the Benelux, spawning hundreds of Alpine orchestras in the process. The band produced nearly 1000 original compositions, an integral part of the Slovenian-style polka legacy. Avsenik's most popular instrumental composition is the polka that is titled "Na Golici" (in Slovene), or "Trompetenecho" (in German), and "Trumpet Echoes" (in English). Oberkrainer music, which the Avsenik Ensemble popularized, is always a strong candidate for country (folk) music awards in Slovenia and Austria. Slavko and his brother, Vilko, are usually credited as the pioneers of Slovenian folk music, having solidified its style in the 1950s.

Many musicians followed Avsenik's steps, one of the most famous being Lojze Slak.

Slovenian song festival

A similarly high standing in Slovene culture, like the Sanremo Music Festival has had in Italian culture, was attributed to the coastal Melodies of Sea and Sun (In Slovene: Melodije morja in sonca) and Slovenian song festival (In Slovene: Slovenska popevka), dedicated to a specific genre of popular Slovene music. [10]

Contemporary music

Among pop, rock, industrial, and indie musicians the most popular in Slovenia include Laibach, an early 1980s industrial music group, and most recently the Slovenian pop a cappella band Perpetuum Jazzile.

Pop, rock, metal, and indie music

With more than 15 million views for the official a cappella "Africa" performance video since its publishing on YouTube in May 2009 until September 2013, [11] that earned them kudos from the song's co-writer, David Paich, [12] Perpetuum Jazzile is the group from Slovenia that is internationally most listened online. Other popular bands, most largely unknown outside the country, include Tabu, ManuElla, Društvo Mrtvih Pesnikov (pop-rock), Siddharta, Rok 'n' Band, Pop Design, Fredi Miler, Terrafolk, Leaf Fat (screamo), Amaya, Šank Rock, Big Foot Mama, Yogurt, Dan D, Zablujena generacija, Katalena, Devil Doll (experimental rock), Negligence (band), Chateau, Čuki, Zaklonišče Prepeva, Psycho-Path, Dekadent (black metal), and Buldožer (progressive rock). The deathcore band Within Destruction have released two-full-length albums and have partaken in several European tours; the band is based in Jesenice. [13]


Slovenian post-WWII singer-songwriters include Frane Milčinski (1914-1988), Tomaž Pengov whose 1973 album Odpotovanja is considered to be the first singer-songwriter album in former Yugoslavia, [14] Tomaž Domicelj, Marko Brecelj, Andrej Šifrer, Eva Sršen, Neca Falk, and Jani Kovačič. After 1990, Adi Smolar, Iztok Mlakar, Vita Mavrič, Vlado Kreslin, Zoran Predin, Peter Lovšin, and Magnifico have been popular in Slovenia, as well.

World music

The 1970s Bratko Bibič's band Begnagrad is considered one of the direct influences on modern world music. Bibič's unique accordion style, often solo, with no accompaniment, has also made him a solo star.

Punk rock

Slovenia was the center for punk rock in the Titoist Yugoslavia. The most famous representatives of this genre were Pankrti, Niet, Lublanski Psi, Čao Pičke, Via Ofenziva, Tožibabe, and Otroci Socializma.

Techno and tech-house

Slovenia has also produced two renowned DJs: DJ Umek and Valentino Kanzyani. Specialising in a frantic brand of party techno and tech-house, the pair co-founded the label Recycled Loops as well as having many releases on labels such as Novamute, Primate, Intec and Bassethound Records.

Neue Slowenische Kunst

Neue Slowenische Kunst (a German phrase meaning "New Slovenian Art"), aka NSK, is a controversial political art collective that announced itself in Slovenia in 1984, when Slovenia was part of Yugoslavia. NSK's name, being German, is compatible with a theme in NSK works: the complicated relationship Slovenes have had with Germans. The name of NSK's music wing, Laibach, is also the German name of the Slovene capital Ljubljana, creating controversy through evoking memories of the Nazi occupation of Slovenia during the Second World War. [15]

Laibach performing at wRacku Festiwal 2010 Laibach wracku raciborz 07 2010 009.jpg
Laibach performing at wRacku Festiwal 2010

NSK's best-known member is the musical group Laibach. Other NSK member groups include IRWIN (visual art), Noordung (theater; originally named Scipion Nasice Sisters Theatre, also known as Red Pilot), New Collective Studio (graphics; also known as New Collectivism), Retrovision (film and video), and the Department of Pure and Applied Philosophy (theory). [16] [17] [18] The founding groups of the NSK were Laibach, IRWIN, and Scipion Našice Sisters Theater.


NSK art often draws on symbols drawn from totalitarian or extreme nationalist movements, often reappropriating totalitarian kitsch in a visual style reminiscent of Dada. NSK artists often juxtapose symbols from different (and often incompatible) political ideologies. For example, a 1987 NSK-designed poster caused a scandal by winning a competition for the Yugoslavian Youth Day Celebration. The poster appropriated a painting by Nazi artist Richard Klein, replacing the flag of Nazi Germany with the Yugoslav flag and the German eagle with a dove. [17]

Both IRWIN and Laibach are emphatic about their work being collective rather than individual. Laibach's original songs and arrangements are always credited to the group collectively; the individual artists are not named on their album covers; at one point, there were even two separate Laibach groups touring at the same time, both with members of the original group. Similarly, the IRWIN artists never sign their work individually; instead, they are "signed" with a stamp or certificate indicating approval as a work from the IRWIN collective.

The NSK were the subject of a 1996 documentary film written and directed by Michael Benson, entitled Prerokbe Ognja in Slovenian, or Predictions of Fire in English. [19] Among those interviewed in the film is Slovenian intellectual Slavoj Žižek.

NSK State

Since 1991, NSK has claimed to constitute a state, [20] a claim similar to that of micronations. They issue passports, [21] have presented shows of their work in the guise of an embassy or even as a territory of their supposed state, and maintain consulates in several cities including Umag, Croatia. [22] NSK have also issued postage stamps. Laibach, in 2006, recorded (some may say 'remixed') the NSK State National Anthem on the LP "Volk." The "anthem" adopts its melody from another Laibach song, "The Great Seal." Laibach's version of the NSK anthem includes a computer voice reciting an excerpt from Winston Churchill's famous " We shall fight them on the beaches/We shall never surrender" speech. The computer voice is clearly recognisable as the voice synthesiser Macintalk, built into classic Mac OS, and uses the preset voice Ralph.

The NSK passports are an art project and as such are not valid for travel. However, many desperate people have fallen for a scam in which they are issued a NSK passport. Most of these scams originate in Nigeria and Egypt. [23]


Laibach [ˈlaɪbax] is a Slovenian avant-garde music group strongly associated with Nazism, martial, and neo-classical musical styles. Laibach formed June 1, 1980 in Trbovlje, Slovenia (then Yugoslavia). Laibach represents the music wing of the Neue Slowenische Kunst (NSK) art collective, of which it was a founding member in 1984. The name "Laibach" is the German name for Slovenia's capital city, Ljubljana.

See also

Related Research Articles

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Laibach Slovenian and former Yugoslav avant-garde music group

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Upper Carniola is a traditional region of Slovenia, the northern mountainous part of the larger Carniola region. The centre of the region is Kranj, while other urban centers include Jesenice, Tržič, Škofja Loka, Kamnik, and Domžale. It has around 300,000 inhabitants or 14% of the population of Slovenia.

<i>Volk</i> (album) 2006 studio album by Laibach

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Among the modes of expression of the culture of Slovenia, a nation state in Central Europe, are music and dance, literature, visual arts, film and theatre. A number of festivals take place, showcasing music and literature.

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Na Golici is a Slovenian polka instrumental composed by Slavko Avsenik and arranged by his brother Vilko Ovsenik. The song was written in 1954 and first recorded in January 1955 in the studio of Radio Kärnten. It is considered the most played instrumental tune in the world. At this time, the band was renamed to Gorenjski kvintet. This song has been covered more than 600 times all over the world.

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The following is a timeline of the history of the city of Ljubljana, Slovenia.


  1. Oto Luthar The land between a history of Slovenia
  2. George J. Buelow A history of baroque music 2004 p701
  3. Vlado Kotnik Opera, power and ideology: anthropological study of a national art 2010 In 1732, a performance of the tragedia per musica 'II Tamerlano' written by Maestro di Capella Giuseppe Clemente Bonomi, a bandmaster of the Carniolan vice-regent, the duke Francesco Antonio Sigifrid Della Torre e Valassina,
  4. Essays presented to Egon Wellesz Jack Allan Westrup - 1966 IL TAMERLANO DE GIUSEPPE CLEMENTE BONOMI Dragotin Cvetko (Ljubljana) Parmi les compositeurs du passé musical européen don't les biographies n'ont pas encore été l'objet de Recherches approfondies ou qui même n'ont pas encore été étudiés ...
  5. Italian Opera in Central Europe: Volume 1 - Page 64 Melania Bucciarelli, Norbert Dubowy, Reinhard Strohm - 2006 In the libretto for the Ljubljana performance this introduction is followed, on page six, by the remark: La Musica è Virtuosa Fatica del sempre Celebre Signor Abbate D. Giuseppe Clemente de Bonomi actually Maestro di Cappella di Sua ...
  6. The musical times: Volume 108 JSTOR (Organization) - 1967 Dragon Cvetko writes about a hitherto unknown composer whose name occurs in none of the big music dictionaries: Giuseppe Clemente Bonomi. Apparently Bonomi was maestro di cappella to a nobleman in Ljubljana, Slovenia, in 1732, ...
  7. Report: Volume 10 International Musicological Society. Congress - 1970 An interesting personality of the Italian late Baroque is Giuseppe Clemente Bonomi, "maestro di capella" of the vicedom of Carniola. In the libretto of his opera "II Tamerlano", staged in the palace of the vicedom in Ljubljana, in 1732, ...
  8. Alberto Colzani -Il teatro musicale italiano nel Sacro Romano Impero nei secoli , 1999 -"Its music was composed by Giuseppe Clementi de Bonomi, then employed as music director of the private chapel of the Carniolan vice-dominus, Count Anton Siegfried Thum Valsassina, in Ljubljana. After 1732 operatic performances in ..."
  9. Sojar Voglar, Črt (2005). Skladateljske sledi po letu 1900 [Composers' Traces After 1900](PDF) (in Slovenian and English) (2nd ed.). Society of Slovene Composers. pp. 6–7. ISBN   961-91080-2-7. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-05-20.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  10. Slovenska popevka: velik poudarek na pevcih in skladateljih, pesniki bolj v oklepaju. Enkrat še zapoj: 50 let Slovenske popevke Vladimirja Frantarja pri celjski Mohorjevi družbi., Delo, 5. September 2012.
  11. Perpetuum Jazzile: Africa. YouTube. Accessed on 9 September 2013.
  12. "Perpetuum Jazzile Official Web Site". 7 July 2009. Retrieved 17 July 2009.
  14. Pripotovanje hrepenenca Tomaž Pengov, kantavtor, Mladina, 3 March 2007
  15. Monroe, Alexei. Interrogation Machine. MIT Press, 2005. p 3.
  16. Anonymous. "State of Art: the new Slovene Avant Garde" (2004). Northwest Film Forum and Scala House, program for exhibit November 18November 24, 2004 at Northwest Film Forum, Seattle.
  17. 1 2 Regina Hackett. "Slovenian art collective is adept at working politics and art". Seattle Post-Intelligencer , November 19, 2004.
  18. "Laibach". Archived from the original on 2008-06-12. Retrieved 2008-06-11.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  19. Holden, Steven. "Facing the Menace of Totalitarianism". The New York Times . The New York Times Company . Retrieved 2008-06-11.
  20. "[ NSKSTATE.COM ][ The Slovenia of Athens ]". Archived from the original on 2008-03-09. Retrieved 2008-06-11.
  21. "[ NSKSTATE.COM ][ HOW TO GET A PASSPORT ]". Archived from the original on 2008-04-06. Retrieved 2008-06-11.
  22. "[ NSKSTATE.COM ]". Archived from the original on 2008-04-06. Retrieved 2008-06-11.
  23. "[ NSK Passport ]". DHC 2008. Archived from the original on 2011-05-14. Retrieved 2010-06-07.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)