International Journal of

Arts , Humanities & Social Science

ISSN 2693-2547 (Print) , ISSN 2693-2555 (Online)
DOI: 10.56734/ijahss
Preserving the Memories by Music: The Collective Conscious in Balkan Songs


Music not only affects the soul but also is a language that we express ourselves and a memory that records our experiences. As seen in the examples of Balkan history, these experiences can be migration, separation, death, and war. Balkan history can be called the history of migrations and wars. Especially the 1878 Ottoman-Russian War, the 1912-13 Balkan Wars, and the First World War caused the migrations of Turks. The recurrent waves of mass migration to mainland Turkey from the Balkans since the late 19th century continuing up to today, about 1/5 of Turkey’s population today is of Balkan origin (Kut, 1997, 42).

The pain of migration, separation, suffering, and death seem to live in folk songs called ‘Rumeli Türküleri’ meaning folk songs of Rumelia that draw boundaries between Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey today. I aim to show the effects of migrations, and wars on people through the study of music.

First, I will mention Balkan's historic background, and then I will analyze the lyrics of Rumelian songs together with two examples of songs from Bulgaria and Kosova and analyze the style and rhythm of selected songs. Finally, I will mention how Balkan music keeps legends alive and how it serves as a bridge of friendship between Anatolia and the Balkans today. To show this, I will analyze the folk song ‘Drama Bridge’, which is about Drama that remained within the Greek boundaries after the Balkan Wars, and which is used in the 2010 ECOC (European Capital of Culture) project in Istanbul for the immigrants in Greece and Turkey to understand each other.