Development of the Vocal Tradition from Socio-Historical Point of View:
Similar to the other peoples and cultures, macedonian folk singing finds its roots in the pre-historical period, timewhen human uses hands to play some instruments made of wood, bones, etc. These primitive”music” instruments were used as a accompaniment of different ritual dances. Those were times of the “diffusive” speaking rich with many different melodic expressive elements, like the “glissando” and other sounds aimed for imitating animals and birds before hunting (as a part of imitating magic rituals).
The second phase seem to be the midle barbarian period of human history whose main characteristic is the fenomenon (appearance) of aestetic feeling for music and its special increasing which was related closely to the natural religion and polyteistic-totemistic beliefs. The most important cult was the fertility of human, animals and birds, earth, etc. The tribal way of living was replaced by a system in which patriarchal laws of the society had dominated. The natural division of labour between sexes in those period was the reason for the women to stay at home, and take care of the children and different home activities. The men took care of harder agricultural tasks. So women had more time and freedom to raise different cults, perform rituals and make prairs for fertility and health of both family and animals.
In chronological frames, the oldest tradicional songs are probably the working songs. The second period in the history of songs’ development is tne time wnen previous work songs became part of notworking activities. Next phase is the period of the new singing opportunity – about emotions: songs about birth and diying, and love lyrics. That was also time of practical existing of the epyc heroic singing, as well as ritual singing for rain calling and other pagan, heathen ritual singing. These are all womens’ songs performed collectively (exept the individual: lullabies and lament, grave songs).
At the beginning of the last century the social situation of the macedonian urban population started to change considerably. In the conditions of Turks’ occupation, Macedonians were let to be in manufactures that were previocely privilege of only the turkish occupier. Not long after that Macedonians started to work in trade buisness, and continiously the number of education interesents was increasing. In other words, enough for the general picture of the urban culture in those times is the fact that the intensive comunication influenced the Macedonians to live with all the contemporary hepenings that characterized the other nations in Europe and the world. Those were transformations not only of economic and cultural living in Macedonia, but also in the national awareness. Changes: equality of the male and female role in the social life in the macedonian urban culture; new clothes and new musical instruments no typical for the macedonian area which were not handmade anymore and a lot different from the older tradicional one; it influenced on making new music (singing and instrumental playing melodic) motifs; themes of interesting (in the vocal tradition) are not only ritual and religious, but also love, apropriate historical, revolutionary, humoristic, etc.
The macedonian music folklore that has developed in the urban areas passed through few phases, similar as development of the folklore in some neighbour countries (Serbia, Bulgaria, etc). At first the Macedonians has sung original foreign songs: turkish, rushian, serbian, bulgarian, rarely greek, etc. Then they’ve tried to compose macedonian songs using melodic motifs from foreign traditions; this tradition through time developed into style with typical macedonian characteristics. Other way of creating macedonian urban songs is adapting the melodic patterns from older macedonian folk songs. But we are obligated to mention that the oriental and western-europe melodic motifs reflected in the musical conciouness of Macedonian, which has lasted until the appearance of the authorizad (composed) folk songs and the folk professionalism at the beginning of our century. In this sense very popular is the so called “chalgia” (especially in Ohrid and in other towns in Macedonia) that has its origins in the turkish instrumental ensemble, even if they don’t have some real similarities exept the general oriental sound.
Beside the theme and function, important difference between the newer urban and older rural vocal tradicion is also in the wider scales, complex meter, developed melopoetic structure, etc.