Bulgarian dance rhythms

The most common rhythm in Bulgaria is straight 2/4. This is used for dances such as Pravo, Danets, Râka, Buenek, Shira and many other Horos. These are generally written in 2/4 by Bulgarians, but the melody is in triplets, giving a 6/8 feel. However, Bulgaria is famous for its uneven rhythms formed from combinations of two and three count beats. How these originated is unclear, but similar asymmetric rhythms are found throughout southeast Europe and the middle east. The most complex patterns are found in Albania and Macedonia, Romania has 5/8, 7/8 and 10/8 rhythms, the Greeks have many 7/8 dances with more complex rhythms from Pontos, and Armenian dances are often in 5/8 and 9/8. The rhythms either date back to early times, or are derived from eastern and Turkish influences. Note that when playing these melodies for dancing the musicians often stretch some of the beats from the exact notated rhythm!

The well-known dance rhythms are;

Paidushko 5/8
Chetvorno 7/8
Rachenitsa 7/8
Gruncharsko/Svornato/Daichovo 9/8
Gankino/Kopanitsa 11/8
Krivo Sadovska/Ispajche 13/8
Buchimish 15/8

Published on 8th June 2018