Izvivki [Извивки]

changes in the direction of the melodic line

(About the term “Glas [Глас]” and a few others connected with it)

Lozanka Peycheva

Glaso, the melody has izvivki and I cannot make them well alone. It sort of becomes nasal. We keep glaso well when we gather. We peeme in groups, together. It is like a choir and it sounds beautiful. Perfect.” (R.D., Alino village)

“You can make izvivkite. That is good. If you can make izvivkite you can learn to poeš. And your glas is good. (Q: What is izvivki?) Izvivkite is the way it comes out of you. You don’t drown the song; you don’t slow it down; you speak it out in time – you make izvivkite. It’s just like with a poem – you have to say it expressively. It is the same with songs as well – when you sing the melody you make izvivkite well. And that’s something!” (R.D., Alino village)

“You make izvivkite. You izvivaš better and you are young. You see, she can make izvivkite better than us.” (T.B., Samoranovo village)


Izvikuvačka [Извикувачка]

singer of the upper melodic voice

The term is related to the verb vika (izvikuva), which means ‘to call out / to cry out’ and is indicative of one of the functions of the melodic voice – to sound freely, with a sensible penetrating force and to be heard from a long distance (see karačka, okačka)

Izvikuvačkata has to create her voice in a different way. She izgovara the words. She creates both – she izgovara the words and she leads the melody with her voice. Simultaneously. Izvikuvačkata izgovara the song, slagačkite slagat.” (Y.T., Kadrovitsa village)

“In order to izvikuva, the singer has to speak. The one who izvikuva, she manages it. She leads the songs as she wishes. She should take care not to make a mistake. When she izvikuva, she has to izriča; the singer in the middle. The other two vlečat after her. It is easier for them. For izvikuvačkata, who leads them, it is much harder. She has to take care of the voice.” (N.H., Stradalovo village)

“Izvikuvačkata izgovara. She kara first, she kara the song in advance and the others go after her, slagačkite shoždat. Izvikuvačkata kara in a thinner voice, slagačkata kara in a thicker voice and vleče after izvikuvačkata – so she can see and make sure that the singing sodi. Izvikuvačkata izvikne, and they vlačat after her. Izvikuvačkata izgovara the words. She izvikuva.” (L.D., Stradalovo village)

Izvikuvačkata initiates the singing. She vika first, and the others slagat. She izriča and the others vikat ‘E-E-E’. They sing the same thing. Otherwise the song is not good.” (E.B.K, Lelintsi village)

“They call her izvikuvačka, and somewhere else they call her nadizačka. You will slagate, I will nadizam. The other two sing the same way, the one in the middle sings in a different way. The one in the middle izvikue, izdigayu. The other two slagayu.” (J. I., Dragoichintsi village)

Izvikuvačkata, she has to okne at first. We can’t just all okneme. Izvikuvačkata leads, she kara the song. She has a better voice, her voice is lighter. Izvikuvačkata is always only one. If there are two of them, their voices will be in conflict.”(G.A., Slatino village)


  1. Izvikuvačkata takes a more central place, she is more important. She leads the song, she leads the melody. Slagačkite vlačat after her.” (F.Ts., Stradalovo village)
  2. Izvikuvačkata would lead the songs. But neither can izvikuvačkata, nor can slagačkite without ivikuvačka. They can sing when they are all only, they should sglasat.” (L.D., Stradalovo village)
  3. Izvikuvačkata is more important. What she says, so slagačkite follow. They follow after her, otherwise they cannot. They expect from her. When you are slagačka you cannot izgovaraš like izvikuvačkata.” (E.K., Pelatikovo village)
  4. “Most import is izvikuvačkata. Because as she kara the song, so slagačkite go after her. If izvikuvačkata is good, then slagačkite can also be good. If izvikuvačkata is not good – slagačkite cannot be good. They comee after her.” (M.K., Stradalovo village)
  5. Izvikuvačkata cannot sing alone. Neither can slagačkata sing without izvikuvačkata, nor can izvikuvačkata sing without slagačkite. When we poeme in group – it is much better. She sings a higher tone and we sing a lower tone.” (G.A., Slatino village)
  6. Izvikuvačkata govori and slagačkite only slagat, they don’t izgovarat. So it sounds better. To present the song. Otherwise if we speak the syllables it would be something like speaking. So slagačkite won’t izgovarat the words as clearly as izvikuvačkata. And this is better – so they keep a bass. Only izvikuvačkata should be heard.” (E.K., Pelatikovo village)
  7. Izvikuvačkata, the one who izvikuva, should be very accurate when she izgovara the song. Whereas slagačkite may not be so accurate. There should be three singers and the middle one should izgovara while she pee. Three would stay and the middle one would start to pee and the other two would accompany her. And another three at some distance. With them singing, a big horo may form. But there should be three here, and three there. (N.H., Stradalovo village)


Gărlo [Гърло]

the throat as a vocal instrument

“She has never sung much so she has never developed her gărlo. And she cannot pee.” (P.R., Alino village)
“Our mother was a singer. Even people from other villages knew her. She didn’t lose her glas until her death. Her gărlo was just wonderful. Not everybody can have a good glas, a good gărlo.” (Y.T., Kadrovitsa village)
“They were amazed about her – Venka Bikova, wife of Stanko Bulyov. They wondered how two glasa could come out of her gărlo. It was so sweet to listen to how she trese. She was a relative of ours, of Dudini.” (R.D., Alino village)
“My gărlo has changed. It is no longer the same as it was in my youth. It is a bit hoarse now. I have not sung for years.” (L.D., Stradalovo village)


1. Glas [Глас]

the making of a sound

“This is glaso. When one poe, the evocation of the sound – this is glaso – the creation of tone. I have sung a lot and I had a very good glas and a very good gărlo. It was powerful and rich. Now I cannot do that. I have aged.” (Y.T., Kadrovitsa village)


“(When I sing with you I get out of breath – L.P.) It is because you don’t know how to keep it, how to keep the silent and the high. It is not that you can’t – you just don’t know how. (Q: What is this silent and high?) Well, when I sing I would press the glaso down and then raise it up. (Q: How do you press glaso down?) I make the glaso deeper and when I speak out, I make it higher.” (Y.T., Kadrovitsa village)


2. Glas [Глас]

human voice, characteristics

“When I listen to the singers I easily hear those who sing wrong. I hear when one sings well, when one sings a bit scratchily or when their glas is smooth. If one doesn’t sing often her glas is not smooth. A smooth glas is without scratching.” (Y.T., Kadrovitsa village)

“When we were young our glasove rang like bells. We were young and beautiful maidens. It seems to me now that today’s maidens cannot sing so strongly. I am now old, but you can see what strong glas I have. I have reaped at harvest, I have hoed, I have bred horses – my children know nothing of this. And I still have a strong glas. (Q: What makes you say that one’s glas is good?) It should be strong. Like we peeme here. This was a strong glas once, and people would say that we peeme beautifully.” (E.L., Pelatikovo village)

“They had strong, rotund glasove. When they started to sing, it was as strong as an ox would bellow! Three women – as if their glasove were coming out of the ground.” (R.B.N, Dyakovo village)


“(Q: Why do you hold your chin with your hand while you are singing?) Because I don’t want my glas to scatter.” (Ya.A., Tishanovo village)


3. Glas [Глас]


“The melody is glaso which you would sing out. That is what melody means – for instance, there are some songs, about which you can say – see what a good melody this one is singing. That is about melody.” (P.R., Alino village)

Glas is the way the song sounds. One song sounds na dălgo, another one sounds nakăso – it depends on the song. We cannot sing all songs na dălgo, and we cannot sing all songs nakăso.” (P.V., Alino village)

“The thing is, the working-bee songs have their own glas, the wedding songs have a different one, the walking songs a third, and those for the fields a fourth. Glasovete are different. When you peeš – that is glaso. The way that you peeš. When you peeš on the field it is different from when you peeš on the road. These were glasovete. That was how we were taught.” (P.V., Alino village)



  1. “Each calendar feast had its own glas. I mean the big feasts. We didn’t sing and dance at the small ones. Each saint’s day had its own glas. Easter had its own glas, St.Peter’s day had a different glas. On St.George’s day we only sang. At Easter glaso finished with an Easter horo. There is also a harvest glas. It is a bit different. When you reap and carry the sheaves it is glaso that keeps you working. And there was another glas for horo.” (V.Ch., Slatino village)
  2. Glaso in the fields is different to glaso at horoto. And glaso for working-bees is different from the others.” (Z.B., Cherven Breg village)
  3. “Both at harvest and at horo we sang the same pesen – only the glaso was different. We sang ‘Hey, you beautiful Radulinka’ at the Easter horo, holding each other at the waist and in the fields during harvest. When we sang it at the horo it was somewhat sharper, and in the fields it was with the harvest glas.” (V.Ch., Slatino village)


Glas, Ženski [Γлас, Женски]

voice, female 

There were men from Tishanovo who sang ženski glas. One would izvikuva, the others would slagaya. They poyat very beautifully, those men from Tishanovo. Like maidens. We like them. And here too, the shopkeeper’s father-in-law would sing with his wife and his sister-in-law. He would sit between the two sisters. Then he izvikuva and they slagat – like zvonci (bells) they were. They sang a lot. And I also had an uncle, he poeše very beautifully. He izvikuvaše and we slagahme.” (L.D., Stradalovo village)

“When I izvikuvah my sister and my brother slagaha. My brother sang. (Q: And were there any men who izvikuvat?) I don’t know. My brother slagaše. I don’t know of any others.” (B.B., Tishanovo village)

“Slave Niklin could sing anywhere. He would sing ženski glas. So we used to call for him. I and my kumica Loza Katsarska would vlachime. And when he okneše – trese for all his worth. He was a pesnopoec in the village.” (Z.B., Cherven Breg village)


Glasenye [Гласенье]

singing the bourdon voice

Glasenyeto is just singing e-e-e-e-e. One would only speak quietly with the mouth. What izvikuvačkata izgovara, some izgovarat with her during glasenyeto. I didn’t.” (Z.B., Kadrovitsa)


Pee [Пее]

to sing

“Some people cannot pee. This is not something you can learn. It is a gift. That is how I see it. Those who can pee, those who cannot don’t. There is something in your nature that can draw you to peeš and to listen.” (G.Sh., Alino)

“Well, not everybody can pee. This is not something that every girl and every boy can do. It has been this way earlier. But almost all of us peehme. It was very rare that a girl will not be able to pee. There were those who had it in their family – her mother couldn’t pee, her grandmother couldn’t too and so the girl couldn’t pee. We were at least fifteen girls in the neighbourhood. Only two or three couldn’t peyat. All the others peehme. We gathered in three groups of three. So three will stay here, three will be there. And all nine will start to peyat, one after the other. And we would peeme. And we were very happy. This was our entertainment, this was like radio for us. There were no radio apparatuses then. So all the day we would work – reaping the harvest, gathering and stringing tobacco, at working-bees.”


  1. “At harvest we peehme because – well, let’s sing to forget the heat, to draw our attention away. To reduce the feeling of heat. And then, when we take a rest, we would sit in some shadow and then let’s poeme na glas. And that was it. and so the tiredness would just go, well with pesnite we somehow rested.” (E.L., Pelatikovo village)
  2. “At working bee we peeme outside, for instance, na glas. When the working-bee begins. Some girls cry out. And inside they peyat songs for working-bees. They sit, work with the tobacco and pesnite on and on.” (A.S., Kadrovitsa village)
  3. “So when we sit down to work at working-bees, we both work and we peeme.” (Y.T., Kadrovitsa village)
  4. “Because in every village we peehme separately ... When the three of us would cry out. Whatever melodies we wanted ... And they poehya like the people from Dikanya. And the people from Dikanya peyat very beautifully. Nowhere else are there such voices and the way they used them. And they used them so well. When they stood beside the field and they zapeyat. ‘Zastanalo sluntse nasred nebo’ And a singer pee and it is so nice to listen to the way she trese. And we got used to it – our fields are next to each other. I still remember their names – Borka and Igla. Whether they are still alive, I don’t know. And when they zapeeha we went with them. We learnt it and we poehme in Dikanya manner. And when they stopped singing to go on with their work, Nannie Stana, who was here would tell them: “Popoyte some more. We will work for you. Popoyte.” And it was wonderful, that Dikanya singing. It was dzvonci, drănka. Drănka poyanye. Nobody sings like that any more. (Q: Isn’t your poyanye like theirs?) No, it isn’t. They used their voices in length, like nadlăž. And we peeme in a more lively and ripply way. We do it a bit differently. And there was this Kula Buduritsa, may she rest in peace, she poeše like the people from the lower villages. We call them ‘the lower villages’ here. The lower villages like Relyovo and beyond. And they would come, and she would lead and she viknešeTri mi dzvezdi nai-rano ogreya’ And then we zatreseme. And we said that we poeme in the manner of the lower villages. Or we could poeme in the manner of the singers from Polsko, or from Dikanya. Well, we could poeme whatever we could comprehend. You just had to have the gift to comprehend. (Q: And what is poyanyeto in Alino like?) Well, it is different. It is closer to that of Popovyane. The singers from Popovyane poyat a bit differently (from the others), like us. So there was a festival gathering here and we gathered and I was little. And I went there and in the evening I told my mother: “Mom, I learnt a new pesen today”. Because when the singers from Popovyane zapoyat I stood behind them and I could feel their song... It’s a gift.” (R.D., Alino village)
  5. “I have never liked anything better than the way they peyat in the Kyustendil region. The best pesni are those from Kystendil region. In the villages in the Piyanets region they sing just like us – Tishanovo, Stradalovo, Rakovo – they are all pesnopoitsi. The same pesni, the same melodies. But the villages in the Polsko region – Grashtitsite, Konyavo – they are a bit different. They peyat differently. Their pesni are different.” (Y.T., Kadrovitsa village)
  6. “Well, the ones who sglašat, they peyat beautifully. When they sing a song, you feel so good listening to them. Our girls peeha very beautifully and they were known for this.” (P.R., Alino village)
  7. “They don’t peyat like this now. They peyat, but now they know cultural songs. They cannot sing like us. And they laugh when they hear us during harvesting. Yes, sometimes we peeme at harvest. We gather and reap together and we peeme. But the younger ones have not seen this and they say – ha, you are howling now, you aren’t peete(ing). We used to peehme often. Now I never see a girl who pee like us. Well, you can see them play, but I have not seen them peyat. I have not heard youngsters now who peyat like us. And they should peyat more now. They have more freedom. They have a freer life, they should peyat. They don’t have to go to harvest. We would go to harvest and then we would peeme. Now it is easier – we had to work hard and peehme to rest, and they don’t want to work hard, the youngsters. And it is best if they peyat. But they don’t want to. Why not now, with the freedom they have?” (N.H., Stradalovo)



  1. (Ya.A.) Yana Nikolova Atanasova, singer, born 1920, Tishanovo village, Kyustendil region, finished 2nd grade at school. Farming
  2. (Z.B.) Zlata Aleksieva Bacheva, born 1913, Cherven Breg village, Dupnitsa region.
  3. (T.B.) Trendafila Hristova Bidzhova, singer (okačka), born 1928, Samoranovo village, Dupnitsa region, finished 4thgrade at school, farming.
  4. (B.B.) Bona Borisova Bumbarska, singer (izvikuvačka), born 1922, Tishanovo village, Kyustendil region, finished 4th grade at school, farming.
  5. (V.Ch.) Veska Borisova Chuchkova, singer (izvikuvačka), born 1928, Slatino village, Dupnitsa region, finished 7thgrade at school, farming.
  6. (L.D.) Lyuba Lazarova Dubovska, singer (slagačka), born 1922, Stradalovo village, Kyustendil region, finished 4thgrade at school, farming.
  7. (R.D.) Radka Dudina, Alino village, Samokov region.
  8. (N.H.) Nada Angelova Haralampieva, Stradalovo village, Kyustendil region.
  9. (E.L.) Evdokiya Vangeva Lazarova, singer (slagačka), born 1933, Pelatikovo village, Kyustendil region, finished 7thgrade at school, cook at the school.
  10. (R.B.N.) Ruska Bozhilova Nachalnichka, singer (okačka), born 1931, Dyakovo village, Dupnitsa region, professional singer.
  11. (G.R.) Petrunka Georgieva Rogacheva, singer (pomagačka), born 1916, Alino village, Samokov region, finished 7th grade at school, farming.
  12. (G.Sh.) Genka Ivanova Shumanova, singer (karačka), born 1928, Alino village, Samokov region, finished 7th grade at school, farming.
  13. (A.S.) Atse Nikolov Stoimenov, bagpipe player, born 1932, Kadrovitsa village, Kyustendil region, finished 7th grade at school, manager at the local co-operative farm.
  14. (Y.T.) Yordanka Spasova Trayanova, singer (slagačka), born 1919, Kadrovitsa village, Kyustendil region, finished 4th grade at school, farming.
  15. (P.V.) Penka Vladova Voleva, singer (pomagačka), born 1933, Alino village, Samokov region, finished 7th grade at school, farming.