"Ethno-Didactics in Piano Practicing: 50 Arrangements Solo"

"Etnodidaktika klavierspēles mācībās: 50 apdares klavierēm solo"

Lūse, Nora (2012). ISBN 978-9984-49-511-8




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Latvian Folksong
Latvju dainas 

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The notion of national identity is expressed through cultural forms such as music and literature. The basic form of Latvian folksong daina is a quatrain. Very few daina has only one version of quatrain, and this is typical of folksongs in general to have multiple verses. According to folklore scholar Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga the dainas are more than a literary tradition. They are the very embodiment of cultural heritage, left by forefathers whom history has denied other, more tangible forms of expression. These songs thus form the very core of the Latvian identity and singing becomes one of the identifying qualities of a Latvian (Vīķe-Freiberga, 1975).


The daina represents a form of oral literature and it is specifically Latvian in its structure, sentiments and worldview. Today the collection of dainas has contained more than 1.2 million texts and 30.000 folk melodies; the symbolism of the folksongs reflects what is seen as vital to Latvian spiritual growth - nature, love for the homeland, and the ethical values of human relations (Bula, 2000).

As a term folksong was coined by the German cultural philosopher, theologian and writer Johann Gottfried Herder (1744-1803), who not only collected the Latvian quatrains, but also recorded one folk tune living in Riga from 1765 until 1769 (Vītoliņš, Krasinska, 1972). From the late XIX century onwards, the concept folksong became a subject within folklore studies, and increasingly crucial to the debates on Latvian identity. Folksongs as a cultural phenomenon are the still the subject of ongoing research.


The collectors of folksongs tended to be composers who considered their collections as a source of new musical ideas for creating national serious art music repertoire. Through the perspective of the XX century it appears to be the implementation of romantic music language tools in the manner of folksong arrangements for piano solo and piano four hands.


Bula, D. Folk Songs.
Vīķe-Freiberga, V. The Latvian Folksongs.
Vītoliņš, J., Krasinska, L. 1972. Latviešu mūzikas vesture [History of Latvian Music]. Rīga:
Liesma, 403 p.

© Nora Lūse, 2012