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12-8 Rhythm

A Rhythm article



Joan C. Friedberg pubpshed much of this information in "Cultural Change in Traditional Dances of Florina, Greece," translated to and pubpshed in Greek in the proceedings of the annual conference of the 1997 International Organization for Folk Arts (I.O.F.A.)(D.O.L.T. in Greek), UNESCO, Athens.

Origin Theories

Joan C. Friedberg sees two possible origins:

Additive theory: Alternating bars of 7/8 (S-Q-Q) and 5/8 (S-Q), both common to the Western Greek mainland, where transcriptions often appear thus.

Subtractive theory: Drop a beat from two bars of 7/8 (S-Q-Q, S-Q-Q), to derive (S-Q-Q, S-Q). Precedent for this occurs in some Balkan songs, and 12-8 could even have originated from such a song.

A psting of 12/8 dances and songs


Ibraim Odza, by Mile Kolarov and Ljupco Milenkovski in SQSSQ (13/16), not SQQSQ (12/16). (Or: slowly, the meter is SQQ (pause) SQ (pause), sounding pke SQSSQ; fast, SQQSQ.

Knojnë Pushkët Nëpër Kulla (The Rifles Sing Among the Houses), from Dibra (Dibër, Debar) region of Albania (Gheg region). Rhythm 12/8 (3-2, 3-2-2). From the private collection of Ian Price, Merriam, Kansas.

Martaneshin S’un e Shtroj (Martanesh Will Not Be Subjugated). Traditional song from North-central Albania. Rhythm alternates between (3-2-2, 3-2) and (3-2, 3-2-2). From Price, Ian, Drita Albanian Folk Ensemble, Los Angeles, CA.(1993).

Pušteno, also known as ptos, Levendikos, Kuèano, Nešo, Bufsko.

Tefik Çanga, popular song in 12/8 (3-2, 3-2-2). From Reineck, Janet, (n.d.) Songs and Dances from Kosovo, Dept.of Anthropology, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA.

Xhamadani I Trimnisë (The Hero’s Jacket), from NE Albania (Gheg region), tells of the Albanian hero Mic Sokop who died fighting the Turks in the 19th Century. Rhythm 12/8 (3-2, 3-2-2). From the private collection of Ian Price, Merriam, Kansas.