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Types of Tunes

Galician folklore is rich. Yes, we have heard this from every folklore, but that's the least I can say. This is a 2-minute summary of the main types of Galician folk tunes. It is neither comprehensive nor accurate. Some types of tunes are completely traditional, and some others were imported from abroad; I guess the same happens virtually in every place in the world.

A Note on playing Galician tunes: Most Galician tunes (even those with known composer) are written without gracings. These are left to the player, which puts his/her own personal touch - which, of course, means that when two players want to play together, they must agree in them. Some composers choose to put the gracings (and, even in this case, very scarcely).

Written in 6/8 (similar to a jig), there are various types (golpe, ribeirana, chouteira...) depending on the style and speed and, ultimately, in the way it is danced.

Written in 3/4 or 3/8, these are lively dance tunes which are found very often in the Spanish folklore, under the name of ``Jotas''. Foliadas have the same basic rhythm as Xotas, but they are played in a slightly slower tempo, and have words to them.

A fast, 2/4 dance, with strongly marked beats.

Slow dances, written in 3/4. The flavor of old dance tunes still remains in them.

Written in 4/4 and played in a moderate tempo, they celebrate the new day and the rising of the sun. Some of them are really elaborated and beautiful.

Pasacorredoiras and Pasarrúas
Written in 2/4, pasacorredoiras are tunes intended to play while doing parades (although in that case you can play almost any tune having the proper tempo). Nothing to do, however, with real (war) marches.

Processional marches
These are slow marches in 4/4, 2/4 or 6/8, which are played in religious services when statues representing saints (sort of icons) are taken out of the churches on the devotees' shoulders.

Yes, there are polkas, which tend to be more melodious than their Polish/Irish/Central European counterparts.

Slow dances
They have usually also a fast part(s), which alterate with the slow one(s). Most of them have very nice and elegant choreographies.

Danzas de espadas, danzas de arcos, danzas gremiais
Those are tunes usually linked with a well-defined local celebration, in which groups of dancers use sticks or swords (espadas), schematic bows(arcos), or other implements, to thread figures. As far as I know, these are reminiscent of old dances linked to celebrations made by gremios (sets of persons having the same job).

Pandeiradas are written in 6/8, 4/4 or 5/4. Some scholars support the theory that all pandeiradas were originally in 5/4, and that wrong early studies and transcriptions distorted them.

These are originally slow, short songs, sometimes sung while working, sometimes not. Most of them are simply beautiful, and can be played in the bagpipes.

Where, Where, Where Can I Find Them?

Please look at my friend's page, which has some of good pieces, both old and new.

next up previous contents
Next: Gaita Makers Up: Galician Bagpipes Previous: Reeds