ABSTRACT

Central Europe borders on all the other major geographical regions of continental Europe. The music of German-speaking countries (Germany, Austria, and parts of Switzerland) has some archaic features—such as the prominence of horns and trumpets and vocal cattle calls—with parallels in northern Europe. In the Slavic-speaking countries (Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia), the ritual occasions for singing resemble ones in eastern and southeastern Europe, as do those of the Hungarians, who speak a non-Indo-European, Finno-Ugric language. As centers of literacy since the Middle Ages, the musical traditions of this region have perhaps the longest and richest recorded histories of folk and art music in all of Europe. The link among them is illustrated by the popularity of string bands and brass ensembles at all levels of society. The association of music with ideology and politics in this region has been particularly striking, whether the form of government was fascist in the 1930s and 1940s, communist from the late 1940s to 1990, or democratic.