Traditional forms of singing in the Dubrovnik region

The wider Dubrovnik area and hinterland are the places of overlap of the two musical regions of the Republic of Croatia, the Dinaric and the Dalmatian. The older, archaic forms of singing are of Dinaric origin and distinguished by oligotonic elements, unison and dual-voiced singing and untuned tonal ratios. In addition to these types of singing, diatonic narrow-range melodies and more developed melodies in the Doric and Phrygian tonalities or modes (lullabies, wedding songs, harvest songs, ballades and epics) have also been recorded. Finally, there is the more recent polyphonic diatonic, i.e. tuned singing in the Mediterranean style, identifiable by its parallel thirds, with an ending in a third.

The deepest layer of traditional singing is represented by examples of solo or solitary male and female singing, amongst which festive traveller's singing or pjevanje po svajski, istresalica (known elsewhere as ustresalica or ustresavica) songs, shepherds' work songs, harvest songs, and solitary ballades can be singled out. As already stated, such songs are characterised by slightly untuned tonal ratios. In addition to these archaic forms of singing, there are also the solo epic and novella songs sung either to the accompaniment of the fiddle or a capella as if accompanied by the fiddle—na guslarski— by men and women, and women's funeral lamentations and songs. The second group consists of dual-voiced women's love, circle-dance and ceremonial songs performed by two or more singers, in which the second voice would periodically lower to a second or minor third. The third group consists of specific women's kolenda, poskočnica and wedding songs with melodic elements of a simple range, performed by several singers in unison, who alternated in small groups, with each group repeating their verse twice. The fourth group consists of songs of a Mediterranean and urban character, in the tuned Phrygian mode, sung in unison, rarely dual-voiced, but even then ending in unison. Mediterranean and urban songs, which were dual-voiced, as opposed to the aforementioned ones, sung in the major scale and ended in a third interval, fall into the fifth category of traditional songs. They demonstrate the development of the earlier examples of Phrygian scale songs towards the major third, which occurred at the time of the appearance of vocal or musical accompaniment, at which stage the unison Phrygian cadence was replaced with the major third cadence.

Travel singing, also known as kiridžijsko pjevanje, is a typical Dinaric form of throat singing in which the verses are sung using quaver or voice-shaking and melodic ornaments. It is similar to ojkanje (orcanje, oreznje, groktenje, rozganje) from the area of Velebit and Lika. The main feature of this type of singing, after which it was named, was that it was performed while travelling in a wedding procession, which meant that the singers had to be loud and shout out simple exclamations in order to announce the arrival of the procession across a great distance. This putnički, svajski or starosvatski singing is a part of wedding customs and it is usually performed by a senior, honourable and experienced singer who leads the wedding procession. The signer begins the singing of occasional verses with the exclamation o – o – oj and usually ends with o – ho – hoj, o – o – oj or haj – haj. Examples of such singing, specific with regard to the strong vibration of the glottis they employ, can be found in Gornja sela in the Dubrovnik coastal region and in Donji Brgat in Župa dubrovačka. Unlike the travel singing from Gornja sela, an example of travel solitary singing from the villages of the Ston coastal region, Smokovljani and Visočani, called Oj koj' bi junak napio zdravicu does not end in the exclamation o – ho – hoj, but in verses of blessing. The song Oj, 'ko ne pije rujno vino from Donji Brgat is both a model and the paragon of the archaic form of travel singing. Although it was once spread out across the wider Dubrovnik area, to this day, travel singing has been best preserved in the Dubrovnik coastal region. Another rather archaic form of singing is the kumpanjolsko kolendavanje in Pupnat in Korčula called Go'ilo, which follows the similar melodic pattern with voice-shaking, but without words. Travel singing was a mostly male form of singing, but it was also performed by women, just as the istresalica songs were. The singing was usually solitary, sometimes in pairs, but in unison. In Konavle, this form of singing was known as u grlo, po junački, na istresice or istresalice. Female singing of this type differed from the male in that it had a weaker tremolo and a lower intensity of vocal performance. The only element of distinction between travel singing and istresalica songs which needs to be emphasized is the fact that travel singing was performed on horseback or while walking during a journey, while the istresalica is an honorific song performed standing up on the occasion of a celebration or feast, for example, a christening. An example of male solo na istresice singing from Konavle is the song – A-o-o-oj! Aj, šta ti Bosna što ne pjeva o-ooj. O-ooj! Oj, mi 'oćemo piti i pjeva-a-a-a-ti, he-hej! , while an example of the Konavle male na istresice singing in pairs, in unison, is the song – Kad pijemo zašto ne pjevamo o-o-o-oj! Ovo vino nije ukradeno o-o-o-oj već junačka kuka i motika o-o-o-o-oj! U putu nam dobra sreća bila o-o-o-j! Mi velimo 'oće ako Bog da oo-o-j! Veseli se bane domaćine e-e-e-ej! Sve ti zdravo i veselo bilo o-o-o-ooj! Ivan Ivančan, PhD, recorded in Konavle in the 1960s the following form of solitary female festive istresalica: – Kad pijemo, zašto ne pjevamo. Bog nas mijo vazda veselijo. / Bog nam dajo, Bog nam pomagajo. / Veselo te okom pogledajo. Dajo zdravje voku i težaku, nama mladijem zdravje i veselje. Since the words of the song Sve povrzi za Boga prioni (primi) recorded on two occasions by Olinko Delorko in Dubravka, as sung by two women, Ana Miloglav, née Obad and Jana Glavinić, née Skvičalo, both from Pridvorje, indicate a similar context and performance method, these are probably female istresalica songs as well. They were usually performed in Gornja banda on festive occasions such as weddings, by experienced singers, and represented a kind of sung blessing, honorific song or toast. Furthermore, some shorter ballades and epics were also sung in the manner of the istresalica songs. The work songs include the shepherds' and harvest songs sung during the moba or umoljba cooperative work activities, evening sessions at the spinning wheel (prelo) or knitting, olive-picking and collecting shrubbery for cattle. Shepherdesses' singing was mostly practiced in the Dubrovnik coastal region and in the Konavle hills, primarily as a solitary form of singing. A distinctive example of the beauty of Dinaric singing is the song Sunce žarko, kad za brdo zađeš from Visočani. The shepherdesses' song Blago meni i tebi djevojko is well-known in Konavle, Župa and Rijeka dubrovačka. Besides the mentioned ones, the shepherd girls also performed other solo songs from Župa dubrovačka and Konavle, such as Djevojka se suncu protivila, Sunce moje na visoku ti or Sunce moje đe si dosad bilo. Harvest singing could be solitary, known as pjevanje žetveličko, which was very similar to the istresalica, or performed by several singers in unison, in small groups, usually by two girls in one and two in the other group. The first two singers would sing the first verse, sometimes repeating it, and then the other two singers would sing the second verse, and thus the pairs would exchange verses. Apart from the usual harvest songs, humorous verses dedicated to an individual girl would also be exchanged, expressing a competitive element – which girl would have a better retort. Such verses were often impromptu or variations of existing verses and they followed a simple melodic base. Harvest songs were mostly performed by women. In the village of Đurinići in Konavle, Stjepan Stepanov recorded a song under the title Povila se niz more gemija, also known as Kapetan – djevojka. It was a romance probably dating from the 18th century. Although this song was usually performed by fiddlers, in Konavle during harvest or a moba, one woman would sing it while the others worked. Songs in this style sung by women were also performed during winter prelos in the home. Considering its narrow tetrachordal range, the song reveals its deeply archaic melodic features which developed out of the ancient Greek tetrachord. Certain harvest songs of a narrative and ballade character, such as Banovića dozivala majka, Razboje se mladi banoviću and Budi majka malog banovića, were performed solo and in the na guslarski style, and they can be called harvest ballades. Still, the most representative form of archaic harvest songs is the one sung in close intervals with a unison ending, such as the song Zapjevajmo jaranice moja from Ponikve and the songs in octaves Ala boje drugarice moje from Župa dubrovačka and Žito žele žetvelice mlade from Konavle. In Župa dubrovačka, in Čelopeci, a song similar to the one from Konavle was sung under the title U bega je porasla šenica. Harvest songs also recorded in the Dubrovnik coastal region are U Damjana rodila šenica and Ala boje obje ruke moje, while those in Doli include a song sung while hoeing up the soil, under the title Ajte brže drugarice moje, da se ovdje više ne vraćamo, da našije noga ne mučimo, da bijelijeh ruka ne prljamo! A song with a somewhat more developed diatonic melodic structure is Aj veselo obje ruke moje, while Porasla je u Bega šenica and Porasla je u raju maslinja from Konavle have the same melodic pattern. Other harvest songs performed in Konavle include the following: Ječam žela lijepa djevojka, Lijepa moja livado zelena, Aj veselo drugarice moje, U Iva je porasla šenica, Žetvu žela lijepa djevojka, Banovića dozivala majka, U bega je sazrela pšenica, Brzo žnite moje žetvelice, Dobro jutro gorice zelena, Žetvo moja bijela šenice, Žetvu žela neve i djevere, Žetvelica suncu govorila, Žetvu žela pod gorom djevojka, Pođi s bogom sunce moje žarko, Lijepo ti je pogledati bilo, Pjevala bi ma me boli glava, Povila se u bega /Iva/ šenica, Ivanića dozivala majka, Poraslo je cmilje i bosilje, Povila se bijela šenica, Pjevaj koja od vas đevojaka, Puni mi puni ladane, Koliko je veliko Kosovo, Djevojka je sijeno brala, Sunce moje što si prigrijalo and others. In Stravča, Kate Kolić wrote down several short songs now kept in the Baltazar Bogišić Collection in Cavtat. These were mostly songs sung in unison during work and leisure: Kad se ženi strijež 'tica mala, Pjevaj Mare dok si u matere, Lijepe su ti maslinove grane, Ti se dušo bijeliš i rumeniš, Sjedi vrbac na trklji, Pjevala je tičica, Zapjevala tica jarebica, Lijepa ti je gora od brštana, Draga se dragom na krilo naslanja. Short songs primarily characterised by narrow-range diatonicism were known in Konavle as kantice, svaske or povice.

The most beautiful examples of solitary ballade singing and narrative singing have been recorded on the island of Mljet. These songs are Porasla je djetelina trava and Sveti Juraj i zmaj. In addition to ballade singing, on the island of Mljet, special forms of spoken lamentation – nabrajanje – and sung lamentation – kantanje – were preserved and performed up to the second half of the 20th century. Although the singing of heroic songs – epic ballads to the accompaniment of the fiddle was the domain of men, others gathered around the fiddler were prone to start singing too. This type of singing was known in Konavle as čepački or staviti prst u uvo pa kantat (singing with a finger in one's ear). Songs were sung from a songbook, while those skilled enough also sung their own songs. Singing to the fiddle was common in the entire Dubrovnik coastal area and in Konavle. The centre of such singing was in Mrcine, nowadays Dubravka, in Gornja banda, where there were twenty fiddlers in the first half of the 20th century. Although the fiddlers were mostly men, here and there in Gornja banda and the Konavle hills, women would also play and sing. Standing out among them was the marvellous singer and fiddle player Pava Pulić-Pajko, nee Klaić, from Mrcine, who died in 1952. The singer also owned a few instruments, among which were the fiddle and the tambourin (def), today kept in the Konavle Regional museum in Čilipi. The na guslarski style of singing entered local musical culture as a distinctive style characterised by predominantly female singing without the accompaniment of an instrument. Among the numerous songs and performers, we can single out Ana Glavinić, born in 1888, also from Mrcine, whose songs Vilo moja tako ti imena, Evo sjedoh za jelovu klupu, N'jesam dunja da bi uvenula and Slušaj dušo, što ti knjiga kaže were recorded in 1961 by Stjepan Stepanov, along with her songs Konj zelenko rosnu travu pase and Pjevaj Mare dok si u matere. According to Jerko Bezić, the song Konj zelenko rosnu travu pase belongs to the group of diatonic melodies with a narrow range, from the fourth to the sixth. This group also includes unison and dual-voiced melodies, with tones in the range of a diatonic tetrachord, as well as a pentachord and hexachord, which are extensions of the diatonic tetrachordal base. Songs from this group are found in the area of the Konavle hills and Gornja banda. Songs sung na guslarski – without the accompaniment of the fiddle, ballades, novella heroic songs and epic ballads, as well as songs sung to the accompaniment of the fiddle make up the predominant part of the folk poetry corpus of this area. Here are some examples recorded by researchers from the Institute for Folk Art, i.e. today's Institute for Ethnology and Folklore Research, Olinko Delorko, Stjepan Stepanov, Ivan Ivančan and others: Čuva ovce čobanica Mara (Stravča), Poboje se Vido Madušića (Dunave), Kad su išle na teferić bule (Brgat), Sinoć Marko na večeri s majkom, Bože mili čuda velikoga, Vezak vezla Ivanova Mare (Doli), Sinoć Marko s majkom na večeri (Doli and Konavle), Bol boluje Maričić Mihajlo, Vino pije Ivo Senjanine (Trnovica), Dvore gradi Karlović Ivane (Dunave), Kulu gradi crni arap Moro, Prosi drago od Slovinja bane (Luka Šipanska), Dva su bora usporedo rasla, Konja igra Kraljeviću Marko, Falio se mali Nikolica (Osojnik/Čibača), Porasla su dva bora zelena (Dunave), Rasla jela posred Sarajeva, Knjigu štije Senjanine Ivo, L'jepa ti je jutrena rosica (Brašina), U Mostaru se povila maglija (Sustjepan), Vino piju trides Kotorana, Koliko je u prologu snijega (Luka Šipanska), Na večeri Kraljeviću Marko (Luka Šipanska), Sinju munja od Jedrena grada (Jasenice), U Omera više Sarajeva, Vezak vezla kadudnja begova, Igra kolo trides djevojaka, Fala Bogu, čuda velikoga, Ovce pase Ivo i Marija (Duba konavoska), Pije vino visoki Stevane, Šemluk čini Zadranina bane, Boga moli ljuba Markojeva, Procvilio sužanj u tamnici, Uranio Kraljeviću Marko, Šetala se budimska kraljica, Od Marka Kraljević i njegovon ljubi, Šetala se Jurjeva Jelica (Majkovi), Prosi drago Senjanine Ivo (Čelopeci), Prosi curu Grabovac Ilija, Konja kuje Banović Sekule, Piju vino dva dobra junaka (Petrača), Rano rani na vodu Jagoda, Bijele platno Senjanke djevojke (Dubrovnik coastal region), Kad se ženi Vlašiću Radoje (Gromača), U Miloša gorskog čobanina (Grbavac), recorded in Konavle, and Čuva ovce čobanin Miloše. Other songs sung in the na guslarski style were also recorded in Konavle: Hrani majka do devet sinova, Rano rani od Sibinja Janko, Dvoje se je milovalo drago, Jadna li je sirota djevojka, Poboje se Vido Madušića, Podranio Kraljeviću Marko, Vezak vezla Ivanova Jele, Gorom ide Anica đevojka, Rano rani od Udbine Mujo, Konja kuje Jutica Bogdane, Vezak vezla Janje Vojinova, Poranio Kraljeviću Marko, Konja kuje Markić Senjanine, Vijeće čine tri mila brajana, Tri su bora usporedo rasla, Razbolje se vjerena djevojka and others. The famous fiddler from Majkovi Petar Barbarus, who performed songs from the Majkovi and Doli area in the Dubrovnik coastal region to the accompaniment of the fiddle, lived in America at the end of the 19th century. He performed the following songs: Ženidba Ilije Smiljanića i Zlate Hrnjića, Ženidba Sibinjanina Janka sa ćeri od Božuna bana, Ženidba od Zadra Todora sa lijepom Kosom Smiljanića, Beg Filipović i njegova sestra, Pjesma od mladoga Omerice, Kćerka Ana od Budima bana, Lijepa Fata vjeru provjerila, Hrani majka devet milih sina, Kadno Kotar Turci porobiše, Curu prosi Memunić Omere, Dva su bora usporedo rasla, Bože mili čuda velikoga, Vino pije Boičić Alija. The song Vino pije Kraljević Marko was known in the wider Dubrovnik area, while a song about hajduk Božur Lasić – Bijela je klikovala vila or Jezdi knjiga od Beča bijeloga – was especially popular in Konavle. In Župa dubrovačka, some of the recorded songs sung to the accompaniment of the fiddle were Oj gusli moja davorijo, Vino pije tridesti serdara (also known in Šilješci in Konavle) and the narrative song Monah – djevojka, recorded, as performed by Mato Miloslavić Peko from Postranje in 1944, by Slovenian ethnologist Milko Matičetov, whereas a similar song called Fratar Matijica was recorded by Andro Murat in Luka Šipanska. Matičetov concluded that both songs were to a certain extent affiliated with the Christian legends of Saint Marina, Saint Eugenia and others. Mato Miloslavić Peko knew some twenty fiddling songs which he learned from Kelez Antun Puh, who in turn knew more than forty of them. From Peko's account, one finds out that the introductory part of the songs sung na guslarski, which did not have to be connected with the song's narrative, was called the pripjevak or napjevak, for example: Teško ti ga Vlahu siromahu i Turčinu koji pare nema. Teško kencu s konjem putujuć, mladoj curi s đedom spavajuć. Do ponoća buhe puđajući, od ponoća noge pružajući, preko starca k'o magarca. Teško imat kuću kapavicu, a još gore ženu lajavicu: Kuću prekrij – neće ti kapati, udri ženu – gore će lajati. A po tome da se napijemo!1 The napjevak could also appear at the end of the song. For example, the following one was recorded in Župa dubrovačka: Koga nie da kruha ne ie! A mi, braćo, zdravo i veselo!, Gusle gundu da nijesu zaludu, a gundilo da pijemo vino, Gusle moje od javora panja, za me nema na topragu stanja!2 The following is an example of a pripjevak from Konavle: Da pijemo da se veselimo, na ovemu mjestu đe sjedimo, i malenu pjesmu zapjevamo, pjesmu milu i prije pjevanu, što je prije u star zeman bilo, prije bilo sad se spominjalo, ko i lijepa cura u Krajini, ali dobar momak u družini, ali sveti Đurđe u godini, štono jednom na godinu dođe, u najljevše doba od godine, u proljeće kad cvati cvijeće, kada rosa pa'ne niz cvijeće, kad se gora zaodjene listom, a livada travom djetelinom3 or Oj gusle moje, ovamo ste malo, i vi moje tanano gudalo ovamo ste, da pjesmu pjevamo, da pjevamo, da se veselimo. Veseli nam Bože domaćina, domaćina i ju dvoru ko je, svako mu se dobru veselijo! A potome kićena družino, poslušaj te da vam pjesmu kažem, da vam kažem pjesmu od istine.4 In addition to solitary singing, another archaic form of singing is male singing in unison. In the Dubrovnik coastal region, this usually referred to male performances of wedding songs and honorific songs. The song Oj što je ovo društvo neveselo from the villages of Ošlje and Stupa is a wedding song that follows the musical pattern of travel singing, but it is performed by several men. The lead singer begins with the exclamation o – o – oj and the first few verses similar to travel singing, and then the melody is taken up by the rest of the singers and at the end, to confirm what has been sung, they end with jes – jes. Apart from this one, there are records of other wedding songs sung in a similar manner on other festive occasions, for example, U ovega domaćina, ima dosta rujnog vina from the Ston coastal region and Otkad nismo za miloga Boga, also from the Ston coastal region. The latter points to the existence of a voice which, in contrast to those in the other songs, was periodically lowered to a second. Since it is assumed that, in the aforementioned unison male songs, there was a voice which periodically sang the second, we may conclude that the older dual-voiced singing was replaced by singing in unison. The ganga song, with one leading voice and one or more accompanying voices, is characteristic of the area of western Herzegovina. It can be found in Trebimlja and Neum along the border with the Dubrovnik coastal region (Zapjevajo Trebimljani momci, Joj, pjevaj brate, rođak je uz tebe), from where it also spread to the border villages of the Dubrovnik coastal region, Imotica and Trnovica (Evo mene i mog brata Rade). In Imotica, there was a distinction between the broja (brojkavica) and the ganga. In the broja, all the participants uttered the song verses, while in the ganga only one did so, with the others accompanying him by ojkanje, i.e. the repetition of the vowels o – o – o – o. Three participants were required for the ganga and it was rarely sung by more than 4 persons. It consisted of several turns with two to three main ones. Women would usually sing for two turns, one with minor repetition and the other, longer, with more extensive repetition. The ganga was most often sung by men and the broja by women. The older female tunes were not sung in a ganga, but usually in a broja, while taking the cattle to pasture. The best examples of old female dual-voiced singing can be found in the Ošlje and Stupa villages of the Ston coastal region. The lead section consists of an oligotonic melody performed by several female voices, one of which periodically lowers itself freely to a second or a minor third. Examples of such songs are Zapjevat ću i Bože pomozi and Dobar Bože pomozi nas. In contrast, examples of singing from Visočani, as well as other villages of the Dubrovnik coastal region, reveal a simplification of style, which is why, with regard to them, we can talk about a transition to singing in unison, since the supporting the tone in the oligotonic sequence is hardly noticeable and the ratios among tones approach those of the diatonic scale.

Singing in unison is also characteristic of the rural kolenda, poskočnica, circle-dance and wedding songs. These are songs with melodic elements of a simple range, performed by several singers who alternate in small groups. Of exceptional value and antiquity are the ceremonial kolenda and poskočnica songs. The pre-Christian content and motifs of the kolenda and poskočnica songs point to a common origin and were part of the pre-Christian ceremonies of the early Slavs. They were part of the repertoire performed during rituals celebrating the new year and aimed at securing overall fertility and prosperity. In the folk tradition, the same or similar songs were performed during the spring and summer saints' festivities and celebrations as the poskočnica songs, that is, during Christmas and New Year as kolenda songs, which indicates that these songs were part of the same semiotic corpus. Although today we see the kolenda and poskočnica as separate types of song, this is a later division which probably came about owing to Christianization and the introduction of a new calendar. This led to the assignment of separate functions to these songs, which originally had the same meaning and function, within a new temporal and ceremonial context. Thus, some poskočnica songs became kolenda songs by adding the refrain kolendo, kolendo, veselo, veselo. Through the development of tradition, new forms of the kolenda also developed, which is why today we differentiate between the rural kolenda songs, the transitional type of kolenda songs, the urban kolenda songs and the honorific kolenda songs. Our overview of traditional folklore will be dedicated to rural kolenda songs, since they represent the deepest layer of traditional culture. The kolenda songs were primarily performed from the feast day of St. Catherine of Alexandria until Christmas or New Year's Day, although honorific kolenda songs were also sung during other saints' feast days – name-days to individual persons, but these kolenda songs were part of the urban tradition. Procession kolenda songs can be divided into female and male ones. The kolenda songs were not just procession songs, but were also performed during circle dances. The female kolenda songs are a unique phenomenon in the area of the Dubrovnik coastal region, performed by groups of female singers from the feast day of St. Catherine of Alexandria until Christmas Eve. From Christmas until New Year's Day, the kolenda songs were performed by groups of male singers and this form of kolenda singing is spread across the entire Dubrovnik area. The repertoire of the male kolenda songs also included other male festive songs, performed in unison. Some of the male kolenda songs are Dobra večer, ko je u kući, Dobra večer, mi kucamo and Domaćine, zdrav bio. Other festive kolenda songs sung in the home were Domaćine, daj nam vina from Čepikuće or U ovega domaćina from Smokovljani, Ko ne mogo popiti and Oćemo li, moremo li from Imotica, as well as Pod onom gorom zelenom.

The most beautiful kolenda songs are those from the Dubrovnik coastal region and the Pelješac peninsula. In Putnikovići and Ponikve, the kolenda songs accompanied circle dances. They were sung in unison by two groups of singers exchanging verses, always with the refrain kolendo – kolendo, veselo – veselo. The kolenda songs were the following: Kolovođo, diko naša, U jasenca sitna resa, S onu stranu Šibenika and Po sred Senja orah raste, or Orah raste nasred sela in Ponikve. The following kolenda songs were performed by women in the Dubrovnik coastal region: Božić zove s one strane, Ovim dvorim dobra večer, Koja je ovo noć noćašnja, U Božića tri sestrice, Jabuka se vjetru moli, O jabuko zeleniko, Rasla vojka lovorika, Primorčica konja jaše, Kolendari kuće grade, Sve jezero, sve zeleno, Oj javore zelen bore, Ide Božo uz ulicu, Rasla jela u osoju, Izvir voda izvirala, Na jasenku sitna resa. Kolenda songs were sung during the entire period from the feast day of Saint Catherine of Alexandria until Christmas, during work, cattle-grazing and in the field. Other kolenda songs were also recorded, for example, Ja uranih jutro ranim or the kolenda Oci u Limbu bijahu, celebrating the Fourth Sunday of Advent. Kolenda Gospi from the island of Koločep is a special form of kolenda – a prayer or invocation directed at the central church. The song is indicative of the tradition of Glagolitic singing and the melody is expressed in the Phrygian (possibly also the Hypomixolydian) mode. The following kolenda songs about St. Nicholas were recorded in Dubrovnik, Župa dubrovačka and the Pelješac peninsula: Nikola, Nikola zapovijed je od Boga, Podigla se korabja and Raslo drvo srid raja. On the feast day of Saint Barbara, the song Kuva se vara varica was sung in Konavle. The kolenda songs sung in Župa dubrovačka were based on a melodic pattern similar to that of the Dubrovnik coastal region songs—unison. The oldest ones are those of the rural type, kolenda songs that sing about a pine and a bird on it scaling golden tassels, for example, Dobra večer domaćine and Ovđe Bog i dobar večer!, while the kolenda Dobra večer naš gospare reveals the influence of the city. The Konavle kolenda Dobra večer, mi kucamo is a transitional type of kolenda whose verses contain both archaic rural and urban elements, while its melodic base is of urban provenance. The urban kolenda songs are Dubrovačka kolenda, Zatonska kolenda, Riječka kolenda, Cavtajska kolenda and Mljetska kolenda. The kolenda songs were performed by adults, but also by children, who were eager to learn them by imitating the adults. If someone refused to open their doors to them, they were known to sing offensive or curse verses: Pred kućom ti drvo loza, a u kući gospođa koza or Pred kućom ti drvo murva, a u kući žena kurva. Younger children visited homes and sang Christmas songs such as Božić, božić bata, Božić štapom bata, U Božića tri nožića or Poručila Božićeva majka.

According to Andro Murat, songs sung around the ritual fire called radovanje, svitnjak, kralj, dub, viganj, standio and krijes in the Dubrovnik area and lit on the feast days of St. Vitus, St. John, St. Peter, St. Elias (the fire saints), St. George and St. Stephen were also poskočnica songs. Therefore, although the name of poskočnica is sometimes used to denote comic and cheerful songs with epic and lyric characteristics, the poskočnica songs are much more than purely entertaining and belong to the ritual context of the New Year. In Ponikve on the Pelješac peninsula, a large number of songs sung by female singers around a fire was recorded. These were the following: Pod onom gorom visokom (pod njom je cvijeće šipkovo), with the vocal strophe Capćelo, capćelo cvijeće šipkovo sung 2X, Šipkovo, šipkovo, cvijeće i modro sung 2X, Zaprosi Pavle Vlašiću i lijepe Anke Budimke and U kralja ćeri Davida, with the same vocal strophe. Other songs that were performed are Petar se gradu falijo and Lijepo ti je rano uraniti, whose vocal strophe Lijepo ti je, veselo, rano uraniti changed to Lijepo ti je, žalosno, rano uraniti after the plot twist in the song. The song Cura momku prsten povraćala had the refrain Moj lole, moj nevene, nije tebi do mene, repeated after each verse, while Zora rudi, majka kćercu budi or Zora rudi, majka sina budi were added to the repertoire as new songs. The songs Budila majka Ivana/Vidoja/ and Osu se nebo zvijezdama were sung across the Dubrovnik coastal region, Elafiti and the Pelješac peninsula and formed the basis of this custom. The rich repertoire of songs sung on the occasion of a radovanje, recorded by Andro Murat on Šipan, included the following songs: Oj javore, zelen bore, U polju murva crljena, Jeli javor poručuje, Ja se šetam krajem mora, O zelena zeleniko, Sve jezdreno, sve zeleno, Igrale se đevojčice, Sijala Mare bosilje, Mi ženimo kraljevića, Ran bosilje poručuje, Mladi Pavle konja kuje, Kolo vode devet braće, U kralja ćerca Davida, Vila b'jela grad gradila, S onu stranu hladne vode, Ja usadih vitu jelu, Po polju se prah podigo, Livada se uresila, Po polju konji igraju, Rod rodila jabučica, Daždić pade usred ljeta, Ide Mare na vodicu, Višnjica je rod rodila and Što se onom gorom sjaje. Although Olinko Delorko recorded numerous songs in Konavle in 1961, the context of their performance was not clearly defined. Nevertheless, with regard to their content, some of the songs can be classified as poskočnica songs, that is, songs sung around the ritual fire, but not only then. These are: Lijepa moja livado zelena, Vrani se konji igraju, Raste drvo lovorika, Porasla je lika lovorika, U gradu je porasla naranča, Porasla je u Novi naranča, O jabuko zeleniko, Mare rano uranila, Ispod grada Carigrada, Dobro jutro, gorice zelena, Mlad' se Josip oženio, Kupale se dv'je sestrice, Oj djevojko, imaš koga svoga, Poraslo je cmilje i bosilje, Oj, javore, zelen bore, Oj, Savice, tiha vodo 'ladna, Da bi momak curu obljubio, Tekla voda na valove, Kladila se vila i djevojka, Djevojka je momku prsten povraćala, Crljen čador do polja, Po polju se lelijala trava, Pod onom gorom zelenom and Djevojka je išla za goru na vodu. These and songs such as Šalu šali dok curu premami, Momče gleda, majka ne da, Oj đevojko, đur đevojko (accompanied by dancing) te Majka Maru preko mora zvala (also accompanied by dancing), Biser Mara u jezeru brala, Da bi meni izabrati dali or Vozila se niz more đemija, sung according to a very similar melodic pattern (just as the song Izašla je zelena naranča), also accompanied other events in women's daily lives. Distinguished amongst the highly-skilled Konavle female singers of the 20th century, who maintained a developed melodic structure and a unique personal character of their performances, was Nika Peškareva.

There are many wedding songs in the Dubrovnik area, but the style of their performance, apart from certain exceptions, mostly follows standard melodic patterns usually sung by a female chorus, the bridesman, another honorary wedding guest or the wedding party. Unlike the songs of the Dubrovnik coastal region and Župa dubrovačka, Konavle wedding songs and pripjevak sections have a somewhat more developed melodic structure. Each action within a wedding is accompanied by verses. A large number of wedding songs which complete the basic musical vocal part of the programme originate precisely from the ritual repertoire of poskočnica songs.

A wedding in Konavle consists of several scenic acts accompanied by song: 1) gathering in the home of the bridegroom – Izabro junak dan po dan, Vrani se konji igraju; 2) departure to church – Prva je kita prvijenčeva; 3) the arrival of the wedding party from the church to the bride's home and the washing of hands – Lijepo ti je pogledati, Koja je kita prvijenčeva, Povila se zlatna žica; 4) being seated at the table – Soko ptica perje vije krajem Dunava; 5) the toast of the master of the ceremony and the bridesman – U starog svata biserna brada; 6) the drinking of brandy – Cvijetak cakti uz trpezu; 7) the serving of the roast – Ovo meso pečeno; 8) the gifting of the bride by the bridesman, the best man and the bride's attendant – Naša neve prela, tkala, Mlada neve prela, tkala; 9) a potkolo of two bride's attendants and two girls – Ajmo igrat, ajmo pjevat; 10) the prayer of the master of the ceremony and bread tapping – Dobar čovječe, dobri ti reče; 11) the prayer of the father of the bride – U našeg domaćina vinograd; 12) the prayer of the mother of the bride – O dobra ženo, dobro ti reče; 13) drinking coffee and preparing for departure – Sunce naše (nam je) na zalazu 'oće da zađe, Homo hvalit ko nas čuje; 14) the departure of the wedding party from the home of the bride – Ajde zbogom neve naša, 'Ajte zbogom svatovi, Lijepo ti je pogledati; 15) the arrival of the wedding party to the home of the bridegroom, announced by a shot – Lijepo ti je pogledati, Podigla se zlatna žica, Dobro došli svi svatovi; 16) the arrival of the chest – Evo nama skrinjonoše, Prva je kita prvijenčeva; 17) the arrival of the bridesman – Evo nama starog svata; 18) taking a seat at the table – Posadi se domaćine; 19) the bride arranging the chest in a room while the guests are at the table – Pijte vino, gosti naši, Prosula se škatulica, Doleće ptica paune, Koji je žamor ovom dvoru, Pala magla na Bojanu; 20) the bride's attendant dances with the bride to check whether she is limping – Igrala zlatna jabuka, Mare rano uranila, Ispod grada Carigrada, Lijepa ti si nevo naša, Porasla je zelenika, Konja jaše primorkinja, Tekla voda na valove; 21) bringing the bride to the groom – Kud nam ode đuveglija, Đuveglija mili brate, Oj đevojko crven kapo; 22) the spinning of the wedding bread with a wedding branch – U susjeda međed melje, Doleće ptica paune; 23) waking the bride and seeing off the wedding party – Dig se gore nevo naša, Naša neve sinoć došla, Ova neve dvore mela.

A wedding in the Dubrovnik coastal region also includes a wide range of musical acts which accompany specific activities and include singing by the dolinbaša, the bridesman, the female choir and the rest of the wedding party: 1) Thursday at the bridegroom's and bride's – Da rečemo ujme Boga (Majkovi/Gornja sela), Veselje nam ovo u čas dobar (Gornja sela/ Majkovi), Poletio sivi soko (Gornja sela/ Majkovi), Što u dvoru đambor stoji (Gornja sela), Evo nama ruho ide (Majkovi); 2) the gathering of the wedding party at the bride's home and departure to church – Da rečemo ujme Boga (Majkovi/Gornja sela), Majka kćeri kose plete (Majkovi), Ej, pomozi Bože, a veseli Bože, U putu nam dobra sreća, Od kad se neve rodila; 3) the gathering of the wedding party at the bridegroom's and departure to church – Veseli se kući domaćine (Gornja sela/Majkovi), Napij nam se, brate (Visočani), Ko nam svati piti da, Da rečemo ujme Boga, Što u dvorim džambor stoji, Poletio sivi soko, Veseli se kućni domaćine, Đuveglio perulio redi svatove, Ej pomozi Bože, a veseli Bože (Majkovi); 4) the return of the bride's wedding party and the toast – Ko nam svatim piti da, Veseli se kući domaćine (Majkovi); 5) the departure of the bridegroom and his wedding party to the home of the bride and the toast – Ko nam starcu piti da, Otud svati prohodili i nevjeste provodili (Majkovi); 6) the arrival of the bridegroom to te bride's home – Veseli se kućni domaćine, Svatovi nam na dvor došli (Majkovi); 7) the toast of the dolinbaša and the bridesman – Što se mučki ovo vino pije (bridesman), Veseli se, oj ti pirni babo (bridesman); 8) singing around the table – Poletio sivi soko s vrha planine, Što u dvoru džambor stoji, U našega starog svata kite i vite, Sivi se soko s perjem diči, Povio se struk bosioka, Pogledajte moje druge naše nevjeste, Imam dunju i jabuku, Povila se zlatna žica, U našega đeverbaše pošten vinograd, Ti si nam stigo iz tuđe zemlje, Oj đevere, ti naš zlatni prstene, Oj ti ćajko naš, odreži nam kruha kraj, Oj ti majko majčice, Božja crkvice, Izišla je koga iz komina, Naš helčija širokijeh boka, Dok si bio crven ispod brade, Oj tetka debeloga vrata, Pružila se kupjenica, Prosula se škatulica, U naranče gusti vrsi, O malo pile, Đevojčice narančice, Grizo momak jabuku, Udovica Boga moli, Ko vino pije od slave Božje (Majkovi), Oj ti neve prina sele (Gornja sela); 9) distribution of gifts – Ustani se pirna majko (Gornja sela); 10) gifting the bridal chest – U naše neve sandučići pozlokotaše, U naše neve sandučići vrhom nepuni, Pođi zbogom sele naša, Gnijezdo vila ptica lastavica (the dolinbaša's lament); Ajde zbogom neve naša (Gornja sela); 11) the prayer of the bride's parents – Pirov babo i pirova majko (bridesman), Oj ti dobar čovječe, sve što nam reče (Majkovi), Oj čačko, počačko (Visočani); 12) sending off the wedding party – Uputi se stari svate, vrijeme ti je, Haj na noge kito i svatovi (bridesman), Dijeli se sele od roda, Stari svate i prvijenče zategni konja, Okreni se neve, naša majka te zove, Ide ruho nevjestino (Gornja sela), Pođite s Bogom svatovi, Hajdete s Bogom svatovi (Gornja sela); 13) arrival of the wedding party to the home of the bridegroom – Evo nama barjaktara muštulukdžije, Veseli se kućni domaćine (bridesman), Dobro nam došli svatovi; 14) singing and toast after supper – Što se ovo mučki vino pije (bridesman), Veseli se i ti pirov babo (bridesman sings at the table), Kumovi ti kumovali; 15) the bride distributes gifts – Šutrak šturi zoru ćuti, Naša neve tanko prela; 16) gifting and prayer – Đe li si nam ti pirova majko (bridesman), Oj dobar čovječe sve što nam reče; 17) leading the bride – Naša neve ide spati, viđe li je ko, Ustani se neve naša, daj nam zahare, Štaglin ptica u dub kuca, Ja prošeto mlađan momak, Stari svate i vjenčani kume, Naša neve čuva ovce oko čičkare; 18) the second day after the wedding, following the meal – Uputi se stari svate, vrijeme ti je, Rekli su nam stari do neđelje stati. In the Grad custom in Gornja sela, the food that the bride gave to the bride's attendants after she had entered the room would be placed in a heap before the bridesman, who would cut the meat and sing Grad se gradi oće se sovrnje. The braiding of the bride's hair and the placing of the wreath, done by the bride's mother on the morning of the wedding day in the home of the bride, was accompanied by song in all parts of the Dubrovnik region. In Župa dubrovačka, the song was Naša neve kosu plete and in Ston it was Mari majka vijenac meće. A wedding in Župa followed the same common form and the same songs were sung (Naša neve prela tkala, Sunce nam je na zahodu and others). Considering that in Visočani, just like in the Konavle potkolo, the song Ode škrinja nevjestina, sung at the departure of the bridal chest, contained the verses Zaigrajmo, zapjevajmo oko ruha nevjestina. Ova neve majku ima, ona ju je darivala (...), it is possible that dancing around the bridal chest was once a more widespread custom. The songs of the Dubrovnik coastal region differ slightly from village to village. The following are several examples from Lisac recorded on field. There, wedding songs were sung by women even during the preparation of food, i.e. baking in the oven. When the bride left the church, she was accompanied by the song Naša neve poljem šeće, skuta joj se vata cvijeće. The arrival of the wedding party to the home of the bride was announced with the following verses: Evo nama barjaktara, muštulučije, nosi nama dobre glase od sve družine, a najviše staroj majci od đuveglije. Dobri ste došli svatovi. Evo nama prvijenca (…) Dobri ste došli svatovi. Evo nama starog svata (...) Dobri ste došli svatovi. Evo nama đevera (…) Dobri ste došli svatovi. Svakom svatu po kiticu, đuvegliji vjerenicu. Dobri ste došli svatovi5. At the table, the bridesman would sing thus: Ko nas junak obeseli i njega će Bog, a njega i vas njegov rod. Domaćinov vinograd vas je paprom posijan, i šenicom bijelicom i besjedom poštenom6. After that, the bridesman would sing to each wedding guest, accompanied by the female choir. After the mother said a prayer, the female choir would sing: Oj ti majko majčice, dobro ti reče našem bratu i sestrici sve u dobar čas. Mi mislili pomislili da je pošten glas, i vino i čelo sve nam zdravo veselo, veselo!7 After the gifing of the bride and during preparations for departure, the wedding party sang the song Ode škrinja nevjestina. One of the older men would sing: Zbogom ostaj ti pirova majko, odoše ti kićeni svatovi, odvedoše kićenu nevjestu8. This was followed by the choir singing Dijeli se sele od roda, ko ona pčela od roja, vikni se sele tuđinu, ko ona čela ulištu. Tuđu majku majkom zovi, svoju moraš zaboravi. Tuđeg brata bratom zovi, svoga moraš zaboravi (…). Pri svijeći kuću meti, a uz grede kosu pleti, ako misliš ugoditi, tuđu dvori, tuđoj majci, tuđu dvoru, tuđom ćaći, tuđu dvoru, tuđom braći9. When the chest arrived to the bridegroom's home, the following verses were sung: Evo skrinja nevjestina, puna ruha naložena, i suknena i svilena, i bijela i crvena, a najviše blagoslova, blagoslova majke svoje, blagoslova oca svoga, blagoslova svega roda. Lećela, lećela tica prepela, đe pala tu se raspala.10 Since the wedding party used to stay for three days, in order to hurry them on the second day after the wedding, the following was sung: Uputi se stari svate, vrijeme ti je. Popijo si bačvu vina sve do kapljice, a izio brava mesa sve do repice. Šeni su se otisnuli od svake gore, a najviše od one od koje ste vi.11 In Gornja sela, the wedding party was seen off to the following verses: Uputi se prvijenče, vrijeme ti je, drži konje osedlane, čekaju tebe, izio si kravu mesa sve do kospice, popio si bačvu vina sve do kapljice, izio si peću kruha sve do korice12. The men would then retort: Rekli su nam stari doveče je stati, vina piti dajte, konje ne sedlajte. I vino i čelo sve nam zdravo veselo, veselo!13 In addition to the main songs, there was a wide range of comic honorific and pripjevak songs sung at the table to different members of the wedding party. Some of them are listed under part 9 of the coastal wedding, while a large number of honorific songs from Šipan was recorded by Andro Murat. The honorific song Kad sam bio ja bez brade was recorded in Župa dubrovačka and Mljet. An interesting custom accompanied by song was also the grinding of wheat in a millstone by the bridegroom and the bride on Sunday, eight days before the wedding. The song accompanying this act was Šetao se od Budima kralju, sung to the lijerica. Many wedding songs performed in Orebić on the day of the wedding, such as Izvir voda izvirala, Visoka jele do neba and others, were also ceremonially sung around the fire. The wedding honorific and other songs of Mljet started losing their ancient melodic structure in the 20th century and some of them continued to be sung to the melody of the patriotic song Još Hrvatska ni propala.

1 “Hard is the life of the poor Vlach and the Turk who has no money. It is hard for a donkey to travel with a horse and for a young girl to lay with an old man. To pick fleas until midnight and stretch your legs from midnight on, across an old man as if across a donkey. It is hard to have a leaking roof and harder still to have a gossiping wife: cover the roof and it stops leaking, hit your wife and she gossips even more. And now let us drink.”

2 “Those who are not here will eat no bread! And us, brothers, may we be healthy and happy! The fiddle plays not in vain for us to drink wine, my maple fiddle, I will not stop while I'm on this earth!”

3 “Let us drink and be merry where we sit and let us sing a little song, sweet and old, from the days of yore, now gone but still remembered, just like a pretty girl in Krajina or a good fellow in a company or Saint George, who comes once a year, in the sweetest season, in the spring when the flowers bloom and dew falls on them, when the mountain forests break into leaf and the meadows in clover”

4 “Come here, my fiddle and thin fiddle bow, let us sing a song and be merry. God, make our host merry, and with him all in the house - all the best unto them! And now, splendid party, listen to my song which I will sing just as it happened”

5 “Here comes the bannerman, the muštulukčija, with good news from the entire party, but the best ones for the old bridegroom's mother. Welcome, wedding guests! Here comes the leader of the wedding party (…) Welcome, wedding guests! Here comes the bridesman (...) Welcome, wedding guests! Here comes the bride's attendant (…) Welcome, wedding guests! Each wedding guest gets a small bouquet, the bridegroom gets his fiancée. Welcome, wedding guests!“

6 “If the hero makes us merry, the God will do the same for him, and his offspring both for him and everyone. The host's vineyard is sprinkled with pepper, white wheat and honourable words.“

7 “O dear mother, you spoke well to our brother and sister, all in good time. We thought we heard an honourable voice, may our wine and health be healthy and good!”

8 “Fare thee well, mother of the bride, the fancy wedding party is leaving and taking away the comely bride”

9 “The sister is leaving her family as the bee leaves its swarm; turn to strangers, sister, as the bee to the hive. Call another mother yours, your own you must forget. Call another brother yours, your own you must forget. (...) Sweep the house by candlelight and braid your hair by the shore, if you wish to please a stranger's house, a stranger's mother, a stranger's house, a stranger's father, a stranger's house, a stranger's brothers.”

10 “Here is the bridal chest, filled with folded clothes, cloth and silk, white and red, but mostly filled with blessings, blessings from your mother, blessings from your father, blessings from your kin. The quail flew and flew and flew apart where it fell.”

11 “Be on your way, bridesman, it's your time. You drank the barrel of wine down to the last drop and ate the ram meat to the tail. The revellers from each hill, most of them your own, have departed.”

12 “Be on your way, leader of the wedding party, it's your time, keep the horses saddled, they are waiting for you, you've eaten the beef to the bone, you've drunk the wine barrel to the last drop, you've eaten the baked bread to the crust.”

13 “The elders have told us to stay until evening, so give us wine and don't saddle the horses. May our wine and health be healthy and good!”