Dialect A

Introduction and comments in Slovenian

Traditional music of Slovenes in Prekmurje (River Mura) region. Recordings made by Béla Vikár.

Comments to the recordings are written by Marija Klobčar, PhD.

The recordings made by Hungarian researcher Béla Vikár in 1898 in Tišina (in Hungarian Csendlak), Prekmurje, reveal a part from the musical heritage of the easternmost area inhabited by Slovenes. At the time when these recordings were made, the area was part of the Kingdom of Hungary, officially named as Vendvidék (Vend Region, i. e. the Slovene Region). After the First World War, the area was divided into Prekmurje (River Mura region), which is now part of Slovenia, and Porabje (River Rába region), which belongs to Hungary.

At the end of the 19th century, the Hungarian Ethnographic Society initiated the research on the traditional cultures of the ethnic minorities in the Kingdom of Hungary, and Vikár’s recordings were part of this project. The data sheets of the wax cylinders kept at the Museum of Ethnography in Budapest show that Vikár used, as was customary at the time, the designation vend for what we call today “Slovene.” Although the existence of Tišina (Csendlak) recordings has always been public knowledge – some of the transcriptions accompanying the wax cylinders as well as the entries in green ink come from Béla Bartók, probably from the mid-1930s – it was Tihamér Vujicsics (Tihomir Vujičić) who first examined them scientifically, from the perspective of the South Slavic folk musical context of the melodies. This collection has an exceptional documentary and cultural value for Slovenes: these are the oldest folk song recordings in the Slovene language, and through both their language and content, they reveal the social situation of the Slovenes in Hungary at the turn of the century.

The area between the Mura and Rába Rivers – where the Tišina (Csendlak) recordings also belong – is marked by the Prekmurje dialect, which, at the time of the recording, had already had a centuries-old tradition as a regional literary language. The recorded songs, thus, show on the level of both phonetics and vocabulary the effect of neighbouring dialects and languages which the Prekmurje Slovenes encountered during their seasonal work, and the modest influence of the standard Slovene language, which they came across through Slovene literature.

Therefore, the linguistic accuracy in the transcriptions of the Tišina (Csendlak) recordings can be assessed in a very relative way: in individual songs, we encounter different reproductions of certain sounds  of speech (i. e. phones), and in some cases these differences appear even within a single song. This might reflect different identifications of the same sounds during transcription and it certainly mirrors different degrees of the dialectal character, present in the performance of one or more songs. Transcriptions, therefore, are on the whole faithful to the transcriptions by Vujičić, for a linguistic unification of the records would eliminate traces of intercultural connections or it would alter the perception of the language as it was captured by Vikár, in 1898, in the remote village of Tišina.

NM-MH 1224a

NM-MH 1225a

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