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Zemaitija

Standing on this region's cherished Satrija hill, one can see all of central Zemaitija. In general, the people of Zemaitija are very reserved, reticent, stubborn and slow to make decisions, but sure to achieve their goals. It is said that what will be will be, what won't won't, but a zemaitis will always survive. During several centuries of warfare, the crusaders never succeeded in conquering the steadfast people of Zemaitija.

This firmness and slowness is also reflected in the region's songs. Though they are in major modes and double-voiced similarly to those of Aukstaitija, many of their rhythms are more complicated, unstructured and uneven, much like the speech of Zemaitija's inhabitants. The melodies are drawn out, with grace notes and are sometimes chromatic. It is almost impossible to convey the true character of these songs in musical notation:
Click to view lyrics 8 kb.

Songs from Zemaitija cover only a narrow spectrum of genres and their melodic styles are most characteristically monolithic.

Kankles from Zemaitija (and those of western Aukstaitija) are larger and somewhat differently shaped than those of northeastern Aukstaitija. They have nine or more strings and are used to accompany dances and songs.

Zemaitija is known for its many imported pair dances which have acquired a local flavor.



next previous   http://thelithuanians.com/booklithuanianroots/contents
Next: Lithuania Minor Previous: Aukstaitija

"LITHUANIAN ROOTS", Edited by Rytis Ambrazevicius


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Copyright ©, 1996 Lithuanian Folk Culture Centre.