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Lithuania Minor

For many centuries, Lutheran Lietuvininkai lived separately from Catholic Lithuania in this small portion of Zemaitija (around Klaipeda) and in former Prussian territory conquered by Germany. Religion and dependence on the sea formed the chilly characters and ascetic way of life of Lithuania Minor's inhabitants.

The presence of words such as fisherman, boat and sea in song texts and sorrowful single-voiced melodies reflect the hardships of life by the sea. Unfortunately, these songs mostly disappeared long ago, and can only be reconstructed through the collections of the 19th century. Their melodies are astonishingly subtle, calm and freely flowing with unexpected modal shifts, chromatism and ambiguous modes. Often the variety of modes in this region's songs eclipses those of Dzukija:
Click to view lyrics 12 kb.

In style the melodies somewhat resemble those of Dzukija, Suvalkija and Zemaitija. It appears that such forms had once been much more widespread in these regions. Lithuania Minor's songs also reflect much German influence.



next previous contents
Next: THE CALENDAR CYCLE Previous: Zemaitija

"LITHUANIAN ROOTS", Edited by Rytis Ambrazevicius


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Copyright ©, 1996 Lithuanian Folk Culture Centre.