The views of Slavko Osterc on Musical Tradition and Musical Nationalism


  • Katarina Bedina



In spite of his radical principles Slavko Osterc objectively appreciated the significance and influence of the musical tradition in the creation of contemporary art. As a follower of revolutionary musical ideas he identified the utilisation of traditional elements, i. e. of the tried musical patterns with epygonism. However, he respected the continuation of tradition. So he thought that the achievements of the past epochs should be an important source of knowledge and experience to lead contemporary composers into the world of the unexplored. Osterc is of the opinion that every beginner, in spite of being bound to tradition, is obliged to search for new possibilities of expression and contribute with his new experiences to the application of tradition as an appropriate basis for orientation in the most progressive musical movements, whereas a strong affirmation of the latter was, in his view, the chief guarantee for successful musical creation in Slovenia. So he came in conflict with some nationally orientated composers chiefly among his Serbian and Croatian contemporaries. Being convinced that the folk-song was appropriate above all for vocal music because of its simple form and expression, he objected to the use of folklore elements in artistic music in general and especially in symphonic forms. He did not agree with those who warned against the degeneration of our artistic music by the composer's neglect of the folksong and his use of models from the currents of modern European music. Though he was proud of his nationality, he proved to people in his country and abroad that the application of the folk-song as well as of folklore elements gave no guaratee for a national expression within composition and of its high artistic value.


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1. 12. 1967




How to Cite

Bedina, K. (1967). The views of Slavko Osterc on Musical Tradition and Musical Nationalism. Musicological Annual, 3(1), 89-94.