»Unmarried Mother« by Prešeren as a Folk-Song


  • Zmaga Kumer




In the introduction, the author emphasises the fact that folk and literary poetry represent two artistic qualities, each of which is important in its own way, and have their characteristic style and different origins. Just as a folk poet cannot succeed in imitating the style of literary poetry, so only few literary poets are able to recapture the tone of folk expression. The risk is even greater if a poet tries to correct and improve folk songs. A proof of this are the poems recomposed by Prešeren for none of these managed to take root among the folk singers. On the other hand, some of his original poems were accepted by them as they were attracted both by their style and content. The strongest appeal was attained by Prešeren's »Unmarried Mother«. It was set to music by certain Slovene composers yet folk singers also sing it remodelled in their own style. The author compares the text of Prešeren with the recorded examples of folk singers' texts and establishes the changes. Then also the melodies are analysed. The latter are, with the exception of one, in four parts, composed of two recurring phrases, and of similar melody. The research results in establishing that Prešeren in his »Unmarried Mother« approached the style of the folk song not only in the language but also – perhaps unconsciously – in the form. Many of his trochaic-dactyllic verses, which are unusual in literary poetry, have the character of a three-part octosyllabic line, one of the oldest Slovene metrical patterns. In the folk variants this pattern is employed consistently, the melody and text being adapted to it.


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How to Cite

Kumer, Z. (1968). »Unmarried Mother« by Prešeren as a Folk-Song. Musicological Annual, 4(1), 138–145. https://doi.org/10.4312/mz.4.1.138-145