• Zmaga Kumer




The song »Marko skače« (Mark is jumping) is one of the best known folk songs from Prekmurje. Interesting in text, melody and function, it requires exploration especially because experts hold different opinions on it. The oldest written text dates from the 1830's from the surrounding of Radgona in Styria, and was published by Vraz in 1839. It was first written down in Prekmurje by Št. Kühar in 1913 or a little earlier. The maiority of later manuscripts or recordings date from the period after the Second World War. Most of them come from a part of Prekmurje called Dolinsko, and some from Goričko. Recently the ethnomusicological institute also recorded a large number of variations in Raabland (the Slovene minority in Hungary). The text has not greatly changed in the 140 years from the first written copy to today. Because of several narrative features and introductory verses, which do not exist in any other Slovene songs, there are opinions that this is the song of an old romance. However it is not possible to assert this as there is a series of songs similar in content, of which none is markedly narrative. The author quotes such examples from Bela Krajina, Styria, Zagorje and Podravina in Croatia. A comparison with more characteristic examples (table I) shows that the song »Marko skače« begongs to a larger group of Slovene-Croation songs, of which individual examples are rather freely formed, however they are united not only by a common nucleus but also by a series of secondary motifs and textual elements. The similarity is also evident in the metrical pattern which is that of a trochaic decasyliable with a caesura after the 4th syllable (4/6), known from Serbo-Croation folk poetry as the »heroic decasyllable«. One of the characteristic features of songs of this type is the special form of the strophe of the text, which belongs to the MNRN type. M is a double repetition of the first syllables of the decasyllable, while N constitutes the remaining six. The form of melostrophe which is usually A ( = aa) BCB with greater or lesser deviations also corresponds to this scheme. Some Croation folk songs correspond melodically with the Slovene variants of this group (table II). However, melodically and formally similar songs are to be found among those Croation songs which are completely different, with regard to their contents, but are composed in the same metrical pattern (table III). Several Croation variants are sung as wedding songs (only one is a dance). There are no data about such a use of the Slovene »Marko skače«, but it is known in Prekmurje and Raabland as a dance song. In some places a variant for choosing a partner is danced to the melody of this song, while elsewhere it is danced as a polka or as a variant with clapping (cf.pouštrtanc and šotiš from other Slovene regions). Several other songs with a similar textual and musical structure also belong to the dance songs of Slovenia and Croatia. We can describe the song »Marko skače« as a special variant of the song type of Prekmurje and Raabland which is distributed over the whole Slovene-Croatian border territory, from Bela Krajina, across Zagorje and Podravina to Styria, Prekmurje and Raabland. The similarity of the Slovene and Croation variants in this case is probably not the consequence of mutual inter-ethnic influences, but rather a reflection of an older, common tradition of folk culture in this region.


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1. 12. 1971