Mastering Thracian Kaval Ornamentation: A Handbook

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Mastering Thracian Kaval Ornamentation: A Handbook

by Lyuben Dossev

Book and audio compact disc

Published by Izvor Music

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This 190-page book by Bulgarian kaval master Lyuben Dossev unveils the mysteries of ornamentation of the Bulgarian wooden end-blown shepherd’s flute, the kaval. It contains over 150 diagrams of musical examples played by Professor Dossev on the accompanying CD. A collection of songs is included with notated kaval ornamentation, which are played on the CD solo, and also accompanying vocalist Tanya Dosseva.

Chapters: Vibrato, Sechene, Combining Vibrato and Sechene, Glissando, Accent Notes, Short Trills, Songs


Author: Lyuben Dossev, Ph.D.
Translation: Catherine E. Struse Springer
Text editors: Jeffrey S. Fine, M.D., Catherine E. Struse Springer
Music graphics: David Bilides
Print layout and compact disc mastering: Robert Snider

From the back cover:

In this Handbook, musician, scholar, and teacher Dr. Lyuben Tsvetanov Dossev details the techniques of ornamentation that have been used in Bulgarian Thrace by master players of the kaval, an end-blown flute found in the Balkan region of eastern Europe. He provides a consistent system for notating these ornaments, which have been handed down by oral tradition for generations. It is the practical application of theoretical material discussed in his doctoral dissertation, “Typical Techniques in the Thracian Style of Kaval Playing.” An audio compact disc is included of Dr. Dossev playing all the musical examples in the book.

Lyuben Dossev was born in Pleven, Bulgaria, in 1953. His father, Tsvetan Dossev, was a professional kaval player with the Severnyaski Folklore Ensemble, and started him playing kaval at the age of seven. He later graduated from the Plovdiv Music High school (today “Dobrin Petkov”), and subsequently from the Music and Pedagogy Institute in Plovdiv.

Dr. Dossev taught kaval at the High School for Folk Music in Shiroka Lŭka, as well as the Music and Pedagogy Institute. Since 1979, he has taught kaval, chamber ensemble and folk orchestra at the Plovdiv Academy of Music, Dance and Fine Arts, where he now holds the position of Dean of the Department of Music Folklore, Choreography and Arts. He has worked with numerous performing groups, including Ensemble Trakiya in Plovdiv, the folk orchestra of Plovdiv Regional Radio and Television, and Bulgarian National Radio and Television in Sofia. He founded the International Folk Seminar which takes place each summer at the Academy, and continues to be active in its production each year.

An exceptionally talented award-winning performer, Dr. Dossev has given concerts live and on television and radio in Bulgaria, Europe, Asia and the United States. His respect for the rich fund of old Bulgarian folk music can be felt in the series of recordings entitled “To the Bulgarian Folklore With Love” which he produced in association with Iliana Bozhanova. He has collaborated with American colleagues to publish a series of CDs and books of lesser-known Bulgarian master musicians.

Dr. Dossev is always sharing his knowledge and skills, and encouraging young performers worldwide in the art of Bulgarian folk music.

Sample illustrations (Click on the figure for a larger version. Click on Play Audio to hear the example.)