Marko Markovic and the Serbian brass tradition
Kilroe-Smith, Catherine Anne
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A small village in Southern Serbia, called Guča, annually plays host to what has become one of the largest brass festivals in the world. The festival focuses on the competition between brass bands from across Serbia and culminates in the presentation of the award of Zlatna Truba (Golden Trumpet) to the best trumpet player. Throughout Serbia one can find this brass music present at weddings, christenings, graduations, parades, and on any occasion worth celebrating. Characterized by intricate trumpet solos, pulsating bass lines and fast dance rhythms, this previously obscure folk-music tradition has become a symbol of national pride. With its roots in the military bands from both the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empire, the music combines Serbian nationalistic folk music and Romi inflected playing techniques creating a unique brass and percussion folk music phenomenon. This document traces the roots of this tradition, discusses its role within the society, and examines what it represents to audiences. Specific performance practices are addressed as well as the transmission of music. The music analysis is limited to the work of Marko Markovic, son of Boban Markovic and leader of the Boban i Marko Markovic orkestar. As a leading performer in this genre and an emerging musical talent, his inclusion provides a performer’s perspective. An arrangement for brass quintet demonstrates the technical capabilities for performing the music.