Traditionally there are two kinds of music performed by the Roma: one is musical service rendered for
non-Romani audiences, the other is music made within the Romani community. The music played for outsiders is
labelled "Gypsy music" by Hungarian scientific literature having adopted its colloquial
name, and the music they use among themselves is called "folk music". At the same time, the Roma began gradually to develop an ethnic music culture from the 1970s. The process of creating the institutional conditions for the
practising, improvement and presentation of their own culture picked up momentum when after the great
political turn they obtained national minority status. In the following, I first give a sketchy summary of
the two traditional cultural modes, before listing the main tendencies asserted in today's Romani music life
in Hungary. The table below shows the Romani ethnic groups in Hungary and their traditional occupations
(after Kemény 1974).
|The major ethnic groupings of the Roma living in Hungary|
|The name of the grouping (in brackets their own name)
||Proportion according to their first language within the Romani population, in %
||music making in musician dynasties, metal-working, brick-making, agricultural labour etc.
||metal-working, sieve-making, horse-dealing, trading etc.
||wood-working (tubs, spoons, other wooden household utensils)
||No data. (A few hundred people.)
|Vend [=Slovenian], (Vendiko)
||No data. (A few hundred people.)
||No data. (A few hundred people.)
The international term "Gypsy music" comes from Ferenc Liszt. In his book published in
French in Paris in 1859 and two years later in Hungarian in Pest – "On Gypsies and Gypsy
music in Hungary" (Liszt 1959, 1861) – he called the music played by professional Romani performers
"Gypsy music". During the time that passed since a wide variety of primarily folkish musics
came under the heading of "Gypsy music"
ranging from Russian Gypsy romance (Shcherbakova 1984: 23) to the Romani versions of Spanish flamenco
Though there were mentions made of Romani musicians in Hungary in 1489 and then in 1525, both in books of
accounts of princes, the occupation did not become widespread among Roma before the latter half of the 18th
Two famous musicians of the 18th century were Mihály Barna and Panna Cinka (?-1772). The
four-member band of the latter consisted of two violins (lead: prím and
kontra), a cimbalom and a double-bass. The composition of a
typical "Gypsy band" including the former foursome and a clarinet later was patterned upon
the serenade bands of Vienna.
The mushrooming of Gypsy bands in the last decades of the 18th century was triggered off by the Hungarian
nationalist movement. The nationalist movement encompassed the whole of culture including neology, music,
dance and costumes. The first phase of the emergence of national music lasting for some 50-60 years and its
style was later named verbunkos after the German word for recruitment,
"Werbung". It started with arrangements for the piano and original compositions published usually
under the title "Hungarian dances", in German or French translations (e.g.
"Ungarische Nazionaltänze" or "Hongroises"). The four best known composers and virtuosic
violinists of the period were Antal Csermák (1774-1822), János Lavotta (1764-1820),
(1764-1827) and Márk Rózsavölgyi (1789-1848). Of them, Bihari of Romani origin enjoyed greatest popularity
Patronised by aristocrats, some of the musicians were trained in Vienna and thus had a taste of European
musical culture. It was schooling that promoted the development of the distinguishing feature of Hungarian
"Gypsy music" marking it off from its Balkanian counterpart – harmonisation – by the
mid-19th century. The
Romani musicians of the time did not borrow exactly the harmonic construction of contemporaneous Viennese
classicism, but they learnt much from it. That was one secret of the West European success of Hungarian
"Gypsy music". This music was somewhat exotic but not so much as to remain unintelligible for a willing
public. A contributory factor to success was the tradition of playing without scores. That fed the myth of
"the natural genius grown on the Hungarian soil". It further enhanced the popularity of
Romani musicians that they could extemporise and adapt themselves to the needs of any given audience.
The best Romani musicians of the early 19th century won overall recognition and became the representatives
of national music, but they earned full glory through the crushed war of independence of 1848. Their
music, the public performance of which was banned, became the symbol of desired freedom. The music itself
underwent some change. While in the first half of the century Roma were musicians in the service of
squires, in the new world of embourgeoisement they had to make their own living by satisfying a far more
diverse stock of demands. A new genre evolved by around the middle of the century, the
"Magyar nóta" or "Hungarian song", which was later
called "popular art song". The noted composers of the age wished to be in line with the
current West European musical style, trying to create the equivalent of romantic German
"Lied" by expanding the folksong form and adopting some elements of West European composed
music. Unlike in the heyday of the verbunkos which was characterised by many songs
with texts becoming instrumental tunes, now it was the other way round: words were added to tunes written
for instruments. This genre of increasing popularity was also performed by Romani musicians, hence the term
"Gypsy music" was also conferred upon it. This held true even when a special subcategory –
mostly composed "Gypsy songs" – evolved later. The attempt to rise to West European art
music standards was,
however, unsuccessful since the decisive majority of composers were amateurs (belonging to the social
stratum of white-collar workers). The most famous Romani song composer of the 19th century was Pista
In addition to native genres, some internationally known pieces were also included in the repertories of
Gypsy bands from the second half of the 19th century. From the early 20th century entertainment music in
restaurants naturally included operetta and operatic arias as well as popular Hungarian and international
songs. The main genre, "Magyar nóta", also underwent major changes.
While in its so-called classic period lasting until about the turn of the century the main aim of the best
"nóta" composers was colourful diversity, the songs composed at the beginning of the
century were highly homogeneous in style.
Gypsy music was altered again after World War II. This change will be touched on in the chapter on the
emergence of ethnic musical culture.
While "Gypsy music" was typically born as part of urban culture and only shifted to the
provinces from the first half of the 20th century, gradually squeezing out the (Hungarian) folk music
repertory and taking it's place, the instrumental music of peasant communities was, and in some of the
neighbouring countries (Slovakia, Romania, Serbia-Montenegro) is also traditionally mainly performed by
Roma. It is also to be noted that non-musician Roma also render some musical and other cultural services to
the surrounding population. In north-eastern Hungary the Roma go from house to house to say Christmas
greetings (Martin 1980), and it is severally recorded that the peasants asked them to perform their own
ballads and tales for money. For both urban and rural Roma, the culture they performed became incorporated
in their own culture or at least it influenced the culture that the Roma did not perform publicly.
Music of the Romani communities
The music of the Romani communities in Hungary can be studied best by the three main language groups. The
musics of Hungarian and Vlach Roma share a lot in common,
while the music of the Boyashes widely differs from theirs. What is common to all
three groups is that their musics are almost entirely vocal, without traditional instrumental
, and that they are still alive, even though in some places, mostly in urban settings, they are not part of
the everyday life.
The two main genres of "Hungarian Vlach Romani music" are the slow lyrical song and the
dance song. The slow songs are called in Hungarian "hallgató nóta""song for listening" (in Romani: loki djili – "slow song" or mesaljaki djili – "table song") or "szomorú nóta" – "sad song"; Romungros in north-eastern Hungary call it "árva nóta" – "orphan's song". The Hungarian name of the dance songs is "pattogós" – "snapping" or "pergetős" – "spinning""nóta" (in Romani: khelimaski djili – "dance song", xuttjadi djili – "leaping song"). The Hungarian speaking Romungros sing a lot of Romani words in
their song texts. That means that they use Romani elements in the Hungarian grammatical framework (Matras
ed. 1998) in the ritualised register (Kovalcsik and Kubínyi 2002b). (This phenomenon is classified as
Para-Romani — in our case as Hungaro-Romani).
The Boyashes living mainly in Transdanubia call some of the slow parlando songs
"hallgatós nóta" – "song for listening", but they use several other names in their
language, e.g.: cînt'ic dă jal'e – "sad song", cînt'ic hăl
prost – "modest song", cînt'ic hăl trist – "sorrowful song",
cînt'ic dă năcăjală – "tearful song", etc. The dance songs are called
cînt'ic dă joc – "dance song". While, however, in the first two groups the genre
names usually refer to similar styles, among the Boyashes they may designate widely
different tunes: the
tunes of diverse origin are not brought into a strongly coherent group by the common performing style. The
various layers of Boyash folk music can thus be easily separated. They have few
tunes in common with the
other two main Roma groups (Kovalcsik 1996).
"Slow songs" are the vehicles of folk poetry. The Hungarian and
Vlach Roma usually sing six- or eight-syllabic lines, four lines making up a
strophe. The tempo is parlando-rubato. The scales are mainly diatonic (heptatonic) major or minor scales
with a minor seventh in the upper register ("ta" in place of "ti",
"so" instead of "si") and the major seventh in the lower registers
("ti" and "si"). A peculiar feature of performance is the long
suspension of the penultimate note of the strophe (which is usually the second degree:
"re" or "ti"), before the step down to the keynote
("do" or "la") or the lower leading note ("ti" or "si") via repeating the vowel of the sustained syllable after a
pause of varying length, and then stepping down to the final note. The last two notes are usually sung
softly, or sometimes omitted. (For this peculiarity of the slow song in more detail, see, e.g., Sárosi 1978:
25-26). The omission of the closing note is especially typical along the north-eastern border.
The traditional structure of the tunes is descending. They often begin around the octave (upper do or la)
but today the number of these tunes is decreasing. In the past decades the new melody ideal has evolved
gradually through the octave break. As a result, the strophe begins low and traces an ascending or domed
outline (Kovalcsik 1985).
Slow songs are traditionally homophonic performed heterophonically in groups. When a tune is sung
collectively, two roles are asserted: that of the "leader" and that of the
"accompaniers" or "helpers". The leader begins the strophes alone,
setting the tune, tempo and text, and the rest join in around the middle of the first line. Under the rules
of heterophony, everyone may sing their own tune variants (Kovalcsik 1981, Kertész Wilkinson 1997). In the
northern and north-eastern counties, however, a rich and diverse polyphony began to evolve in
Romungro and Vlach Roma communities from the 1950s. That
means that one or more singers sustain the line-ending note long and sonorously, while the rest sing
ornaments in support of the line-ending note and/or its lower or upper third (Kovalcsik 1981, Kovalcsik and
"Dance songs" serve to accompany dances. They are in duple time, the text lines are
seven- or eight-syllabic but they may acquire three syllables at the middle and end of the tune, e.g. 8,
8+3, 8, 8+3, or the number of lines may increase, e.g. to six: 8, 8, 8+3, 8, 8, 8+3, etc.
(Sárosi 1978: 27). In addition to dances in duple meter, there is a dance type, the stick-dance or
"botoló" in north-eastern Hungary, some types of whose accompanying tune, the stick-dance
song or "botoló nóta" are in triple, 3/8 or 6/8 meter. Some
"botoló" tunes are characterised by "proportio": the singers perform a few strophes in triple time
and continue the same tune in duple time or vice versa, strophes in duple time are followed by some in
triple time (Martin 1979, 2003).
The dance songs are also traditionally of a descending structure, which persists more firmly in the dance
songs than in the slow songs. The scales are similar to those of the slow songs, with the difference that
there are fifth-shifting tunes
as well. The dance-tune repertory is far more open than that of the slow songs, since the main point to
dance tunes is rhythm. It is therefore easy for new effects, new fashionable tunes to get included in the
repertory after being adjusted to the typical performing style.
Unlike the slow songs, the dance songs are traditionally polyphonic. The tune is normally sung with few
words or without words, widely varied, as if performed by instruments. This technique having a rich arsenal
of onomatopoeic words is called pergetés or rolling. The equally vocal accompaniment
of the melody is the oral bass or "szájbőgőzés". The basic rhythm is "estam" in
which the even-numbered quavers are accented and the odd-numbered ones are even omitted. This rhythm is
characteristic of the instrumental "Gypsy music", and the name oral bass also suggests that
this imitative part is related to the corresponding part of the Gypsy band. However, the oral bass works by
it own rules with a wide spectrum of sound effects, even if its one-time model was the tone and performing
style of the double-bass.
Further rhythmic parts are provided by clapping and snapping the fingers, as well as using some household
utensils to make noise. The most often used tools are the water can and the spoon. The sitting player hits
the mouth and the side of the can in front of her/him with her/his hands, mostly to quavers. For
"spooning" two spoons are used turned back to back and clicked like a castanet. Apart
from these two utensils, lids, the surface of the table, the side of the cupboard are used for drumming at
places. A stick laid against the side of the cupboard or the door and rubbed by the thumb or index finger
produces a friction-drum like sound. There are innumerable occasional ideas to colour a performance. As for
the function of the tunes, Vlach Roma may sing a tune in different functions with
different texts. For example, a slow song may be a lullaby, a funeral song or a wedding song.
Vlach Roma call the slow songs "true speech"
(čači vorba) (Stewart 1989), indicating that the texts narrate the main events and
values of their lives.
The old stratum of Boyash slow songs contains descending la-ending tunes of 8,
rarely 6 syllables to a
line. A strophe contains three, four or five lines. The strophe of five octosyllabic lines belongs to
balladic texts. Today, the ballads survive mainly as tales or stories with song inserts. The three-lined
octosyllabic strophes are the oldest apart from the five-lined tunes. They are mainly known in southern
Transdanubia, in Baranya county. They are adapted to today's majority, the four-lined stock, by repeating
the first or second line. Their textual elements are exchanged or replaced with those of four-lined tunes.
In both strophe groups the lyrical texts are related to the texts of Transylvanian Romanians.
The majority of the four-lined tunes are descending pentatonic tunes of Aeolian (la-ending), Mixolydian
(so-ending, with a lower fi before the close) or Phrygian (mi-ending) scales. The popular types have many
variants, but a single performance is rarely varied. The strophe-ending formula so typical of the
performance of slow songs in the other two Romani language groups (the suspension of the penultimate note
and the brief pause before the closing note) is unknown among the Boyash people. The
modernisation of the
style is indicated by elements borrowed from the surrounding folk and popular musics: they frequently use
the Transdanubian third
and the IInd degree cadence (ti instead of la, re instead of do) typical of South Slav folk and art songs.
The new stratum of slow songs contains domed structures. Their texts are also usually new, mostly
sentimental. The new layer has far fewer tunes than the old and is closely tied to the large group of
The smaller group of Boyash dance tunes is of the old descending structure. The
majorities are tunes close
to the Hungarian new style as well as Romani variants of Gypsy songs played by Gypsy bands. Rolling is rare
among the Boyash Roma as they ascribe it to the Vlašikos. At
some places, however,
mainly in Zala county in Transdanubia and along the Tisza river, it is also traditional. The texts of the
dance songs are usually fixed, mostly consisting of a single strophe. Lyrical songs do not predominate
Boyash folk poetry; their dance songs may carry equally weighty messages, although
humour is evidently more
often involved in this genre. A tune performance takes place by repeating the text verse severally or
humming the tune. There are some general textual elements that allow for a small degree of improvisation. A
clever singer may compose a fluent text from them or s/he may use them as dance words (as rhythmic prose
lines uttered between or after the strophes). Earlier, dance songs were given a rhythmic accompaniment on a
tub turned upside down, on the back of which ash was scattered and it was rhythmically scratched by a
stick. Boyash youths have not revived this tradition yet.
The traditional repertory also includes the Boyash variants of Hungarian and
Romanian composed songs with
Romanian texts. Although the Boyash Roma include few musicians in Hungary, this
occupation is traditionally more frequent along the southern frontier and widely spread beyond the border,
in Voivodina in Serbia. It is worth knowing that the international Roma anthem is the composition of a
Romanian Roma musician of the Banat, George Sbărcea and it first had a Romanian text. Variants of this
tune and text are known in the folk tradition of the Boyashes in Hungary.
As regards occasional songs, outstanding are the Christmas carols or colindas (Kovalcsik 1997). Several
children's songs and lullabies are known in Boyash folk music.
Emergence of the ethnic music culture
The beginnings of the ethnic music culture reach back to the post-World War II period. The postwar social
changes affected the lives and musical traditions of both the Roma professional performers and the rural
non-musician Roma living in small communities. In Hungary, the urban professional musicians were
traditionally the best-known and most highly trained stratums of the Roma. Consequently, many of the
highest educated members of today's Roma intellectuals come from families of musicians. Embourgeoisement
began among them in the mid-19th century which resulted in a growing number of Roma performers in
classical and international popular genres.
One audience of Gypsy music were the foreigners with a demand for high-quality productions, since urban
Hungarians were attracted to classical music on the one hand and popular music on the other. That was also
why the musical culture and technical knowledge of the young musicians had to be improved. Over the past
thirty years or so, more and more Roma young people have studied at the Music Academy and earned good
positions in jazz music. The best known classical musicians of Roma origin were Aladár Rácz (1886-1958,
Kroó 1979) discovered by Igor Stravinsky, who turned the cimbalom into a symphonic
instrument, and the world-famous pianist György Cziffra (1921-1994, Cziffra 1977). Internationally known
figures of jazz music are, among others, Béla Szakcsi Lakatos piano, Tony Lakatos a saxophonist and Ferenc
Snétberger guitar player.
The other audience of "Gypsy music" is the village populace among whom Roma musicians
could hardly keep pace with the flood of urban music spread by the mass media. Some managed to switch over
to more popular genres, but most village bands had vanished by the 1970s-'80s.
The postwar social process displaced the majority of Roma from their traditional way of living and
occupations. As taking a job was compulsory, their unskilled, unschooled masses could only find employment
in the industry, usually in large cities far from their homes. Daily commuting or living in workers'
hostels during the week acquainted them more closely with urban culture. In an industrial plant, Roma
coming from different areas worked together, thus they got to know each other's cultural traditions. Also,
by the 1950s the wireless had also spread in Hungary, and so had the television later, in the 1960s-'70s,
as new sources of information. As a result, not only folklore incorporated popular elements (elements of
popular "Schlager" hits at the beginning) but the consumption of the surrounding popular musics also
began. The collective music-making of young people from different communities at the workers' hostels
resulted in considerable changes in both the repertory and the performing style.
The use of the guitar emerged upon the influence of a popular musical movement, the beat in the 1960s
(Kovalcsik 1999). In the 1970s the Hungarian folk music revival movement called the
"dance-house" movement (Frigyesi 1996) inspired the first Roma folklore ensembles to set
up and perform on the stage. The appearance of instrumental accompaniment shifted the folk tunes towards
functional music. It tinted the process that most guitarists were not from musician families and thus had
no models to quickly learn playing an instrument. Some restricted themselves to playing a few basic chords
to which the vocal tune had to be adjusted. New melodic and rhythmic standards evolved that were meant to
satisfy the tastes of a wider audience. Melodiousness, the canonisation of the places and lengths of
ornaments as well as rhythmic simplification began to inspire the feeling of familiarity and calculability
in outsiders familiar with popular music. The rudiments of folkmusic-based Roma popular style were
Though the assimilating policy of the Hungarian Workers' Party prevented the public presentation of Roma
culture until the political change of 1989, the processes concerning the artistic expressions of Roma
ethnic identity accelerated over the 1980s. As regards music, the intellectuals coming from musician
families and the intellectuals from small communities took different courses on the basis of their
respective traditions. The idea that the prestige of "Gypsy music" as a genre and its
performers had to be enhanced had matured by the mid-'80s. To boost the prestige of the genre, the
representative "100-strong Budapest Gypsy Orchestra" was established in 1985. Their
music combines the ideal of improvisation known from traditional Gypsy bands with the ideal of classical
musical harmony. With that step the musicians wanted to express their identity in the peak performance of a
traditional Roma occupation and traditional genre, turning it into concert music. Others alloyed
Gypsy music with elements of folkmusic and popular music, and by the end of the 1990s ethnogroups emerged
consisting partly or mainly of highly trained Roma musicians.
At the political turn, the intellectuals from small Roma communities thought the channel to express their
ethnic identity was to acquaint the wider public with their almost perfectly unknown folklore via folklore
ensembles. Because of its roots in the "dance-house" movement and because this cultural
action was tied to political efforts, the activity of Roma ensembles was called a movement: the folklore
movement. Appearing in the media was a slow process. Though the best known group,
"Kalyi Jag" (Black Fire) of young people from Nagyecsed in Szatmár county won the
title "Young Masters of Folk Art" in 1979, they could not make their first record before
1987 (Kalyi Jag 1987).
The release of the first "Kalyi Jag" record was a revelation
for the Roma
population of the country. In no time there was a cassette copy of it in nearly every household. The group
added popular elements to their arrangements of folksongs, signposting a course of modernisation that
influenced all subsequent groups. All three major ethnic groupings had folklore ensembles, which took the
repertory and performing style of "Kalyi Jag" as their model,
at least at the
beginning. The movement thus precipitated the rapprochement of the performers of non-musician groups and
Roma communities. The song variants heard from the folklore groups became incorporated in the repertory
of the communities, which in turn effected a shift of small-community folklore towards an ethnic culture.
The leading folklore bands arranged songs of communities in Hungary other than their own as well. The next
step was to include in the repertoire the folk and popular musics or their elements in folksong arrangements
ascribed to Roma abroad. Transformations of some Balkanian scales and rhythms appeared leading to new
Hungarian standards. The Roma folk genres of small communities were followed by textual adaptations of
Balkanian instrumental genres (e.g. Serbian kolo) with their main instrument — the
tambura — together. Individual compositions or "own songs" also appeared which drew
partly on the folk stock. Having got acquainted with foreign Roma ensembles, in the late 1990s they began
to arrange Russian "Gypsy songs", flamenco music and finally West European Roma
popular genres, Manouche jazz and sinti swing.
"Kalyi Jag", who earned international renown within a few
years' time, consistently
insists on the adaptation of folk tunes and the improvement of their style developed in the mid-'80s.
Similarly traditional in their approach are "Ternipe" (Youth)
among the known Vlach Roma ensembles.
"Ando Drom" (On the Road),
"Amaro Suno" (Our Dream) and
"Romanyi Rota" (Roma Wheel) are experimenting with new genres.
The most representative ensemble of Romungro folklore is the Gypsy Tradition-preserving
Ensemble of "Sátoraljaújhely" whose folk dance repertory is also
conspicuous. The first Boyash band was the unfortunately short-lived
"Frácilor" (Brothers) followed by the "Stars of
Kanizsa". Both adapted Boyash folksongs in the first place.
Other popular genres next to stage productions included, chronologically, "Roma pop",
"Roma lakodalmas" or "wedding music",
"Roma disco" and then "Roma rap", all based on the fusion of folklore and pop
music. The Roma folklore movement was creative rather than reproductive from the beginning, thus within a few
years in addition to the marked differences that emerged between the groups in the manner of arranging folk
music, the genres also changed and expanded.
The most influential two new genres became "Roma wedding music" and
"Roma rap". The forerunner to Roma "wedding music" was Hungarian
"wedding rock" that emerged in 1985 (Lange 1996) on the model of a then new popular
musical genre of Yugoslavia, "newly composed folk music" based on folk and folkish tunes
(Vidić Rasmussen 1991). At first it aimed to modernise "Magyar nóta" or
Hungarian popular art tunes in the manner of rock music, and later it combined Hungarian
"nóta", traditional light music hits and disco music in a single genre. Among the Roma
folklore groups, the "Nagyecsedi Fekete Szemek" (Black Eyes of
Nagyecsed) made attempts to arrange Vlach Roma folksongs and international Roma
hits in disco style in 1995. By the end of the '90s they won great popularity among the Roma audience and
by 2002 they broke into the Hungarian popular music market. Romani "wedding music" is
played by today's professional Roma musicians at Roma dance events. Only a negligible fragment of these
musicians stems from musician families and there are many Vlach and
Boyash Roma among them (Kovalcsik 2001).
In the last five-six years a new approach has appeared in the process of culture building: a part of the
performers do not see themselves primarily as an ethnic but as a colour-skinned minority. This idea was
linked up with the appearance of "rap music" in Hungary. In the late 1990s a
Roma rap group, the "Fekete Vonat" (Black Train), was set
up. The name was borrowed from the workers' trains that Roma used to commute on from their rural residence
to their places of work in the capital in the decades of socialism. The group draws on American black rap
music and Hungarian hip-hop, and creates a certain image of the Roma (Somogyi 2002).
Researchers of hip-hop claim that its American black performers are preoccupied by the problems of American
blacks living in ghettos. The two central subjects of the texts are discrimination and poverty and danger in
the ghetto. The texts of the Black Train reverse the ethnic stereotypes by using them as threats. For
example, the Roma are vital, have many children and thus overcome the weak non-Roma or
gadže also tagged
"whites" in the songs (Fekete Vonat 1998). They also use the otherwise positive
stereotype that outsiders regard the Roma musically talented. This is apparent partly in the virtuosic
declamation of texts, and partly in the stress on international genres associated with Roma (e.g. the rap
variant of flamenco). The world of ethnic ghetto is the 8th district in Budapest where many Roma are living.
They describe the district as dangerous for "whites". For the Roma the neighbourhood is
friendly, as it is their home. The popularity of the Black Train and Black Eyes of Nagyecsed is at present
surpassed by that of the Roma pop group "Romantic" among the Hungarian audience who
perform Hungarian pop music interlaced with Roma folklore elements and partly sing in the
In sum, it can be declared that the emerging Roma ethnic music culture is getting institutionalised as
an increasingly colourful and diverse culture of many genres. The two traditional modes and genre groups of
culture: "folk music" and "Gypsy music", belong to the culture of local
strata and therefore neither can undertake the cultural representation of the Roma of Hungary on the whole.
The conservation of the values of traditional culture might be the task of folklore revival artists and
groups, sound archives and last but not least school education. Today the artists are free to decide whether
they want to work for the preservation of traditional culture, its development, its alloying with other
cultural elements, or again, they wish to interpret or reconstruct works born in other cultures or styles.
The current processes indicate that the Roma make efforts to include all contemporary genres in their music