Csardas / Čardáš

(Servika-Romani: čardašis) (csárda = in Hungarian, rustic tavern) Hungarian folk dance, popularized primarily by Roma bands.


The origin of the csardas is in the Hungarian verbunkos, dances which from the beginning of the eighteenth century were performed at the recruitment of men into the army. The original verbunkos began as slow dances called palotás (palota = Hung.: palace). They were followed by the quick csardas, performed either as an exclusively male dance or as a dance for couples, during which the man parts with the woman and does solo improvisations. In the first half of the nineteenth century, the slow half of the verbunkos disappeared. The csardas became – along with slow songs (hallgató) – one of the two basic musical types in the traditional repertoire of Roma bands in Hungary, Moravia and Slovakia and in the border areas of Slovenia and Croatia. [ The music of the Roma in Hungary ]


The csardas is always in 2/4 time, with eighth note beats or simple syncopation in quick tempo which quickens during its performance. The melody, usually created in two movements which correspond to four text lines, is most frequently in major or minor keys, with occasional melodic alternances. The range usually does not exceed one octave.

Thematically, the majority of csardas texts belong among mulatošne gil'a (popular songs); some are classified among čorikane gil'a (songs of poverty and orphanhood). The text form is unspecified; the number of syllables in individual verses of the four-verse pattern varies.


The csardas is a musical genre traditionally played by a music band in which melodic instruments (usually violins) are complemented by one instrument with harmonic function ( cimbál - harpsichord, recently guitar or accordion). The usual order is: first, hallgató; then, csardas.


Sárosi, Bálint (1977) Zigeunermusik. Zürich / Freiburg i. Br.
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