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Gypsy Music Collection Book with mp3 download

A collection of 64 (61) tunes from Eastern Europe and the Balkans.

Book with MP3 audio download in three versions, collected,

arranged and notated by Gundula Stojanova Gruen.


Introduction to the book:

I have created this book to share a selection of my favourite Gypsy and folk pieces from Eastern Europe and the Balkans. This is the second edition, available as physical book and as digital download. It comprises of a huge collection of mixed-level pieces, ready to play for intermediate and advanced amateur and professional musicians. The book is divided into chapters, with each chapter covering a particular region. At the beginning of each chapter, you can find a page of background information and performance notes for that specific region.

There are three versions of this book:

Which one should I purchase?

If you play the violin/fiddle, order the 'Gypsy Fiddle Collection'. It includes playing suggestions for fingering and bowing and all audio files are recorded on violin with accordion accompaniment.

The 'Gypsy Music Collection for C Instruments' is practically the same book, without the violin-specific fingering. The audio files attached to this version are led by flute, accordion and violin. This is the right book for any instrument in concert pitch such as flute, recorder, piano, guitar, oboe, harp etc.


The 'Gypsy Music Collection for Bb instruments' covers all instruments in Bb tuning such as trumpet, Bb clarinet, soprano and tenor saxophone. The pieces on the attached audio files are recorded on trumpet, clarinet and saxophone. For ensemble playing, it can be used in conjunction with the Fiddle or C instrument version. The book only contains 61 pieces, as three are not suitable to be played on Bb instruments.


What makes ‘Gypsy Music Collection’ stand out from similar books:

What makes this book unique is that most of the pieces included are from authentic sources, learned the traditional way, by ear, from native musicians. At the time of this book’s first publication in 2008, most of these pieces were not known and could not be found in any form of notation or recording in Western Europe or the US. After being a Bestseller at Spartan Press for more than 8 years, several of the pieces have become popular amongst non-native Balkan bands and in jam sessions around the world. Following its success, and after the publisher of the first edition went bust, I decided to publish this second edition.

The recordings attached to the books aim to inspire the players but also serve to reflect the skill and passion of the musicians who taught me their music. These recorded pieces, however, are short, basic versions and do not include any arrangements of how they would be performed live in Eastern Europe and the Balkans.

The book’s design is both creative and easy to follow. In it, you can find background information on the musical style and the pieces themselves – enough to help with the interpretation and to satisfy curiosity but not too much to overwhelm. Whilst other books exist on Balkan and Gypsy music, the 'Gypsy Music Collection' series makes the effort not just to communicate notes in a tune but to convey the feeling and interpretation that is, arguably, the most important aspect of Balkan music.

Another feature of the book that is truly outstanding is the stunning front cover, a painting by Rima Staines, who herself plays the flute. Each musician featured on there is a musician we both know, and if you look really closely, you can spot a ‘Gundula’ likeness on the violinist.

‘Gypsy Music Collection’ is an exciting set of the most beautiful tunes and pieces I have encountered thus far from Eastern Europe and the Balkans. Despite the fact that classical notation is not really suited for this style music, I notated the pieces as precisely as possible, including ornamentation and phrasing. The recordings attached to the book are designed to be used for oral learning, enabling the player to imitate ornamentation and phrasing more authentically.


More about ‘Gypsy Music Collection’:

The idea to create ‘Gypsy Music Collection’ and publish it as a book started when I was holding regular workshops on Gypsy and Balkan music in London. In my workshops, I largely teach by ear whilst also providing sheet music of the piece that I have transcribed for musicians to take away afterwards. These tunes were very popular with participants, and I saw they were hungry for all this exciting music. I found I couldn’t teach them quickly enough So, I put all the pieces I taught together in a book to give people the opportunity to study by themselves.

The pieces range in difficulty from grade 2 to grade 8 level and can be performed on any instrument. Accompaniment chords are also included to inspire ensemble playing. Every piece is supported by specific information on topics like the translation of the title to the genre or important notes on accompaniment.

The pieces are organised into the different regions where I believe they have originated from: Russia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Ex-Yugoslavia, Czech Republic etc. Every chapter contains a paragraph about the music of each country and its specific stylistic elements, like its tonal and rhythmical characteristics and the country’s local instruments. Most of this information comes from my own experience travelling and learning, however, some background research has also been done to supplement it.

Communicating the feeling and energy of this music is impossible to do simply through writing about style or phrasing and notating the music as close to the given interpretation as possible. The traditional way of learning is to pass on the knowledge from generation to generation by ear. This is why ‘Gypsy Music Collection’ is accompanied by MP3 Audio files, so that readers may follow a by-ear learning tradition as well as utilising modern notation tools. With ‘Gypsy Music Collection, you can learn the notes quickly by reading the music and then spend time listening to pick up the feel of the piece by ear. Even on their own, the recordings inspire and act as a great example of how the music changes moving from region to region in the places covered in the book.

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