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Molih ta, Maicho

A Smolyan Folk Song, of Smolyan, Rhodope, Bulgaria

Molih ta, Miacho is a widely sung and well loved Rhodope song, in this case arranged into 3 parts for choral singing. Smolyan is a region in the central Rhodope mountains, whose highly lyrical and ornamental musical tradition is considered to be the most pure and original Rhodope sound, and whose characteristics are defined by it's large rolling mountains, centuries long isolation from surrounding regions, and it's colonization by the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Empire forced its subjects to convert to Islam, which banned women from singing in public. For this reason, Rhodope singing grew to be quieter and more subtle than the later Ottoman colonized, more stridently singing regions to the north and west. Today, Muslim Rhodope and Bulgarians from other regions are referred to as 'Pomak' and have their own distinct and very rich musical traditions within Bulgaria. Smolyan is also its own linguistic dialect, and is the most idiosyncratic of all the Bulgarian dialects. In Molih ta, the 'h' at the end of words indicates a 'kh' sound in the back of the throat. This pronunciation puts words into the past tense.

 Molih ta, maĭcho, i molih,

Ne mozhih da ta izmolja,


Ne mozhih da ta izmolja,

Da ma ni glavish, ni zhenish.


 Da ma ni glavish, ni zhenish,

Barem juj saja godina.


Barem juj saja godina,

Juj sova leto, proleto,


Juj sova leto, proleto,

Dorde ni dojde podzime,

Dorde ni dojde podzime,

Da sa zasbirat momine.


Da sa zasbirat momine.

Momine na poprelkine.


 Leftera da si pokhodja,

Gizdilo da si ponosja,


A ti ma, majcho, oglavi,

Oglavi, oshte ozheni!

Brief Translation

I begged you, mother, and begged,

But I couldn't convince you,

I couldn't convince you,

Not to engage me, or marry me.

At least until after this year,

After the summer and spring

After the wintertime,

The time when girls gather.

Unmarried, I could have joined them,

Wearing my finest clothes and jewelry,

But you engaged me, mother,

You married me off.

Full Song - All PartsMolih Ta
00:00 / 01:37
High Voice / MelodyMolih Ta
00:00 / 00:37
Middle VoiceMolih Ta
00:00 / 00:37
Low VoiceMolih Ta
00:00 / 00:37
Low & Middle VoicesMolih Ta
00:00 / 00:37
Top & Low VoicesMolih Ta
00:00 / 00:37
High & Middle VoicesMolih Ta
00:00 / 00:37

Pronunciation Guide:

In Bulgarian and cyrillic, an 'X' at the end of the word puts the word into the past tense. The Latin alphabet / English transliteration of this letter is an 'h' at the end of words, and is pronounced 'kh', a soft phlegm clearing sound in the back of the throat. In the source recording, see if you can detect these soft 'kh'  h's wherever there's an 'h' at the end of the word.


"Zh" -  is pronounced as the 'j' in 'Bonjour'.

'J' as always, are equivalent to English / Latin 'y'. E.i.  Juj sova = 'Yoy sova'.

'e's as in 'proleto' are pronounced with a short English 'E' like the 'e' in 'let'. 

'a's, 'o's, and 'e's are very open and spacious / vertical in the mouth. 'a' is more like 'ahh!' than 'sat'.

Practice Notes:

The solos in this song are essentially the same as the top choir parts if you'd like to learn and sing them. A seasoned singer who knows the song well can eventually add variations and ornamentation to the solos for performing. See you if you can hear the ornaments the soloist in the source recording makes each time she sings.

As always, to learn the parts well, practice singing them over recordings of other parts. Included in your recordings is double part recordings. These are meant to give you a chance to hold the missing part over both of the others, which simulates the experience of singing in harmony with a trio or whole choir. 

Do plenty of close listening to the source recording to take note of which notes and phrases are ornamented. Ornamentation takes place in the back of the throat, and nothing about your mouth shape or tone should change when ornamenting. Ornamentation is a skill that's developed with a lot of practice so have patience as you experiment!

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