Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type

Doctoral Essay

Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)


Music Theory and Composition (Music)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Charles N. Mason

Second Committee Member

Thomas M. Sleeper

Third Committee Member

Lansing D. McLoskey

Fourth Committee Member

Juraj Kojs


This essay describes my process in composing the orchestral suite Balkanophonia, which is inspired by and contains allusions to Balkan folk music, more precisely Serbian and Macedonian traditional music. The suite consists of four movements. Drawing upon the research of ethnomusicologist Miodrag Vasiljevic and other prominent scholars, I also discuss the indigenous musical scales and harmonic principles found in the source material, which I utilized in this work. Even though my orchestral suite has inevitably been influenced by my classical musical education and knowledge of Western art music in general, I strove to portray the traditional sound of the Balkan folk music by using non-Western scales, thematic materials, and harmonies typical of that music. My composition is also an attempt to display one possible hybridization of Balkan folk music and Western classical music, with the goal of sharing my experiences of this rich and varied tradition with a wider musical audience. The essay concludes with a brief discussion of other composers who have incorporated elements of Balkan folk music into their concert music, endeavoring to contextualize Balkanaphonia’s place in this repertoire and the continuum of the modern Serbian art music tradition.


Balkan; folk music; folk; traditional; Serbian music; Serbia; orchestra; Miodrag Vasiljevic; indigenous musical scales; Macedonia