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International Music Resources by Country: Czechia (Czech Republic)

International Music Resources offers an array of online and physical resources both freely available and/or offered by the George F. DeVine Music Library. The information included in these guides may serve as a starting point for the study and research of

Panoramic photo of PragueCitation (1)

Garland Encyclopedia of World Music-Czech Republic

Garland Encyclopedia of World Music Cover Art


Listen to Czech Music!

Three Czech Masses Album Art

V Hospode 8: Nejrozvernější Staročeské Hašlerky A Jiné Ii (The Buffooneiest Czech Oldies II) Album Art

Martinu: Cello Concertos 1 and 2|Concertino Album Art

Online Resources

Map of Czechia

Map of Czech Republic

Citation (2)

Facts in Brief

Flag of Czech Republic


Capital: Prague

Official language: Czech

Location: The Czech Republic (Czechia) lies in Central Europe and comprises the Czech Lands of Bohemia and Moravia, and part of Silesia. Its neighbours are Poland to the north, Germany to the north-west and west, Austria to the south, and Slovakia to the east.

Official name: Ceska Republika (Czech Republic)

National anthem: "Kde domov muj? ("Where is My Home?")

Area:  78,867 sq km (30,451 sq miles)

Current Population: 10,693,939

Climate: Warm summers and cold winters it most regions; lowlands are warmer than mountainous areas.

Money: Czech Koruna

Main Religion: Christianity 

Citation (3)

Traditional Czech Music


Vocal Music: Bohemian traditional song has been influenced by instrumental music and characteristic features are chordal motifs together with the elongation of a single syllable over several beats. It uses a declamatory vocal style and has links with dance, trumpet signals, military marches, Gregorian chant and other types of church singing. Song melodies from Bohemia and west Moravia are dominated by the major triad. The overall structure, mainly based on the repetition of identical phrases (either at the same pitch or in sequence) consists of 16 bars divided into four four-bar phrases; these can be further subdivided into two-bar sections. 

Instrumental Music: The character of a melody is to a certain extent determined by the instruments on which it is played. The most common instrumental combination was the bagpipe and violin, later complemented by clarinet as a ‘small barn band’. This combination is still used in the Chod district of west Bohemia.  In addition to large professional and semi-professional ensembles, there are smaller bands consisting of two flugelhorns, clarinet, tenor horn, baritone, accompanying trumpet in F, tuba and percussion. Their repertory is based on the lidovka, and on arrangements of folksongs, polkas and waltzes.

Moravia and Silesia: 

Vocal Music: Moravian and Silesian songs are characteristically arranged in stanzas and have regular rhyming patterns. The greatest part of the repertory consists of love songs; this theme also crosses over into other genres such as military songs, wedding songs and ballads. Epics, which have lyrical elements, include legends and ballads depicting family and social life. Brigand songs found in eastern Moravia suggest links with the musics of the Carpathians. 

Instrumental Music: Early iconography depicts a pipe and small drum, and, from the 13th century onwards, the bagpipe, which was widely used for both solo performances and in ensembles. In the second half of the 19th century traditional bands began to play the ‘Streich’, in which string instruments were completed by wind or brass instruments. In some regions, such as Moravian Slovakia and Silesia, wind bands, usually consisting of two clarinets, bugle, bass bugle, two trumpets and helicon, replaced dulcimer bands. Wind bands flourished in the mid-19th century when musicians returned from military service where they had played in military bands. The fiddle tradition has been perpetuated by professional and amateur string bands.

Citation (4)

Streaming Video: Dvořák Festival

Streaming Video: Dvořák Festival: Slavonic Dances Series Two, Opus 72

Composer Highlight: Bedřich Smetana

Bedřich Smetana headshot


 Czech composer, conductor, teacher, and music critic often described as the ‘father’ or ‘inventor’ of Czech national music. While his first language was German and his first nationalist compositions were based on Swedish narratives, Smetana asserted himself as composer of specifically Czech music from the 1860s, and his music posthumously became synonymous with a Czech national musical style. After his death, Smetana was transformed in the minds of his audiences and advocates from a composer of nationalistic music to a national symbol himself; he and his works became enduring points of reference for Czechs’ ever-shifting borders, politics, administrations, ethnicities, and imagined futures through the 20th century. The composer’s supposed greatness, genius, Czechness, tragic deafness, and heroism all give voice to the shifting needs, anxieties, and interests of his audiences as much as to the composer himself.

Ottlová, M., Pospíšil, M., Tyrrell, J., & St Pierre, K.  Smetana, Bedřich. Grove Music Online. Retrieved 24 May. 2021, from

Bedřich Smetana: String Quartets


Bedřich Smetana: String Quartets

Citation: Bedřich Smetana: String Quartets [Streaming Audio]. (2006). Arcodiva. (2006). Retrieved from Music Online: Classical Music Library database. 


(1): "Vltava River" by "Ignacio Ferre Perez


(3): Location, Climate, Language, Religion, Flag, Capital (The Czech Republic), in Europa World online. London, Routledge. University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Retrieved 20 May 2021 from

(4): Clapham, J., Smaczny, J., Pukl, O., Tyllner, L., Vetterl, K., Toncrová, M., & Elschek, O.  Czech Republic. Grove Music Online. Retrieved 28 May. 2021, from