Oprekelj (Dulcimer, Hackbrett) in Slovenia

  • Mira Omerzel-Terlep


The oprekelj (Dulcimer, Hackbrett) is an instrument of foreign origin, but has been used to meet the everyday expressive needs of the Slovene man throughout the Slovene ethnic territory (excluding Bela Krajina), a fact also determining its social role. From the available data, for the time from the 19th century up to 1979, when the last oprekelj player died in Slovenia, the following functions of the instrument can be identified: at various ceremonies it was used as a dance accompaniment, for carol performing on various occasions throughout the year, for acquiring basic provisions and for carnival revelling in the 18th century the oprekelj is part of a bigger instrumental ensemble: oprekelj, škant (violin), bajs (double bass) or small bass, klenet (clarinet), joined occasionally by a hunting horn and a trumpet, an accordion and the singers. The transformation of the instrument and its use, bound in the past to polyfunctional expressive needs of a broader community, developed in the direction of monofunctional usage: from participation at dances and village revelries etc. to domestic pleasures of a narrower family circle, all of which caused a reduction of reproductive participation and playing technique, a reduction of the repertoire as well as of constructive elements of the instrument. Already in the 18th century the usual trio has the cast: oprekelj – violin – double bass or oprekelj – clarinet – double bass. Leopold Pivk. Sen., played even in the more reduced combination oprekelj and violin, whereas Leopold Pivk, Jun., was only able to play a few tunes on this instrument. The changes involving a reduction of the instrument's social functions and an accomodation to a new aesthetic taste of the time did not lead to a hybridization of "old and new", but throughout the 19th and 20th centuries towards the inevitable disuse of the instrument.


Download data is not yet available.
How to Cite
Omerzel-TerlepM. (1980). Oprekelj (Dulcimer, Hackbrett) in Slovenia. Musicological Annual, 16(1), 93-107. https://doi.org/10.4312/mz.16.1.93-107