The correlation of Western and Eastern elements in Serbian church choral music of the first half of the 20th century


  • Bogdan Djakovic


During the relatively short time between the two World Wars, Serbian society in the sphere of politics, economic and social aspects underwent a fast and fundamental transformation from a patriarchal structure towards a modern urban profile. Open both to East and West, the state invested a great deal in the international education of the younger generations and immediately the progressive new intellectual elite with great enthusiasm began to invest back in the general evolution of the country.

Through the spirit of this time, one crucial, almost mythological question was raised again: “Are we (Serbs) going to be East in the West, or West in the East or, if we want to have our own place in Europe and the world, we should seek for a third way, our own synthesis with roots planted somewhere down in this crossroads of the two worlds?“

The main musical question of the second and third decades of the 20th century, as regards the aspects of a national style, was based on domestic or international grounds: first of all, this meant artistic stylization and performance of folk songs, or creative impulses towards “imaginative folklore“ without direct quotations, and, secondly, composing according to the models of Western art music. Influential artists claimed that only the individual transformed artistic reality of one period could bring discoveries without pure repetition. In the terms of relations to European artistic movements, Serbian culture finally moved from the position of follower to that of active participant.

Conference Papers



How to Cite

Djakovic, Bogdan. 2020. “The Correlation of Western and Eastern Elements in Serbian Church Choral Music of the First Half of the 20th Century”. Journal of the International Society for Orthodox Music 3 (January):133-37.