According to itypeusa, Bulgarian music has an ancient and interesting popular tradition: alongside the dances, of exceptional rhythmic richness, there are songs, where national elements blend with Byzantine and Turkish ones, also of an epic-historical topic, characterized by the use of ancient, from embellishments and unusual intervals and from an asymmetrical period. The tradition of sacred chant is linked to that of Byzantine chant; imported from Byzantium in the century. IX, it blooms mainly in the sec. XIII-XIV (G. Cucuzeli is Bulgarian) and at the time of the Turkish invasion (1393) it dispersed towards southern Russia. In the sec. XIX the late Greek chant replaces the native Bulgarian one (which had substantial affinity with that of the Russian Church). The complex Bulgarian polyphony has recently been rediscovered by European ethnomusicology, which has made some female choirs famous on the international scene. Of cultured music we can speak only from the end of the century. XIX: Sofia’s first musical school was founded in 1904. The first Bulgarian musicians were trained abroad, such as E. Manolov (1860-1902), who studied in Moscow, or D. Christov (1875-1941), who he was a pupil of Dvořák. The creator of the Bulgarian work was G. Atanasov (1882-1931), a pupil of P. Mascagni, who sought a synthesis between the European language of his time and the Bulgarian folk tradition. Several composers moved in this direction after him, including P. Vladigherov, considered the greatest contemporary Bulgarian musician. In Bulgaria, as in all Balkan countries in the decades following the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia and the socialist bloc, the musical phenomenon is the mixture of rhythms and sounds of traditional music, often of Turkish or Gypsy inspiration, and the cadences of pop and western rock. If in Serbia this mélange has taken on the characteristics of novokomponovana music first and then of aggressive turbo-folk, in Bulgaria the so-called chalga prevails., musically a pop version, rather sweetened, of ethnic music, but characterized by vulgar and imaginatively zany lyrics; due to its minority characteristics, the chalga is rather frowned upon by the nationalist establishment.
The dance boasts ancient origins linked to ritual festivals with elements of Thracian and Byzantine derivation: we mention the Thracian dances, those for the feast of St. George, the ručenica and the chorò (‘horò), considered the Bulgarian national dance, cheerful, fast and rhythmically cadenced with the simple accompaniment of choral singing. Among the organizations that have worked for the development and dissemination of the immense folkloric heritage of the nation (as well as several groups of amateur artists once paid by the socialist state), we mention the folklore complex of the Republic of Bulgaria “Filip Kutev”, based in Sofia, created in 1951 by Kutev with choreographer Margarita Dikova, now directed by Stefan Dragostinov (former choreographers Gjordan Yanakiev and Todor Karpcianski); the state folk song and dance complex “Pirin”, based in Blagojvgrad, founded in 1954 and directed by Kiril Stefanov (first choreographer Kiril Apostolov). The history of ballet is recent. A real ballet company, annexed to the National Theater of Sofia, it was founded in the capital by Anastas Petrov only in 1927 and directed by him until 1961. Petrov produced for the Bulgarian ensemble his versions of some classics of the traditional and Djagilevian repertoire, as well as some Bulgarian ballets. After the Second World War, Soviet masters, choreographers and ballets particularly influenced – and at the same time supported – the dance development of the country. Since 1951 the company has been supported by a State Choreographic School. In the last years of the twentieth century, after the dissolution of the socialist state, ballet with a classical repertoire also went through a financial and public crisis, from which it is slowly recovering; the
The first Bulgarian circus was founded in 1897 by the clown and trainer P. Panajotov; while the first school of circus artists was formed in the traveling circus of L. Dobrič. The stable circus of Sofia today welcomes the best of circus activity, nationalized after the Liberation and still very much practiced and followed by the public even after the dissolution of the socialist state.