Cossacks have very rich vocal music tradition. Their songs incorporated melodic features of Russians, Ukrainians, Circassians and other ethnic groups that participated in forming Cossack warrior communities. It wouldn't be exaggeration to say that Cossack songs are one of the most important elements of their ethnic identity.
Many years ago (way before tanks, planes and other means of mass destruction were
invented) one astonished non-Cossack described following scene:
The traditional music of the Kuban Cossacks is rather peculiar. It can be divided into two main styles: Black Sea (with strong Ukrainian influence) and Linear (with strong Russian influence). The reason is that this Cossack group (second largest Cossack Host, after Don) was formed by the Black Sea Cossacks (former Zaporozhians), Don and Ekaterinoslav Cossacks. That's why there are songs that are considered to be Cossack songs by Cossacks, and Ukrainian by Ukrainians.
The most typical in Cossack music is so called "Indo-Chinese", or "Scottish" scale (performed on only black keys of the piano)…This "pentatonic" adds to the melody particular coloring, unusual to the ear used to the harmonic combination of the classical musical scale. And in spite of linguistic similarities, song tunes of the Black Sea (Zaporozhian) Cossacks differ from the Ukrainian music due to the domination of the same nature sound sof "eastern" five-tone scale. [Based on the comments made by A.M.Listopadov in his five-volume work "Songs of the Don Cossacks" ("Pesni Donskih Kazakov", Muzgiz,1953)]
Some of the Cossack songs are so popular among Non-Cossack Russians, that nobody already remembers that they are actually Cossack songs. And there are songs about Cossacks, that originally were urban songs, but most of people think those are the Cossack ones, which is not exactly true. Very often the same song can slightly vary in lyrics and arrangement from region to region.
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