<ul><li>Ukraine found itself at the crossroads of Asia and Europe and this is reflected within the music in a perplexing mix of exotic melismatic singing with chordal harmony which does not always easily fit the rules of traditional Western European harmony. The most striking general characteristic of authentic ethnic Ukrainian folk music is the wide use of minor modes or keys which incorporate augmented 2nd intervals. This is an indication that the major-minor system developed in Western European music did not become as entrenched or as sophisticated in Ukraine. </li></ul>
Ritual songs show the greatest tendency to preservation. They are frequently in recitative style, essentially monodic , based on notes in the range of a third or a fourth. An example of this style is the theme for the Shchedrivka " Shchedryk " known in the West as " Carol of the Bells ".
Ukrainian folk song singing style can be divided into a number of broad aesthetic categories. 1. Solo singing - primarily ritual songs including holosinnya sung at wakes. 2. Solo singing with instrumental accompaniment by professional itinerant singers known as kobzari or lirnyky . The highest form of development of this style of singing can be seen in the lyric historical folk epics known as dumy sung to the accompaniment of the bandura , kobza or lira ( lirnyk ). Dumy were sung primarily in the dorian mode 3. The third is an archaic type of modal "a cappella" vocal style in which a phrase sung by a soloist is answered by a choral phrase in 2- or 3- voice vertical polyphony / heterophony /harmony. The vocal inflection here is quite mediaeval in character, and some peculiarities of distinctly Ukrainian flavor are noticeable, such as parallel fifths and octaves, and several types of plagal cadences. This type of song, once dominant, after 1650 has ceded its hegemony to the newer tonal types, but can still be found in isolated villages. 4. *The other vocal styles are marked by the influences exerted by European music, by paraliturgical music of Danylo Tuptalo and his circle in the early 18th century, and later by classical music and urban culture.
One of the most active proponents of these styles of Ukrainian vocal music is Nina Matviyenko
Common traditional instruments include: the kobza ( lute ), bandura , torban (bass lute), violin , basolya (3-string cello), the relya or lira ( hurdy-gurdy ) and the tsymbaly ; the sopilka (duct flute), floyara (open, end-blown flute), trembita (alpenhorn), fife , volynka (bagpipes); and the buben (frame drum), tulumbas (kettledrum), resheto (tambourine). When performing dance melodies instrumental performance usually includes improvisation.
The traditional dances of Ukraine include: the Kozak , Kozachok , Tropak , Hopak , Hrechanyky , Kolomyjka and Hutsulka , Metelytsia , Shumka , Arkan
Although most instrumental dance music in Ukraine can be sung to, there exist in Ukraine a group of professional folk musicians who sing to their own accompaniment. These itinerant musicians were generically called kobzari (kobzar - singular), and accompanied their singing with the kobza , bandura , or lira . Although their origins stretch back to antiquity, their repertoire and customs directly date back to the 17th century in which they depict the period of the conflicts between the Kozaks and various foreign oppressors. There were many cases of those folk singers being blind which became a stereotype in the cultural memory.
The first category is closely tied with the Ukrainian national school of music spearheaded by Mykola Lysenko . It includes such composers as Kyrylo Stetsenko , Mykola Leontovych , Levko Revutsky . Most of their music contains Ukrainian folk figures and are composed to Ukrainian texts.
Semen Stepanovych Hulak-Artemovsky is known mainly for his comic opera Zaporozhets za Dunayem ( A Zaporozhian ( Cossack ) Beyond the Danube ), as well as for his dramatic talent and his powerful, rich baritone voice. He was the nephew of the poet Petro Hulak-Artemovsky and a close friend of Taras Shevchenko .
Pop music in Ukraine is Western influenced pop music in its various forms that has been growing in popularity in Ukraine since the 1960s. The 1970s saw the emergence of a number of folk rock groups. One of the most prominent was a group known as Kobza which included 2 electric banduras. Major contributions were made by song writer Volodymyr Ivasiuk and singer Sofia Rotaru and Nazariy Yaremchuk .
The 1990s saw an explosion in the Ukrainian Pop music world. This was brought on by the Chervona Ruta Festival which was held in Chernivtsi in 1989 and sponsored by the Kobza corporation. At the end of the 80's it was considered that Ukrainian language based rock would not be effective. Among the popular groups and performers of the 90's were Iryna Bilyk , Oleksandr Ponomaryov , Taisiya Povaliy . Bands like Scryabin, Vopli Vidoplyasova , Aqua Vita, Van Gog, and Haidamaky (new genre "Kozak-Rock") were just a few of the many popular bands of that time.
In recent times folkloric elements have made a resurgence in modern Ukrainian pop music. Hutsul folk melodies, rhythms and dance moves were used by the Ruslana , winner of the Eurovision Song Contest 2004 .
Sofia Rotaru – released a number of Ukrainian language albums that were in top chart positions. Rotaru has been performing for more than 40 years. According to polls, she is the most popular pop artist in Russia, Ukraine and Moldova.
Okean Elzy is one of the most successful and popular Ukrainian rock bands. It was formed in 1994 in Lviv , Ukraine . The band's vocalist and frontman is Svyatoslav Vakarchuk . Okean Elzy is best-loved Ukrainian rock band not only in Ukraine but also in most CIS countries. In April 2007 Okean Elzy received FUZZ Magazine music awards as “Best rock act”.
Ani Lorak is a Ukrainian pop singer . She appeared to be a strong front-runner to represent Ukraine at the Eurovision Song Contest on two occasions, but ultimately failed to be selected. Her narrow defeat in the 2005 national pre-selection competition was particularly controversial, given that the winners GreenJolly had, unlike her, not had to qualify for the final by winning one of the fifteen preliminary heats. Lorak represented Ukraine at the Eurovision Song Contest 2008 with the song " Shady Lady " and came in 2nd place behind Dima Bilan from Russia .