A style of Basque music, Bertsolaritza is a form of acapella, improvised, poetic song which can describe a wide array of topics from societal problems to love.  Bertsolari (the person performing) are given a topic and then must sing their piece within the metre – although there are many different paradigms to follow.

The most common (formal) metres are:
zortziko mayor
hamarreko mayor
zortziko minor
hamarreko minor

Each of these metres describes the amount of syllables required in a stanza or puntua in Basque. There are also many other informal styles for metre which constantly change via improvisors in casual settings.

A bertsolari performing.

The first bertsolari to perform was Fernando Amezketarra in 1799 at Azpeitia.  Two years later he was involved in a Bertsolaritza competition; the prize being five ounces of gold.  It gathered a crowd of 4,000 people and lead to the first tie in bertsolari history.  This battle popularized bertsolari competitions to the prominence they have today.

Here’s a link to a video describing Bertsolaritza with a portion of a song:


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One Response to Bertsolaritza

  1. rodrig52 says:

    Asko gustatzen zait Bertsolaritza! nire bertsoak oso txarrak dira baina ikustea….. asko asko asko gustatzen zait!

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