Inventory / Objects / Sutartinės

Ritual folklore group Kūlgrinda


Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

Sutartinės is a syncretic art form based on interlinking polyphonic music, lyrics and movements. The meaning of the word 'sutartinė' is derived from a Lithuanian verb 'sutarti' which means 'to be in accord'. Sutartinės are usually sung by women and the instrumental versions are performed by men on pan-pipes, horns, long wood trumpets, 'kanklės' (similar to cittern). The choreographic part is moderate, for example, walking in the form of a circle while linking arms and stamping feet. The poetic lyrics encompass work, calendar cycle, wedding, family, wartime and other moments of livelihood.

Sutartinės represent an ancient form of two- or three-voice polyphony. Melodies contain 2 to 5 pitches and comprise distinct melodic parts at the same time accompanied by different sets of lyrics – meaningful main text and a refrain that may include archaic vocables. Folk singers distinguish three main types of sutartinės in terms of performing practices and number of performers, location and function: 'dvejinės' ('twosomes'), 'trejinės' ('threesomes') and 'keturinės' ('foursomes'), however, that divides into almost 40 variations. The distinctive feature of sutartinės is second interval harmonies that derive from polyphonic melodic lines.

The tradition of singing sutartinės is most common in north-east Lithuania, they are performed on solemn occasions as well as festivals, concerts and social gatherings.