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Looking for Basque folk songs

Hi all --
Looking for Basque folk songs -- not classical adaptations, but something as close to the root as possible. Any ideas?
Sing on!
Replies (6): Threaded | Chronological
on March 12, 2016 4:43am
Maybe get in touch with Javier Busto. He's on Facebook: 
on March 13, 2016 12:53pm
The Basque folk song tradition seems to be scantily documented.
Your best bet might be to check out the Smithsonian recordings Basque selections at:
I haven't seen any of these particular CDs, but Smithsonian/Folkways collections typically are very authentic field recordings, often with informative printed inserts.
In my own collection of materials, I find a few turn-of-the-(19th/20th) century "parlor piano" books which include arrangements of Basque songs:
  • Folk Songs of Many Lands by J. Curwen (1911) has seven arrangements of traditional Basque songs.
  • Characteristic songs and dances of all nations (1901) by Alfred Moffat has at least one Basque song.
Both the above should be available on line in Google Books.  My experience with other works of this nature leads me to believe that the melodies to the Basque songs in them should be fairly authentic, but the lyrics and harmonizations are probably free adaptations.
The bibliography in the Moffat book lists a work called Cent Chansons Populaires Basques by Charles Bordes (1894,) but I haven't seen a printed or on line copy of it.
on March 14, 2016 2:00am
You will for sure find ideas by searching in choral music database Musica ( ).
In the field  "Keywords, Words in title..." , just ask for   "Basque folk song" => More than 300 answers...
on March 14, 2016 5:00am
Folk Songs of Europe, ed. Maud Karpeles, Novello & Co., 1956 (and thus before the days of ISBN numbers) - includes
  • Atharratze jauregian (France)
  • Nun zirade (Spain)
  • Aldapeko (Spain)
As you'd expect, these are "close to the root" and are given as melody and words only, with a 1950s-ish English singing translation. I imagine that the book is still in copyright, but the songs themselves are surely in the public domain.
on March 14, 2016 8:27am
With the usual disclaimer that I Am Not A Lawyer, from research I've done among things written by people who are lawyers, I think we have to be wary of assuming that a traditional song is in the public domain, or to be more precise, that if I extract the melody of a traditional song from a copyrighted arrangement of it and use if for my own work, I am not violating copyright. 
Sure, we can assume that "the melody itself" is in the public domain, but that assumption is just that, an assumption. And even if "the melody itself" is legally in the public domain, what if the copyrighted source I find it in gives the song in a different key and with a slightly altered  melodic line than any other version.  Or repeats the chorus as a refrain where other versions don't? Would that specific version of the melody be a copyrighted melody? The question is complicated by the fact that usually I would have no idea if the version in the copyrighted source inludes such original features.
In the case of a traditional song, is there legally any such thing as "the melody itself," existing as a legal construct apart from any specific printed or recorded version of the song?
My understanding is that arrangements of traditional songs can be copyrighted like original works.  So if I took the melody of a traditional song from a book like the one cited above and composed my own arrangement of it, would I be infringing on the copyright of version in the book? I've never seen a clear legal answer to this question from an authoritative source, but my own decision is not to use such melodies, since I don't have a certain answer.  (My own compositions make extensive use of traditional songs, but I make sure I always adapt them from sources printed before 1923.)
on March 15, 2016 7:58am
We have sung the Josquin Mass Una musque de Buscaya <>, and the chanson upon which it was parodied, but Dr Wegman included in his MIDI the monophonic folksong upon which it was based. [go to mass name un mousse] it is a delicious ancient tune. The French adoptation reads:
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