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Song of the Csángós
JUNE 2005
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Multimedia: Csángós Music

Experience life with Romania's Csángós.
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In Learn More the National Geographic magazine team shares some of its best sources and other information to expand your knowledge of our featured subjects. Special thanks to the Research Division.

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Did You Know?Did You Know?

The gardon, an interesting instrument used by Csángó musicians in Moldavia, appears to be a large, flat cello. Like a cello, it has strings, but unlike many other stringed instruments, it is never played using a bow. Instead, the gardon musician hits the strings with a baton or shaped stick. Most frequently used along with the fiddle to accompany dancing, the gardon contributes nothing to the melody, but creates the rhythm for the dance tune. Sometimes the strings are plucked in the neck area, or the entire body of the gardon may be used as a drum. Colin Quigley of UCLA's World Arts and Cultures Department points out that an instrument called a "drum with strings" was known to be used in Romanian music. Also, drums played with a similar technique were used by the military bands of Ottoman Janissaries, an elite group of royal bodyguards, disbanded in the early 19th century.
—Nancie Majkowski

Related Links

Commission of the European Communities
Read the 2004 report on Romania's progress toward accession to the EU.
Csángó Minority Culture in Romania
This Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly document brought concerns about preservation of Moldavian Csángó culture to the world's attention in 2001. The dissenting opinion presented on behalf of the Romanian delegation is included.
Moldavian Csángós
James A. Kapalo's University of London master's thesis (1996) explores the status of one of the smallest and least well known of the many minority groups in Romania.
Republic of Hungary Government Office for Hungarian Minorities Abroad
Source of information about support offered by the Hungarian government to ethnic Hungarians in neighboring countries.


Constantin, Sergiu. "Linguistic Policy and National Minorities in Romania."
Revista de Sociolinguistica (Autumn 2004). Available online at www6.gencat.net/llengcat/noves/hm04tardor/docs/constantin.pdf.
Diogszegi, Lászlo, editor. Hungarian Csángós in Moldavia: Essays on the Past and Present of the Hungarian Csángós in Moldavia. Teleki László Foundation/Pro Minoritate Foundation, 2002.

Du, Yaxiong. "The Ancient Quint-construction in Hungarian Folksongs." Chinese Music (June 1992), 24-33.
Frucht, Richard, editor. Encyclopedia of Eastern Europe: From the Congress of Vienna to the Fall of Communism. Garland Publishing, 2000.
Gündisch, Konrad. "The History of Transylvania and the Transylvania Saxons." Studienbuchreihe der Stiftung Ostdeutscher Kulturrat (Volume 8, 1998). Georg Schuller, translator. Available online at
Horvath, Izabella. "Recent Research by Chinese and Hungarian Musicologists Raises New Issues Concerning Origin of Hungarians." Chinese Music (June 1992), 33-6.
Magocsi, Paul R. Historical Atlas of Central Europe. University of Washington Press, 2002.
Pozsony, Ferenc. "The Historical Consciousness of the Moldavian Csángós" Hungarian Heritage (Volume 3, 2002), 28-41.
Tánczos, Vilmos. "Hungarians in Moldavia," Teleki László Foundation Occasional Papers No. 8, (April 1988). Available online at
U.S. State Department. Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs. Background Note: Hungary. Available online at www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/26566.htm.
U.S. State Department. Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs. Background Note: Romania. Available online at www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/35722.htm.

NGS Resources

Tarpy, Cliff. "The Danube: Europe's River of Harmony and Discord." National Geographic (March 2002), 62-87.
Godwin, Peter. "Gypsies: The Outsiders." National Geographic (April 2001), 72-101.
Rossi, Melissa. "Romania: Remembrances." National Geographic Traveler (April 1999), 116-19.
Vulliamy, Ed. "Romania's New Day: A Nation Savors Freedom." National Geographic (September 1998), 34-59.
Thompson, Jon. "East Europe's Dark Dawn: The Iron Curtain Rises to Reveal a Land Tarnished by Pollution." National Geographic (June 1991), 36-69.
Ehrlich, Anne and Paul. "Hungary: A Static Society." National Geographic (December 1988), 926-9.
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