Maria Samokovlieva

musicologist, pedagogue

26.08.1939Sofia - Bulgaria

Prof. dr. Maria Atanasova Samokovlieva was born on 26.08.1939 in Sofia. She graduated from the National Academy of Music in 1962 and during the same year she joined the Bachelor’s Degree of Ethnomusicology, led by Prof. Dr. Stoyan Dzhudzhev. In 1965 after competition, she was nominated as an assistant professor at the Academy of Music, Dance and Fine Arts (AMTII) in Plovdiv. In 1976 she defended a dissertation entitled “Musical Characteristics of Pazardzhik Songs Folklore with a view to defining a musical-dialectic border between Thrace and Middle Western Bulgaria”, receiving the PhD degree. She was the first lecturer, defended dissertation and received the PhD degree at AMTII. In 1981 she was elected as an associate professor, and in 1995 as a professor of ethnomusicology at AMTII. She has been a professor of musical folklore, ethnomusicology and comparative musicology for a long period of time.
Since 1981, she has been Head of the Department of Theory and History of Music for 18 years (with interruptions) as well as head of a significant number of graduates and PhD students from Bulgaria and abroad – Japan, Sweden, Greece, USA, etc., and reviewer of large number of works in ethnomusicology graduate of candidates for associate professors and professors.
Since 1967 Prof. Dr. Maria Samokovlieva is member of the Union of Bulgarian Musicians and Dancers and since 1978 — of the Union of the Bulgarian Composers Musicologists section. Since 1984 she is member of the National Commission of Folklore at the Ministry of Culture. As a member of the board of “National Music and Folklore Union “Orpheus Spring” she participated as a chairman or a member of a jury in many regional and national folklore festivals, festivals, contests, competitions, etc. For a period of 15 years she has been conducting folk music circle, including students from different courses. A large number of folk songs and instrumental tunes from the Thracian and Srednogorie regions were recorded, and stored in the AMTII.
Alongside her teaching activities at AMTII, Prof. Dr. Maria Samokovlieva was invited as a lecturer at Shumen University “Ep. K. Preslavski “, New Bulgarian University and National Music Academy in Sofia. In 1992, she was invited as guest professor at the Faculty of Musicology at the University of Basel, Switzerland, where half a semester she read lectures in German about the folk music in the Balkans and especially about Bulgarian folk music. The interest in her lectures was really great. At the request of students she formed a small choir for studying Bulgarian folk songs. At another request of students of Slavic Philology, she ran a dance group, where they had the opportunity to learn Bulgarian folk dances. At the same time, due to the great interest in Bulgarian folklore, the University of Basel organized a City Evening Course for music teachers and music lovers from Basel, which Maria Samokovlieva also directs.
In 1993, she won a specialization scholarship from the University of Basel and specialized in the Institute of Musicology of Basel University where she participated with papers in various forums related to the musical folklore of a number of European countries, and had the opportunity to contact with a number of famous musicologists and to use the enormous Institute’s library.
Maria Samokovlieva is a member of three Working Groups of the International Council of Traditional Music (ICTM) of UNESCO – 1) Task Force on Analysis and Systematization of Folklore, 2) Working Group on Music Iconography, 3) Working Group on the Historical Roots of Folk Music. He is also a member of the European Seminar on Ethnomusicology (ESEM) and the Society for Folk Art of the International Society for Ethnology and Folklore (SIEF).
She participated in lots of scientific conferences in Bulgaria and abroad. Particularly large is the number of her participations in scientific conferences abroad, thus contributing to the popularization of Bulgarian folklore outside our country.


1) 1981 in Ohrid, Macedonia, The 7th Symposium on Balkan Folklore with paper “Typological characterization of the wedding songs from Strandzha (Bulgaria). Comparison with Wedding Songs from Hunedoara Region (Romania) “.

2) 1990 in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, the Analysis and Systematisation Study Group of ICTM, with paper “Musical Folklore Styles in Bulgaria”.

3) 1991 in Göttingen, Germany, at the ICTM 9th Conference, Historical Roots of Folk Music Study Group, with paper “Epic Songs from Eastern and Western Bulgaria”.

4) 1992 in Salamanca, Spain, at the Rhythm Conference organized by the University of Salamanca, with paper “Old Greek Metrics and Bulgarian Musical Folklore”.

5) 1993 in Berlin, Germany, at the ICTM 31st World Congress of Traditional Music with paper “Two Bulgarian Folk Dances – Horo and Ruchenitsa”.

6) 1994 in Vienna, Austria, at the ICTM 13th Symposium, the Study Group on Analysis and Systematisation, with paper “One Spring People’s Day in Bulgaria and its Songs”.

7) 1994/1995 in Jerusalem, Israel, at the ICTM Conference on Musical Images and the Bible, the Music Iconography Study Group, with paper “Music as a Topic in the Frescoes of Bulgarian Monasteries”.

8) 1995 in Copenhagen, Denmark, at the ESEM 10th Conference, the Historical Roots of Folk Music Study Group, with paper “Urban humorous and sarcastic songs in Bulgaria and their connection are the traditional musical folklore”.

9) 1995 in Innsbruck, Austria, at the ICTM Conference, the Music iconography Study Group, with paper “The Music in the Paintings of Bulgarian Artists”.

10) 1996 in Swansea, Wales, UK, at the ESEM 26th International Ballet Conference, with paper “Bulgarian Song Ballads – General Characteristics and Some Common Features with Romanian Ballads”.

11) 1997 in Berlin, Germany, at the SIEF Conference on European Traditional Music, with paper “Towards a New Process in the Development of Folk Music during the Changes in Bulgaria 1989-1996”.

12) 1998 in Timisoara, Romania, at the Conference on the Connection of Folk and Church Music, with paper “Impact of Folk Music on Church Music in Bulgaria”.

13) 1998, in Helsingheim, Germany, at the ESEM Folk Ballad Conference, with paper “An attempt to classify the melodies of Bulgarian folk ballads”.

14) 2001 in Rauland, Norway, at the SIEF European Conference on Folklore, with paper “The Role of Folklore in the Development of the Musical Education Process in Bulgaria”.

15) 2002 in Leuven, Belgium, at the ESEM 32nd Traditional Music Conference, with paper “Children’s Participation in Bulgarian Folk Orders and Customs”.

16) 2003 in Gülz (Vienna), Austria, at the ESEM 19th European Seminar on Ethnomusicology, with paper “Some New Processes in the Processing of Folk Music in Bulgaria”.

17) 2004 in Graz, Austria, at the ICTM Seminar, the Historical Roots of Folk Music Study Group, with paper “Historical Soundtracks of Traditional Bulgarian Music”.

18) 2005 in Cologne, Germany, at the SIEF Ethnology and Folklore Seminar, with paper “Metaphysical Qualities of Ritual Music in Bulgaria.”

19) 2006 in Freiburg, Germany, at the European Ethnomusicology Conference, with paper “Child Participation in Bulgarian Family Rituals”.

20) 2006 in Hanoi, Vietnam, at the Seminar for European Culture with paper “Bulgarian folklore dialect areas and their music”.

Prof. Dr. Maria Samokovlieva wrote large number of scientific papers, studies and books, many of them were printed in Germany, USA, UK, Russia, Ukraine, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Israel, Serbia, Macedonia, Bulgaria etc.. Her books, “The Bulgarian Folk Customs and the Participation of the Children in them”, Sofia, 1995 and “Children in the Bulgarian Folk Rituals”, Sofia, 2007 are devoted to children’s participation in Bulgarian folk customs and family folk rituals. She edited “The Bulgarian Folk Songs”, Plovdiv, 1994 for the students of the higher music institutes. In 2000 she was awarded the “Golden Lira” by the Union of Musicians and Dancers in Bulgaria for high creative successes. In 2016 Plovdiv was published the “EXPRESSED FLOORS. PERSONAL ENCYCLOPEDIA “, dedicated to the awarding of Plovdiv as the European Capital of Culture in 2019, where Prof. Dr. Maria Samokovlieva was prerented among the great number of prominent Bulgarians.
As a descendant of the famous Samokov painting genre of Hristo Dimitrov (1746-1819), founder of the Samokov art school and father of the great artists Dimitar Zograf and Zahari Zograf, in 2007 Prof. Maria Samokolylieva wrote the book “Samokov Art School”. She explores biography and creativity of Hristo Dimitrov, Dimitar Zograf and his sons-artists, lead by Stanislav Dospevski, Zahari Zograf and their more famous disciples and followers. Samokov carving and engraving art has been studied as well as their most prominent representatives.



1. Bulgarian folk customs and the participation of the children in them.1995

2. Children in Bulgarian folk rituals. 2007.

3. Samokov art school and my Samokov family. 2007.

4. Bulgarian folk songs collection.1994.

5. Music arrangement by Zdravko Manolov. Bulgarian Music Magazine, 1964, Book 2, p.12.

6. The “Folk Songs from the Rhodope Region” collection. Bulgarian Music Magazine, 1971, v. 10, p.49.

7. About defining boundaries between different folklore, musical and dialect districts. Collection. Theoretical Conference of VMPI, P. 1975, p. 25.

8. Methodological and methodical problems concerned with the folk music teaching in the VMPI. Problems of the educational process in VMPI, P., 1977, p. 118.

9. About the issue of geographic aspect of the study of musical folklore. Collection. Papers from the 9th Symposium of TNTM, P., 1977, p. 41.

10. Territorial distribution of some types of calendar and ritual songs from Northern Bulgaria. Collection. Bulgarian Folklore, 1978, vol. 4, p. 15.

11. Folk songs from the Northwest Rhodope Mountains. Problems of Bulgarian Folklore. Folklore, Language and National Fate., 1979, p. 4, p.187.

12. Musical Characteristics and Territorial Distribution of Northern Bulgaria Song Folklore. Reports of the 11th Symposium of TNTM, P., 1979, p. 34.

13. Outline musical-dialectic boundary between Thrace and Middle Western Bulgaria in Pazardzhik. Collection. Bulgarian Musicology, 1981, vol. 4, p. 23.

14. Typological characterization of wedding songs from Strandzha (Bulgaria). Comparison with Wedding Songs from Hunedoara Region (Romania). Macedonian Folklore magazine, Skopje, 1982, year XV, volume 29-30, p.133.

15. Types of ritual songs in Northern Bulgaria and many variations in Ukrainian and Belarusian musicals folklore. In memory of K. Kvitka (1880-1953). Collection of articles, Moscow, 1983, p. 102.

16. Contribution to the theory of folk music and general musicology. Music Horizons Magazine, 1983, vol. 1, p. 130.

17. Contribution to the musical education of children from pre-school and primary school age. Bulgarian Folklore Magazine, 1985, vol. 1, p. 100.

18. With ones services for the development of our folklore science. Bulgarian Folklore Magazine, 1985, vol. 3, p. 108.

19. The place of the Bulgarian musical and dance folklore in students education. Music in students physical education. Sofia University Press,1988, p.5.

20. Musical folklore in 1988. New Bulgarian Music – 88, SBK Press, C., 1989, p.7.

21. Some common features between Bulgarian and Romanian songs.VI International Congress on Balkan Studies, 1989, p.170.

22. Musical folklore and aesthetic education of youth. Problems of Bulgarian Folklore. Folklore and the Modern World, 1991, p. 9, p.89.

23. Two Bulgarian Dances – Rushchenitsa and Horo. The Research Center of Music iconography (RCMI), New York, 1993, RidIM Newsletter, volume 18, Number 1, p. 26.

24. Songs about Hadji Dimitar. The Bulgarian Musical Culture in the Age of National Revival.1994, p.43.

25. Epic Songs in Western and Eastern Bulgaria. Historical Folk Music Studies, (Historische Volksmusikforschung), Geotingen, 1994, p.117.)

26. Children’s Christmas Fest Bulgarian Little Christmas. Yearbook of AMTII, Plovdiv, 1994, p. 81.

27. Music as a theme in the frescoes of Bulgarian monasteries. Music Images and the Bible, Jerusalem, 1995, p.64.

28. Arab music and Bulgarian folk music. Yearbook of AMTII, Plovdiv, 1995, p. 44.

29. Some common features between melodies of Bulgarian and Romanian folk songs. Yearbook of the AMTII, Plovdiv, 1996, p.70.

30. The Reality of Dance in the Paintings of Bulgarian Artists from the First Half of the 20th Century. Myth and Reality in Dance Paintings, Swansea, Wales, 1997, p.95.

31. Musical folklore as element of music education in school. Problems in music education for young people, Odessa, 1997, p.82.

32. Urban humorous and sarcastic songs in Bulgaria and their relation with traditional folklore. Historical Studies on Folk and Traditional Music, Danish Folklore Archive, Copenhagen, 1997, p.133.

33. Bulgarian ballad songs – main characteristic and some of their relations with ballads from Romania. East European Meetings in Ethnomusicology, Bucharest, 1998, p.104.

34. For a new process in the development of folk music during the political changes in Bulgaria. New Countries Old Sounds? Cultural Identity and Social Change in Southeastern Europe, Muenchen, 1999, p. 203. 203.

35. Melotherapy from Sofia district. Yearbook of AMTII, 2000, p.

36. About the Classification of Melodies of the Bulgarian Ballads. Bridging the Cultural Divide: Our Common Ballad Heritage, Hildesheim, 2000, p.403.

37. The Role of Folklore in the Development of Musical Education Process in Bulgaria. Folklore in the Music Education, Oslo, 2002, p. 98. 98.

38. Place and significance of folklore in the work of famous artists – J. Brahms, E. Grig, A. Khachaturian and F. Kutev, S., 2003, p.7.

39. About children’s ritual singing in Bulgaria. Ballads and Diversity, Trir, 2004, p. 235. 235.

40. About the Songs Arangement in Bulgaria. The Folklore Today.Vienna, 2007, p. 136 136.

41. The metaphysical characteristics of ritual music in Bulgaria. The Music and the Ritual, Koeln, 2008, p. 237. 237.

42. Prof. Dr. Maria Samokovlieva about herself, her family and her creative work. From the Spring – Emil Yanev (for Plovdiv Musicians), Hainy Press, 2013, p. 80.