Decisión del Comité intergubernamental: 17.COM 7.B.14

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Hungary has nominated Hungarian string band tradition (No. 01730) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

The Hungarian string band tradition is one of the country's defining ensembles and one of the most common representatives of folk music culture. The basic fiddle-viola-bass line-up takes many forms across regions and eras and can be expanded to include additional string players or reed instruments. Up until the middle of the twentieth century, string bands provided music for village parties, family and village festivities, agricultural events and religious and public holidays. Today, they play a crucial role in stage performances, local festivities such as dances, and urban táncház (‘dance-house’ or folkdance parties). A group's repertoire can include thousands of melodies, which village musicians play entirely from memory. In addition to memory-based oral transmission, melodies are now also acquired in formal educational settings using written transcriptions and audio-visual documentation. Because Hungarian string bands have always adapted to the social context, the melodies, lyrics, playing style and repertoire are jointly shaped by the musicians and the dancers and audiences. With its varied instrumental composition, social and cultural functions and diverse repertoire, the Hungarian folk string band has a radiating effect across all of Europe and especially in neighbouring areas, making it one of the most influential musical phenomena in the region today.

  1. Considers that, from the information included in the file, the nomination satisfies the following criteria for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

R.1:   The element is a folk music culture involving string bands that play in local festivities, at urban táncház and as accompaniment for folk dance groups and stage performances. The bearers and practitioners of the element include members of traditional string bands, amateur, semi-professional and professional musicians, and students of folk music. Men and women are equally likely to become string musicians. The knowledge and skills of the element are transmitted through music education in schools and universities, as well as informal education efforts. The element represents cultural identity and draws attention to traditional values. It is a positive example of expressing human creativity and respect for cultural diversity, and it does not conflict with principles of human rights or sustainable development.

R.2:   The file explains that at the local level, inscription will increase local interest, engage young generations in learning locally, as well as strengthen cultural identity and pride. It will also raise general awareness about traditional music as part of intangible cultural heritage. At the national level, inscription will enhance youths’ interest in other forms of traditional folk music. At the international level, inscription will allow collaboration and mutual celebration between musical traditions, leading to a greater view of cultural diversity and intangible cultural heritage on an international scale. The element's inscription will encourage positive dialogue and collaboration among practitioners through festivals, competitions and forums. It will also contribute to enhancing human creativity by inspiring musicians to develop the element.

R.4:   A wide range of practitioners and stakeholders were involved in the nomination process, including village tradition bearers, revival string musicians of all ages, folk music researchers, as well as the relevant institutions and non-governmental organisations. The communities concerned formulated various safeguarding measures that have been incorporated into the nomination form. Letters demonstrating the free, prior and informed consent to the nomination were provided by national, regional and local institutions, non-governmental organizations, associations, and the communities, groups and individuals concerned.

R.5:   The element is included on the National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage, and the inventory is maintained by the Ministry of Culture and Innovation, the Hungarian National Committee for the Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Hungarian National Commission for UNESCO and the Directorate of Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Hungarian Open Air Museum. The inventory is regularly updated, usually once a year, with the help of participants involved in the process, including NGOs and communities. The file explains how the elements on the national inventory are updated.

  1. Further considers that, from the information included in the file and the information provided by the submitting State Party through the dialogue process, the nomination satisfies the following criterion for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

R.3:   The file provides information on the past and current safeguarding efforts, such as the annual National Táncház Festival & Fair, the establishment of national institutions and NGOs to represent the professional interest of the musicians, and broadcasting the music on public radio stations. The proposed safeguarding measures include grants to support folk music performers, digitising and allowing free public online access to folk music material, publishing of pedagogical aids, organising competitions and events, and various education efforts. During the nomination process, members of the musician communities, artistic directors of bands, experts, and other stakeholders worked together to identify the needs and were involved in planning the safeguarding measures. Communities concerned were informed during music festivals about the nomination process, and at the Kecskemét Folk Music Festival, the results of scientific research on the present and future of string folk music were discussed, and helped to elaborate the safeguarding measures. In addition, a meeting involving practitioners, researchers, teachers and representatives of associations was held on 5 November 2019, to analyse the points of the nomination and the safeguarding plans, and suggestions from the meeting were incorporated into the proposed measures.

  1. Decides to inscribe Hungarian string band tradition on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity;
  2. Reminds the State Party of the importance of ensuring the widest possible participation of the communities and craftsmen concerned in planning and implementing safeguarding measures and in the inventorying process;
  3. Further reminds the State Party, when submitting nomination files in the future, to avoid presenting information or statements that may suggest claims of ownership of an element;
  4. Commends the State Party on a well-prepared and informative video.