Transylvania has been historically and culturally more linked to Central European countries than the rest of Eastern Europe, and its music reflects those influences. Inhabited by a mix of Gypsies, Romanians and Hungarians, Transylvania has long been a centre for folk music, which has survived here more than in the rest of Romania. Bartok and Kodaly collected many folk songs from Transylvania early in the 20th century.
Violin, viola and double bass, sometimes with a cimbalom, are the most integral ensemble unit. They are used to played a wide variety of songs, including numerous kinds of specific wedding songs.
Hungarian-Transylvanians are known for their vibrant musical cultures, especially around Hunedoara and Kalotaszeg, which is famous for hajnali songs and legényes men's dance. The Csángós have a distinct Hungarian dialect and ancient music, and are known for a sort of percussive cello called a gardon.
Drum, guitar and violin make up the typical band in Maramures, and virtuoso fiddlers are also popular in the area. In the end of the 1990s, the Maramuzical music festival was organised to draw attention to the indigenous music of the area.
Moldavia, and its neighbour Moldova, are known for brass bands similar to those in Serbia and Montenegro.
Wallachia is home to the taraf bands, which are perhaps the most well-known expression of Romanian folk culture. Dances associated with tarafs include briu, geamparale, sirba and hora. The fiddle leads the music, with the cimbalom and double bass accompanying it. Lyrics are often about heroes like the Haidouks. Taraf de Haidouks is an especially famous taraf, and have achieved international attention since their 1988 debut with the label Ocora.
The most widespread form of Romanian folk music is the doina. There are other styles of folk music strongly influenced by Turkish music; these include the bocet, cântec batrânesc (traditional Gypsy epic ballads) and the când ciobanu și-a pierdut oile.
Doina is poetic and often melancholy, sometimes compared to the blues for that reason. Melodies are sometimes repeated in differing songs, and typically follow a descending pattern.
Regional styles of doina:
Ca pe luncă - found along the southern Danube
Hora lungă - Maramures
Klezmer - originally played by Jewish musicians from Bessarabia and Moldavia
Oltului - found along the River Olt
Other styles of doina:
Ca din tulnic - unique type in which the melody imitates a type of bugle called the tulnic