Single-reed instruments

Single-reed instruments such as the flute, with a series of finger holes, have different names depending on their place of origin: žveglica, jedinka, duduk, svirala, ćurominka, slavić, fistula, ćurlik, kavela, strančica. Those were solo and signal instruments made of wood. They were often built by shepherds for their own entertainment and they were widespread among all South Slavs.


The greatest number of this type of musical instruments that are part of the Collection comes from Northwest Croatia, more precisely from Hrvatsko Zagorje, where they are most prevalent, followed by Dalmatia, Ravni Kotari and Lika; several originate from Bosnia and Herzegovina and one from Bulgaria.
Whistle flute - jedinka / Mirko Gereci; Stubički Laz, the 2nd decade ot the 20th century / Et 8177, The Collection of Musical Instruments


Žveglice is a common term for all types of folk flutes once played in Hrvatsko Zagorje, particularly in Bistrički Laz and Stubički Laz (Širola, 1932: 10). The jedinka (the single flute) was mostly made of hazel, maple or elder wood. Unlike jedinke from other parts of Croatia the jedinke from Stubički Laz have quadrangular cross-section (Et 8177).


According to the manner of its making and playing the most developed single-reed instrument is the strajnčica (the side-blown flute) which is held to the side when played and is named accordingly. Širola considered the strajnčica a more primitive variant of today’s common flute. The strajnčica was mainly made of elder wood. The pith was squeezed out of an elder stick and the bore simply needed to be expanded (Širola, 1932: 153). The Collection of musical instruments includes a strajnčica made of maple wood, with six holes (vrti) and ornaments burned in the wood (žgana cifra), dots and circular lines (Et 8175) The same as the jedinka, the strajnčica was mostly used as a solo instrument by herdsmen in the pastures.