Definition of dumka in US English:



  • A piece of Slavic music, originating as a folk ballad or lament, typically melancholy with contrasting lively sections.

    • ‘The whole set consists of rather humorous songs based on folk rhythms, melancholic dumkas and lyrical or even dramatic romances.’
    • ‘They crooned lengthy dumkas, folk songs in which sadness and gaiety mingled freely.’
    • ‘For Dvorák's Trio Number 4 in E Minor, Opus 90, B.166, they surrendered their smooth tone for more folk-like nuances, as is appropriate to the work's nature; the dumkas (Slavic folk songs) were elegiac, and the lively sections sparkled with dynamic contrasts.’
    • ‘Nothing is more characteristic of Czech music than the ‘dumka’, which Dvorák made particularly his own, notably in his Op 90 Piano Trio, which strings six of them together.’
    • ‘The concert concluded with the lavish main course presentation of Dvorak's ‘Trio in E minor, Op. 90,’ a big work made up of six large-scale dumkas, hence its nickname, ‘The Dumky.’’
    • ‘In a similar ethnic vein, the ‘Dumky’ Trio of Antonin Dvorak presents a series of six dumkas which are poignant, musical representations in the style of epic and heroic tales from Czech folk life.’
    • ‘The waltzes, polkas, reels, and dumkas (the dumka is a ballad-form, in which elegiac and fast tempi alternate) of his native Bohemia were successfully integrated into classical structures.’
    • ‘Some late 19th-century composers used such national dance forms as the furiant or dumka in their scherzos, while some of these draw on Austrian dances and otherwise grotesque elements.’
    • ‘The musical canvas of the Polish carol is formed above all by the melodies and rhythms of dances such as mazurkas, krakowiaks, obereks, kujawiaks, polonaises, and sentimental dumkas or elegies.’


Late 19th century: via Czech and Polish from Ukrainian.