Folk music and creativity of Montenegro during the centuries was formed under various influences, maintaining all the elements of specific musical expression. Folklore, and tradition of Montenegrin people played a crucial role, but also the style orientation and modern understandings of the music expression were accepted under the influence of the achievements of the European and music of South Slavs, especially. Montenegrin artistic music is with idea connected with the South Slav creativity and it is determined with the folklore, which thematically and with content is necessary for the development of the artistic musical creativity.
When we are talking about the musical expression, Montenegrin folk melodies are of small range and of short form, which according to the texts is incessantly and continually being repeated. Those are patriotic songs. Songs of pride, sorrow, and joy, and they themselves make a strong confirmation of the tumultuous history. Because they originate from village and small town areas they carry differences in them, as far as melody and rhythm, and even in the very melody and the text. With the tune, which come from the village area, the range of tones is in three cords, or tetra cords and they usually end on the second tone of the tone chain. The most characteristic aggregation of Montenegrin folk poems of country tradition is characteristic for its short air of melody. Their connection is strong with the songs of the entire “dinar” area, and their main expression mean is the text, which describes feelings or an important historical event. Laments and epic folk songs, which are being performed, accompanied with “gusle” are the best example of this and similar creativity. The second aggregation is characteristic for a longer melody, which points out the musical quality submitting the text to rhythm and melody. Melodies are connected to lyrical love poetry. They are sung with a larger range of tones, going from pent chords, over hexachords, to an octave.
The first ample data, which were exhibited about the Montenegrin folk music, were the ones in the work of Ville de Somier, colonel of French army in Boka Kotorska, n 1820. His attempt to turn into music the folk melody, even though unsuccessful, is one of the first efforts and contributions to the exit of Montenegrin old music outside the borders of Montenegro.
Vice consul from Greece, Alexandros Leonardos, has left records about Montenegrin songs and games in the second half of the XIX century. First original notes of the Montenegrin folk songs appear in Zagreb, in one of Kuhac’s collection, which represents the first serious approach of study of Montenegrin folklore. Famous Serbian composer Stevan Stojanovic Mokranjac noted folk melodies from Montenegro, and the most characteristic ones of them became the structure for his Ninth quodlibet. Vladimir Djordjevic, Miloje Milojevic and other famous composer in the first half of the XX century have chosen Montenegrin music folklore as an inspiration for their achievements. With this they have introduced the original Montenegrin musical expression to the entire Balkans, its true face. This expression was made during the centuries not just with the voice, but also with the traditional instruments such as “gusle”, “pipe”, “reed” etc.