Folk & Traditional Music of the Western Continents

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The three singing styles that Lomax assigns to European folk music are termed by him as "Old European," "Modern European," and "Eurasian." The "Eurasian" style, which is found primarily throughout most of the high cultures of Asia, is represented in Eu­rope in parts of the British Isles and France, in South Italy, and in the Mohammedan parts of the Balkans. The singing is high-pitched, strident, and harsh, and the singers' facial expressions are rigidly con­trolled or sad. The style lends itself well to long, ornamented' tones and passages, and the character of the music is sweetly sad and melancholy. Lomax equates singing styles with certain types of so­cial structure and, according to him, the Eurasian area is one in which the position of women is below that of men; they may be put on a pedestal, but they do not have equality.
The "Old European" style of Lomax is found in the Hebrides, Northern England, Scandinavia, the Pyrenees, Czechoslovakia, West­ern Yugoslavia, Northern Italy, Germany, parts of the Balkans, the Ukraine, and the Caucasus. Here the singing is done with the throat relaxed, and the facial expressions of the singers are lively and ani­mated. The tunes are simple and unornamented, and group singing is common. Cooperation among the singers in a chorus seems to have allowed polyphony to develop, and, says Lomax, possibly some of the polyphonic types of folk music have antedated the development of polyphony in European cultivated music. In these areas, in any event, harmony was easily accepted. The idea of cooperation in music seems to have something to do with social cooperation, for the position of women in the "Old European" areas, according to Lomax, has been one of equality with men.
The "Modern European" style is, according to Lomax, a later layer which seems to have been superimposed on some of the other styles, perhaps because of the influence of the cities. It is found in most of England and France, in Hungary, Central Italy, and colonial America. This is the area of ballads and lyrical love songs. Singing, in contrast to the Old European style, is normally done by soloists or in unblended unison. The vocal quality is harsh and strained. Interest is more in the words than in the music.
Lomax's observations are certainly stimulating. He believes that the way in which people sing is more likely to remain constant than is the musical content of their songs. And he believes that a small sample of singing from a particular area or country will indicate the

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