Folk & Traditional Music of the Western Continents

The folk & traditional music of Europe, Africa & the Americas explored.

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various shapes with four and five strings, some held on the knee, some under the chin; the suka, with four strings tuned in fifths; the Tnazanka, a small fiddle with three strings tuned in fifths; and the maryna, a very large fiddle, also with three strings tuned in fifths, a form of the medieval Western European tromba marina.
Perhaps because of the proliferation of instruments, Polish folk music is dominated by instrumental tunes, most of it, of course, used for dancing. There is an immense number of dance types, each with regional provenience. Some of these have been taken over into art music by composers such as Chopin—the polonaise, the mazurka, the polka, the krakowiak. Typically, the Polish dances are quick and the majority use triple meter.
Polyphony: The Slavic countries and the Caucasus
u Polyphony is one element of music that characterizes all of Eastern Europe, It seems to exist everywhere except among the Finno-Ugric and Turkic peoples, and Lits development has been greatest in Russia and the Caucasus. The existence, among the Geor­gians, of polyphonic songs similar to the organa of medieval Europe has long tantalized the historian of Western art music, who can hardly assume that the Caucasus could have had an influence on West­ern European practices, and who finds the East too remote to have received stimuli of such a specific nature from the medieval West, but who also believes that the two forms may be too similar to have been invented independently twice. This is one of the riddles of historical ethnomusicology that may never be solved. The existence of organum-like folk music in Iceland and of other polyphonic types in Spain, Italy, and elsewhere (sporadically) indicates a possible solution: that polyphonic singing was once widespread in folk prac­tice but receded to the marginal areas of Europe. Example 5-7 is a song of the Gur, a tribe in the Caucasus, in three voices. The solo phrase at the beginning is typical also of Russian and Ukrainian polyphony. The first part of the song makes liberal, though not con­sistent, use of parallel triads. The second part also uses the principle of the drone, above which parallel thirds appear.
The role of Eastern (Orthodox) Church music in the develop­ment of this kind of polyphony may have been considerable. Po-

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