Folk & Traditional Music of the Western Continents

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sation in the lower parts seems to be acceptable. In the Russian songs, the upper voice is definitely the melody; but in the Ukrainian ones, the two or three voices seem to be roughly equal in importance. Parenthetically, we should point out the rather unusual develop­ments in Russian folk music since World War I. The Soviet govern­ment has attempted to preserve the folk heritage not only of the Russians but also of some of the many minority populations in the Soviet Union, at the same time making their songs servants of the communist ideology. The result is a large body of folk song in the traditional musical styles—although the traits of Russian songs per se have to an extent penetrated the domain of some of the minority groups—with words of recent origin, often mentioning the leaders of the Soviet Union and the communist ideology.
The Cossacks of the Don River basin (who have produced the famous professional Don Cossack choruses) have developed the art of polyphonic singing to especially great heights; evidently even the epic by liny were sometimes sung by them in chorus. Another area of Russia in which polyphony flourishes is the North, especially the area around the monastery of Pecory. The Ukrainians also have a polyphonic style of great interest, and Example 5-8 is typical of those Ukrainian songs which make use of parallel fifths. The polyph­ony of the Eastern Slavs, while essentially relying on parallel move-
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example 5-8. Ukrainian polyphonic song from Poltava, collected by Ossyp and Roman Rosdolsky, transcribed by Bruno Nettl.
ment, does not follow this principle throughout. There is occasional oblique and contrary motion, use of the drone and even of imitation. Nor does the interval between the voices remain constant in one song. Example 5-8 contains parallel fifths as well as parallel thirds, with occasional fourths and sixths. The beginning by a soloist is typical and the choral parts may be doubled at the octave when both

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III