Folk & Traditional Music of the Western Continents

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

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men and women sing. Tonality, in the case of the parallel fifths, may be difficult to identify, for each voice retains its own distinct tonality in order to preserve strict parallelism. But a common clos≠ing formula that establishes the final tonality proceeds from a third or triad built on the second degree of the scale to an octave on the tonic.
As we move westward, polyphony decreases in prominence, and the vertical intervals become smaller. Poles, Czechs, and Slovaks use parallel thirds (and occasionally sixths), perhaps under the influence of the Alpine style with its emphasis on triadic harmony and melody. In the Balkans we also find vertical seconds and, occasionally, par≠allel seconds. In Yugoslavia there are some vertical seconds in the songs of lament, which employ a practice known as "Ojkanie" whose sound is rather similar to that of the epics. The members of the Balkan folk cultures evidently do not consider the harmonic seconds complex or difficult to perform, for in Bulgaria even children's songs can contain them.
Although polyphony is not common in the Baltic area, it does occur in some interesting forms using vertical seconds. Example 5-9 is a Lithuanian round, sung by three groups, in which only two tones are sung simultaneously. The reason is that one of the three groups is always resting. Thus, the tune, consisting of phrases A and B and the rest, X, has the following form when sung as a round:
Our examples have shown that Eastern Europe possesses one of the richest traditions of folk music. Variety and regional diversity are tremendous, but if we had to divide the area into geographic subdivisions with some stylistic homogeneity, it would have to be into four groups: 1) the Western SlavsóCzechs, Slovaks, Polesówho tend to show the Western European characteristics and the influ≠ences of Western art music; 2) the Russians, Ukrainians, and Cau≠casians, whose main characteristic is the highly developed polyph≠ony; 3) the Balkan peoples, with their small intervals and the strong influence of the Near East; and 4) the Hungarians and other Finno-Ugric peoples who, in spite of their isolation from each other, have retained some elements of their common heritage, such as the penta-

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