Folk & Traditional Music of the Western Continents

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Carpitella2 believes that a rather sharp division exists between an ancient style, which is found largely in the lullabies, work songs, and funeral laments, and a modern style. The ancient style is charac≠terized by the church modes and, occasionally, by scales with five and fewer tones. The later style (which evidently really did come about through the growth of art music) is characterized by the use of major and of harmonic and melodic minor scales. The ancient style is found mainly in those regions of Italy wThich have remained relatively isolated from modern developments in technology and economics, and which, even after 1950, had a noticeably lower stand≠ard of living than did the rest of the nation; these regions are South and Central Italy and the islands of Sicily and Sardinia.
Among the most interesting finds of the recent upsurge in eth-nomusicological research in Italy is a rich tradition of polyphony. Among the simpler instances is Example 6-2, a kind of duet recita≠tive. The beginning by a soloist who is joined by a second voice is typical of this style, though not found in this example (see Example 5-8 for a Ukrainian example of this feature which is found in many European countries and in Africa). In Example 6-2, the movement is largely in parallel thirds, which is a feature also common in Italian popular and light classical music. The moving apart of the voices from a unison, beginning with the seventh note, the parallel fifths in
f i1 i* 'V / ■■ i1 \ i '11 j« i
Mas - sa - m Ma - ri - a - nu, mi vog-ghiu spi - a - ghe,
j11111' iV i1 r/,1,'i1 fl,1 ,■, ii
Se suo ch'a vi 'na fig - ghia, se'a vu - lióma- ri - e.
example 6-2. Italian polyphonic folk song, from Alberto Favara, Corpus di Musiche Siciliane (Palermo: Accademia de Scienze, Lettere e Arti, 1957), vol. 1, p. 225.
the middle, and the ending on a unison remind us of examples of medieval organum.
A characteristic of some of the more complex Italian polyphony
2 Diego Carpitella, "Folk Music: Italy," Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 5th edition (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1960), X, 137.

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