Aculturation as a Possibility for Creation of the Orthodox Monody in Byzantino-Slavonic Music in Macedonia

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Aculturation as a Possibility for Creation of the Orthodox Monody in Byzantino-Slavonic Music in Macedonia

The unity between the sound and the word should be the imperative of any observation of church chants in Byzantine music. When A.B. Preobrazenski, speaking about the Russian-Byzantine practice says that “in the basis of musical expression we could see the very same pattern which could be seen in the basis of literary expression”1F, he addresses the same origin of the dynamism of the internal ongoing process, both in the musical and in the literary process of one and the same deed. Thus, it is not difficult to come to a conclusion that the essential characteristics of the Macedonian church language are in the same time esthetical determinants of music, implemented in chants written in that language. Any change in the dynamism of textual flow, which participates in the esthetical essence of the ultimate form, means in the same time a change in the dynamism of sound ideation of the related text.
One of the most complex problems which faces the musical byzantology concerning Byzantino-Slavonic music is the problem of musical interpretation of the texts, depending on hystorical alterations of the numerous theoretical aspects of that music.The interpretation of church-music texts depends on two, in the same time mutually dependent elements: the written and the verbal musical tradition. Despite the existence of “neumatic” notation (beginning from 10th century), Byzantine and Orthodox Slavonic church music, ever since its beginnings untill the present time, most oftenly have been transmitted by the verbal way2F. It means that, in addition to the general reliance upon written tradition, musical byzantology will have to find out adequate methodology and technics to disclose the numerous aspects which stress the decisive role of verbal musical tradition in transmission of the manuscripts over the centuries.
From the aspect of aculturation processes, there have been very significant points of view, although originating from the field of ethnomusicology and relating to folk music, that have shed light on the identical processes in church music, namely upon Byzantino-Slavonic music. In this respect, the fact that church music and folk music had been the same in the beginning of the development of Byzantino-Slavonic music, puts us under an obligation to enter deeper into the ethnomusicological sphere as well. Thus, according to Jerko Bezic, the keystones of those processes have been, above all, the skillfull although usually uneducated singers and players, who have spontaneously and gladly accepted musical phenomena from other cultures3F. The whole community have usually gradually being accepting those alien phenomena, because the whole community usually gladly follows the experienced and eminent artists of this field, stresses Bezic.
In fact, the interferrence between church and folk music in the Byzantine sphere, as well as the aculturational processes in the same sphere, had depended in the most possible extent on individuals, who have always had clear and defined role and significance during the whole course of the development of Byzantine and Byzantino-Slavonic music. In Byzantino-Slavonic music in Macedonia, the folk identity has gained even bigger values, considering the doomed struggle for survival of Macedonian national identity over the centuries. In this struggle church and folk art have been existing in a wonderfull symbiosis, which have become by itself an origin for numerous creations in the field of the prominent aculturational processes. In this respect, Georgi Stardelov have lucratively noticed that “when it comes to the sacred and secular in Macedonian culture, one should have in mind that in this case it is a question of two sides of a single cultural process, in which sacred and secular, since when it had ingeniously flourished in our national creative process, had not been opposed one to another, and afterwards, when this flourishment of the folklore had achieved its zenith, those two cultures within the Macedonian culture had effectuated synchronized relationship and had shaped the wholeness of this culture, achieving an archetypal meaning”4F. Accordingly, it seems that church music in Macedonia over the centuries, have tended much more to bring up and preserve the characteristics of folk music culture and art than it have happened in the rest of the nations which have been considered a part of Byzantino-Slavonic musical tradition. The best proof for this are the specific kind of “barbaric elements” which have been discovered by numerous scientist in the work of the most eminent Byzantine musical author of Macedonian origin – John Koukouzeles, and those elements most probably originate from the folklore heritage of his native land. It is extremely difficult, even impossible, to differentiate that rudimental sound pattern from the wholeness of church music melodics of his chants. However, one thing is certain: such elements in the work of this musical genious had been only the glamurous beginning of number of examples which have whitnessed, untill the present time, the extreme influence of folk music elements in Byzantino-Slavonic music in Macedonia. After the Turk invasion of Balkan Peninsula, which is almost contemporaneous with the period when St.John Koukouzeles lived and worked, there had been an increasing influence of different kinds of orientalisms in the standard repertoire of church music chants. It could be assumed that those orientalisms had been implemented into Byzantine music through the folklore-music sphere, which had represented the first sphere to accept and assimilate those productive novelties. They had been really productive, because according to the basic principles of the dialectic development, those elements had enabled further existence of church chants, in the newly changed situation and in the newly conditions of the global musical sound of that time.
Considering that the verbal way have represented the main transversal of transmission of basic characteristics of Byzantine and Byzantino-Slavonic music over the centuries, and knowing also that musical folklore of that time acknowledged only the same way of transmission of its own values, a specific and multidimenzional relation between the church music and the folk music had been established in the overall hystorical development of the orthodox church music. A vast number of positive effects of this relation today still wait to be discovered and explained. However, our task is to emphasize some of the most significant of those effects, the ones which could have had influence on the explanation of aculturational processes in Byzantino-Slavonic music in Macedonia, in the sence of creation of a specific monody, which had been born also from the process of interpenetrating relation with Byzantine music, as well as with the music of the rest of Byzantino-Slavonic cultures.

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1. A.V.Preobrazenski, Kultovata muzika vo Rusija, Leningrad, 1924, s.10
2. Danica Petrovic, Osmoglasnik u muzickoj tradiciji Juznih Slovena, Beograd, 1982, s. 17
3. Jerko Bezic, “Akulturacija kao mogucnost daljeg zivljenja folklorne glazbe”, Zvuk (Sarajevo), br.2. 1974, s. 149
4. Georgi Stardelov, Sveto, svetnovno, svetsko, Religiite I religiskite aspekti na materijalnata I duhovnata kultura na pocvata na Republika Makedonija, Makropoekt “Istorija na kulturata na Makedonija”, kniga 4, MANU, Skopje, 1966, s. 9

AuthorBoris Ortakov
2018-08-21T17:24:01+00:00 January 1st, 1999|Categories: Reviews, Sound, Blesok no. 06|0 Comments