(In addition to the thorough treatment of the vocal traditions, on which Jordania appears to be quite authoritative, the book contains many speculations regarding the relationship of music generally to the origins of, as his title states, "intelligence, language and speech," that I see as problematic, though always interesting and thought provoking. Where he and I differ most is that his theories of musical -- and linguistic -- evolution are grounded in the "multiregional" model of human history, whereas mine follow the more recently developed "Out of Africa," or "replacement" model. Our differences complement one another in a very interesting and, possibly very useful, way. I hope to get into some of these more basic issues in future posts.)
As Jordania is so authoritative on the subject of Georgian and European polyphony, and since his ideas are so close to my own on this subject, I've decided to quote from his book wherever appropriate. Here are some of his thoughts on the special role of Georgia in European history:
Georgia (in Georgian "Sakartvelo") shows an array of important signs of unbroken cultural ancestry. Autochthonous residents of the Transcaucasia, Georgians still speak the Georgian language, which survives from the epoch of the pre-Indo-European languages. The only possible relationship of Georgian language outside the Caucasus
seriously discussed by linguists is that with the Basque language, the only survivor of the pre-Indo-European languages in Western Europe. Geographically Georgia is part of the region known as "Transcaucasia", situated on the southern slopes of the Great Caucasian mountain range, stretching from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea (more correctly – the Caspian lake, the world’s biggest lake). Being surrounded by the highest mountains of Europe (reaching at several points more than 5.000 meters), the Caucasian mountain gorges represent the ideal "hiding spot" from outer influences for isolated populations. [p. 74]
There follows, in pages 74 through 104, a fascinating description of extraordinary interest and value, including many excellent transcriptions, of many different types of Georgian vocal polyphony, from various regions, both secular and religious. I can't hope to summarize this here, but will be discussing certain points of particular interest in future posts.
Jordania's extraordinary book can be downloaded from the website The Traditional Music of Georgia. The link appears close to the top of the page.