Saturday, January 26, 2008

122. Music of the Great Tradition -- 22:Europe

The term "Old Europe" was apparently introduced into the archaological literature during the 1950's by an important but also somewhat controversial figure, Marija Gimbutas. She is credited with developing the so-called Kurgan Hypothesis which identifies the "Kurgan" people with the origins of the Indo-European language family and its related culture. According to this model, Indo-European language and culture developed in the "Dnieper/Volga" region in the "earlier half of the 4th Millennium BC" and spread from there in many directions, both to the east and west, facilitated by the Kurgan mastery of horsemanship. The Wikipedia article on the Kurgan Hyphothesis includes the following "Map of Indo European migrations from ca. 4000 to 1000 BC according to the Kurgan model":

From this map we can get an idea of what Jordania is talking about when he associates the Indo-European migration into (or, if you prefer, "invasion of") Europe with the disappearance of the most traditional forms of vocal polyphony throughout most of the continent during the last few thousand years. Note the yellow area in the map, between the Caspian and Black Seas, representing an area, roughly where Georgia is located, that was left unconquered by the agressive and warlike Indo-Europeans.


Maju said...

The Wikipedia map illustrating IE expansion only gives a very generalistic outlook of it. It was a very long and complex process and I have tried to detail it in my personal site:

It's maybe not the best possible exposition of the process but it's certainly much better.

Regarding Georgia, some linguists think Kartvelian languages are distantly related to Indo-European (Nostratic hypothesis) and might be in any case intrusive (Colchian culture). It would be interesting to find out about the music of other pre-IE linguistic groups of the area: NW Caucasians (like Adigeys) and NE Caucasians (like Chechens) that have been tentatively associated linguistically with the old Neolithic cultures of highland West Asia (Hattic, Hurrian) for a more clear picture.

Victor said...

I went to your site and looked at your maps, which are very interesting and certainly give a more detailed picture of the overall expansion process.

According to Jordania, there is a significant difference between the polyphonic styles of eastern and western Georgia. Svaneti and Guria, in the west, can be especially close to P/B at times. They are located in the most remote mountain areas that apparently remained untouched by IE influence. He sees the drone style of eastern Georgia as a compromise between IE style monophony (featuring elaborate ornamentation) and the older practice (without ornamentation, as in the west).

Maju said...

Glad that you liked my maps. :)

I cannot think of anything more about Georgian music, as I haven't reseached in depth about the origins of Caucasian peoples.