Thursday, February 21, 2008

131. Music of the Great Tradition -- 31:Old Europe -- More Examples

Here are some more examples of "Old European" polyphonic vocalizing, from "refuge" areas in Eastern and Southern Europe. First, some truly remarkable harmonizations from the Tosk speakers of the southern Albanian mountains (from the Anthology Of World Music: Music From Albania). Here's another, simpler, example from the same region, in two parts, one of which is a sustained drone. Note the amazingly virtuosic glottal embellishment of the solo singer, so remarkably close to yodel (from Voices of the World).

Also from the Voices of the World collection, is this example of polyphonic vocalizing from the Mediterranean island of Corsica, followed by an example from the island just to the south, Sardinia.

While each of the various regions whose music we've been examining in this series has its own unique style, all are examples of singing in harmony by untrained singers from "backwoods" areas, in mountain and/or island locations. In almost all cases, there is no evidence that any of these singers have had much if any exposure to art music. Some traditions are, however, associated with Christian liturgy and the church, as in the Sardinian example. I'll have more to say about the relation between these traditions and aspects of church music in future posts.

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