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The inadequacy of the staff notation system (“pentagram”) on writing down and teaching traditional music, and the role of orality: The case of rhythmic.

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Presentation on theme: "The inadequacy of the staff notation system (“pentagram”) on writing down and teaching traditional music, and the role of orality: The case of rhythmic."— Presentation transcript:

1 The inadequacy of the staff notation system (“pentagram”) on writing down and teaching traditional music, and the role of orality: The case of rhythmic structure Nikos Terpsiadis EN CHORDAIS

2 Last 20 years → Growing interest for traditional music → Many people involved as teachers and students Dissemination through: 1. Written sources – wide use of staff notation system 2. Orality – basic factor of learning procedure – new forms (technology)

3 Teachers and students are usually musically educated with the western music theory before or during their pursuit with the traditional music. This may cause distortion in musical phenomena of traditional music, which cannot fit on the principles of the staff notation system and the western music theory.

4 The educational practice today: Adoption of the principles of the staff notation system Weak use in practice Teachers and students are mostly interested on skills and virtuosity (orally transmitted) Emphasis on the musical environment Watching the oldest - orality Use of new technologies (transmission of image and sound) Transformation of orality procedures

5 Musical meters 1. Simple (2/4, 3/4, 3/8, …) 2. Complex (come out as multiples of the simple 6/8, 12/8, …) 3. Mixed (come out from simple or complex with additive procedures: 5/4 = 2/4+3/4) → Influences from traditional musics → Acceptable of mixed meters means revocation of system

6 Problems in rhythmic structure Aidiniko Zeibekiko, Manolis Karapiperis, 1929 Apo ta glyka sou matia, En Chordais, 2009

7 Problems in rhythmic structure Aidiniko Zeibekiko, Manolis Karapiperis, 1929 Zeibekiko Generally acceptable as 9/4 → 9 beat rhythm Apo ta glyka sou matia, En Chordais, 2009 Karsilamas Generally acceptable as 9/8 → 9 beat rhythm

8 Why? Zeibekiko → 9/4 (→ 9 beat rhythm} Karsilamas → 9/8 (→ 9 beat rhythm)

9 Why? → Tempo Zeibekiko → slower → 9/4 Karsilamas → faster → 9/8

10 Why? → Tempo → Not valid because: 1.In Greek traditional music is not common the absolute tempo. Same song – range of tempos 2.It would be possible, both rhythms recorded as 9/4 or 9/8 with different tempo. 3.There are fast “zeibekiko” and slow “karsilama”

11 Why? → The question remains and raises further questions. 1.How there can be such unanimity on such a vague issue? 2.If they are both 9-beat rhythms and the tempo does not play a determinant role, then it is the same rhythmic phenomenon. So, why they are considered to be different by the oral tradition?

12 Greek music: Unity of music, lyrics and dance A closer look to -the structure of the musical notes, -the structure of the distribution of syllables and -the dance moves reveals two different rhythmical phenomena: Zeibekiko separation of the musical meter into 9 equal parts Karsilamas separation of the musical meter into 4 not equal parts The 4 th is longer than the other 3 (but how much longer?)

13 Thrasyvoulos Gergiadis (1947, 2001): Dissertation fellowship

14 Thrasyvoulos Gergiadis (1947, 2001) Quantitative rhythmic of the ancient Greek metrics (prosody): Additive process of pieces of time “makra” & “vrahea” “longa” & “brevis” “long” & “short” The “short” is the structural component of the rhythm and cannot be divided

15 Thrasyvoulos Gergiadis (1947, 2001) “Long” is double than “short” but in ancient theory (Aristoxenus Rhythmics) are mentioned “alogoi podes” where “long” is in ratio of 3/2 with “short” like: — UU which is called “alogos daktylos” and it is used in the “heroic meter” of “daktylikon exametron” meter

16 which is the meter of the homeric epos (Iliada and Odyssia) Homeros (7 th century BC)

17 Georgiadis proves in this dissertation, that the rhythm of the homeric epos is the same with the contemporary traditional rhythm and dance “Kalamatianos”. Mou pareigile to aidoni Roza Eskenazy

18 Looking carefully we can ascertain that the rhythms “Kalamatianos” and “Karsilamas” are involving the same rhythmic phenomaino. “Kalamatianos” can be expressed as: — UU → 3 beat rhythm and “Karsilamas” can be expressed as: UUU— → 4 beat rhythm where “long” (—) is in ratio of 3/2 with the “short”. Worth mentioning that in the staff notation system, “Kalamatianos” is written as 7/8

19 The explanation: In western music theory a meter can be separated only in equal parts. In rhythm “Karsilamas” the structural unit is the “short” and, as the “long” has a 3/2 ratio to the short, the meter consists of 4,5 structural units: UUU— = ,5 = 4,5 structural units So, if we have to write it down in the staff notation system we have to duplicate it’s structural unit and count it as 2. Thus, the rhythm is now: UUU— = = 9 structural units The structural unit was the 4 th. As we duplicated it, now it is the 8 th. So the rhythm is in fact 4,5/4 but this is not compatible with the western music theory and through the duplication of it’s structural unit it is done 9/8, which is an equivalent fraction with the 4,5/4.

20 Extensions: 1.Conceptual changes (Vosniadou & Verschaffel, 2004, Nersessian, 1998) 1a. The concept of time is not the same in the different eras and cultures in which contexts were created the different rhythmical phenomena. The concept of time acquired the content of a continuous timeline at the Renaissance. At the same time was formed the idea of the meter in the western music theory, as we know and use it nowadays. Only this idea can allow the continuous division of a time interval (in halves, quarters, eights, …)

21 Extensions: 1b. The concept of number (Verikaki & Kastanis, 2006) The number is a basic factor for the rhythm. The number in ancient Greek mathematics was just a collection of units. This idea enforces the quantitative rhythmic and the additional process for the creation of the rhythm. During and after the Middle Ages the concept of number changed into the result of a measurement allowing the continuous division of the timeline.

22 Extensions: 2. The genetic-historical method (Polya, 1962) Ontogeny repeats phylogeny. Every person, during the learning process, repeats in brief the cognitive history of it’s race. Combined with the idea of the conceptual changes we have a powerful tool for educational purposes, especially for little childrens musical education.

23 Extensions: 3. Interculturality?

24 “Odos oneiron” (Road of dreams) — UU 4 beat rhythm “long” = 2 “short” or — = U+U —UUU 4 beat rhythm “long “ = 3/2 “short” Manos Hadjidakis

25 Thank you


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