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Issue 8

(Spring 2006)






Demetrios Lekkas: Byzantine diatonicism: systemic structural approach


The present paper attempts a rigorous theoretical expression of the tonal basis of Byzantine music by employing, as basic methodological tool, the systemic inquest into its origins and the interpretation of functional and historical mechanisms leading to its formation and evolution.

The paper focuses on the theoretical modeling of a central “nominal” reference scale of Byzantine music, i.e. the one nowadays called “soft diatonic”, which constitutes its fundamental and central note-structure. The investigation moves along a theoretical axis and it stems from contemporary methods adhering to epistemology and mathematics. First of all, an initial null hypothesis is formulated regarding the genesis and evolution of primeval tuning systems, and then the outcomes of this hypothesis are laid out.

Our null hypothesis attributes the first creation of the Byzantine tonal system to flutes and their primeval aliquot drilling system from the depths of the Old Stone Age; its systemic deployment looks into processes slightly altering it towards the formation and channelling of its course all the way to its definitive typology. Detailed research and documentation indicate, as focal / archetypal form of the Byzantine tonal system, a “spondeiac scale” consisting of 3 tones and 4 “spondeia” of ¾ of a tone each (¾,¾, 1, 1, ¾, ¾, 1), precisely as put down by Zalzal, al-Fârâbî and Chrysanthus, and essentially located by Aristoxenus in aulos players of his time. On the side, the question of other tonal systems related or identical to Byzantine is also touched upon.

This paper is first among a whole series of such reductionist analyses, aiming at unitarily writing up and interpreting the sum total of all main tonal / modal systems encountered on living and historical musics of our wider geographical region.



Ioannis Fulias: Sonata forms and their theoretical evolution: The different sonata types – 18th-century theorists (I)

This first part of an extensive survey of the theoretical evolution of sonata forms from 18th to 20th centuries opens with a brief systematisation of the main structural types of sonata, which are the ternary sonata form, the binary sonata form, the sonata form without development, the sonata-rondo form, and the sonata-concerto form that is further divided in three subtypes (ternary, binary, and without development). Some middle 18th-century evidences, like these by J. A. Scheibe and J. J. Quantz, seem to refer exclusively to the binary sonata type, outlining mainly the harmonic contour of a piece and providing secondarily allusions about its thematic substance. Clearer is the contribution of J. Riepel, whose practical orientation confirms and enriches significantly our knowledge for the binary sonata form of his era, whilst the same theorist mentions for the first time ever the ternary sonata form, too. Up to about 1790, however, scant new information about thematic and tonal possibilities of sonata forms is added by theorists such as G. J. Vogler and J. G. Portmann.



Markos Skoulios: Oral musical traditions of the Greek area: Issues of theoretical analysis


The present article deals with the problem of theoretical analysis of the oral musical idioms coexisting today within the geographical boundaries of the modern Greek state and the possibility of creating a modern model for their explanation. After a concise review of the history of music theorizing in Greece, the wide intervallic, modal, metric and morphological variety existing in the above mentioned traditions is pointed out. At this point the article discusses the difficulties this wide variety poses for the creation of a sufficiently accurate analytical model. An evaluation of the currently used theoretical systems examining the suitability of the Byzantine, the Western and the Eastern art music theory models for the analysis and transcription of this material follows. The accuracy of their transcriptional systems is discussed and the functionality and effectiveness of the analytical methods and tools of each one of these models is explored on the levels of intervallic, modal, rhythmic, metric and morphological analysis.



Nina-Maria Wanek: […] and should I really exercise my musical profession or even my success in the cemetery?. Musical life in Greece, 1933-1949

Taking this well-known quotation by Nikos Skalkottas as a starting point the article will try to give an overview over the musical life in Greece in the 1930s and 1940s. This time was not only marked by historical changes, the music itself was about to be radically transformed. Was the musical life really resembling a “cemetery”, as Skalkottas provocatively called it? Which were the predominant trends and how could composers assert themselves who did not belong to the Greek National School? To answer these questions the article will discuss other composers, contemporaries of Skalkottas, regarding their studies and their career.



Eirini Nikolaou: Music education in the works of ancient philosophers


Music in ancient Greece had a wider meaning than it has nowadays. In certain cases it was referring to the entire person’s education and it was strongly related to speech, movement and dance. The relationship between music and poetry was imminent. Words defined up to a point the rhythm of Greek music. With Pythagoreans’ philosophy was started a tradition, which was continued and evolved by Damon, Plato, Aristotle and Aristoxenus. It could be suggested that the first four represent the same tradition and Aristoxenus is the one who differentiates himself. The point of view, that music is of great importance about ethics and people’s eudemonia, seals the thoughts of other thinkers, philosophers and educators as well, during Middle Ages, Renaissance, Recent time and modern world.



Irini Theodosopoulou: Catalogue of laographic field-work visits of the Center for Research of Greek Folklore (1950-1982)

The present article deals with field-work visits of the Center for Research of Greek Folklore, Academy of Athens, during the years 1950-1982. A catalogue of these visits that included recordings of melodies is presented. The question of the contribution to the field of ethnomusicology by the first laographic field-work visits of the Center is the subject of another paper.



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