Centres of Polyphony


Older style polyphony (Czekanowska, 1983:148, #77) he reason for this long survival is well known for countries communities retaineda d on the local traditions of polyphony with narrow-interval scales. Ex. The tradition of a specific “shaking” (throat thrill) style is characteristic, for example, for the district of Sinj: “the initial singer ‘drives’ (goni) the opening syllabic recitation and ‘sing voj’ (voika – “holds a long note”), while the second voice ‘shakes’ (trese – ‘performs a glottal ornament’)” (Bezic, 1967-1968, cited from Forry, 2000:926). Another Croatian polyphonic style, widely distributed in other areas of the Balkans, is a more contemporary singing style “na bas”. In this style (which is believed to had been introduced to Croatia from Slovenia) the melody range is wider (often a sixth), the accompanying part often moves in parallel thirds with the main melody, and in the cadences goes a fourth down in a final sound of the fifths. Another element of polyphonic music in this region is the abundance of polyphonic aerophones (double flutes and ree ds). The music played on them is closely connected to the vocal singing style. Another interesting region is the Istrian Peninsula and a few islands (including the island K rk).

The traditional scale here is so specific that it is known as the “Istrian scale” (this scale represents a very peculiar succession of a tone-semitone combination within diminished fifths: C, D, Eflat, F, Gflat). Polyphonic singing here is mostly based on the parallel movements of minor thirds (or the reversed interval – major sixths). Musical instruments are a very important element of local polyphonic traditions, playing two-part music based on the above-mentioned Istrian Scale. In some other112 regions d to play the new style (na bas) songs. The bass has only two notes – the tonic and the dominant. The “domin ing, the lower n ions of Resia and Bela Krajina retain the older forms of vocal polyphony. This style is based on two-pa e ancient tradition of singing in dissonant seconds is disappe by singing in thirds with cadences in unison: “In Bela Krajina in some Midsummer Night songs and in Istria, two-part singing emphasizes the interva 56. Slovenia. (Kumer, 1979:#238a) (for example, Dalmatia) monophony prevails. Generally, the new style of polyphonic singing (na bas) is much more widespread throughout Croatia than the old traditional style with narrow intervals. Pannonia is thought to be one of the centres of distribution of the singing style na bas, (Forry, 2000:931). Here “the songs are usually diatonic, but a few have scales with augmented seconds, suggesting Islamic influence” (ibid, 931). A very interesting specific type of bagpipe (duda) was produce ant” note is a fourth lower than the tonic, and as in the same style of singote is used to finish the musical phrases.

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