Forms of Performance

A large number of dialects and diversity of genres originated from geographic, socio-economic, historical and religious factors as well as from various activities in the household. They have established peculiar forms of performance in Georgia. Archaic and highly artistic Georgian folklore is distinguished by the variety of performance forms. When analyzing them, the peculiarities of region, gender, age, etc. should be taken into consideration. There is difference between musical samples from highland and lowland regions, town and village, repertoires of men and women, adults and children, as well as between one-voiced and multi-voiced secular and sacred music, vocal, instrumental and vocal-instrumental pieces.

The performance forms of the so-called “stage” folklore, significantly differs from traditional folk music.

Traditional Georgian secular and cult sacred music is characterized by the homogeneity of choirs. However, sometimes the mixed (women’s, men’s and children’s) performance is admitted in cult and ritual round dances and in some forms of family performance.

Here is the list of groups for vocal, instrumental and vocal-instrumental music distinguished according to the number of voices and choirs:

One-voiced performance

  • Single voice (ghighini, ghughuni, korkali, mtibluri, namgluri, urmuli, nana,

datireba, mosagonari tirili , etc.);

  • Solo performance on the instrument (doli, salamuri, duduki, etc.);
  • One-voiced singing with instrumental accompaniment (e.g. accompanied by the larchemi with vocal outbursts between blows).

Choir unison (Tushetian Dala, Acharan Nai-Nai, Lazare, Bavshvta Alilo, etc.);

In some dialects, such as Meskhetian, Laz and Shavshetian (in Turkey today) we find the so-called “forced one-voiced singing” caused by the loss of traditional polyphony.

Two-voiced performance

  • Two voices (Rachan Batonebis Nanina);
  • Alternation of two voices with the same function accompanied by bass (Gutanze Datireba, Qaranai Qanashi);
  • One-voiced singing accompanied by bass (Orovela, Guruli Satsekvao);
  • Two-voiced musical piece on one instrument (chuniri, panduri, gudastviri);
  • One-voiced singing with the instrumental accompaniment (East-Georgian songs with the panduri accompaniment)
  • Humming and blowing into the pipe at the same time (the acharpani in Abkhazia).

Three-voiced performance

  • Alternation of two voices with different functions accompanied by bass drone (Dideba, Chiti Da Petvi, etc.);
  • Two soloists and bass drone (great majority of traditional folk songs);
  • Trio – (Tsamokruli, Mival Guriashi, songs with gadadzakhili);
  • Trio and choir;
  • Three-voiced singing accompanied by one instrument (chonguri);
  • Three-voiced singing – vocal-instrumental: soloist with an instrument, two soloists with an instrument, choir with instrument(s).

Four-voiced performance

Damtsqebi , modzakhili, shemkhmobari, bani (mainly in work songs)

One-choir performance

Responsorial performance

  • One soloist and choir where the choir repeats (Khertlis Naduri,Mchedelo, etc.) or does not repeat the soloist’s part ( Tirni, Harirama, etc.);
  • Duet and choir (Tesh-Ighbali, Netavi Gogo, etc.);
  • Trio and choir (Khasanbegura).

Antiphonal performance

  • Alternation of two soloists (Tasshi Shemghereba, etc.);
  • Two-choir performance (orbuni) – alternation of two choirs (work songs, round-dance songs);
  • Three-choir performance – alternation of three choirs (Meskhetian table songs).