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Title: Folk vocal techniques of Pontos and Epirus in modern Greece : a study in reflexive musical ethnography
Author: Tsachouridis, Konstantinos
ISNI:       0000 0004 2668 3946
Awarding Body: Goldsmiths, University of London
Current Institution: Goldsmiths College (University of London)
Date of Award: 2008
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In this thesis I examine the vocal techniques employed by performers of contemporary Greek Pontic and Epirotic traditional music. Combining fieldwork analysis with personal experience, I have been able to demonstrate the underlying cognitive and physiological processes that inform these techniques. While anatomical considerations constitute a central focus of this analysis, I offer at the same time an appraisal of vocal bimusicality. The latter issue arises from my own particular perspectives, understandings and personal experience in diverse musical worlds. The objectives of this research are: a) to identify current vocal techniques in Pontic and Epirotic styles, paying special attention to the exceptional use of the larynx and the articulation/projection of vocalized sounds; b) to bridge the gap between theory and practice in studies of voice and vocal production; and c) to demonstrate how personal experience is relevant to ethnographic research in vocal music. In introducing the research field, chapter I of this study reflects on my role as a native researcher-performer and outlines my choice of case studies. The following chapter reviews the Cantometrics project and considers its relevance to Greek folk song. In addition, other scholarly literature pertinent to the present analysis is surveyed, while there is also consideration of fundamental anatomical and physiological issues. Chapters III and IV focus on the central points of analysis in the thesis with special emphasis on the vocal production of the Pontic and Epirotic styles. Employing verbatim quotations from: a) five co-workers in the Pontic style and b) five co-workers and one polyphonic group in the Epirotic style, I analyze the vocal production of these two Greek musical genres as currently performed. The main conclusions of the research refer to techniques such as: a) the movable larynx, b) the extensive use of the soft palate and upper chest area, c) the widening of the mouth, and d) the dropping of the jaw, which are equally discussed in detail. In the same vein, an analogy is drawn between the vocal production and the size of the musical intervals used in both traditions. Chapter V deals with my own learning processes in Greek folk culture and also in the two aspects of my musicality: the Pontic and Western operatic. Here I endeavour to locate myself among my co-workers and also to provide an 'insider's' view on the subject of bimusicality. I also comment upon the effect that ensues when moving from the Pontic to the operatic vocal style, that is to say, the consequences of changing musical systems and musical environments. The final chapter summarizes the findings of this monograph whose practice-based research is also accompanied by a DVD containing performances by co-workers and by audio examples. In these ways, I attempt to bridge the 'gap' between theory and practice in those aspects of vocal production that stem from an aural/oral musical tradition.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral