The contrast between oral and written transmission, well described by ethnologists and literature scholars, constitutes a crucial criterion for distinguishing music that represents either an oral or a written paradigm of musical thinking. The proposed paper will deal with the conceptualisation and features of oral compositional strategies in non-Western music. The analysis will deal with selected works of Turkmen music that is transmitted orally and does not possess a written theoretical-aesthetic doctrine comparable with European or oriental theory. In spite of this, both the rules underlying composition and also the criteria for interpreting music are very well defined in the Turkmen tradition in the lexicon of musical terms, forming a logical and internally cohesive system of concepts. This system is devised from semantic variants of the word yol, meaning ‘path’ or ‘journey’, and is a metaphor of various aspects of musical structure and performance. The ‘path’ as a metaphor of the composition process is also documented in European theory and practice. In mediaeval sources, the structure of a work is a ‘path’ taken by the composer and by anyone who subsequently performs or listens to the work. And this means not only that all music is played as an ‘event in time’ or an experience that ‘contains time’, but above all that a work is consciously composed and performed as a ‘flow in time’. The processual concept of the creative process has consequences also for form and forming, for the relations between the movements and sections of a work and also for the linking of its elements and their overall cohesion. The processual model of the creative process is the chief criterion for differentiating between an oral and a written paradigm of musical thinking.
5.H.1Séance - Music of the Non-Western World: The Mediterranean and Beyond
Sławomira Żerańska-Kominek is a musicologist and anthropologist of music, professor in the Institute of Musicology, University of Warsaw. She took her Ph.D. in musicology from the University of Warsaw (1976). She received Independent Researcher Degree in musicology in 1986, and full professor degree in 1996. Sławomira Żerańska-Kominek is the author and editor of “Symbols of time and space in Central Asian music”; “Music in Culture. Introduction to Ethnomusicology”; „Crazy Harman. The concept of music and musician in the Türkmen Epic Tale, Harman Däli”; „The Orpheus myth. Inspirations and reinterpretations in European artistic tradition”; “Music in the garden – the garden in music”; “Musical children of Venus and other essays in anthropology of music”. She is the editor-in-chief of the Polish musicological journal Musicology Today.
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