URBAN TRADITIONAL MUSIC: FUNDAMENTAL MUSICAL STYLES (Part III)

THE MUSICAL STYLE OF THE CITY OF PERMET

Among the basic distinctive features of the musical style of the city of Përmet, let me just point out a few of them:  1)  the composition usually by two or three melodic lines, in terms of the overall structure or the amount of melodic lines, which also means performed by many singers or instrumentalists, collectively, in a group;  the composition, in other cases, from a melodic line, in terms of the overall structure or the amount of melodic lines, which also implies performed by a single singer or instrumentalist, individually, solistically;  2)  developed melody; 3)  modal / tonal system at times pentatonic, at other times pentatonic-diatonic;  4)  meter/rhythm sometimes measured, clear, defined, sometimes unmeasured, unclear, undefined, or capricious, subtle, overwhelming;  5)  accompaniment with musical instruments at times modern (clarinet, violin, bass, llauta, acoustic guitar, accordion, piano, tambourine, etc.)

As for the melodic-modal imagery, the musical style of the city of Përmet differs from stiles of other cities of Albania.  But, of course, the changes are relative:  somewhat less, or somewhat more, prominent.  If it is quite different from the traditional urban song of Vlora or Berat, for example, the traditional urban song of Përmet maintains close melodic-modal links with the traditional urban song of Leskovik, Kolonjë, Korça, Pogradec, etc.  However, I think it should be aimed at an even more pronounced individualization of its holistic, melodic-modal imagery. Thus, defining such a song as a përmetare song, will be virtually easier for listeners, and, in theory, will better plead with oneself.  Comparing the urban music of Përmet with the urban music of Vlora, from the point of view of the scale of development of the means of expression, in general, the first is less elaborate than the second one. To be able to pronounce it in another way, urban music of Përmet stands closer to its rural thread than urban music of Vlora.

Përmeti!  Përmeti!  Përmeti!  Though small in terms of the population, the city of Përmet brings an aesthetically great musical art.  It can be accepted unequivocally that, with the wealth of values, originality, delicacy, aesthetic beauty in general, etc., this type of art emanates throughout the culture of the Albanian nation.  Because the traditional urban music of Përmet, for decades, has been a very active phenomenon of Albanian cultural and artistic life, then the city of Përmet can and should be called without doubt as a rare cultural and artistic environment throughout Albania.

 

THE MUSICAL STYLE OF THE CITY OF VLORA

Among the basic distinctive features of the musical style of the city of Vlora, allow me to point out only a few of them:  1)  the composition, usually, of two or three melodic lines, in terms of the overall structure or the amount of melodic lines, which also implies performed by many singers or instrumentalists, collectively, in a group;  the composition, in other cases, of a melodic line, in terms of the overall structure or the amount of melodic lines, which also means performed by a single singer or solo instrumentalist, individually, solistically;  2)  recitative as well as deveped melody;  3)  modal / tonal system at times pentatonic, and at other times pentatonic-diatonic;  4)  meter / rhythm, more often, measured, clear, defined;  5) accompaniment by musical instruments often modern o often modern (clarinet, violin, bass, llauta, acoustic guitar, accordion, piano, tambourine, etc.).

Regarding the overall melodic-modal imagery, the musical style of the city of Vlora differs in comparison with styles of other cities of Albania.  But, of course, the changes are relative: somewhat less, or somewhat more, remarkable.  If it is clearly distinguishable from the urban traditional song of Përmet or Berat, for example, the urban traditional song of Vlora, maintains close melodic-modal connections with the urban traditional song of Tepelena, Delvina, etc.  However, designating such a song as a vlonjate song, is virtually easy for listeners, and, in theory, justifies herself.  Comparing the urban music of Vlora with the urban music of Përmet, from the point of view of the scale of development of the means of expression, in general, the first is more elaborate than the second one.  To be able to pronounce it in another way, the urban music of Vlora has gone far beyond its rural sprout than the urban music of Përmet.

The musical style of the city of Vlora emerged as an expression of the special aesthetic and artistic needs of the Albanian urban society during the 20th century in general and its second half in particular  It has played and plays an important, entertaining, educative role in the lives of residents of the city of Vlora and other cities of the land.  Particularly during the second half of the twentieth century, this style became very popular, both nationally and internationally. The urban traditional song of Vlora expresses, in its essence, the dreams, wishes, aspirations of an urban society;  reflects the life, the time, the aesthetic tastes of the Vlora urban society; is based entirely, extensively, deeply on the local musical heritage;  symbolizes the inclinations, skills, artistic talent of its most prominent representatives. 

Vlora!  Vlora!  Vlora!  The city where, on 28 November 1912, the independence of Albania from the Turkish-led Ottoman Empire was proclaimed, during the second half of the twentieth century, born, raised, developed, and crystallized also the urban traditional song.  Completely original in terms of its fundamental melodic-modal features, the musical style of the city of Vlora, had a significant impact on the road to the development of traditional music throughout the cities of South Albania.  During the second half of the twentieth century, at times, it served as a model, as an example, as a kind of artistic value, which had to be followed.  The Vlora urban traditional song has long been an important part of the cultural and artistic heritage of the Albanian nation.

***

I hope that, perhaps, my study, more or less, achieved its main purpose, which was to highlight, especially, the melodic-modal distinctive features of the basic styles of Albanian urban traditional music:  the music style of the city of Shkodra, music style of the cities of Central Albania (Tirana, Durrës, Kavaja, Elbasan) and some cities of Kosovo (Prizren, Gjakova, Peja), musical style of the city of Berat, musical style of the city of Përmet, and musical style of the city of Vlora.  However, the research of styles of Albanian urban traditional music, can and should be enriched in the future.  Such enrichment can be extended both in breadth (studying other musical styles) and in depth (increasing the degree of analysis and study of musical styles). The exploration of all styles of Albanian urban traditional music—urban and rural–represents an important aspect of the activity of Albanian ethnomusicologists.

 

Prof. Dr.  SPIRO J. SHETUNI

Universiteti Winthrop

Rock Hill, South Carolina

U.S.A.

  

 

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe
No Thanks
Thanks for signing up. You must confirm your email address before we can send you. Please check your email and follow the instructions.
We respect your privacy. Your information is safe and will never be shared.
Don't miss out. Subscribe today.
×
×
WordPress Popup
error: Sorry! You don\'t copy...