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Issue 13

(Fall 2008)






Angeliki Skandali: Musical and theatrical activities of the Mertika family in Smyrna and in Athens (end of 19th century – beginning of the 20th century)


This text is a narrative that places the Mertikas family in its historic position and time.

Zacharias Mertikas was the most popular “Hor-Hor Agha” in the theatrical scene in Smyrna, until the Asia Minor catastrophe. Later, success followed him at the refugees’ neighbours around the Piraeus poor theatrical scenes. More than a popular actor he has been a successful manager of theatrical companies. He contributed in the creation and flourishing of an interesting aesthetics of revue, that seems to have been a different one from that of Athens.

An offshoot of the Mertikas’ family that was closer to the west-European cosmopolitanism followed the fashion of the time and spread European operetta in Smyrna. The glow passed soon, but the phantasmagoria reached Constantinople and Thessaloniki. This was a rare time that a theatrical company not deriving from Athens ventured the cost of a tour.

Dimitris Mertikas, the last member of the family that survived and preserved in his artistry elements of the aesthetics from Smyrna, was active in the 1930s and 1940s following the requisitions of the times: sentimental songs, revues at distant theatres and “variété” are his main contribution. His aesthetics from Smyrna are revealed in the use of minor tones, the diffused melancholy, the conservatism of his themes, the avoidance of an out-spoken catchword and political-talking, the neutral and balanced orchestration – features discerned in his scores that have been preserved in his archives.



Ioannis Fulias: Sonata forms and their theoretical evolution: 20th-century theorists (I)


The sixth part of this extensive survey of the theoretical evolution of sonata forms from 18th to 20th centuries is utterly devoted to a number of major 20th-century contributions to sonata forms from a thematic point of view, thus keeping on the main norms of the 19th-century sonata theory. Hugo Riemann lends ideological nuances to sonata form, while Hugo Leichtentritt and Percy Goetschius develop Prout’s “school sonata forms” further. At the same time, a new tendency is revealed in a few musicological studies by Wilhelm Fischer and Rudolf von Tobel, in which the investigation of specific works by Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven results in a more detailed description and interpretation of sonata features in the classic era. A summary of the basic specifications for sonata forms, found in numerous handbooks of music analysis and composition from the mid-20th-century onwards, is then achieved through a juxtaposition of five representative books by Arnold Schönberg, Wolfgang Stockmeier, Wallace Berry, Ellis Bonoff Kohs and Clemens Kühn. The present paper contains also a brief reference to Erwin Ratz, as well as a more extensive one to William Earl Caplin, whose study Classical Form combines the prevalent theoretical tradition of the 19th and 20th centuries with some reconstructed elements from the late-18th-century sonata theory.



Theocharis Raptis: Lullabies and their effect on the infants


Lullabies were examined from many scientific disciplines in Greece as the fixed result of a process in the past and of importance were at first the repertoire and the conceptual aspect of the verse in lullabies. Unfortunately, there has been no study focusing on the way that lullabies affect the infants. In this paper we examine the aural and perform aspects of lullabies, which are of most significance for the way these songs achieve their goals. Some results from the research in the field of psychology can be helpful in this direction. In the second part, we focus our attention on a text by Plato, where the philosopher tries to explain in details the influence of the lullabies. His main point is that the music in this case operates in a homoeopathic way. This explanation seems to be justified by the results of the modern science and by the everyday experience.


Panos Panopoulos: Ēchotropia: The detection / displacement of acoustic experience in modern sound art


In this text I make a reference to certain works by sound artists, who process the issue of sound and space relation, the acoustic experience of space while also ascribing significant political extensions. In the works described here, the sound – space relations are presented as highly composite and dynamic, as well as unstable and problematic procedures that are directly defined by the political and social conditions of our time. The sound signifies an experience of constant space redefinition and its fragmentation or, seen from another perspective, it signifies an effort of acoustic reconstruction and reattachment of the fragmented experiences in every day life.


Nestor Taylor: Melodic and harmonic doubling: Consecutive fifths and octaves in traditional orchestration


This essay aims at clarifying matters regarding the use of permissible fifths and octaves in traditional orchestration. Taking as a starting point the explanation of the basic principles that govern the logic of harmonic doubling in a symphonic score, an evaluation of the prevailing reductive processes is being made, in adherence to the stylistic criteria of classical and romantic harmony. For this reason, the writer draws typical examples from the orchestral and piano repertoire of these two periods, focusing on a broader interpretation of the rules of traditional harmony, in an attempt to discover the vital lead that links the grammatical principles of four-part harmony to the sound structure of the orchestra.


Anastasia Kakaroglou – Katy Romanou: Extracts from Guillaume André Villoteau’s De l’état actuel de l’art musical en Égypte (II)


In this volume of Polyphonia we continue the publication of Guillaume André Villoteau’s “De la musique grecque moderne”, i.e., the fourth chapter of his treatise De l’état actuel de l’art musical en Égypte… (1826), in a Greek translation. In “Article 4”, presented in this volume, Villoteau translates the contents of a “papadike”, a kind of treatise on pre-Chrysanthean notation. It consists of lists of all the neumes applied in that notation, the rules governing their use, as well as music examples. Villoteau explains the transliterated terms in a great number of footnotes.


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