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Issue 17

(Fall 2010)






Dimitris E. Lekkas: Byzantine “soft chroma”: a systemic structural approach


Following upon a previous article in Polyphonia 8 on the Byzantine nominal diatonic scale of base, the same author comes in the present article aspiring at providing a definitive mathematical and, more generally, theoretical and historical solution to a second fundamental basic structural block of intonation in Greek, Balkan, Byzantine, Anatolian and Middle Eastern music, i.e. the one called soft chroma and (soft) hejâz. The article argues that it is but a rearranged diatonic, determines its model intervallic structure mathematically and identifies it to a number of intervallic structures recorded in history, most notably the archaic family of Asia Minor and Lesbos iasti and mixolydisti as well as the classical Attic soft diatonic designated by Aristoxenos.



Leontios Hadjileontiadis: The Strychnine Lady (1967) of Jani Christou. Relations, analogies and differentiations with the European and American Experimental Music Theatre of the decades of 1960 and 1970


In this paper, an insight in the work of Jani Christou The Strychnine Lady through the perspective of experimental music theatre is attempted. In particular, fields and analysis spaces are explored within the work, in an effort to reveal relationships, analogies and differentiations with the European and American experimental music theatre of the 1960s and 1970s. Deep probing, extensions and remarks in the fields like the collective and personal unconscious, the time distribution, and the obvious and non-obvious masking, are used to reveal the multidimensional characteristics of Christou’s work, embedded with the artistic surroundings of his time. The paper is a multifaceted reading of Christou’s work, aiming at a deeper understanding both of his creative thinking and his explicit dialectic.



Ioannis Papachristopoulos: Developmental stages of Dimitris Terzakis’ composition technique


At his effort to shape a strictly personal musical language, Dimitris Terzakis capitalized in a very radical way the musical culture of his descent; exploiting suitably compositional processes, organizational and structural principles as well as technical elements and audio material, which he had acquired through his intensive activity with various types of the familiar to him musical tradition but also with other important musical phenomena of the wider South-Eastern Mediterranean area, he developed in the context of modern music a compositional technique, via which the emergence of an original and authentic artistic creation was rendered possible.

The fundamental objective of this paper is the systematic presentation of the development of the composition method of Terzakis since 1968. In this framework, the determination of the fundamental traits of his music on the basis of material-technical and aesthetic criteria –through the required analytical observations– it is mainly pursued. Moreover, a reflective illumination of the degree of access in existing composing means in his oeuvre is attempted as well as of the influence that these wielded in each final acoustic result. In the last section of this article a basic exploration of the reasons that prompted Terzakis towards concrete composing choices is realized. In addition, we attempt to clarify his musical-historical awareness as well as his perception regarding not only to his personal creation but also with his positioning inside the wider musical activity of his time. This clarification is necessary given the fact that the elucidation of his artistic self-determination and the expression of his fundamental convictions contribute substantially to the comprehension of his attitude toward each musical material as well as of the way of configuration and organization during the creative process.


Ioannis Fulias: Sonata forms and their theoretical evolution: The fourth sonata type (“sonata-rondo”) and other related forms


The tenth part of this extensive survey of the theoretical evolution of sonata forms from 18th to 20th centuries refers to the fourth type of sonata, the so-called “sonata-rondo” form, because it is a mixture of sonata and rondo principles. The treat of this subject-matter proves to be very demanding, since there are many different structural cases in music theory from mid-19th-century onwards that could (or should not) be regarded as versions of “sonata-rondo”. Thus, several music forms are examined in this paper, from rondeau to rondo and from “rondo-sonata” to “sonata-rondo”, including structural types that constitute possible crossings among them as well as products of erroneous theoretical approaches. Final aim of this investigation is the clear distinction of the “sonata-rondo” proper (a ternary sonata form with an additional reinstatement of the primary theme just before the central development) from all other cases, in which either a seven-part – but also sometimes a five-part – rondo or (very rarely) a rondeau form is enriched with sonata elements.


Apostolos Kostios: Music Therapy: Art in the service of science (III)


The third and last part of this treatise begins with an examination of the criteria and methodological guidelines that have been used in the attempt to define music therapy. It is concluded that almost all definitions have a common thread: music therapy is a method. The argument is enhanced by examples of its use in the rehabilitation of offenders in society, the psychological support of the elderly and the treatment of alcoholism. The essay concludes with comments on the need for a healthier sound environment and the skills, abilities and strengths which a music therapist needs.


Katy Romanou: A cembalo for Nabucco? – Basso continuo improvisation in 19th century opera performances in Italy and Corfù


Students of 19th century Greek music have often come across the names of certain Italians, who contributed to Corfù’s music culture, followed by terms connected to 18th century music practices, such as “Maestro al cembalo”, “Contrabasso al cembalo”, “Violoncello al cembalo”. In fact, the practice of basso continuo improvisation persisted in 19th century opera performances in Italy (consequently in Corfù as well), as Claudio Bacciagaluppi has shown in a recent study. It disappeared only at the beginnings of the 20th century, at which time it was completely erased from musicological memory, because of the German dominion on the field.

This is one among various old fashioned practices preserved in Italy, which was isolated from the progressive music centers beyond the Alps. But 19th century basso continuo is practiced by cellos and double bass players, and the term “al cembalo” has survived by tradition, while the instrument itself disappeared from the orchestra’s pit early in the century. As a consequence, cello and double bass education in 19th century Italy included the instruction of the partimenti, a semi-practical method of counterpoint integrated in harmony, which armed musicians with the ability to improvise accompaniment.

The knowledge of those peculiarities of Italian music life and education solves one of the riddles of recent Greek music history, namely, why Rafaele Parisini, the man who, according to the historian Theodoros Synadinos, “brought the Muses back to their home”, was simply a double bass player.


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


In this volume of Polyphonia we go on with 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” IX, presented in this volume, Villoteau continues the translation of the treatise known as Papadike, that he had interrupted in order to clarify concepts that he considered difficult for Western readers (namely, the so called “great hypostaseis” and the composition of neumes). In “article” IX, Villoteau translates the part of the old treatise covering the possibility of transposing a tetrachord. A problem in the translation of the present “article” derives from the fact that he applies the term “mutation” to denote the transposition of a tetrachord, while he has used the same term (in “article” 8) to denote alteration signs. We chose to allow ourselves this differentiation, since we have no doubt that he applies the term with a different meaning in each instance.

As is the case in all previous issues of Polyphonia, where this translation is being published, all music examples and plates have been photographed from the French edition of 1826. The original pagination is given in brackets within the text.


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