Epirus polyphonic song: The voices of stone

Polyphony as a guest musician is identified with two different musicological contents. For friends of classical music, polyphony is a system of music notation developed especially in the period of the Renaissance and the Baroque, to reach until our days as a music expression. In distinction with this kind of folk Polyphony has roots earlier, for some researchers primordial, responds in a few regions of the world and is based on the diversity of melodic lines of expression of members of the polyphonic group. Three basic elements militate in the oldness of the origin of the folk polyphony: the teamwork, the phonetic nature of interpretation and anemitones pentatonikic scales that constitute the melodic basis of. Music basis of the polyphonic song, various forms of anemitones pentatonic scale, i.e. five sounds series with second major and third small that can reach up to five different associations of sounds without the presence of emitones. The folk Polyphony rarely answered. Through different paths of evolution and influence encounter on Epirus, Southern Albania, Down Italy, Corsica, Bosnia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, Southern Poland, Ethiopia, Georgia, Northern Pakistan, southern Himalayan foothills, Indonesia and Taiwan.


Polyphonic song of Epirus

The polyphonic song of Epirus constitutes one of the most interesting musical forms in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Balkans, but also in the global repertoire of folk polyphony. The melodies of the polyphonic songs, along with some even of Epirus and Thessaly are unique in Greece that have kept the anemitone pentatonic scale (scale consisting of five notes without semitones). This scale, according to some musicologists, coincides with the way of the ancient Greeks, the literal "Greek harmony". Next on the scale, components that support the oldest origin of the item forming the vocal group, oratorical, and tropical nature. Nowadays the polyphonic song of Epirus found in the Northwest of the Prefecture of Ioannina (villages of Pogoni, Parakalamos, villages north of Konitsa), in a few villages in northeastern Thesprotia (Tsamantas, Lias, Baboyri, Pobla) and, mainly, in Northern Epirus, in the villages of the Greek minority in southern Albania (Deropoli, Ano Pogoni, Bouthroto, Cheimara).

Thepolyphonicgroup. A polyphonic group usually consists of 4 to 11 members. Its composition includes distinct roles and structure of echoes, according to some scholars, dance elements of ancient tragedy. Partis or partis or sikwtis is a leader of polyphonic group, he introduced the song by speaking the main melody. Starts singing only the first syllables of each verse. In the polyphonic of north Epirus, Partis preface the entire first verse of the song. In the polyphonic of Pogoni Partis preface only the first syllables. Replied the second that "turns" or "trumps the song, which is why it's called gyristis, with voice by greater rhythmic motion, the role that requires great vocal ability. Typical is the abrupt ending, the "cut" that makes the Gyristis. When the Gyristis sings the sluggish an octave higher, called spinner. The movement of this voice, between tonal and muted of melody, reminiscent of the spinner of yarns that spin and lift-download gore every so often. Role that answers often but not always, it is the role of the richtis, which "throws" the song at the end of partis’s prologisma, singing an exclamation (e.g. "oh oh oh", "ante vre"). Serves as the missing link between Partis and other voices, as after his entrance procession begins and the group song. And then come the isokrates that keep the "equal", i.e. the sound of the tone of the melody. Each polyphonic group there must be at least two isokrates. The role of isokrates is fundamental and irreplaceable in the structure of polyphonic group. As louder is the pedal tone so most "brontaria the song goes". The accuracy of interpreting polyphonic song presupposes the existence, but also the blending of different voices-roles of polyphonic group. So, the polyphonic song presupposes the collectiveness of expression, but also the rigorous distinctness of roles that echoes and the unwritten hierarchy in the composition of the team and in the distribution of roles.

The international meeting of polyphonic song

"The voices in polyphonic songs inhabited. Straight to the voices you hear birds, mountains, rivers, experience the acholoi of winds. Voices that when mingle made flock to travel like birds. At their nests inexpressible silences, unchanged, wistful, indelible" (Alexander Lambridis, artistic director of the International Festival polyphonic song).

A caravan of polyphony was launched in 1998 and travels every year from 27 July to 9 August in places of voice stone and tradition. A journey of discovery meetings, and memory in the physical and social spaces of survival of Epirus polyphonic song - to regenerate and unclog it from the "exile of time", making it proud.

"With the festival wanted to regain the voices of courage", says Alexander Lambridis, artistic director of the Festival and President of the non-profit company Apeiros.

In floors, canyons, chapels, stone squares, abandoned villages, in sources and the banks of rivers, the caravan blends vivid historical voices of polyphony of Pogoniani, Dolo and a bunch of other villages, in years that the maintenance of this music looks like a relic of history.

From Plovdiv as Sicily, traverses across the border of Macedonia and Epirus, Albania, the lower Italy. Some of the villages that passes the international meeting is to Plovdiv, the Ieropigi, the Goura, the Molybdoskepasti, the Kefalybryso, the upper Pogoni, Pogoniani, upper Deropoli, the Upper Parakalamos, the Elataria, the Polidroso, the Old Sagada, the Plaisio, the Boyrthwto, the Paramythiakai many more. Some of the polyphonic groups, shapes and organic zygies participating in the Festival and there are today are: The female polyphonic group of Upper Deropoli, the buildings of Pogoni, which currently does not exist, but he was one of the forerunners, Polytsanis women, the male polyphonic group in Chlomo, Chaonia-the new kind, but with beam-10 years, the polyphonic group Himara, the family Dede in the Derbitsani Deropolis, Parakalamos, Pleiades from Thessaloniki, Polyfwno comprised of children from the popular instruments Museum in Plaka, the Epirus Zygia of Kostas Verdis from the Poyliarati Deropolis with accompaniment of musical instruments, the Epirotic Zygia of Lefteris Giokas of the Brysera Deropolis and the Phoenicia from the Boyrthwto.


October 9, 2009 (12:37 UTC+2)

For more information visit or contact the polyphony workshop in Plaka 210-3310919.

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