A Brief Comparison of Albanian Iso-Polyphony and Lithuanian Sutartines

It may seem tangential to compare such different cultures as Albanian and Lithuanian from most perspectives—including a musical one—but perhaps it is a needed step towards finding further connections between Balkan and Baltic regions, or to show that they have formed independently of each other. The catalyst for this study is the fact that dissonant folk polyphony exists in both Albanian and Lithuanian folk music, and the Indo-European unity of the two cultures.

Albanian folk music has had very little attention from scholars up until the middle of the 20th century, and this largely complicates its study. The first compilation of Albanian folk music was made by Pjeter Dunguin the 1940’s, but only in 1950, an Albanian musicologist Ramadan Sokoli started full academic research of the music. Since that date it was studied extensively, first mostly from inside Albania, and after the deconstruction of the communist state, foreign studies of Albanian music increased.

Lithuanian music had more focus on it from musicologists, beginning from the middle of the 19th century, through Soviet times, and up until today, and most of the Sutartines have been transcribed in the 19-20th centuries. What complicates the study of the Sutartines today is the fact that they are no longer a living tradition – they are only being performed by professional and amateur folk ensembles. With time, the area of outspread of Sutartines has been diminishing, and it also has been penetrated by influences of homophonic music with a major-minor harmonic structure, eventually this type of singing ceased to exist in villages.

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Time and Space in Sound Installations

The topics and questions that will be explored in this text are derived from my artistic practice that is based around sound art and sound installations in particular, which focuses on two issues that are also central to sound art: time and space.

The reason for this review is to establish and explore the context of my practice.
The primary interest of this review is focused on extended sound (lasting for extended time periods).
The secondary concerns the specific spaces these sounds are situated in.

A quote from LaBelle (2006, p. 162) accurately summarises the aim of this text: “Overlapping and at times drawing from musical culture, the practice of sound art pursues more active relations to spatial presentations, durational structures beyond the concert experience, and within more general public environments that often engage other media, inciting the auditory imagination.”

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