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Title:Musical Change in Trentino: Style and Transmission in the Oral and Choral Traditions of the Region (Italy)
Author(s):Sorce Keller, Marcello
Department / Program:Music
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Abstract:As in several areas of Central Europe, in Trentino art music, popular music, and folk music have continuously influenced each other. In this province one point of contact between oral and literate environment is a pervasive choral tradition which feeds on folk music to a large degree. This tradition consists of so-called "Alpine choirs" organized under the leadership of a conductor, which often perform folk tunes harmonized and arranged by literate musicians.
Contact with the literate tradition has caused considerable change in music once transmitted solely in an oral fashion. In particular: folk songs taken over by choirs gradually cease to undergo the variation process typical of folk song life. In other words, the "fixed" version of a song variant, once disseminated by choirs, becomes the "only" version to be encountered in the field. The folk singer, confronted with an ever present, unchanging model, cannot help imitating it with increasing accuracy. The change generated by the contact between the choral practice and the oral tradition is not limited to the musical component of songs but extends to their text as well.
A "contraction" of the text, and consequently of the narrative, seems to be taking place in recently collected songs when compared to older versions. Three stages are noticeable: (1) when songs are performed solo they display maximum text length, (2) performance by a folk choir (a spontaneous gathering of people who sing together) causes a first degree of contraction, (3) when performed by popular Alpine choirs the text is progressively shrunk to minimal terms, to the point that the narration is no longer the focus of the song. Eventually, as the shortened version of the narrative is made public and reintroduced among orally circulated materials, there too it becomes shorter and shorter replacing the longer ones formerly in use.
This "re-introduction" process has been noticed elsewhere but not yet thoroughly studied. The analysis of how it manifests itself in Trentino will hopefully provide a term of comparison useful to other studies of musical change caused by contact between an oral and a literate tradition.
Issue Date:1986
Description:383 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1986.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8623416
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-16
Date Deposited:1986

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