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Title: The Transcription and Transmission of Georgian Liturgical Chant
Authors: Graham, John A.
Advisors: Wegman, Rob C
Contributors: Music Department
Keywords: Caucasus
neume notation
oral transmission
Subjects: Music
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Abstract In 1936, several box-loads of manuscripts containing some five thousand pages of music notation were secretly inventoried at the University Museum in Tbilisi, Georgia. Dimit'ri Shevernadze, then curator of the museum archive, secured the donation from the aging monk, Ekvtime K'ereselidze. Though Shevernadze was shot in the purges of 1937, the manuscripts remained secure, and today represent the majority of source materials for the medieval chant tradition of the Georgian Orthodox Church, as inherited and notated at the end of the nineteenth century. These sources form the basis for the current work on the transmission and transcription of Georgian liturgical chant, as organized and presented in eleven chapters. In order to understand the breadth of Georgian chant studies, the dissertation offers a wide-ranging introduction to the field in the form of two introductory chapters on issues pertaining to the study of medieval Georgian hymnography, terminology, neumatic notation, and ecclesiastical history within the broader Byzantine sphere of influence. Social-political forces led to the decline of the oral tradition in the early nineteenth century (Chapter III), prompting the earliest transcription efforts to preserve it in written form (Chapter IV). The bulk of the existing transcriptions, which were notated between 1885-1908, pose complex issues of interpretation and analysis. The historical and musical details of each major project are detailed in Chapter V-VI, while Chapter VII examines broader questions on the problems encountered when transcribing polyphonic chant sung in a non-diatonic tuning system. Several thousand transcriptions remained incomplete, however, until a specific editing project attempted to remedy this critical gap in the notated record of Georgian chant in the years, 1912-1915 (Chapter VIII). Alternative notation systems including unique neume notation dating from the eighteenth to twentieth century period is examined and presented with examples (Chapter IX). Two chapters are dedicated to an analysis of the model melody system that forms the basis for the Georgian eight-modes, and the harmonic grammar of Georgian chant as inherited in three distinct regional centers (Chapters X, XI). An epilogue examines issues of chant transmission through the twentieth century and into the revival of Georgian traditional chant in the Post-Soviet era (Chapter XII). Methodological avenues of inquiry include the study of oral transmission as informed by the cognition of memory, the study of graphology and paleography in original manuscripts, the study of transcription issues as they relate to the sounded reality of chant in the oral tradition, and an analysis of the harmonic, melodic, improvisational, and structural elements of Georgian chant.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Music

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