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Music in Performance: On the Musical Interpretation of Sevdalinka from the 1920s to the 1950s

Naila Ceribašić orcid id ; Institut za etnologiju i folkloristiku, Zagreb, Hrvatska

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 756 Kb

str. 265-296

preuzimanja: 341



On the basis of selected recordings of prominent sevdalinka singers and the different social contexts of their performance – Nikola Stojković in 1937, Sofka Nikolić at the end of the 1920s and Zaim Imamović in the 1950s, as well as on the basis of relevant comparative recordings from those and later decades, this article analyzes the features of the musical interpretation of this genre. The author relies on methods developed within the studies of recorded music, including the use of software that facilitates analysis, and, in parallel, guided by the request for a culturally informed analysis, on the commentaries of relevant interlocutors. Considering the time distance from the primary actors of the analyzed recordings, such »interlocutors« are first of all experts who wrote about the musical interpretation of sevdalinka and were also its admirers in the period closer to the time of the creation of the analyzed recordings, among which Vlado Milošević stands out with his study from 1964.
The purpose of the conducted analysis is not only to reliably determine the character of this or that element of musical material and its articulation, although this is also the case, but to analytically understand their meaning in culture and as culture, i.e. in what way they are impregnated with cultural and social contexts, as well as vice versa, in which way they weave the cultural and social environment. The recordings on which this article is based have been fascinating in this respect.
All recordings/performances, but especially Stojković’s as the oldest recordings outside of commercial media circulation, point to the problem of encountering a foreign culture, i.e. the past which is like a foreign country and which unexpectedly places the »native« researcher in the position of a foreigner and demands a methodologically, intellectually and emotionally engaged process of learning culture. In that, the recording has a different status than the ethnographic record from the past. It resists being ignored or derogated by the argument about the incommensurability of the perception of reality and the ideological background of »them« and »us«, that »then« and this »now«. Furthermore, all the recordings/performances, but especially Sofka Nikolić’s due to her mastery in managing kafana performance, spur ethnomusicologists to study cultural meanings woven into the very musical material and its processing. Sofka seems to invite us to be more daring in studying music as a semiotic field, to take into account not only the symbolic (relying on the statements of our field interlocutors) but also the indexical and iconic, which are no less important in musical communication. Finally, all recordings/performances, but especially Imamović’s because of their place in today’s practice, encourage researchers to pay more attention to musical intertextuality, including in the field of canonized traditional music. Many of today’s tradition bearers in their practice rely much more on listening to recordings than on listening to elders from their own physical environment. Performances fixed by recordings often function as a basis for further performances in a wide range of aspirations and realizations. Recordings form the living fabric of today’s musical practice.

Ključne riječi

sevdalinka; performance; recording; musical interpretation; study of recorded music; culturally informed analysis; ethnomusicology; era of electrically recorded gramophone records

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