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′Education is our daily bread′: Church polyphony, educational processes and the Serbian national identity between 1830 and 1914

Author(s): Perković-Radak Ivana

Journal: Muzikologija
ISSN 1450-9814

Volume: 2007;
Issue: 7;
Start page: 199;
Date: 2007;
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Choral church music had different functions in Serbian society of the 19th century. It was a part of many processes or even initiated them itself broadly affecting the sphere of culture. One of its purposes had strong educational and national implications. In this paper I do not study these as musical and historical elements emphasizing existent social tendencies, but rather as processes that generated certain components through church music (both in the educational sense and in the sphere of broader social structures). The early beginnings of church polyphony among Serbs were marked by choirs comprising older members and pupils. For example, members of the Serbian parish in Pest, who started working together in 1835 and sang the complete Divine Liturgy for the first time in 1838, were both pupils and students. In 1841 and 1842 students of Alexandar Morfidis-Nisis in Novi Sad sang in church, while in the same school year Belgrade high school first introduced choral singing. The comparison of the development of educational systems in states inhabited by Serbs in the 19th century is used as the basis for seeing historical and cultural positioning as one role of choral church music. Certain elements of the national program, such as progress comprehension of the nation as a community of individuals, distention of the individual, or the process of socialization were shared by church polyphonic singing. These elements are studied in the context of the development of European and Serbian educational systems, mostly from a historical perspective.
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