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Lost in scales: Balkan folk music research and the ottoman legacy

Author(s): Pennanen Risto Pekka

Journal: Muzikologija
ISSN 1450-9814

Volume: 2008;
Issue: 8;
Start page: 127;
Date: 2008;
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Keywords: Balkans | the Orient | folk music research | scales

Balkan folk music researchers have articulated various views on what they have considered Oriental or Turkish musical legacy. The discourses the article analyses are nationalism, Orientalism, Occidentalism and Balkanism. Scholars have handled the awkward Ottoman issue in several manners: They have represented 'Oriental' musical characteristics as domestic, claimed that Ottoman Turks merely imitated Arab and Persian culture, and viewed Indian classical raga scales as sources for Oriental scales in the Balkans. In addition, some scholars have viewed the 'Oriental' characteristics as stemming from ancient Greece. The treatment of the Segâh family of Ottoman makams in theories and analyses reveals several features of folk music research in the Balkans, the most important of which are the use of Western concepts and the exclusive dependence on printed sources. The strategies for handling the Orient within have meandered between Occidentalism and Orientalism, creating an ambiguity which is called Balkanism.
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