An outstanding research project by Professor Panos Vlagopoulos into the formation of the modern-Greek musical identity from the creation of the Hellenic State to this day. The book entitled Two-Pronged Harmonization or Greek Music and Its Others: Snapshots from a Struggle for Recognition is scheduled for publication by Rodakio Press in 2023.
Two-Pronged Harmonization or Greek Music and Its Others: Snapshots from a Struggle for Recognition
The foundation of the Modern Greek state has been accompanied by Western- European attempts to cultural colonization, next to indigenous aspirations to self-definition and realization. The ways to musically colonize nineteenth- century Greece —in other words, the means applied by Western European musicians in order to appropriate the valuable symbolic capital of Greek monophonic space— was the practice of collecting and harmonizing folksongs. Conversely, it was this very means by which Greek musicians responded to the challenge of creating a Greek National Music, i.e., the challenge of harmonizing —in yet another sense— Modern Greek into Western European musical life. It was through similar dialectics that the formulation of a collective national musical subject began to emerge. This process continued well into the twentieth century, its most crucial aspect being a (quasi-Hegelian) struggle for recognition. The creation of the Greek National School of Music and the quest for musical Hellenicity (“ellinikotita”) were the musical counterparts to this process. The afore-mentioned struggle for recognition and/or harmonization went along with ambitions to create music which should stand comparison with the demanding and internalized Western European models. The book proceeds through a series of “Snapshots” (flanked by “Prefaces” and “Excursions”), from the first Western European collections of Greek harmonized folksongs (Bourgault-Ducoudray, Aramis) to the idiosyncratic creativity of Dimitri Mitropoulos, Nikos Skalkottas, and Jani Christou, as well as the hybrid space of the so-called Popular Art Song of Mikis Theodorakis and Manos Hadjidakis.
Prof. Panos Vlagopoulos
Aramis (=Pericles Aravantinos, 1859-1932), the famous baritone and fervent proponent of musical nationalism through harmonised Greek folk songs