Slovenski etnografski muzej

Številka revije 
Etnolog 24 (2014)
Urša Šivic
Članek v pdf obliki 
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Music – an essential part of contemporary carol customs

The music of carol customs had been the subject of field recording by the Institute of Ethnomusicology, SRC, SASA for many decades, but torn from the context of which is it an integral part. The collaborators of the institute recorded carol songs and tunes in the same way at the other musical repertoire of (folk) singers and musicians, but it must be taken into consideration that carol singing events were rare and were more or less carried out in secret. People indeed started to abandon the custom after the Second World War (and especially after 1950), when the regime%s negative attitude towards religion and contents and activities related to religion intensified. It was only after 2001 that the focus of ethnomusicologists turned towards recording (and observing) music as part of the wider social and cultural events of carol singing, which started to re-emerge in reconstructions from the late 1980s onwards as a result of the changing socio-political climate and the regime%s fading authority. This redirection of the research focus of ethnomusicology from musical contents to context led to an initiative to examine and treat carol customs comprehensively. The present article thus deals with data collected in the course of 77 field recordings of carol customs from the2001%2014 period, and addresses the place and role music has in contemporary carol customs and its genres. The socio-cultural complexity of carol singing provides many options for observing the different roles music has in carol customs: the place of music in a custom%s structure and course, its genre classification, the form of performance, the quality of the performance, and the attitude of the performers and the locals to the custom. The music in carol customs is performed either vocally (the carol customs of Christmas and New Year, the Three Kings, Candlemas, St George's Day, St Florian's Day, and Midsummer), instrumentally (Shrovetide, carol singing for collecting wine, and the carol singing of the Bohinj otepovci), and in some cases a combination of vocal and instrumental performance. The latter form is often the best indicator of declining singing skills and reliance on instrumental accompaniment. The performers are one of the reasons for the transformative nature of carol customs and consequently their music; from this point of view the most interesting example for observing the transformative nature of the music is the carol singing of St Florian's Day, performed by a community of young lads (not a singing community). Music is thus part of a custom as 1.a vocally performed carol song (unison instead of harmony singing), 2. a vocally (unison) performed carol song, accompanied by an instrument (accordion), 3. a random song instead of a carol song, or 4. the music is left out of the custom because of the inability to perform it. Since the (folk) music in carol customs is not exempted from the general (folk) music dynamics, one of the aims of this article is to define it within the researched field and interpret it as an indicator of the transformative nature and dynamics of general changes in folk and other music.