|dc.description.abstract||In its engagement with Balkan music, musicology has largely conformed to the
dominant cultural historiographical model of a divide between ‘East’ and ‘West’.
Marked by core binary concepts, under the spell initially of theories of modernity,
and subsequently of critical theories that aimed to deconstruct these oppositions,
musicology on Balkan music still remains within the confines of the ‘East-West’
paradigm. Theories such as Edward Said’s Orientalism and Maria Todorova’s
Balkanism have served as key methodological tools in conceptualizing Balkan
music and analysing the ways in which stereotypical and ideologically-charged
images of ‘the West’ and ‘the East’ are reproduced in musical praxes. Powerful as
they have been, analyses of the Balkans solely withreference to ‘East’ and ‘West’
surely do not do justice to the diversity of relationships that have shaped its
variegated musical space, and have inevitably rendered a distorted image of its
This book aims to contribute to a widening of our critical understanding of a
historically and spatially diverse cultural network that embraces Balkan music,
and therefore invites proposals for papers that challenge and/or move beyond the
‘East-West’ paradigm. An examination of a network that would not be restricted
to the West-East perspective should lead to a richer and more complex
understanding of the Balkans and its interconnectedness with other regions, such
as the Mediterranean and Russia. By analysing these as well as other spheres of
influences, we hope to reveal affinities that have rarely been explored, and will
yield a richer understanding not only of Balkan music (‘art’, ‘traditional’ as well as
‘popular’) but also of music history in general.
Contributions fall under the following subtopics:
– Musical Relations between the Balkans and Russia
Russia has acted as an influencing agent on the Balkans over several centuries and
ties between these two regions were often highly charged politically. Importantly,
Moscow was perceived as the ‘Third Rome’ by the Orthodox Balkans, while the
Russian Empire was deeply involved in matters of the so-called ‘Eastern
Question’. The great influx of Russian émigrés following the Russian revolution
played a significant role in shaping the Balkan cultural elite. Last but not least, the
Russian national school and the Soviet model of socialist realism had a profound
impact on Balkan music over the last two centuries.
– Interactions with the Mediterranean
Both the Balkans and the Mediterranean figure more as imaginary cultural spaces
than firm geographical entities. Yet the way these spaces correlate musically has
barely been explored. How did the culture of the Mediterranean, with its shifting empires and perpetual migrations, engage with the Balkans musically? What
could be learned, for example, by exploring the great hub of Constantinople,
which has been perceived both as a gateway to the Balkans and a symbol of the
Eastern Mediterranean? Could a scrutiny of Balkan music’s interaction with
Mediterranean music enrich our understanding of musical life of the broader
area of South Eastern Europe?
Jasmina Huber writes about the musical physiognomy of melodies that belong to
the Sephardic vocal (liturgical and paraliturgical) heritage in the western Balkans.
The author shows that the Jewish musical tradition in the Balkans was a symbiosis
of Hebrew poetry and oriental(ised) melodies.
Valentina Sandu-Dediu has contributed a very interesting, introspective and often
self-deprecatory account on the past and present state of Romanian musicology,
the discipline that has long been torn between shifting ideologies, the Riemanninspired
grandiose ambitions of music historians who singlehandedly wrote
monumental but often error-laden books, and the long-standing focus on domestic
output, caused both by ideological restrictions, language barrier and the fact of
external i.e. foreign interest in Romanian music. The author concludes that the
history of Romanian music must be rewritten from next prespectives, but also
warns that a compromise must be reached between two opposing extremes - the
unscrupulous political engagement on the one hand (which has influenced the
boys written in communist times) and avoidance of any ideological involvement
the other (which has been a recent tendency).
Ivana Miladinović-Prica writes about Milimir Drašković who, in the later phase
of his career, Drašković, seemingly surprisinglu, turned towards Byzantine
heritage and Serbian orthodox church chants of the Octoechos as a source of
inspiration and combined it with his already established avantgarde procedures,
but also with popular music genres such as rock and jazz. Drašković and Miloš
Petrović held workshops titled Byzantium and Today in Germany, where they
brought the experiences of the cultural “Other” to German audiences, but also
deliberately “invented” tradition in accordance with their artistic goals.
Iva Nenić addresses the dichotomy of the East-West and its ideological
implications using the example of the slowly expanding world music scene in the
former Yugoslav region and, more specifically, with the specific (re)interpretation
of the sevdalinka genre of popular folk song, as interpreted by the young Bosnian
singer Damir Imamović, an heir to a well-known Bosnian musical “dynasty”, and
his Sevdah Takht band. The author discusses the origins and development of the
sevdalinka genre, its “politically correct” interpretations in the socialist Yugoslavia,
mostly purified of overt Oriental influences, and compares it to Imamović’s
contemporary interpretations, where remnants of its Oriental origin (such as:
aksak rhythms, melismatic singing, oriental modes and instrumentation that
resemble maqam practices etc.) have been reinstated and even emphasised.
Russian and other non-phonetic Slavic languages written in Cyrillic script have
been transliterated using the simplified Library of Congress transliteration system,
with some exceptions which have been duly explained in the footnotes.
We must express our sincere gratitude to Srđan Atanasovski and Katerina
Levidou who originated the idea of rethinking the cultural and artistic ‘poles of
attraction’ in the Balkans and without whom this volume would have not been
Moreover, we are grateful to all contributors to this volume, for their patience and
cooperativeness during the long process of preparing this book.
We would also like to thank our colleagues who have assisted us in various stages
of preparing this volume: Marija Ćirić, Bogdan Đaković, Jelena Janković-Beguš,
Jelena Jovanović, Danka Lajić-Mihajlović, Mary McRoberts, Melita Milin, Vesna
Peno, Selena Rakočević and Mirjana Zakić.
Also, we are thankful to the members of the Department of Fine Arts and Music
of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, in particular Academician Milan
Lojanica and Academician Dejan Despić, as well as the Academician Dimitrije
Stefanović, former General Secretary of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and
Ars and a long-standing Director of the Institute of Musicology SASA, for their
support, encouragement and understanding.
Finally, we would like to thank the Ministry of Education, Science and
Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia for their generous financial
support, without which this book would have not been published.||sr