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Messages - Dax

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General Chat / A Central Albanian folk music rhythm
« on: November 13, 2011, 12:48:44 PM »
Valle festivale


Another two



Këngë e Bajram Curri


which comprises 4 items of Albanian folk music.

Each of them features a characteristic Central Albanian rhythm. I would maintain that the bars are essentially in 7, but the beats are unequal; in other words, to notate them, beats would last 3, 4 or 5 semiquavers.

The first example is entitled Valle festivale (festive dance) - (3+4) + (4+5) + (3+4+5) and there are a couple of other instrumental numbers which feature the same rhythm. There is also an apparently percussionless song entitled Këngë e Bajram Curri which appears to employ a reversal of that rhythm namely (3+4+5) + (3+4) + (4+5).

The rhythm will be unfamiliar to most and apparently baffling to those hearing it for the first time. In order to work it out, one should of course focus on the percussion. The most readily identifiable part of the rhythm is the final (3+4+5) to which the solution seems clearly to be
and then the rest of the rhythm can be worked out from there.

This rhythm seems not uncommon in Central Albanian music although I've never seen a reference to it in any Albanian publication or anywhere on the internet. Nor have I come across a similar rhythm in my rather limited knowledge of the music of neighbouring countries (Turkey would possibly be the obvious suspect). I've encountered a couple of people who have a view (specifically on Këngë e Bajram Curri) concerning the rhythm which is rather different from my own: - one (a respected ethnomusicologist) points out that it's quite common when identifying such things for different people to come up with varied metrical/rhythmic solutions. This is a wiser opinion than it might seem given that I possess a number of recordings featuring this rhythm, some of which have a subtly different rhythmic "feel".

So here's the problem for any fellow-member who feels able to reply - identify the rhythm! I'd be grateful for your views, whether or not it happens to agree with my own.

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