Alina Pahlevanyan is an ethnomusicologist, PhD in Arts, Professor, Honored Worker in Art of RA. Pahlevanyan has been a consultant on folklore at the State Ensemble of Armenian Song and Dance and at the State Committee of the Armenian Radio and TV. She was the Head of the Chair of Armenian Folk Music Studies of the Komitas State Conservatory of Yerevan from 1989 to 2018. Pahlevanyan’s activity is focused on ethnographic fieldwork and the transcription of folk music. She is the author of music textbooks, editions of folk music collections, about 30 articles and monographs, including: New Found Stories of ‟Celery Cross” (Yerevan, 2004), Issues of Armenian Music Folkloristics (Yerevan, 2005), The Modern Issues of Armenian Music Folkloristics (Yerevan, 2018). Pahlevanyan’s research mostly refers to Armenian folk music and its theoretical basis.
KOMITAS AND THE PROBLEMS OF
ARMENIAN MUSIC FOLKLORISTICS
Komitas’s research in ethnomusicology is of great importance not only for the study of Armenian folk music, but that of other nations. Komitas is considered to be the founder of Armenian Ethnic Music Studies. Collecting several thousands of folk songs and tunes, he studied and classified them into genres. The next step was searching for the polyphony convenient for the Armenian music structure. This article attempts to explain why Komitas was the founder of the national school of music composition, as commonly accepted in Armenian musicology. The following problems propounded by Komitas are addressed to:
What is the oral tradition in Armenian folk music? What role does permanent improvisation have inside in oral tradition?
What is the advantage of music notation? What losses can be registered in the case ofnotation? How do written and oral traditions relate to each other?
Revealing the “music dialects” typical for each region.
The problem of the existence or the absence of an author in folk song creation.
The viability of the songs, their lifespan. Which songs live longer and which do not?
Identifying the musical phrases typical for the songs and finding the formulaic expressions.To what extent may improvisation exist within formulaic constructions?
The stationary approach in song collection work.
The rhythm in Armenian folk songs.
Obviously, Komitas surpassed his time-period preordaining several problems of folkloristics. Komitas actually proposed pathways for further development of ethnomusicology.