Bisesi’s academic track is multidisciplinary: PhD in mathematics and physics, MA in piano interpretation and MMus in music theory and analysis (in progress). She works as a postdoctoral researcher in cognitive science at the Institut Pasteur in Paris. She taught music cognition at the Universities of Bratislava and Graz (Austria) and at the Conservatory of Udine (Italy). She has been involved in several projects on musicology at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, the Center for Systematic Musicology in Graz, and has been in collaborating with universities and conservatories in Armenia, Canada, Finland, Italy and Switzerland. Her research focuses on music cognition, the anthropology of music, music theory and analysis, music performance, expression and emotion. She regularly performs as a pianist, both as a soloist and in chamber music ensembles.
THE THEORETICAL BASES OF ONE OF KOMITAS’S CONCEPTS CONCERNING ARMENIAN SECULAR AND SACRED MUSIC
At the end of the XIX and beginning of the XX centuries the Armenian musical thought became a part of the Armenian national self-identity paradigm as a result of several fundamental principles presented by Komitas. One of his musical-aesthetic and theoretical definitions suggests that the relationship between traditional Armenian secular and sacred music should be seen as relationship a between sister and brother. This seemingly simple definition was of great significance then and continues to be such today.
Until the second half of the XIX century the Armenian language, along with the other branches of Armenian culture, including music, were still considered as phenomena within the other Oriental cultures, often considered as having derived from the latter or lacking their own typical characteristics. The concept proposed by Komitas is extremely important for revealing the main features of the Armenian musical thought as well as the fundamental unity of the various areas of the Armenian music culture. The “Sister and Brother approach” primarily considers various branches of Armenian music culture as manifestations of a unified system of musical thought, therefore, excluding the assumptions about the latter having been borrowed or having a foreign origin.
Komitas played an exceptional role in the history of Armenian music also because of his ability to use the results of his musicological and theoretical research as an essential foundation for putting forward and developing new concepts. Addressing those concepts with contemporary methods of theoretical research can provide additional arguments proving the fundamental nature of Komitas’s principles.
For the sake of revisiting that issue we present a comparative study of two research works of equal value: the first one conducted by T. Shakhkulyan and E. Bisesi, who examined the singing fragments of the Sasna Crēr epic recorded by Komitas, and the second one conducted by M. Navoyan and E. Bisesi, which addressed Komitas’s recordings of the tałs by St. Grigor Narekatsi.