Doctor of Arts, musicologist-medievalist, Honored Worker of Art of RA, Professor, Vice-Rector for Research Affairs of the Komitas State Conservatory in Yerevan, Head of the Folk Music Department of the Institute of Arts of the National Academy of Sciences of RA, Senior Researcher, Chairman of the Scientific Council of the Komitas Museum-Institute, Artistic Director of the Geghard Vocal Ensemble. Navoyan is the author of more than 40 articles and the following monographs: The Origin of the Tał Genre and Free Musical Mentality in the Armenian Medieval Professional Song Art (2001), Fragments from the History of Armenian Music (2009). His research is focused on Armenian medieval music, the eight-mode system in the Armenian music, Armenian art music, etc.
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.