ethnographer, PhD in History, Senior Researcher at the Department of Folk Music of the Institute of Arts of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia, Assistant Professor at the Department of Cultural Studies of the Yerevan State University, the founding President of the Armenian Association of Museum Workers and Friends, Chief Editor of the “Tangaran” yearbook, Board Member of the Armenian National Committee of the International Council of Museums (ICOM).
Pikichian is the author of textbooks and monographs, including: Hymn to the Sun: “Sahari” in Armenian Music Culture (1998, co-author L. Yernjakian), Armenian Folk Arts, Culture and Identity (Indiana Univ. Press, 2001, co-authors L. Abrahamian, H.Petrosyan and others), Music in the Armenian Everyday and Holy-Ritual Life (2012). Pikichyan has collected, edited and published tomes on Armenian traditional music in collaboration with Z. Tagakchyan. The main areas of her specialization are: Ethnomusicology (traditional culture, music and instruments, rites and rituals), Culture and Society in Transition, Museum Studies and Anthropology
MODERN LIFE OF THE HOROVEL:
FOLLOWING KOMITAS’S PATH
This paper concerns the modern life of the Horovel or Plough Song first studied by Komitas. Though the ploughing process associated with singing the horovel is considered to be a past culture, nowadays its reminiscences can still be traced in Armenia.
In 1991, during a study field trip to the region of Lori, the specialists of the Folk Music Department of the Institute of Arts of the National Academy of Sciences of RA sought to clarify to what extent the variations of the Plough Song recorded by Komitas had survived in the memory of people. The question was to find out what alterations the time and the developments in cultivation techniques had made in the function and form of the horovel. When describing the working process of the farmer, the elder tellers were tending to accurately represent the behavior and activity of each participant of the labor process and to interpret the verbal and musical texts performed during latter. The descriptions of the farmer’s work and the fragmentary performances of the plough song, recovered according to the memory of folk singers, which were recorded in the town of Alaverdi and the villages of Sanahin, Hagvi, Akori, Akner and Mghart coincided with Komitas’s transcriptions and confirmed the viability of the heredity of culture. The comparative study of the material confirms that the nine samples of the plough songs and the seven samples of the threshing songs recorded during the expedition are logically comparable with the musical structure of the Lori Plough Song and threshing songs transcribed, studied and published by Komitas. The description of the working process and the analysis of the texts once again evidence Komitas – the ethnographer’s subtle ability and unique skills in collecting and transcribing folk music and texts.