European Voices II

Cultural Listening and Local Discourse in Multipart Singing Traditions in Europe

Vienna, October 24 – 26, 2008

Institut für Volksmusikforschung und Ethnomusikologie
Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien
Österreichisches Nationalkomitee im ICTM
Wiener Konzerthaus

Project description:

The activities of European Voices II will be organised by the Institute for Folk Music Research and Ethnomusicology at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna. The starting point is the project Folk Terminology and Musical Phenomena which is being supported by the Austrian Science Fund (Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung).

The previous project European Voices I, Symposium and Concerts of March 2005 – was dedicated to multipart singing in the Balkans and the Mediterranean and received an award from the City of Vienna, the Labour Chamber of Vienna (Arbeiterkammer Wien) and Vienna Convention Bureau among 366 international congresses held in 2005.

The extended network of specialists now makes it possible to investigate the musical traditions of different European regions: from Portugal to Bulgaria in the South, and from Central Europe, in which Austria and the European Alps have a particular position, to the East with Lithuania, Ukraine, the European part of Russia and Georgia and up to Iceland in the far North.

Multipart singing traditions have, as a rule, a decisive role in the musical and cultural identity of the regions where they are established. Hearing or listening is thus of crucial significance.

Their effects on how groups of people or individuals understand music will be dealt with from musical, linguistic, medical and social perspectives.

Another main focus is dedicated to discourse as the method of communication through which people examine the validity of norms or standards, and to the role of communication in the processes of legitimation and power within a community. Gender issues will also be explored in this context.

The speakers will be internationally recognised researchers from over 20 countries in Europe, the United States and Australia.

Profane and sacred music will be performed in the evening concerts, where each concert will have a specific motto. The title of the concert of the women’s groups from Lithuania and Bulgaria is It should sound like bells. This describes the ideal sound of both vocal traditions, although the music itself is very different. The concert Polyphonic Yodelling by the male groups from the Schneeberg region of Lower Austria and from a klapa group from Croatia will take place in the Konzerthaus in Vienna. The third concert is entitled Sacred Folk Songs and will be given by singers from Northern Italy and Slovakia.

Language: English
Symposium Venue: University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, Austria

Book presentation: 24.10.2008, at 16:30
Ardian Ahmedaja / Gerlinde Haid (eds.)
European Voices I. Multipart Singing in the Balkans and in the Mediterranean. With Summaries in German. CD and DVD with Audio and Video Examples Included.
Schriften zur Volksmusik. Band 22. Wien 2008. Böhlau Verlag.


  • Friday, October 24, 2008 at 7:30 PM
    University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, Haydn-Saal
    Bulgaria: Bistritsa grannies und Mitevi Brothers
    Lithuania: Trys keturiose “Three in four”
    Tickets: 12 € (students 6 €)
    Evening Box-Office
  • Saturday, October 25, 2008 at 7:30 PM
    Wiener Konzerthaus. Mozart-Saal
    Croatia: Klapa Nostalgija
    Austria: Schneeberg-Buam
  • Sunday, October 26, 2008 at 7:00 PM
    Slovakia: Ženska spevácka skupina z Telgártu
    Italy: I cantori di Vermèil
    Tickets: 12 € (students 6 €)
    Evening Box-Office

Mag. Evelyn Fink-Mennel (project management)
Dr. Ardian Ahmedaja (chair):


Although the fundamental meaning of basic terminology is well established for every scholarly discipline, many concepts are often questioned and redefined. In the case of ethnomusicology, this process is all too familiar, as researchers within the discipline focus on the most diverse of music cultures. The manifold worldviews of the resource persons, as holders and presenters (in both meanings of the word) of a tradition make the matter more complex. Such a situation has particular significance in the context of multipart singing because of the specific musical aesthetics and vocabularies established among singing groups. Additionally, it is accentuated by processes of change within every musical culture and those of ethnomusicology.

Examining this question from the viewpoint of folk terminology means primarily considering specific and individual concepts of cultural listening, in the sense of “paying attention”, “concentrating” and “focusing on”. These concepts are established on the one hand through the processes of music listening and music making and on the other hand through the local discourse, in which singers and musicians as well as local communities are very much involved. The discourse as a communication category with which people communicate about the claim to validity of rules also plays an important role in processes of legitimating and power within the community. An essential part of the discourse is singing itself. The music therefore becomes the object and subject of research. Of particular relevance in this framework are questions of gender, applying to communities in which women practice multipart singing and others where they are mostly listeners, although forming a very important part of the discourse.

This was the starting point for the project “Folk Terminology and Musical Phenomena” initiated by the Institute for Folk Music Research and Ethnomusicology at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna in 2006 and supported by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF). The extended network of specialists available since the activities on multipart singing in the Balkans and the Mediterranean in 2005 made it possible to include traditions of Central, Eastern and Northern Europe in the investigations. The meeting debates will be supported by concerts of profane and religious multipart music performed by brilliant singers in whose everyday life this music is firmly rooted.

Mag. Evelyn Fink-Mennel (Projektorganisation) fink(at)
Dr. Ardian Ahmedaja (Projektleiter): ahmedaja(at)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday, October 24, 2008
Multipart Singing and Cultural Listening
Venue: Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien
Fanny Hensel-Mendelssohn-Saal

09:00 - 09:30 Opening Ceremony
Welcome Addresses and Introduction to the Project

09:30 - 10:30 Keynote Address
Klaus Ehrenberger (Austria): The Brain Makes the Music

10:30 - 11: 00 Coffee Break

11:00 - 11:45 Jean-Jacques Castéret (France)
Cultural Listening and Enunciation Contexts in Pyrenean Multipart Singing

11:45 - 12:30 Zlata Marjanović (Serbia)
Cultural Listening in Multipart Singing on the Montenegrin Coast and in the Hinterland

12:30 - 14:30 Lunch Break

14:30 - 15:15 Piotr Dahlig (Poland)
Multipart Singing in Poland as a Cultural and Musical Phenomenon

15:15 – 16:00 Mauro Balma (Italy)
The Tradition of Sacred Songs in Liguria (Northern Italy): Sunset of a Culture Facing an Iden-tity Crisis and a Reaffirmation of a Local Pride.

16:00 - 16:30 Coffee Break

16:30 – 17:30 Book Presentation:
“European Voices I. Multipart Singing in the Balkans and the Mediterranean”
Wien. Böhlau. 2008.

19:30“It should sound like bells”
Concert of
“Trys keturiose (Three in Four)” (Lithuania)

Introduction and Moderation: Daiva Račiūnaitė-Vyčinienė and “Bistritsa Grannies and Mitevi Brothers” (Bulgaria)

Introduction and Moderation: Ventsislav Dimov

Venue: Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien, Haydn-Saal.
Anton-von-Webern-Platz 1, 1030 Wien
Tickets: 12 € (Students 6 €)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Saturday, October 25, 2008
Multipart Singing and Folk Terminology
Venue: Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien
Fanny Hensel-Mendelssohn-Saal

09:00 - 09:45 Jaume Ayats and Sílvia Martínez (Spain)
Evensong from the Pyrenees: A Peculiar Logic of Multipart Singing

09:45 - 10:30 Ignazio Macchiarella and Sebastiano Pilosu (Italy)
Technical Terms in Sardinian Multipart Singing by Chording

10:30 - 11: 00 Coffee Break

11:00 - 11:45 Evelyn Fink-Mennel (Austria)
The Behaviour of the Parts in Austrian Yodelling

11:45-12:30 Gerlinde Haid (Austria)
The Role of Folk Terminology in the Research of Multipart Singing in Austria

12:30 - 14:30 Lunch Break

14:30 - 15:15 Tamaz Gabisonia (Georgia)
Terminological Priorities of Georgian Traditional Polyphony

15:15 – 16:00 Lozanka Peycheva (Bulgaria)
Verbal Projections of Multipart Singing from Central-Western Bulgaria

16:00 - 16:45 Daiva Račiūnaitė-Vyčinienė (Lithuania)
Interaction of the Voice and Instrument in Lithuanian Multipart Music. Viewpoints of Insiders and Outsiders

16:45 - 17:00 Coffe Break

17:00 – 18:00 Keynote Address
Bernard Lortat-Jacob (France):Singing in Company

19:30 “Stimmgewaltiges”
Concert of
“Klapa Nostalgija“ (Croatia)
and “Schneeberg-Buam“ (Austria)
Venue: Wiener Konzerthaus, Mozart-Saal.
Lothringerstraße 20, A-1030 Wien
Box office of the Wiener Konzerthausgesellschaft:
1030 Wien, Lothringerstraße 20
Tel.: (+43-1) 242 002, Fax (+43-1) 242 00 110

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday, October 26, 2008
Multipart Singing and Local Discourse
Venue: Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien
Fanny Hensel-Mendelssohn-Saal

09:00 - 09:45 Joseph Jordania (Georgia/Australia)
Music without Listeners: Polyphonic Singing in Traditional Societies

09:45 - 10:30 Ivan Lešnik (Slovenia)
Multipart Singing in Slovenia as a “Performing by Ear” Phenomenon

10:30 - 11: 00 Coffee Break

11:00 - 11:45 Ankica Petrović (Croatia)
The Phenomenon of Multipart Singing in Rural Communities of the Dynaric Alps

11:45 – 12:30 Žanna Pärtlas (Estonia)
Men’s Songs in a Women’s Song Tradition.
Some Remarks on Men’s Multipart Singing in Setus, Southeast Estonia

12:30 - 14:30 Lunch Break

14:30 – 16:00 Film Session: Bernard Lortat-Jacob and Hélène Delaporte (France)
Chant d’un pays perdu / Singing for a Lost Country (Albania / Greece, 2006)

16:00 - 16:30 Coffee Break

16:30 - 17:30 Closing Ceremony

19:00 “Religious Folk Songs”
Concert of
“Folklórny Súbor Telgárt” (Slovakia)

Introduction and Moderation: Bernard Garaj and “I cantori di Vermèil” (Italy)

Introduction and Moderation: Renato Morelli

Venue: Minoritenkirche, Minoritenplatz 1, A 1010 Wien.
Tickets: 12 € (Students 6 €)
Booking: krammer(at)