Haris Sarris – Angelos Velegrakis – Tassos Kolydas, «Drawing a parallel between the gaida (bagpipe) and the Zonarádikos line dance through statistics», Journal of Interdisciplinary Music Studies - JIMS, Ismir, 2010, 4/2, 121-142.


Background in Ethnomusicology: The gaida bagpipe is a musical instrument highly characteristic of the agricultural societies of Western Thrace. Its special playing technique influences its repertoire (Sarris 2007). One of the main characteristics observed in most genres of the instrument’s repertoire is the technique of parataxis. A music piece is constructed by a sequence of music segments, which are the structural units of the repertoire (Sarris, Kolydas, & Tzevelekos, 2010). This technique is dominant in Zonarádikos line dance, which is considered the ‘backbone’ of the instrumental dancing repertoire of Thrace.
Background in Statistics: Statistics, as a scientific tool, has been broadly used in sciences as well as in humanities. Regarding music studies, statistics has been applied in compositional techniques, as well as in historical musicology. Regarding Greek traditional music, limited use of statistical methods has been made. Spyridis (1997) has applied the methods of descriptive statistics (distributions, graphic charts, histograms etc.) and stochastic processes for the multilateral charting of a corpus of Zonarádikos line dance songs from Western Thrace.
Aims: In this study, we aim to chart instrumental Zonarádikos dance played by the gaida bagpipe in the Evros region of Western Thrace, in terms of melody, rhythm, and structure, using descriptive statistics. Data from statistic analysis are evaluated under the prism of the instrument’s capabilities, hence demonstrating the instrument-repertoire relationship.
Main Contribution: In order to shed light on the instrument-repertoire relationship we use statistical methods. We acquire frequency distributions of absolute pitches, frequently used melodic intervals, rhythmical patterns and other musicological elements of Zonarádikos. In a second level of analysis, we attempt to evaluate statistical data under the prism of the gaida’s playing techniques and capabilities. We are based on the population of instrumental Zonarádika from the Research Programme “Thrace” archive (http://epth.sfm.gr). We conclude that instrumental Zonarádikos is characterized by ‘bipolarity’(song melodies and instrumental phrases, which both have distinctive musical characteristics, are ‘interwoven’) hence creating the form.
Implications: Our research will help us to draw parallels between the gaida, a characteristic instrument of the agricultural societies of Thrace, and Zonarádikos, the ‘backbone’ of instrumental dance repertoire of those societies. Further, our data may have a tutorial application for a prospective gaida player wishing to shed light on this genre of repertoire, given that the bearers of this oral tradition cease to exist.


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