The basic intention of this paper is to draw attention to the processes and changes taking place in the music practice of the Dalmatian Hinterland. The music culture of this part of Croatia is characterized by specific style of music-making, which has been retained up until the present day by the people who live in this rural region, or originate from it.
The specificity of this system, described in literature as a style of narrow intervals (Bezic, 1981:33), untempered singing or the most primitive phase of Croatian music (Dobronic, 1915:3,25), can be observed on diverse levels. In this case, I am interested in music practice, which comprehends music in both the performing and the social context. Music practice represents not only organized sound but also the level of the music phenomenon as a system made up of the following components: the music model, the manner of performance, the context of the conception and use of music, performers, the context of music-making, and the mode of its reception and evaluation (Baumann, 1989:82). Practice is a respective category whose "other pole is a global, abstract entity, most frequently referred to as a system" (Ceribasic, 1997:7). The modern understanding of the theory of practice is unified in acceptance of all three sides of the theoretical triangle: society is a system; the system is powerfully restrictive; and the system can be created and deconstructed by human action and interaction (Ortner 1994:402).
All the conclusion are based on research to date and my personal fieldwork. My aim is to broaden and to explain the specificity and endurance of a music system which is slowly disappearing, taking into account the broad cultural, social and historical context, that is, the cultural model which represents a network of mutually linked, acquired and learnt mechanisms that act upon each other, inherited individually or as a group, and subsequently passed on (Baumann, 1989:82). In this, I join the majority of ethnomusicologists who, particularly from the 1980s, have been showing increasing "interest in the study of processes and of music as process rather than simply as a product" (Nettl, 1992:381).
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