2. Historical Overview -
|The Czech researcher and collector,
Ludvik Kuba, was the first to annotate chromatic tunes
and instrumental melodies from the Dalmatian Hinterland
(Kuba, 1899: 4). Kuba differentiated samacko and
putnicko - solo singing and two-part male and female
singing, characterized by quite clear chromatic
intervals, prevailing seconds, unison and minor thirds.
Kuba also drew attention to newly-emerging transitional
forms in which "all the fog regarding rhythm and
periodicity is blown away and an endless trill gives way
to a cut-off and full tone" and the appearance of
tempered major key singing (Kuba, 1899: 8). Jerko Bezic
joined in this opinion (Bezic, 1968: 213) at the end of
the 1960s, suggesting the existence of two parallel music
worlds, that is, bi-musicality - acceptance of new
influences at the same time as the maintenance of the
existing manner of music-making.
The term ojkanje which is use for the manner of singing in this region was put forward by the musicologist and composer, Antun Dobronic (1915: 1). According to Dobronic, ojkanje (oykanje) is the "music language" in which "there is no sign of clearly defined intervals" differing from urban music with its "embryonic nature and amorphisms" (Dobronic, 1915: 2) . Ojkanje is the local term for the music type characterized by singing on the vowel o or the oj (oy), aj (ay), or ej (ey) syllables in the manner found in the majority of music genres in this region. Dobronic regarded ojkanje as "untempered singing", suggesting that this manner of singing was "the most primitive phase of our [Croatian] music art" (Dobronic, 1915: 3, 25).
The theory that ojkanje singing is probably pre-Slavic - an Illyrian stratum in traditional music - is also put forward in the work of Cvjetko Rihtman (Rihtman, 1958:99). Jaap Kunst, too, in his study of cultural and historical relations between the Balkans and Indonesia suggests the hypothesis that the cultural stratum to which ojkanje belongs makes up part of the ancient "Neolithic-Megalithic culture" which is "older than Sumerian and Babylonian, Illyrian and Greek, older than the Sythian, Slavic, Indian, Chinese and Arabian cultures" (Kunst, 1953: 310).
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