▶ Before reading
The paper quoting “The diversity of the Western Western folk music Krimanchuli (Yodel)” is published in a symposium held every two years at the INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH CENTER FOR TRADITIONAL POLYPHONY in Georgia.
It is an article about the proud folk music “Krimanchuli”, Krimanchuli is an art with a similar vocalism like Yodel, so we can understand the Krimanchuli and yodel are written in almost the same meanings in this articles.
Although unfamiliar to us, Georgia is a country that is actively researching and disseminating folk music from around the world in terms of polyphonic music.
It is full of very surprising and strange stories. And all the stories are talking with clear references.
Today on August 8th, World Yodel Day, I will share this article with yodelers all over the world. I hope that article will be a good opportunities for many people to improve yodeling knowledges and new yodeling-imaginations.
This article is original text written by KETEVAN MANJGALADZE in Georgian and translated by MARINA KUBANEISHVILI in English.
I am particularly grateful to the original author for allowing me to post this article and special thanks to Joseph Jordania for giving me this article.
VARIETIES OF KRIMANCHULI (YODEL) IN WEST GEORGIA’S FOLK SONGS
by KETEVAN MANJGALADZE
The richness of polyphonic forms and the diversity of singing styles of Georgian folk songs resulted in the creation of a rich musical terminology, where a particularly important place is ascribed to the names of the parts.
Georgian musical practice has preserved a great number of terms designating voices. Due to the incomplete sources these names exceed 50 in number.
They are: mtkmeli, damtsqebi, mtsqebeli, tsamomtsqebi (all the listed terms denote different variants indicating the leading part); shemkhmobari, modzakhili and momdzakhneli (the voices accompanying the lead voice – the second part); maghali bani (a high bass); ertiani bani (a stable bass part); khmieri (bass part); bani; dvrini (drone); shemdegi, dubi, gebi and zili (a high-pitched part . discant, a high voice); bokhi (low-pitched voice); krimanchuli (yodel), gadadzakhili (call and response); chamomrtmevi (a cut-in substituting part); tsvrili (a high-pitched voice); krini (the voice more high-pitched than zili); gamqivani, gamkivani, qivani, kivani, kivan (high-pitched voices in the dialects of different provinces of Georgia); pirveli khma; meore khma; momgherali mgalobeli; tsinamdzghvari khma; tsinamdzghvari mgalobeli; mtavari mgalobeli; melekse; shemghighinebeli; kapia; tavi; mechipashi (metsvrile); gamachqapali; zebani ≪mazhogh≫ (a lead voice); meubne; chipe; mechem; zhimubne; damtsqebiti khmai (a lead voice); pitskhi khmai, shemodzakhili; tsqeba . . .
The purpose of this study is to manifest the essence and timbre characteristics of krimanchuli (yodel).
Krimanchuli is a guttural voice creating melodic figurations and jumps depending on the performer’s wishes and his ability to keep the breath.
In the songs of west Georgian provinces , Imereti and Samegrelo, Krimanchuli seldom occurs and it never occurs in Abkhazia and Svaneti. The most unique specimens of polyphonic singing are represented by Achara and Guria’s folk songs, some part names of which are still preserved.
1. Krini, krimanchuli, tsvrili, gamqivani (different degrees of high-pitched voices);
2. Mtkmeli, damtsqebi, mtsqebeli modzakhili (variants of a leading,mostly a middle voice);
3. Bani (bass, the lowest part)
4. Shemkhmobari (pedal drone, sounding mostly around the same range as the second, leading voice).
While listening to a music piece one is first of all attracted by the melody mainly performed in high-pitched voices. The basis of Guria’s folk songs is contrasting polyphony. Every melodic line and every peculiarity of each voice is distinctly distinguished.
The well-known principle of imitation is never present here. Of all the voices krimanchuli stands out most clearly and makes a special impact on the listener.
Scholars, travellers and ethnographers of the 19th and 20th centuries often voiced their opinions about this high-pitched voice.
A famous traveller, Gvaramadze by name who lived for a number of years in the village of Makvaneti which was considered to be a “cradle of singers”, observed the Gurians’ customs and devoted a remarkable essay to the subject in the bulletin Mogzauri (Traveller) in 1901.
He wrote: “The extraordinary quality of Gurian songs can be ascribed to the singing of local birds: thrushes, nightingales and others rejoicing in nature by their whistling, twittering and chanting incessantly day and night in May and charming the Gurians’ ears. And the overwhelmed listeners imitate them delightedly” (Gvaramadze, 1901:574).
According to an ethnographer Apolon Tsuladze krimanchuli occupies a special place in a Gurian song. Krimanchuli or kirkantuli as the best connoisseurs of it profess is a lead voice, but like ghighini (humming), krimanchuli is sometimes performed individually.
A youth left alone sang krimanchuli on the road, in the field, in the forest. Krimanchuli helped when a person felt lonely and frightened; it drove away fear, boredom.
When a youngster was sent on an errand at night he was told: “Go to the place you’re bound to and krimanchuli on the way”.
Krimanchuli was sometimes sung by a shepherd.
If his peer echoed him from the opposite side, it sounded like a contest of two shepherds playing the soinari (west Georgian panpipe) or salamuri (a pipe). Krimanchuli was very fascinating to listen to,
especially in a moonlit night” (Tsuladze, 1971:13).
It should be specially stressed that krimanchuli has sometimes been performed individually, that is, it has been performed by one person not accompanied by other voices. It can supposedly be individually performed nowadays.
However we do not possess any record of it either in collected essays
or in any other written sources. This kind of performing krimanchuli was used to express human emotions and had a certain purpose. It is supposed that people used gestures for communication and a dialogue was carried out by a call and response dialogue performed by shouting to each other especially at a long distance.
Primitive man at an early stage acquired musical sounds on the imitative basis, on the other hand biophysiological moments were of great significance.
“Joy, fear, pain, grief were expressed by means of producing corresponding sounds” (Gruber, 1960:5).
Krimanchuli is often compared to a cock’s cook-a-doodle-doo. Imitating a bird is not accidental. The first part that might have sounded in human consciousness was a high pitched sound produced by an animal, particularly by a bird.
It is essential to note that the musical sounds directed to heaven are called chanting. In modern Georgian the word chanting (galoba) is associated with birds: it is also connected to the sacred music.
The problem of the term krimanchuli was first addressed in a publication by Pilimon Koridze: “The word krini (discant) indicates a woman’s high-pitched voice, tenor. It is produced in the chest, when this voice goes beyond its boundary, it turns into krini and turns, twists, swirls while producing the high-pitched sounds and this is the reason why it is called krimanchuli” (Koridze, 1901:3).
The interpretation of krimanchuli by Koridze as a twisting krini coincides with popular opinion.
The term krimanchuli itself must belong to a much earlier date.
Ivane Javakhishvili in his groundbreaking work “Main Issues of the History of Georgian Music” gives a deep insight and well-grounded analysis of the etymology of krimanchuli as a high-pitched voice of a song.
The author proves that krimanchuli originates from krini. The old Georgian krini must be a modification of knini, which means small, thin.
If we recall that the name of the lowest-pitched voice dvrini (humming) ends in the syllable ni, it may be concluded that in both cases ni does not belong to the root of the word but is a formative; thus kri should be asserted as being the root of the word.
Therefore, concludes Javakhishvili, kri is the root and krini means “thin”; (Javakhishvili,1938:299-300).
On a closer inspection we can see that the word krimanchuli is composed of two words.
Kri – denoting a high-pitched voice; krinav hardly producing a sound (Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani Dictionary), krinti means producing a sound, a short one (there are some Georgian phrases illustrating the meaning: Krinti – Don’t you utter a word; krinta means a small piece of salt or sugar and also denotes a small quantity, kricha – means jaws, manchvagrekha
(the verb distort/twist/turn) according to the Georgian explanatory dictionary are the terms connected with mimicry, the interpretation of which is accorded a great deal of attention in the process of a song’s performance. Meanwhile it should be mentioned that manchia is a white-necked bird turning its neck all the time” (Ghlonti, 1984:344).
The 94-year-old peasant Lomineishvili (bass) says: “Why does it have this name? You should just look at a man’s face who sings krimanchuli what he looks like. How he twists and turns his voice. One can’t guess what he is up to and why” (Fieldwork Diary of the International Centre for Georgian Song and the International Research Center for Traditional Polyphony, May of 2004).
Tsrtialeba – “They call their parents with tsriaki – the sounds produced by chickens (Abuladze, 1973:550) and kriakhi – cackling of frightened chickens and the sounds produced by some birds” (Chikobava, 1986:270).
As regards to gamqivari, this term denotes a very high-pitched voice and the performer has the same name as the voice.
The performer of krimanchuli and gamqivani is the same person (Chikobava, 1951:937).
The voice has a specific timbre, a formula of a small range, ostinato, spontaneously rising call and response character summoning people to help with harvesting or other kind of field work.
Krimanchuli differs from gamqivani mainly in the range. Krimanchuli contains jumps at long intervals (usually fifth plus a third, resulting in a frequent use of seventh intervals).
The proximity of krimanchuli to gamqivani causes the performer to shift from krimanchuli to gamqivani or vice versa depending on the performer.
All the formulae represent the example of harmonious ostinato. The clearly cut sounds (fifth, or fifth + third below) create a harmonic frame in a three- or four-part polyphonic texture. Vertically intense polyphony is created; that is in a three-part song the impression of a five-part singing is achieved, and a four-part song sounds like a six-part one.
According to Akhobadze, krimanchuli joins the song when the low-pitched voice . bani (bass) – becomes the active performer of the melodic line, that is, the bani loses the function of a harmonic basis whereas krimanchuli restores the harmonic basis of the song by means
of specific ornamental embellishments from above.
According to J. Jordania, krimanchuli joins the song not only when the base loses the function of a harmonic basis, but it can be frequently heard with another stable voice simultaneously. For example, in naduri
(harvest) songs krimanchuli goes together with shemkhmobari (a specific pedal drone in the middle of the four-part polyphonic texture) (Jordania, 1989:144).
Gamqivani and krimanchuli are performed without a text, as a combination of syllables or vowels: i.a, u.a, a.i, uru-a, .ho, tir.tir.tir, rim.ti.ri, ri.a.ho, voi.i.ai.hoi, vo.ia, a.ri.a, i.ri.a, i.ri.ai.ho, ur.va.ho, ir.va.ho, i.si.a.ho, i.ni.a, rim.ti.ri, rim.di.ri, o.ia and others.
Similar to Georgian krimanchuli, a yodel is also performed on vowels and syllables in different part of the World: Europe, Asia and Africa.
The tradition of singers from Switzerland, Austrian Tyrol and pygmies from Central Africa rainforests deserve a special attention.
Back in 1897, when Tyrolese singers arrived in Georgia from Saltzburg, the striking resemblance between the yodel and krimanchuli was noticed. “It is amazing that the songs we heard today performed by the Tyrolese singers bear a striking resemblance to the Gurian songs” (Annonimous aithor, 1897:3).
The chords are constructed in European major-minor harmonic system. In the course of centuries the reserve of the river Moya (central Switzerland) was comparatively isolated. This ensured the preservation of the yodel tradition.
Scholars remark that originally the yodel began as a vocal imitation of alphorn music, in other words, people imitated the sound of the instrument while labouring. Shepherds communicated by means of the alphorn.
A phenomenon similar to krimanchuli is characteristic of the African Pygmies who are considered to possess a specific and rare singing culture even within Africa.
The vocal yodel in their music is connected with rhythmic polyphony and is performed accompanied by percussion instruments or clapping. The polyphony of the Pygmies is based on the principle of imitation. This principle comes from the yodel technique.
An interesting analysis and conclusions are given in a short article by a French scholar Pier Salle “The Collection of Live Traditional Music” (The article was written by the researcher in 1966 on the basis of recordings of songs performed by Gaboni Bibeac pygmies).
“As it is known, according to the yodel principle the voice is divided into two registers. The singer carries out two chest shifts, the forward and backward movements of falsetto is unchanged in two registers of the vocal possibilities. This sequence of sounds opposed in height and even more so, in timbre (a softer falsetto) ends in a successive fall and rise of
the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh’s intervals” (Salle, 1975).
Of the materials obtained by us the most interesting ones are ritual entertaining songs connected with hunting and the collecting of honey.
For example: an entertaining song recorded at a forest camp near Digbo.
The mentioned specimens corroborate the fact of existing the similar phenomenon on different continents of the world: – in the middle of Euro-Asia (Guria-Achara . krimanchuli) in mountainous regions of Europe (yodel in the Alps), and in Africa among the Pygmies.
This fact may become the object of thorough study in the future.
English Translated by MARINA KUBANEISHVILI
Abuladze, Ilia (1973). Dzveli Kartuli Enis Leksikoni (The Dictionary of Old Georgian Language).Tbilisi: Metsniereba (in Georgian)
Anonimous author (1897). Teatris Matiane. Sokhumi (History of Theatre. Sukhumi). Newspaper Tsnobis Purtseli (in Georgian)
Chiqobava, Arnold (editor). (1951). Kartuli Enis Ganmartebiti Leksikoni (The Explanatory Dictionary of the Georgian Language). Tbilisi: Sakartvelos SSR Metsnierebata Akademia (in Georgian)
Chikobava, Arnold (Editor in Chief) ( 1986). Kartuli Enis Ganmartebiti Leksikoni (The Explanatory Dictionary of the Georgian Language). Tbilisi: Sakartvelos SSR Metsnierebata Akademia (in Georgian)
Glonti, Alexandre (1984). Kartul Kilo-Tkmata Sitqvis Kona (The Dictionary of Georgian Modes and Idioms). Tbilisi: Ganatleba (in Georgian)
Gruber, Roman (1960). Vseobshchaia Istoria Muziki (The General History of Music), part 1. Moscow: Muzgiz (in Russian)
Gvaramadze, Konstantine (1901). Guria (Guria). Mogzauri (The Traveller), ## 6-7:573-574 (in Georgian)
Javakhishvili, Ivane (1938). Kartuli Musikis Istoriis Dziritadi Sakitkhebi (Main Issues of the History of Georgian Music). Tbilisi: Federatsia (in Georgian)
Jordania, Joseph (1989). Gruzinskoe Traditsionnoe Mnogogolosie v Mezhdunarodnom Kontekste Mnogogolosnikh Kultur (Georgian Traditional Polyphony in the International Context of Polyphonic
Cultures. Problem of the Origins of Polyphony). Tbilisi University Press (in Russian with English summary)
Koridze, Pilimon (1901). Kartuli Musikis Shesakheb (On Georgian Music) The Iveria newspaper, # 96, p. 3 (in Georgian)
Pataridze, Ramaz (1980). Kartuli Asomtavruli (The Georgian Script) Tbilisi: Nakaduli (in Georgian)
Sale, Pier (1975). Jodel et Proc Edes Contrapunctiques des Pygmees (Yodel and Contrapuntal Performance among Pygmies). The article was translated from French into Georgian by Nino Kalandadze in 1999 (manuscript from the Archive of Tbilisi State Conservatoire)
Tsuladze, Apolon (1971). Etnograpiuli Guria (The Ethnographic Guria). Tbilisi: Sabchota Sakartvelo (in Georgian)