Rossitsa Draganova

* The text was prepared and presented as a contribution in 1999 at a conference during the 39th March Musical Days International Festival, Rousse, Bulgaria.

KEY WORDS: diachrony, model, Bulgarian music, musical culture, folklore, industrial society, information society

The model of the Bulgarian musical culture presented in this report is established in connection with certain axiologically neutral diachronic ideas. What are they? Firstly, the historic-artistic development can be defined as a multistrata process. Secondly, the strata constitute themselves in succession: a stratum of the musical culture of the agrarian society, a stratum of the musical culture of the industrial society, a stratum of the musical culture of the information society. Thirdly, each separate stratum is governed by an individual diachronic formula, which is the closest one to its essence. Fourthly, the strata interfere with each other, which can be seen at every synchronic cut, and not only at the moments of genesis or dying out of the musical entities. Fifthly, each stratum has its own “nucleus”, “mass” and “periphery” – a well-known cuturological idea (e.g. Lottman, J. Culture and Information. S., 1992, 94-111), which we now apply to define the inter-stratum interactions. A similar type of modelling is typical for the 90-ies, when the idea of culture as a multistrata phenomenon was established by the works, as for example of Toffler (e.g. Toffler, ?. The Third Wave. S., 1991, p. 576, Toffler, ?. and H. Toffler. Creating a New Civilisation. The Policy of the Third Wave. S., 1995, p. 128, Toffler, ?. Power Shift. ?., 1996, p. 541, as well as Kavaldzhiev, L. A General Theory of the Musical Culture in the Epoch of the Scientific-Technical Revolution (in Bulgaria in the 80-ies and 90-ies). – Bulgarian Musicology, 1993, ? 3, 22-31). Now, it is our turn to construct a multistrata diachronic model for approbation through prospective implementation in the event field of the Bulgarian musical culture.
The main tasks are the effective “filling” with examples of the multistrata synchronic interactions, the reconstruction of separate items and characteristic relations, and the target goal being the outlining of a new axiologically neutral idea of the development of certain moments in the history of the Bulgarian musical culture.

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The first and oldest stratum, on which we will start the prospective implementation, is the cultural stratum of the agrarian society in Bulgaria. It consists of two main parts: musical folklore phenomena and artefacts of the professional ecclesiastical convention of the medieval society. The musical folklore part establishes a part of the nucleus and mainly the mass and the periphery of the culture of the agrarian society in Bulgaria; it possesses a relatively high speed of interaction with the other spheres of culture, even more that its nature presupposes interactions within the synchretic entity. The professional part enters into the nucleus of culture. The ecclesiastical song convention is canonical and the changes there are smoother; the characteristic diachronic formula of its development is the cyclic reproduction of norms. The cyclic recurrence is characteristic for the musical folklore phenomena. On the one hand, cyclic is the calendar socio-cultural reproduction of the traditional ritual cycles. On the other hand, the time itself in the culture of the agrarian society is perceived not as the chronological time of the rational consciousness, but as a cyclic repetition of existential expressions (see also Gurevich, ?. J. Time as a Problem of the History of Culture. – Questions of Philosophy, 1969, ? 3, 105-116), and thus the changes in the historical development of the folklore culture happen very smoothly. If we shall summarise what we have said so far, we can discribe the first ancient stratum with different formula of the cyclic recurrence. As it is the unique, it is influenced mainly by the changes in other spheres of culture. But it is not possible to analyse this stratum after the herewith presented diachronic model – its operational qualities concentrate around its specific interactions.

Strong interactions begin already in the process of establishing of the second main stratum, the stratum of the musical culture at the time of the industrial society in Bulgaria. The establishment of the industrial society and culture in Bulgaria has to be interpreted to a great extend as a process of importing, extrapolating a cultural essence generated somewhere else. The epoch of the late Bulgarian Revival can be described in terms of transfer and implementation of various elements, artefacts from another cultural environment; the second stratum of the musical culture results from the confrontation with the specificity of the European music. The changes affect the spheres  of interpretation and creation: a new type of a song culture emerges; popular musical pieces are played on the piano, the violin, etc.; people start composing similar pieces following these examples (e.g. Balareva, ?. The Town Musical Culture during the Bulgarian Revival. – Bulgarian Musicology, 1995, ? 1, 3-18.; Valchinova-Chendova, ?. The Musical Composing Activity of the Mid-19th Century or the Instrumental Convention of European Type in the Bulgarian Musical Culture. - Bulgarian Musicology, 1993, ? 2, 38-43). The newly established taste aims and leads to making music in the style of the European convention. The folklore phenomena are still strongly dialectal, and the musical dialects of the different folklore areas differ greatly; it is difficult to find a common term denoting the specificity of the “Bulgarian”. This is why the style of the revival songs and the first composers’ instrumental attempts are rather neutral, they have to be perceived by a broad public, irrespective of taste and preferences. The more so as during the whole period of the initial establishment of the industrial society until the beginning of the 20th century the processes in the musical folklore part are very intensive. The stratum is viable, its originality is not lost, the innovations continue; the imported little doses of elements from a foreign culture stimulate the creative work, enrich the ideas.

After the Liberation from the Ottoman rule the process of creating the so called town folklore can be clearly noticed. In fact, this is a form of interaction between the “mass” of the first ancient stratum of the Bulgarian musical culture and the functions of entertainment, amusement and leisure-time, which are typical for the “mass” or the “periphery” of the cultures of the area of the Western-European model. In the beginning of the 20th century such “intermediate forms” like the music players (the chalgadzhii) existing already back in the mid-19th century belong rather to the mass and the periphery of the first stratum of our musical culture. The strengthening of the intonational influences and the fading away of the functions of the ancient folklore song tradition during the next decades will transfer them gradually to the periphery of the culture of the industrial society. This, of course, becomes relevant later on in connection with the socio-cultural changes in Bulgaria in the 70-ies and 80-ies of the 20th century. The phenomenon mimicries into the new forms, new at the first glance, but actually the well-known forms of the wedding orchestras (see also Valchinova, ?. Music Players (chalgadzhii) of the Mid-19th Century – an Intermediate Form between the Peasant and Town Musical Culture. - in: The Professionalism in the Folklore Music and the Medieval Song Convention. – Musical Horizons, 1989, ? 12-13, 134-138).

The first composers in the post-liberation epoch are confronted with the problems forming the new stratum, which has to incorporate the Bulgarian musical taste into the European music, on the one hand, and which has to possess a sufficient degree of national specification, on the other hand.  The question of originality is postulated in the Western-European model; the style established in the end-18th century has been translated into the languages of the Czech, Polish and Russian music during the 19th century. Its “translating” (its transfer, its extrapolation) to Bulgaria happens with a certain delay, but without excluding the necessity of originality inherent in the model itself. This is why the question of the “Bulgarian national style” was fully solved in the works of our first composers, some time was needed to think over it. A characteristic part of their works are the chorus pieces. But it is important to point out that in the most chorus samples of that time the dialectal peculiarities of the folklore musical material used are not emphasised; the material used belongs actually to the mass or the periphery of the first musical cultural stratum.

Until the 40-ies of the 20th century the genre structure and the institutional system of the second stratum of the Bulgarian musical culture has gradually been completed. During the period between the two world wars pieces of high artistic quality have been created; the Bulgarian national style has been established. The attitudes towards folklore have changed. In certain cases the composer’s attention is drawn to intonationally deeper going sources, i.e. there is an interaction between the nuclei of the two strata. But as far as the first cultural stratum is still viable, this interaction means not its gradual fading away, but rather its gradual change of its nucleus. Of course, the new industrial stratum creates its own “mass” and “periphery”. Hereto belong different expressions of triviality and artefacts of the entertainment sphere. As already said, the population of peasant origin uses the forms of town folklore for its entertainment and amusement. The gradual change of the ancient folklore stratum begins, which enables the intonational interaction between the symphonic or chamber genre and the relicts of the ritual song tradition of the stratum’s nucleus in the 30-ies and 40-ies of the 20th century. Simultaneously, the various modern dances, the chansons, and those samples we later on will call “old town songs” become more popular.

The processes around September 9, 1944, affect very seriously the first musical culture stratum. The establishment of the folklore song and dance ensembles plays a central role, as well as the so called arrangements of folklore songs. As a matter of fact, they represent an interaction between the mass of the folklore culture and the nucleus of the professional creative work. In other words, the arrangements are authors’ works and thus are characteristically performed in a concert hall. The establishment of the ensembles stands for a new kind of interaction between the two strata. If we have so far defined the folklore of the town type as an interaction of the kind “mass” – “mass”, and its deviation towards the one or the other stratum becomes equally possible, but also possible becomes its gradual transfer from the mass of the one culture  to the periphery of the other because of changes in the configurations of the strata, then the interaction of the kind “nucleus” - “mass” defines without doubt the affiliation of the phenomenon to the stratum detaching the nucleus. But there are influences affecting the first ancient stratum. In its mass and periphery the presence of entertainment phenomena is stronger, or the presence of phenomena with merely aesthetic, festive functions; this pushes also a part of these samples to the nucleus of the culture. The musical folklore phenomenon begins its independent life beyond the synchretic complex.

The changes in the second stratum of the culture enrich and upgrade its genre system. The style palette becomes larger, new musical techniques are introduced, there is an ascending process of individualities’ stratification. There are changes in the mass and the periphery of the industrial cultural stratum. Significant is the development of the Bulgarian pop song; there are attempts to incrust folklore elements in it. In contrast to the case of the arrangements, their affiliation to the second professional stratum cannot be doubted. Another problem arises here. Already since the beginning of the 70-ies the so-called information society has been worldwide manifesting itself. Of course, it creates its own culture, a different one in meaning and direction, although similar to the culture of the highly developed industrial societies in its outward signs and technologies used. This is a culture connected with the information technologies, with the knowledge organisation in the computer encyclopaedias and the nets like the Internet, but also with the possibility slightly forgotten by the industrial society enabling everybody to create their own music by means of the computer, to unify again the experience of being creator, interpreter and listener at the same time.

How does the establishment of such a stratum in Bulgaria change the relations between the “nucleus”, the “mass”, and the “periphery” of the second industrial stratum? The nucleus includes the big genres of the professional music; but more and more “elite” expressions of the alternative genres are also included in it – the electronic music, the jazz, the pop music. Very characteristic are the changes in the entertainment sphere, where “high” and “low” genres can also be defined. The “high” genres are those belonging “by rights” to the culture of the second wave – these are the artefacts of jazz, pop music, film music. The “low” genres result from the combination of the different variants of this entertainment music with the material of the first wave in its folklore dimension, which after its transformation cannot be defined as a carrier of the eternal folklore values. We have already talked about interaction between the entertainment music of the industrial culture and elements of the agrarian society culture in the period after the Liberation. We observed there an interaction of the kind “mass” – “mass”, and the product, the so called “town folklore” initially belonged to the agrarian society culture, which has continued to exist until nowadays, but under totally different conditions.  The strong changes in its social being, especially after World War Two, and the product of the mentioned interaction, becoming more professional, transfer this product gradually to the periphery of the industrial society culture, where this product attends strata of society remaining in one way or another connected with the village. This transfer is also enabled by the weakened attraction of the centre, of the nucleus of the ancient stratum’s folklore culture. Such a translating of “folklore forms” from the mass of the first stratum to the periphery of the entertainment of the second stratum represents the certain “boom” of the wedding orchestras in the 80-ies generously reflected by the media at that time.

In the 80-ies and 90-ies new combinations emerge resulting from the interaction of the “folklore forms” of the second stratum. This is for example the combination between the “folklore song of the arranged type” and the different variants of the pop music in the interpretations of the Bulgarka trio, Kate Bush, etc. The shows of Pirinfolk or Pirinfest, and other facts of the folk charts, can be defined as interaction of the “town folklore” migrated in the second stratum, but in its song, and not instrumental, version, as well as the various “covers” of the pop. We can here also differentiate between the “high” and the “low”. As a matter of fact, combinations of the type “Prituri se planinata” (translator’s note: The Mountain Is Hiding) by Stefka Sabotinova enter “by rights” into the high genres of the entertainment of the industrial society culture; they are combinations between two elements of the culture on this stratum – the pop music and the “folklore arrangement”. Examples like “Radka Piratka” (translator’s note: Pirate Radka) belong definitely to the “lower” genres of the sphere, not only because of the qualities of their “cover” as sound or rhythm, but also because of the relatively recent transfer of that essence still called “folkloristic” in the periphery of the entertainment of the hosting culture.