Tonal Organization of the Erkomaishvili Dataset: Pitches, Scales, Melodies and Harmonies

  • In this study we examine the tonal organization of a series of recordings of liturgical chants, sung in 1966 by the Georgian master singer Artem Erkomaishvili. This dataset is the oldest corpus of Georgian chants from which the time synchronous F0-trajectories for all three voices have been reliably determined (Müller et al. 2017). It is therefore of outstanding importance for the understanding of the tuning principles of traditional Georgian vocal music. The aim of the present study is to use various computational methods to analyze what these recordings can contribute to the ongoing scientific dispute about traditional Georgian tuning systems. Starting point for the present analysis is the re-release of the original audio data together with estimated fundamental frequency (F0) trajectories for each of the three voices, beat annotations, and digital scores (Rosenzweig et al. 2020). We present synoptic models for the pitch and the harmonic interval distributions, which are the first of such models for which the completeIn this study we examine the tonal organization of a series of recordings of liturgical chants, sung in 1966 by the Georgian master singer Artem Erkomaishvili. This dataset is the oldest corpus of Georgian chants from which the time synchronous F0-trajectories for all three voices have been reliably determined (Müller et al. 2017). It is therefore of outstanding importance for the understanding of the tuning principles of traditional Georgian vocal music. The aim of the present study is to use various computational methods to analyze what these recordings can contribute to the ongoing scientific dispute about traditional Georgian tuning systems. Starting point for the present analysis is the re-release of the original audio data together with estimated fundamental frequency (F0) trajectories for each of the three voices, beat annotations, and digital scores (Rosenzweig et al. 2020). We present synoptic models for the pitch and the harmonic interval distributions, which are the first of such models for which the complete Erkomaishvili dataset was used. We show that these distributions can be very compactly be expressed as Gaussian mixture models, anchored on discrete sets of pitch or interval values for the pitch and interval distributions, respectively. As part of our study we demonstrate that these pitch values, which we refer to as scale pitches, and which are determined as the mean values of the Gaussian mixture elements, define the scale degrees of the melodic sound scales which build the skeleton of Artem Erkomaishvili’s intonation. The observation of consistent pitch bending of notes in melodic phrases, which appear in identical form in a group of chants, as well as the observation of harmonically driven intonation adjustments, which are clearly documented for all pure harmonic intervals, demonstrate that Artem Erkomaishvili intentionally deviates from the scale pitch skeleton quite freely. As a central result of our study, we proof that this melodic freedom is always constrained by the attracting influence of the scale pitches. Deviations of the F0-values of individual note events from the scale pitches at one instance of time are compensated for in the subsequent melodic steps. This suggests a deviation-compensation mechanism at the core of Artem Erkomaishvili’s melody generation, which clearly honors the scales but still allows for a large degree of melodic flexibility. This model, which summarizes all partial aspects of our analysis, is consistent with the melodic scale models derived from the observed pitch distributions, as well as with the melodic and harmonic interval distributions. In addition to the tangible results of our work, we believe that our work has general implications for the determination of tuning models from audio data, in particular for non-tempered music.show moreshow less

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Author details:Frank ScherbaumORCiDGND, Nana Mzhavanadze, Simha Arom, Sebastian Rosenzweig, Meinard Müller
URN:urn:nbn:de:kobv:517-opus4-476141
DOI:https://doi.org/10.25932/publishup-47614
ISSN:2702-2641
Title of parent work (English):Computational Analysis Of Traditional Georgian Vocal Music
Publication series (Volume number):Computational Analysis Of Traditional Georgian Vocal Music (1)
Publisher:Universitätsverlag Potsdam
Place of publishing:Potsdam
Editor(s):Frank Scherbaum
Publication type:Monograph/Edited Volume
Language:English
Date of first publication:2020/11/03
Publication year:2020
Publishing institution:Universität Potsdam
Publishing institution:Universitätsverlag Potsdam
Release date:2020/11/03
Tag:Artem Erkomaishvili; Georgische liturgische Gesänge; computergestützte Musikethnologie; musikalische Tonleitern; traditionelle Georgische Musik
Artem Erkomaishvili; Georgian chant; computational ethnomusicology; musical scales; traditional Georgian music
Issue:1
Number of pages:64
RVK - Regensburg classification:UF 6700, ST 630, LR 12540, LS 86100
Funding institution:DFG
Funding number:SCHE 280/20-1
Organizational units:Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Geowissenschaften
DDC classification:0 Informatik, Informationswissenschaft, allgemeine Werke / 00 Informatik, Wissen, Systeme / 004 Datenverarbeitung; Informatik
7 Künste und Unterhaltung / 78 Musik / 780 Musik
Publishing method:Open Access
Universitätsverlag Potsdam
License (German):License LogoCC BY - Namensnennung, 4.0 International
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