Worlds Music Essay

713 words - 3 pages

Armenian culture is one of the oldest cultures and continuous civilizations existing today. Throughout the centuries, Armenians have created a unique and remarkable culture at the intersection of east and west. Many tried to destroy it and Armenia was conquered by stronger surrounding nations many times. Still, despite the tremendous challenges the Armenian people had to overcome, they retained their own distinctive features and culture. The fact that Armenian is one of the oldest cultures is proofed by archaeological excavations that testify to its existence at least III Millennium B.C., alongside the Babylonians and the Assyrians.In 301 A.D., Armenians became the first nation to officially adopt Christianity as their national state religion (http://www.oneworld.am/armenia/culture). The adaptation of Christianity influenced many developments in Armenian culture.In 404 A.D., another major development in Armenian history occurred when Mesrob Mashtots, a scholar and a philosopher created the Armenian alphabet. Moreover, Mesrob Mashtots can be considered the first known musician of the newly Christianized Armenia. With the help of another composer, Mesrob composed the first monophonic liturgical songs to be used in the Armenia churches. Thanks to them, the foundations of artistic musical composition were born. Musical theories were greatly developed, giving birth to the creation of special musical sighs. Together, the development of the alphabet and the musical notes themselves, led to the birth of khazes, a form of musical notation. From the fifteen century and on, the khazes were understood and used less and less and disappeared completely by the nineteenth century. A new musical annotation system was created by Hamparts'um Limonyan in 1813 in Constantinople.(http://www.hyeetch.nareg.com.au/culture/music_p1.html).Armenian music has a long history and its roots lie in Pre-Christian Armenia. Contemporary musicology confirms that the main characteristics of Armenian national music are distinguished by a monotone, single voice structure and a special tonal system. The liturgies, canonical hymns ('sharakans') and sacred music are purely Armenian. Many of those melodies survived due to the oral transmission. Gusans and ashughs were singers in royal households and palaces in...

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