2. Historical Overview - ethnomusicological insights

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.

Cobansko, samacko pjevanje (mp3 file, 92 kb, 0.31 min)

Stani mala na opanke moje (mp3 file, 76 kb, 0.25 min)

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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