Armenian Song

The music that I listen to is about as unique as anyone else, I have a wide arrange of genres that I like to listen to, as I assume most everyone does. The fact that this song is considered to be a “Folksong from the Armenian choir of Jordan” raises questions of the similarities and differences between the music that I call folk music and how it relates to the artifact. I believe that the styles of the Armenians, while vastly different from American folk music, bares some striking resemblances to it as well.

This piece is quite beautiful, it has fast and slow elements about it that entice it’s listeners to continue to pay attention. II believe as though there is a struggle happening in the song based on the tone of the piece, the key that the vocalists are using causes a feeling inside me that there is a struggle behind this music. A lot of Bob Dylan’s folk music developed a sense of sadness and struggle, such as “Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright”. However, much of the folk music that I think of today was not used for detailing a struggle, but was more based around Americana and the nationalism between all of us Americans together.

When I think of classic American folk music, I think Don McLean, Cat Stevens, Billy Joel, Elton John, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and John Denver. I think of songs like “American Pie” and “Piano Man”, songs that are uplifting and have catchy chorus’, not ones that have fast-paced, minor melodic keys that evoke feelings of panic.  After learning that this song is about a bird, it was interesting to see how the emotion and pace of the song contributed to my thoughts on what the song might actually be about.

One thought on “Armenian Song

  1. Christopher Pickett

    I think the arts in general have a special place in the context of cultural artifacts: visual or vocal manifestations of culture and identity have the ability to transcend spoken or written language. I found that when examining street art in Vienna — the images conveyed messages better than any words. Even though the language of the song is foreign, one is still able to derive some sort of meaning from their own understanding of music. What I’d like to find out is whether or not folk music plays an integral role in the musical lexicon of other countries and cultures — do the Armenians or Jordanians have their equivalent of Bob Dylan? I’m sure their musical culture and tastes developed in a different manner, and their notions of what makes art (and what makes that art “good” or “bad”) are different as well. From what I know of the Armenians, they have experienced great turmoil in the last few centuries, and that could result in their music perhaps being more sincere than the music we might be accustomed to hearing from American artists and songwriters. This may also account for the lack of “catchiness” in the piece, though that could also be a choice on the part of the composer.
    To harp on the idea of an art form that transcends language, when talking about folk music, I always find it interesting that composers are limited to the same chromatic scale the world over, because the human ear reacts to those specific pitches and notes on a fundamental level, but the combinations and permutations of those notes (as well as chord progressions and melodies) can have radically different meanings when placed in different contexts. When discussing visual art and graffiti, artists are also limited by the colors which humans can see, and their various combinations. In nationalist contexts, certain colors tend to carry certain meanings — white represents purity, red represents blood — but in the world of art, color usage and composition is entirely dependent on the creator of the piece. These choices are not arbitrary, just as a composer doesn’t arbitrarily decide that they’re going to use a set of four notes to create a melody. They come about from exposure to other products of culture and the influence that those artifacts impart, which plays a role in inspiring an artist to contribute their own ideas about their culture to the conversation.
    I think your post brings out some big ideas about culture as a component of a political conversation, and I think that politics and political situations have a lasting influence on the cultural output of a nation, and the content of those works. In Vienna, there is both public and political support for art and creative endeavors that push conventional boundaries, such as graffiti. The art discussed in your post certainly seems to have a political connotation, but I highly doubt that the government of Jordan is as eager to support art that challenges its standards, hence the display of beautiful folk music as a representation of a culture.


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