\ Main Project
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Stevan Mokranjac
MAIN PROJECT

SERBIAN MUSICAL IDENTITIES WITHIN LOCAL AND GLOBAL FRAMEWORKS: TRADITIONS, CHANGES, CHALLENGES

Research on this project will be focused on analyses of unknown and/or unpublished sources, the implementation of new methodological approaches, and re-thinking of established views and opinions. In order to investigate all those phenomena from different angles, the research will be organized within five themes.

1. Protected and functional legacy. The researchers will process and publish preserved manuscripts and sound recordings which form important segments of the Serbian musical tradition. In that way original materials will be preserved and at the same time made accessible to everybody. An anthology of Serbian folk music will be made on the basis of recordings kept in the phono-archives of the Institute of Musicology. The editing of K. Stanković’s music will be finalized and two volumes will be published, while the last three volumes will be prepared for publication. Old recordings of valuable operas of P. Konjović and S. Rajičić will be published in partnership with Radio Belgrade.

2. Serbian musical culture between the Byzantine tradition and the modern age: church and secular practices. Elements of stability and change in liturgical chant sung in the Serbian Orthodox church in the course of the last few centuries will be investigated. A special study will be devoted to church singers in Serbia and the Balkans during the Middle Ages and later. The sources of Serbian musical literacy will be studied in the context of research into notated and unnotated chanters’ codexes. Chilandar musical manuscripts of the 18th and 19th c. will be analyzed too. The consequences of specific musical migrations in the Balkans as a source of national varieties of chanting will be researched on the example of late-Byzantine chant tradition. Music in the function of theatre and spectacle is also planed, concretely Serbian theatrical culture in the context of Baroque tendencies from the European West and East.

3. Serbian art music of the modern age: identities, ideologies, politics, culture. A part of the research will be directed towards the relations between music and politics in Serbia and Yugoslavia in the 19th and 20th century. Musical culture will be investigated in the context of the state, society and civil institutions. Aspects of displaying national identities and the discourses of occidentalism, orientalism and balkanism in Serbian music of that period will be problematized too. Specific relations between music and society will be investigated in the case study of 19th-century salon music in the context of the central-European cultural space. Influences of the ideologies of serbianness, yugoslavness, slavophileness, europeanness and marxism on the identity-formation of Serbian music will be observed from the perspective of Serbian music criticism. The reactions of musicians and composers to ideological pressure during the period of Socialist realism, as well as ways they used to display their political engagements in the 1990s, will be investigated in the light of analogous situations in other countries, mostly those in the neighbourhood. It is also planned to observe the problem of centres and peripheries in the context of musical modernism in Balkan countries, as well as to detect the changes of the status of art music and musicology as human science in the present era of transition towards liberal capitalism, on the example of Serbia. Two monographies on important Serbian composers will be finalised and published: on Milenko Paunović and Ljubica Marić. Serbian music will also be approached from the angle of its approach to religious themes, as a signifier of national and cultural identity.

4. Music in the focus of historiographical, esthetical-poetical, stylistic and critical discourses (20th c.). One of the directions of these investigations will concentrate on the aesthetical and poetical bases of modern Serbian music writings, accentuating the thematisation of space-time and critical analyses of modernism and postmodernism projects. The rise of professionalism in Serbian music criticism since its beginnings in the 19th c., and the questions of terminology and methodology will be addressed too. Observation of the reception of European musical styles and phenomena, as reflected in music criticism will also be included in the research. The status of music in the works of 20th-c. Serbian writers and theoreticians will also be dealt with.

5. Ethnomusicological research – identities, diversity, migrations. The diversity of musical traditions in central Serbia and Kosovo (besides the Serbian, the Albanian, Gorani and Turk) will be investigated. Research on the vocal tradition of Serbs in Romania and Hungary will be continued, with special attention given to the social context. Applied ethnomusicology (performance, practice, social engagement) will be tested on selected Serbian folk material. Serbian traditional epic singing will be investigated from the aspect of communicational processes, with an additional focus on inter-genre intertwinings. Instrumental practices in Serbia, especially bag-pipe playing in Vojvodina and the wider region, make a separate direction of research. New methodological instruments will be applied in the investigation of the public and the private as aspects of musical identities, in order to problematize the concept of authenticity in relation to tradition, traditional music and musical identity.