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T. Rudichenko

Doukhobors’ Religious Hymns “Psalms”: Issues of Origin

The article is devoted to one of the unsolved problems in the study of the musical culture of Dukhobors, that is the genesis of religious chants – “Psalms”. On the way to its solution “Psalms” are studied in comparison with similar in function melismatic chants of the Russian Orthodox Church and folk songs of extended chant. The analysis includes such factors as their existence, transmission, structural organization of poetic text and singing style. As a result of the research the dual nature of Psalms’ melodies is identified. From the monodic church chants Dukhobors’ Psalms inherited the lack of direct mediation between musical expression and type of intonation (speech, narrative, lyrical one), as well as asymmetric temporal dissection and periodic nature of rhythmic structures, the conduct of the word in the chant, supported by a chain of phonemes. Common to the oral tradition of the doukhobors and of the church liturgical culture is the sphere of their existence, the reliance on canonical texts, the lack of written theory, unity of singing techniques, multi-level ratio of melodic units (intonema, singing unit, phi); the stability of repertory units circulating in various territorial groups. Some features are related to folklore songs. They are: the oral nature of the existence and transmission of tunes, style of vocal cantilena, formation of meloverse (‘raising’) from the melodic turns (‘tribes’) connecting in sequence. Also the common feature is the function of “Psalm” as a central element in the system of genres in oral music tradition, distributing musical and linguistic means to the verses of older strata engaged in ‘prayer’ and forming stylistically homogeneous song tradition with the “Psalms”. The method of presentation and maintaining sound, ornaments of cantilena and singing techniques (register ‘throwing of voice’) is akin to folk performing traditions.

Key words

origin, Dukhobor Psalms, musical and singing style, Orthodox religious chants.