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PKHACHICH: Adyghe (Circassian) Clappers [ Alla Sokolova]


PKHACHICH
    Adyghe (Circassian) Clappers

Alla Sokolova

The simple wood plates fastened by a leather rope have the broadest distribution and bear richest ethnographic, ethnomusicological and cultural information in traditional musical culture of the Western Adyghes. The history separately of this musical tool appears to be rather entertaining, spiritual culture, opening plutonic seams of the people.

The small wood plates of the Western Adyghes are called pkhachich («pkha" is tree, «chich» is  onomatopoeia). The Eastern Adyghes, who considered the tool not so popular, called it "pkhatzich".

In a modern organology pkhachich attributes to simultaneously struck idiophone (clappers), index is given according to a systematization of E.M.Hornbostel, C.Sachs - 111.12 - set (from 3 up to 9) simustaneously struck wood plates attached with a leather rope to the handle. Among the slavic population of the Northwest Caucasus pkhachich is more known under a title «Adyghe toll jack».

Many explorers single out accentuating a rhythm as the main performing function of the Pkhachich. Pkhachich creates a powerful rhythmic framework for song tunes and dancing melody.  National harmoniers consider that it is difficult to play without Pkhachich accompaniment. The concepts «Pkhachich» and «rhythm» for them are identical. However, in our view, the role of Pkhachich in an instrumental ensemble is much greater. The player on Pkhachich executes a role of the intermediary between dancer and musician. Pkhachich is a link between music and motion. It is a rod, organizing a musical-visual space of a dancing circle.

The presence of rattlers in an ensemble with the leader - musician creates a brilliant instrumental theatre. They perform the greatest number of tricks, pirouettes, mise en scenes, attracting attention of numerous audience. Their activity requires special capacities and skills. They play on clappers, sing and simultaneously inspire the leader - musician, dancers and audience.

Pkhachiches are invoked to create a rite noise, affecting on the people by a principle of defending them. The sounds of Pkhachich fill up large sound space, which becomes guarded, and inaccessible to bad and malicious forces. The instrumental ensemble becomes the creator and carrier not only of musical language, but also simultaneously of a language of gestures.

The tricks, curly positions of arms are connected with a sound of Pkhachich. The nature of sounds is determined by diverse characteristics, namely rock of a tree, number of plates, nature of shocks etc.

Rattlers’ gestures are not simple rhythmic gestures, they are musical and theatrical gestures. As the musical gestures they influence figurative - semantic dramatic art of melody and as the theatrical gestures they create the new plan of senses. At the same time the musical gestures have not only purely semiotic, but also «effective» plan. They in a definite measure act through a plastic of motions, creating playful, graceful - majestic, unrestrained - joy images, involving the musicians, dancers and, ultimately, all present in them. The wider the gesticulation of the rattler the greater space is included in the area of his activity and, therefore, the greater space appears to be «protected» by magic of an impact sound.

The author used the systematic - ethnophonic method, permitting to esteem Pkhachich in a triad «musical tool - the player - music». Investigations were made on morphology of the tool, its role in the traditional culture, ways of creation, methods of playing.

THE CONTENTS

Nomenclature…………………………………............3

Area of distribution…………………………………............3

Typology …………………………………............4

Genesis.…………………………………............8

Morphology…………………………………............11

Ergology…………………………………............14

Existence…………………………………............19

Storage…………………………………............23

Formation and tonal quality……….............25

Ways of performance…………………............27

Perfpomers…………………………………..........36

Music script………………………………………............40

Conclusion……………………………………............43

Summary.…………………………………...........46

Literature…………………………………............50