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The Adyghe Harmonica in the Context of Ethnic Music Culture [ Alla Sokolova]

The Adyghe Harmonica in the Context of Ethnic Music Culture

by Alla Sokolova

The monograph of A.N. Sokolova is devoted to investigations of the Adyghe diatonic harmonica created in the middle of the 19th century at a turning point of cultural epochs. The harmonica has taken the place of many ancient instruments and become a leader among instruments of a traditional instrumental ensemble. The book discusses the reasons and conditions of the harmonica distribution among the West Adyghes, its transformation from a musical tool of different nations into a traditional instrument of the Adyghes. A gender, age and social status of musicians – harmonicists, the character and peculiarities of structure of performing music are also considered in the book. As an important element of the Adyghe culture the harmonica interacts with other components of culture, forming a unique look of the ethnic musical whole.

The author of the book Alla N. Sokolova works as Assistant Professor at the Institute of Arts in the Adyghea State University, she is a specialist in ethnomusicology and instrumental music, Candidate of Art Criticism, a member of the Russian Union of Composers.



Chapter I
The Adyghe traditional music culture as an artistic reverberation of the world pattern
• Morphology of the Adyghe music culture
•Musical language as phenomen of Adyghe culture
• Musical instruments of the Adyghe people in a system of music culture
• Symbolism of the Adyghes’ musical instruments
• Musical space and time in the Adyg instrumental culture

Chapter II
The diatonic harmonica (Pshchyne) and its role in traditional culture
• Terminological excursus
• Background
• The evolution of the Adyghe harmonica
• The role of the harmonica in the Adyghes’ traditional culture
• Life of the Adyghe harmonica
• Morphology of the harmonica
• Décor
• Ergology
• Ergology of M.Khuade’s diatonic harmonica
• Interpreting of deep voices
• Pitch
• Position of the diatonic harmonica during playing
• Techniques and methods of playing

 Chapter III
Instruments of the traditional  ensemble with the leading harmonica
• Adyghe clappers (Pkhachich)
• Musical boards

Chapter IV
Instrumental music of the harmonica tradition
• The phenomenon of the vocal supporting voice (zhyu) in the Adyghe instrumental folk music
• The repertoire of the Adyghe harmonicists
• Names of instrumental folk-tunes
• Themes and form creation

Chapter V
Typology of a traditional musician
• The role and functions of traditional musicians in culture
• Gender, age and subethnic characteristics of traditional musicians
• Gender and age characteristics and social status of the Adyghe harmonicists
• Forms and methods of transmission of instrumental tradition



Appendix 1
Classification of the Adyghes musical instruments. Varieties of the Adyghes traditional ensembles in the 20-th century.

Appendix 2

Subethnic features of the Adyghes modern instrumental culture. Regional subethnic characteristics of instrumental culture of the Adyghes (bearers of the tradition).
Formation of the Adyghe diatonic harmonica

Appendix 3
Parts of “the Asian” harmonica produced by the Kirov Harmonica Factory

Parts of M.Khuade’s diatonic harmonica

Appendix 4
Scheme of “the Asian” harmonica produced by the Kirov Harmonica Factory
Scheme of the harmonica produced by Aslan Meretukov
Scheme of the harmonica produced by Madin Khuade
Scheme of the harmonicas of Viennese pitch

Appendix 5
A map of the distribution of the Adyghe folk musical instruments

Appendix 6
The Adyghe modern diatonic harmonicas