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La berceuse et l'épopée: questions de genre

Bernard Lortat-Jacob
Revue de Musicologie
T. 78, No. 1 (1992), pp. 5-25
DOI: 10.2307/947239
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/947239
Page Count: 21
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La berceuse et l'épopée: questions de genre
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Abstract

The relations between function and structure are shown through two concrete music examples, from oral tradition: lullaby on the one hand, epic song on the other -- two easily recognizable genres. The questions are simple: do lullabies, throughout the world, have common structural musical elements? does the act of rocking a baby imply the existence of a distinctive form? Or else: does the epic stamp "slip into" the music of the epic song? This last case especially is developped at length. The hypothesis is that if numerous epic songs are alike musically, this is not by chance: in the whole of the Balkanic area in particular, in spite of a variety of languages and styles, the musical form of epic songs is ruled somehow by the laws governing the genre. This notion of genre, widely used in ethnomusicology, is then discussed and defined more accurately, as well as its articulation with form. Thus, beyond the examples of lulllaby and epic song, the question on the limits of "arbitrary" in music is asked here.

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