Thesis on Vagharshabat Dance
“Armenian music can feel… pain without falling into despair, passion without grief and admiration without indulgence”. V. Brusov

"The Armenian Folk Music In A Historical View"
"Vagharshabad Dance" As Seen By Komitas And Babadjanian

Diplomarbeit

Vorgelegt von: Awadis, Marie
Studiengang: Kunstlerische Ausbildung
Referent: Prof. Dr. R. Vogels
Korreferent: Prof. Dr. A. Kreutziger
Fachgebiet: Musikwissenshaft

Hannover, den 15.04.2002

Introduction 

1. Historical Aspects

             1.1. A Brief Glance At The Armenian History

             1.2. Vagharshabad / Etchmiadzin Through History

2. A Short Glimpse On The Armenian Music And Dance

             2.1. Music And Dance

             2.2. Types of Dances

             2.3. Armenian Music Instruments

             2.4. Armenian Folk Music and Notation (Gamma)

                             2.4.1 The Nature

                             2.4.2 The Notation history

3. KOMITAS (1869-1935)

    3.1. His Life

    3.2. Armenian spiritual and folk music

               3.3. Komitas Intellectuality And Musical Character

4. Arno Babadjanian (1921-1983)

5. Vagharshabad Dance, The Original Theme

              5.1. The Nature

              5.2.  Form- version 1902 by Komitas

              5.3. Tonality And Scale

              5.4. Ambitious

6. Komitas- “Yeranki-yerevani” Piano version 1907

              6.1. The Nature

              6.2. Rhythm

              6.3. Form

              6.4. Tonality

              6.5. Style       

              6.6. The Alterations D sharp or D, And The E flat or E

              6.7. Conclusion

7. Babadjanian – Vagharshabad Dance

             7.1. The Nature

             7.2. Rhythm

             7.3. Form

             7.4. Tonality

             7.5. Style

             7.6. Conclusion

8. Final Opinion

9. Bibliography

Introduction

The folk music has always played a big role in the Armenians life, especially in the beginning of the 20th century where it was more active in people’s life. After the 19th century the folk music started to get less interesting to the young generation, except to composers and ethnomusicologists, whose number is surly, not the majority. Apart from them it is still alive in the memories of old people, who with time will enter in the past, and take it with them to the forgotten. However composers are trying to keep the folk music alive by changing it to a classical piano, chamber or even orchestral pieces.

Each composer arranged the folk music in his way, based on his musical knowledge and surrounding influence. This approach transformed the folk music from National Armenian music to a personalized piece of the composer. Therefore it got more personal characteristics depending on the character of each composer, as well as to the time they lived. Therefore we can find the same National folk tune arranged, or even sometimes recomposed, in completely different ways depending on the time thy lived.

One of these examples can be “Vagharshabad Dance”, which is an Armenian national tune arranged into different ways, by different Armenian composers and through different periods of time.  

Among those composers who worked on this theme are Komitas (1869-1935) and Babadjanian (1921-1983), who played a big role in transforming the Armenian musical heritage to an international classical music, Komitas by being the founder of this musical transformation in the beginning of the 20th century, and Babadjanian by giving the view of the modern composer to the old folk music.

We took “Vagharshabad Dance” as a theme for this study because it represents the Armenian music in its folk, and both old and modern classical ways. Also because It the city Vagharshabad itself has a big importance and meaning in the life of the Armenian s, which makes this piece more easy to survive through time.

1. Historical Aspects

The music is a picture that left from all the generation that passed from this area.  Through history we can know the people’s traditions and the way of living as well as their style of music.

To be able to talk about the Armenian music, it is necessary to talk about the Armenian history as well, because the folk music is connected directly to the history of its region. This chapter will be a short presentation of the Armenian history in general, to understand the origin of the Armenian traditions in general, and specifically the history of the city “Vagharshabad”, to understand the characteristics of the origin of the dance. 

1.1.A Brief Glance At The Armenian History.

The first references to the Armenians, an Indo-European people first appear in history around the end of the 7th century BC. Armenia sometimes is referred to as “Cradle of Civilization”, due to its ancient history and the importance of the region, which controlled the route between the Eastern and the Western worlds.

The Armenian Plateau is a home to Mt. Ararat, the symbol of the Armenian nation and also a symbol of exile: its breast-shaped profile dominates the view from Yerevan, Armenia’s capital, but the mountain itself is now in Turkish territory. The plateau covered a large territory, which included the mountains of Georgia on the north with Azerbaijan and from large part of Minor Asia to Anatolia in Turkey, including parts of Iran, Iraq and Syria. 

Stone and Bronze Age artifacts found in Armenia are evidence of an advanced culture, which was already flourishing in that part of the world 5.000 years ago. One of the greatest empires of the Iron Age, the Urartians (who called themselves and their land Biainili, and their capital Tushpa, by Lake Van) rivaled Assyria for control of strategic trade routes between Central Asia and the Mediterranean. Powerful enough to invade the fabled Kingdom of Babylon, Urartian armies amassed what some say was the first Armenian Empire, connecting the lands of the Armenian Plateau and Anatolia with the Caucasus Mountains.

Urartu fell to Assyria in later stage and at the turn of the first millennium Armenian King Tigran “The Great” expanded the country borders to the three seas, Caspian, Black and the Mediterranean. However the kingdom did not last for the long time and was divided between Byzantium and Persia. Through the Middle Ages Armenia was under domination of Persia, Arab Caliphate, Byzantine Empire and Ottoman Turkey. Such mixture of different faiths and cultures imposed on the Armenian nation resulted in extremely rich and versatile folklore but also was the reason for constant struggle against domination and assimilation.  That is why we find many common musical instruments and modes between Armenia and the neighboring countries such as Turkey, Persia and even further – Egypt and Iraq.

In 301st year AD Armenia officially converted to Christianity, which made it the First Christian State, while Rome accepted Christianity only in 380 AD. In the followed centuries Armenia had to fight and lose many battles against its powerful neighbors- first Persia then invading Arabs, which were on the later stage forced out by Mongols and subsequently by Ottoman Turks. Armenia has lost its sovereignty and was under foreign domination for many centuries to come.

In the late 19th century Ottoman sultan Abdul Hamid began his policy of intolerance and oppression against non-Muslim population of the Ottoman Empire, which resulted from 300.000 to half-million Armenian deaths. During the 1st World War Young Turkish government continued that policy and initiated the long planned extermination of the Armenians through deportations and murder of more than 1.5 million Armenians during years of 1915-1922. The first Genocide of the 20th century began with 400 Armenian intellectuals arrested in Constantinople, deported and shut at April 24, 1915. There were known only four places where Armenians showed resistance and most of the population which was under Turk controlled territory was destroyed, small parts escaped to the neighboring Russia, Persia, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt forming the Armenian Diaspora.

The UN, European Parliament, Vatican and many others officially recognize these events. Turkey, however, by this day denies the crime was ever committed.

 The population of Armenia, which was under Russian control and protection, had survived the Genocide; Armenia had an independent statehood from 1918 to 1921 when under the Bolsheviks pressure it became the Armenian Republic within former USSR. By that time Armenia lost more approximately 90% of the territory previously having native Armenian population.

Since 1990 Armenia has gained independence and is now a small country landlocked in Trans-Caucasus with its northwest neighboring Georgia, southwest Turkey and Iran and southeast Azerbaijan.  Until the present day Armenia is going through a transition from a post Soviet system to a new democratic structures, however the conflict with the neighboring Azerbaijan over the native Armenian populated Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabach) has seriously affected the economical and social life in the country which for past ten years experienced a vast decline of population, with many Armenians immigrating to the East and West in search for better life. The economical blockade imposed on Armenia by Turkey is devastating for Armenia and is resulting in multimillion losses every year. Hardships and economical difficulties have their impact on the educational system in Armenia making academic and other studies an extremely difficult task. However the studies in Armenian National Conservatory of Music and other institutions continue despite those difficulties.

1.2. Vagharshabad / Etchmiadzin Through History. 

The finding of the artifacts of the Urartian King Rusa II dates the history of Vagharshabad / Etchmiadzin to the 8th-7th cc BC. The historical site and the city of Etchmiadzin is located in Armavir region of the western part of Ararat valley approximately 15km from the capital of Armenia, Yerevan.

The appearance of the signs of the zodiac in the Etchmiadzin region occurred even before the Hittie and Babylonian Kingdoms (6th millennium BC), which were credited with developing astronomy. It is believed to be among the first astronomers, mapping the night sky.

The city name comes from the Armenian king Vagharsh I, which rebuilt and remodeled the city in the II Century AD. Later with the construction of the Armenian Holy See Mother Church followed by group of other churches it adopted the name of Etchmiadzin. In 302 AD, according to tradition, St. Gregory, which converted Armenia to Christianity, had a vision of Christ who indicated to him where to build the first Armenian church- on the hill of Sandaramet of Vagharshabad. On that very spot a Church was built and given a name of “Etchmiadzin” meaning literally in Armenian  “the only begotten descended”.


After the city of Artashat it had a status of the second capital of the Arshaguni Kings. Vagharshabad along with Artashat were lying on the trade route between Asia and the West, which brought unlimited wealth and prosperity to its citizens.


The first translations to Armenian from Greek, Hebrew as well as the creation of the Armenian alphabet (405 AD), first Armenian school and the first spiritual music high school were founded in Etchmiadzin. The city is also known as the place where “khaz” (neumes) notation was invented. In some sources we find the mention of Catholicos Sahak Partev as the inventor of the “khaz” system but it is not proven by the facts.

In the VII century some important pieces of architecture were built, such as St.Hripsime, St. Gayane and mighty Zvartnots in Etchmiadzin. The city continued to be the spiritual center of Armenian Church, in 1771 a first press was installed and a publishing center was operating 5 years later. The monastery had “Jemaran” (Seminary) where famous musicians and writers such as Komitas, H.Hovannisian and Avetik Issahakyan studied and made researches about the Armenian history, its roots and the music.

The name of the city was changed back to Vagharshabad in 1991 when Armenia declared independence, but habits die hard, and the city is still referred to as Etchmiadzin among locals.

2. A Short Glimpse on the Armenian Music And Dance

Armenian music has passed through different steps and changes, to arrive to its present form. It was conserved by many facts, and built its theories through the time. This chapter will introduce some historical and theoretical aspects related to the Armenian music and dances, which will help us to understand more, how and in which form these music and dances are still conserved until our present day.   

2.1. Music And Dance

Armenian music has a history, which is parallel to the history of the Armenian nation (starting form the pre-Christian times) and till today it has an important role in the life of the Armenian people. In the process of the excavations on the Armenian territory rock paintings depicting dancing were discovered. And also in other various parts of Armenia bronze sleigh bells and small hand bells from the second millennium BC were found. In the region of the Lake Sevan, a cornet and drum skins have been discovered dating from the first millennium [1] . At Garni (excavation in 1955) and Dvin (1949) double-flutes, probably used by shepherds, made of stork’s claw bones have been uncovered.

This proves that music played an important role in Armenian culture since very ancient times to the present day.

Virtually all levels of the Armenian society loved and practiced music including the Armenian kings, which had royal musicians in their courts. The music reflected the social events, which inspired songs of various characters. For example at the time of foreign invasions, and the division of Armenia between Ottoman Empire and Persia, the sentiment of the people inspired them to sing and write songs of nostalgia and sorrow, like “Krunk” (name of a bird which migrates and returns home; in Armenian), and “Antuni” (Homeless). We can also find references to even earlier names from the Pagan times, like the name “Kousan” (minstrel), is originated from the “Kisaneh” which was the name of the son of the Mother Armenian Godess, “Muraneh” [2] .

Many masterpieces appear in different domains of music- Religious, Urban, Pastoral songs and others. After the adoption of Christianity in the fourth century, even especially in the fifth century after the creation of the Armenian alphabet, we notice a significant development in sacred music used in churches to replace the earlier pagan variety [3] . A big part of the Armenian Church music is taken from the folk songs, which in different times and in different circumstances are dissolved in the church music and became “sharakan” “dagh” or “kants”. And for this reason, it is the most reliable source to study the Armenian folk music. Because of this, musicologists in the last century started to be interested also in the church music, not only because it is the most reliable source but as well as a creative inspiration to them and to modern composers [4] .    

Both musical and aesthetic theories were greatly developed with creation of special musical signs. These characters were used to indicate ancient Armenian pronunciation and explicit signs for reading the music in addition to musical notes themselves marked the birth of “Khazes”. We notice their presence in 9th century manuscripts. Unfortunately these “Khazes”, starting from the 15th century have been understood less and less, and by the 19th century they disappeared completely. However the oral transmission survived and was transcribed to the new musical notation system by Hampartsum Limondjian (1813) in Constantinople, and later with other musicians like Komitas and others [5] .

Armenian music taken as a whole cannot be classified either as Oriental or Occidental, but has a musical character of it's own offering many rich means of expression. It is Monodic and when appropriate is accompanied mainly by percussion instruments. “The Armenians have a wonderful melodic genius: the beauty of their tunes matches fully the best Gregorian and synagogue examples, and excel the Byzantine chant”. This is how Eric Werner, the American musicologist describes the Armenian music in his book “The Sacred Bridge”.

The Armenian Folk dances are rich in rhythmical changes and complex structures, as well as in their motives and figures. The majority of these dances was created in the villages and was related to the specific place where they have been first performed, such as –Sassoon, Kertsi, Vagharshabad, etc. or to this or that person who performed it for the first time afterwards becoming his/her personal piece. And some other dances were related to the movements or the steps used, such as – “yet arach” meaning back and forwards, “dzung godrug” meaning knee break.

There were three villages, which were famous with dancers and dancing pieces – Van, Karni and Sassoon [6] .

The folk music was evolving in the following way- the original melody, which was composed by an individual, was enriched and subsequently purified by others, thus becoming a collective work [7] .

Armenian melody in difference from other eastern music such as Persian, Arabic or Turkish is simpler in the way where it is out of extreme ornamentation [8] . Through its simplicity and purity Armenian music communicates with the most sacred feelings of the person addressing the vital issues of life [9] . It is as rich and modest as an oriental carpet, impressing with different colors and depth. Through the research of Komitas Vartabed (1869-1935), we are aware of the special qualities and power of this old tradition, which expressed itself through music on different levels- simple folk themes or classical compositions of the sacred music. Komitas collected more than 3000 folk songs and notated them, except the church music. He revived the national music (sacred and secular)- purified it and restored it, giving it the real meaning and the original identity that it deserved, also he developed part of that music to choir and some instrumental pieces, based on his knowledge of Armenian and European classical music [10] .

M. Patmakryan in his book “Armenian Music through Centuries” says: “The Armenian Folk music has the combination of simplicity, unlimited expression and in depth it has more of cultural, national, historical and philosophical values. In it we see not only the reflection of the local tones, but also the color of that period of time. In it we see the condensed artistic mixture of its own people” [11] .

Armenian folk music is still very much alive in Armenia and the Diaspora; it is played using traditional instruments, which include “Kamancha”, “Tar”, “Santur” or “Canon”, “Shvi”, “Tutuk” and different percussions as “Dhole” and “Dab”. They all form an integral part of folk ensembles [12] (for more details about the Armenian folk instruments see page 14).

2.2. Types of Dances

According to researches made by Laura Shanon, divides the Armenian dances to four categories, mostly by their geographical locations:

    1- Dances form Eastern Caucasian Armenia: which include the Etchmiadzin-Vagharshabad and the Ararat valley within the territory of present day Republic of Armenia.

    2- Western Anatolian Armenia: which is now in Turkey. They were brought by survivals of the Genocide to the other parts of the world.

    3- Dances of Greater Armenia: which come for the territory once under the Armenian control and have significant Armenian influence even though they might be called Turkish Kurdish or Assyrian. As the culture mixed on that land the dances and the music bare the traditions of the people once lived there. The dances of greater Armenia tell the story of a lost land and enduring life.

    4- Diaspora Dances: The second and the third generation of the Armenian Diaspora began to create a whole new repertoire of dances to replace what had been lost in time. These dances combine traditional and newly choreographed steps with older folk melodies and songs. They give an example of a dance culture, which is beyond territory and can bring back what was destroyed and lost before, in entirely new way.

Armenian language, culture, dance, music, art and religion insured the survival of the Armenian existence, and are alive today in many countries around the world, with its center in Republic of Armenia. Despite of the great losses which Armenian culture suffered during the centuries of foreign domination, it showed the durability and originality of its creators.     

2.3. Armenian Music Instruments

Since the earliest times there were a number of musical instruments, which originated from the territory of Asia Minor (Greater Armenia), both string, percussive and woodwind. Some of them are still used to perform music and some others have disappeared and are not used any longer.

1.     Tumpook

The Armenian drum, which is still widely used as a traditional instrument, is called Tumpook. They are made of double-headed cylinder with a fish-skin head that is laced on both sides of the wood cylinder, by ropes. Tumpook can produce many sounds depending on how it is hit. There are no sticks involved when playing this instrument. The bare hands are used. Hitting a tumpook towards the edge as opposed to the middle can make it sound hollow or rubbery, or even make very complicated rhythms. Because of this property, authentic Armenian rhythm is too hard to notate.

2. Dhol

Dhol also known as davul, is a large double-headed cylindrical drum. It is widely used in Western Armenia and many other countries in the Middle East and in almost every genre of traditional Armenian music. The shell is usually made of pear or apricot wood and is approximately 12 to 14 inches in diameter and 12 inches deep.  Both ends of the cylinder are covered in sheep or goatskin and are adjustable for tension using rope lacing and small pulleys.

3.Zurna

Also among those instruments, which are still used is Zurna, which are among the most popular. Zurna is a wind instrument made of apricot or peer wood and have a removable double reed. Most of the time its inseparable from Dhol, and for this reason it is known as “Davul-Zurna” and both are used simultaneously while musical or dance performances, especially while public celebrations such as weddings and other gatherings. It is due to the loud, sharp and cheerful sounds that those instruments produce.

4. Duduk

Duduk the Armenian term, for an ancient woodwind instrument. It is among the most well known musical instruments in Armenia, which is said to be almost 3000 years old and is easily recognizable because of its special tone and deep vibrating sound. On the contrary from Zurna, which excited the people with its sharp sound and was used during public gatherings, Duduk with its softer sound is more of an intimate instrument oriented toward calmer atmosphere, such as friends gatherings. It looks like a straight tree branch and has 7 or more finger holes with one thumbhole in the backside, and a very large double reed. It is played with the technique of circular breathing- particularly for the drones (dam). Its extreme expressiveness comes from art of breathing, the subtle fingering and the pursing of the lips. No other double reed instrument has the unique timber of the Duduk with its velvety sound. It also is a significant voice in the Armenian orchestra, carrying significant melodic material. Several sizes are found, tube lengths ranging from 6 or 7 inches to over 16 inches.

5.     Shvee

From the mountainous highlands of Armenia comes the Shvee, the shepherd’s pipe. Popular with mountain people and folk musicians, the Shvee is now found in professional ensembles throughout Armenia and the Diaspora. This versatile flute can produce two octaves of the chromatic scale and is capable of soft, recorder-like tones as well as powerful bird-like shrillness.

6.     Kamancha

In Persian the word means “small bow”. It is a four/three-string spike-fiddle. “Koussan” troubadours like Sayat Nova [13] in the 18th Century were particularly fond of it. Contrary to the violin, it is the string that goes toward the bow, when the musician turns the instrument on the spike-lute. The Kamancha is held by the neck with the left hand and bowed with the right. It is made of catfish soundboard on an apricot or walnut tree wood sound box. Traditionally used as a solo instrument for singing and dancing, as well as listening.

 7.Tar

The Tar is a double-bellied Lute, which is widely used in the folk music performances; it has six strings and is played like a guitar with exception of being held higher on the chest. The front part is made of goat or sheepskin while the back is made of wood and it has a long neck lute. Tar originates from Eastern Armenia (Caucasus region).

 8. Kanoon.

Kanoon is widely used in Armenia and also in Arab world and is very old. A plucked instrument as a zither whose 30 strings may be varied in pitch, by the use of small bridges. It is trapeze in shape and produces a timbre very close to the harpsichord, though the tones are much more sophisticated. Most importantly Kanoon contains tones not present in the western world since it can go ascending or descending with quartertones instead of half tones in full scale.

2.4. Armenian Folk Music and Notation (Gamma)

2.4.1. The Nature

The Armenian music is based on the Tetra-chord system. This fact was established for the first time by Komitas (1898) in Etchmiadzin, in one of his articles in “ARARAT” prominent newspaper in the research on M. Yekmalyan’s “Badarak” (Holy Masse). Theoretically, he discovered that, the Armenian Scale consists of chains of “Tetra-chords” where the last of each chain is the beginning of the next, creating a “chain” of scale, in difference from the western scale, which is based on “Gammas” and “Octaves”, in combination creating 8 note musical structure.

According to this rule, if the first Tetra-chord is C-D-E-F based on 1-1-1/2 tone, the last note F becomes the first for the second tetra-chord and we have F-G-A-B flat, also based on 1-1-1/2. If we continue the same way, we will get the B flat as the first for the third tetra-chord [14] .

“The last note of each Tetra-chord should be at the same time the beginning of the next, therefore what we maintain is not ascending order of notes but a chain of tetra-chords. Armenian folk and church music is based on this system, which are very similar and have the same structure. All those which cannot be applied to this system are of external origin” [15] .

is approach was widely accepted by the musicologists as the one, which is based on logical and scientific analysis.

The Armenian folk music is not “tempered”, it has notes, which are called “low notes”. These “low notes” also appear in the other neighboring countries with a different pitch, higher or lower. These “low notes” are noticed by the small line, which appears beside the note.

2.4.2. The Notation history

Through history we can see that with the progress of the musical periods, people applied more and more to the notation system, and with time beginning from the tenth century they came to the notation of A-B-C-D-E-F-G.

The preservation of the Armenian music through notation was essentially important to Armenians, as much as to other nations.

We don’t have sufficient evidences to verify when, where, how and by whom were the “Khazes” created and in what way were they used. We have fragmented information about this topic through some historical accounts [16] .

The Armenian notation consists of two independent systems, the prosodic for expressive recitation, and the musical for singing. In the beginning the “Khazes” were not based on a specific system, but were more used as individual remarks and signs, put to use by composers and musicians for purpose of reminding them of the piece they composing or the piece they already knew. It indicated to the way they expressed various exclamations, pitch, dynamics, duration, timbre, punctuation, ornaments and prosody, also some auxiliary signs such as, the single and the double dot above the nuemes. Referring to the old manuscripts the number of the basic signs doesn’t exceed 25,while the additional 30 symbols are the variant of the basic neumes [17] .

Some research was conducted on this subject by musicologists such as Komitas, Sbiriton Melikian, Robert Atayan and others but no one came to a clear conclusion.

In 1813, a self-taught Armenian musician from Constantinople, Limonjian Hampartsum began laying the foundation for a uniquely Armenian system of notation based on the ancient neumes, assigning new values to symbols that had been meaningless for centuries. The work was left unfinished when Limonjian died in 1839. His students eventually completed the work leaving an essential tool for the future Armenian composers to transcribe the nation’s musical heritage. 

Later by the end of the 18th century, the Archbishop “Chrisantos Matidetsi”, a famous musicologist and a professor of the church music, created a new system of “khazes”, by taking the images of the forgotten “papatarios”, and to this new                                   

Notes he gives the following Greek names- Protos, Teteros, Tritos, Tetcargos, Playosku – Protu, Playosku – Tefterou, Varis, Playosku, Tekartu [18] .

Subsequently, the group of Limondjian pupils and followers perfected this system and used Armenian names as substitute to the Greek names. So this is what it became later – poush, eqorj, vernakhagh, pegorj, khosrvayin, nerknakhagh, baroig and to the values sough, get, zoig get, storad, zuig storad, etc.

As we know the European notation is taken from a Latin Prayer, where the first vowel of each line represented a note (ut, re, mi, fa, sol, la, si)- the same system was used by Limondjian followers when they applied it on the Armenian “khazes”. We make this conclusion: PO-Ush, E-gorj, VE-rnakhagh, PE-gorj, KHO-srovayin, NE-rknakhagh, BA-rouyg- in result we have: PO, E, VE, PE, KHO, NE, BA.

This system spread very fast, especially by the priest musicians who studied in the Seminary, and with this system they started to notate all the church music, songs and dances. The reasons behind the replacement of notation were the ambitions of Limondjian and others to create an entirely new Armenian national system of notations [19] .

Here is an example of a church song (Sharakan) written in the old notation system and below it U can see the nowadays-international notation system:

Many musicians took the theme of Vagharshabad as a musical subject to work on, which gave this dance many musical faces hanging between traditional and international, depending on the time and the style in which it was arranged. Two of these arranger-composers, Komitas and Babadjanian, contributed in arranging the folk music, and they presented the Vagharshabad theme into two different faces: the traditional and the modern.

The chapters 3 and 4 will introduce the musical life of Komitas and Babadjanian, and their influence on the Armenian music, which would give us an idea of the character and the style that each one of them arranged the “Vagharshabad dance”, as we will se in the further coming chapters.

3. KOMITAS (1869-1935)

“Armenian musicologists regard Komitas as the father of contemporary Armenian classical music on the basis of his ethno-musicological field studies, his career as a teacher, his beautiful baritone voice and his many lectures on the history of ecclesiastical and folk music”. – Rita Kuyumjian

3.1. His Life:

Komitas (Soghomon Soghomonian), was born in September 26, 1869 to a poor family living in Kutahya (Ottoman Turkey), whose members spoke only Turkish.  His mother wove carpets, composed, sang songs and wrote poetry, while her devoted husband Kevork, a shoemaker by trade, was a good-natured man who loved music. Soghomon was born into an atmosphere of intense creativity. The modest, musical family was soon stricken by tragedy- the child was only six month old when, in March 1870, his mother died at the age of seventeen.

From his earliest days, Soghomon was immersed in the blend of traditional musical forms- ecclesiastic and popular, spiritual and worldly- that would become the consuming passion of his life. The gifted child was soon noticed for his mental vivacity and beautiful voice. By the age of twelve, he had become an accomplished singer of Armenian spiritual pieces and Turkish folk songs.

In 1881, shortly after being orphaned (his father Kevork died in 1880), Soghomon was sent to Etchmiadzin, the spiritual center of the Armenian Apostolic Church, to study at the prestigious “Gevorkian Seminary”. This was the longest and the most important journey of his young life.

In the Seminary Soghomon learned Armenian language through hard study and the practice of music. He mastered the art of Armenian liturgical singing and conducted research on Armenian folk and sacred music. He spent four years in the Seminary and if his first eleven years had been a series of psychological catastrophes, his years at the Seminary were a period of emotional and intellectual stability, a time of shelter. His fellow students remember him as a modest, lively and popular boy. And he would never refuse a request to sing to his friends.

At the conclusion of his religions education in 1895, he was ordained Vartabed (celibate priest) and adopted the name Komitas. 

3.2. Komitas’ Armenian spiritual and folk music:

Due to the oppression of the Ottoman authorities, organized musical education and European musical influence on the Armenian musical life did not exist effectively (as research and composing) till the beginning of the 19th century.  There were no formal concerts, no professional composers of performers.  Nevertheless, music, composed and disseminated orally, continued to flourish among the people, particularly among urban troubadours (kusans or ashugs in Armenian) and the clerics of the Armenian Church. 

Many of the Armenian folk songs were typically improvised pieces reflecting the facts of rural life and were transcribed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a task to which Komitas would devote much of his life. The liturgy and hymns of the Armenian Apostolic Church had been transcribed during the Middle Ages by means of distinctly Armenian system of notation known as “Khaz”, however these records were effectively useless as the key to interpreting “Khaz” notation had been lost for centuries. Therefore the sacred music passed on orally, till the appearance of the new “khaz” system by H. Limonjian in the beginning of the19th century.

Mastering the system of Limonjian became the passion for Komitas and his research and investigation into this system of notation was the beginning of his career as ethno-musicologist. For his passion he was called “Notaji Vartabed” meaning the “the note-crazy priest”.

Between 1893-1896 Komitas founded and tutored the Seminary choir and published his first volume of Armenian folk songs (1895)- an anthology of 25 pieces which included wedding and love songs, lullabies and dances under the name “Aknay Yergeri Shar” (“The song of Akn”, an old city near Yeprat lake), Etchmiadzin Press [20] .

In 1895 Komitas was sent to Tiflis (present Tbilisi, Georgia) to study with another great musicologist and church music specialist Magar Yekmalyan. After a year (1896) Komitas was awarded a modest scholarship to further his studies in Berlin.

 On the advice of Joseph Joachim, the renowned violinist, he enrolled in the private conservatory of Richard Schmidt, and few months later he also began studying aesthetics (philosophy) at the “Friedrich-Wilhelm Universitat zu Berlin” (Royal Berlin University).  For his music studies, he had teachers as R. Schmidt for piano, choir and operatic performance. For harmony and folk music he had the guidance of the medievalist Henrick Bellermann, and the 18th and 19th century folk music specialist Max Friedlander. He was also influenced very much from an expert on medieval neumes and Christian chants, Oscar Fleischer.

“Fleischer’s vast knowledge of the subject was to be a key element in Komitas’ own investigations of the Armenian “Khaz” system of musical notation [21] .

During his three years in Berlin, Komitas was active in the city’s musical circle. In May 10th, 1899, he gave a lecture about the “Armenian popular and liturgical music” for the first time. In the same year he was invited to become one of the founding members of the International Music Society (IMS), which was established by Oscar Fleischer (1899)- the forerunner of the present day International Musicological Society. Komitas was invited to speak on the subject of Armenian music at the chapter’s inaugural meeting. At four different conferences, Komitas delivered lectures on Armenian Music.

In 1900, after three years of studying, Komitas returned to Etchmiadzin and did not hesitate to engage himself in the fieldwork, documenting the dance tunes and folk songs of the Caucasus and Ararat Plateau and continued investigating the Armenian Khaz (neumatic) notation system of the 11th century.

“Between 1899-1905, Komitas was in his most creative time. In this period of time he was confirming the Armenian National music’s cultural experience in pedagogic, interpretational art, scientific and creative field” [22] .

After maintaining the European education he has also developed new system of arranging the Armenian folk songs, in a classical way – polyphonic more than harmonic (3-4 voices), which was practiced by the Seminary’ student choir.

 From 1905 to 1907 Komitas was active in giving lectures and choir concerts in Trans-Caucasus, Western and Eastern Europe- Tiflis, Baku, Paris, Bern, Lausanne and Geneva. His aim was to present the Armenian musical tradition, virtually unknown outside Ottoman Turkey, to the European world.

Between 1906 and 1907 he lived in Paris where he continued his active life of concerts and research on Armenian notation system. During one of his concerts C. Debussy was present and was amazed with Komitas’ talent. “If Komitas would have written only the “Antuni” (a song meaning “the homeless”), he would have still considered one of the big composers in the world”. This was Debussy’s impression about Komitas music [23] .

In 1907 Komitas returned to Etchmiadzin where he realized that during his absence his research and development of Armenian music was given lesser importance.  Finally in 1910 he was hopeless, and decided to leave Etchmiadzin and move to Constantinople (Istanbul), a city open to Europe and the Middle East, which had an influential Armenian community. This change had a good impact on his work and in 1910 he founded the 300-member “Kousan” choir, which he conducted. In 1913 Komitas recorded series of 78-rpm phonograph records in Paris and a year later in the 4th meeting of IMS, he presented three different lectures on the modal, rhythmical and the metric structure of Armenian music. Those lectures were a big success and Komitas was elected the chairman of IMS’ newly created Middle Eastern section.

 During June of 1914, Komitas was invited to Paris along with some other country’s music representatives and delivered lectures on two topics:

“Armenian folk (keghchuk) music”

“The old and new Armenian notation in the spiritual (hokevor) music”

At the conclusion of those lectures concerts of Armenian spiritual music were performed by Komitas’ choir, which proved to be the last public performances by the composer.

In April 24th, 1915, at the height of the systematic destruction of the Armenian population of Ottoman Empire, Komitas with 291 other prominent Armenian intellectuals and artists was arrested in Constantinople and deported to the interior of the Empire (Chankiri). Only forty survived and Komitas, as if by miracle was one of them. While Komitas was spared the fate of his friends, upon his return to Constantinople he found his life’s work – manuscripts, research findings on the “Khaz” system and his library – in total disarray. From the 3000-4000 notated and recorded folk songs only few hundred survived. A full accounting of his research on the “Khaz” system has so far eluded scholar.

The years following his experience of the Genocide are shrouded in mystery, and the circumstances of Komitas’ eventual mental breakdown in 1919 are not fully documented. The horrors of the first genocide of the 20th century had the most profound impact on Komitas psycho- he was first institutionalized in Constantinople and later was moved to Paris by some of his friends to be given more care, where he spent the rest of his life between moments of great lucidity and longer stretches of total mental chaos.

After 1919, Komitas produced no music. He fell into a protracted period of silence, which lasted for fourteen years. He died in Paris in 1935 at the hospital in the Jewish Quarter. The following year his remains were taken to Yerevan, the capital of Armenia. In honor of his contributions to Armenian music, then the newly established Conservatory in Yerevan was named “Komitas State Conservatory” [24] .

3.3. Komitas Intellectuality And Musical Character

Armenian music until appearance of Komitas was folkloric, Armenian songs being spiritual, folk or national were monodic, simple in its form, which is why for some time it was as if not a part of the world’s big musical family. It was Komitas, who first tried to take out the Armenian music from this archaic state and lay a ground for its musical form [25] .

“The different impressions of the surrounding give birth to yet different feelings. And as the music being the mirror of our feelings, it reflects us as sad, joyous or courageous, by looking to the neighborhood, where we live, feel and create a whole nation” [26] .

Komitas believed that the Armenian spiritual music reflected the folk music tradition. For the villagers, creation of a song was as natural as speaking their mother language. In this case the process of the creation played more importance, with less regard to the composer himself. In other words songs, which were composed, were products of a collective, rather than an individual effort [27] .

“In villages everyone can sing- good or bad, because all together are part of the creation of a song. But no one knows who started that game, because all together are being part of it” [28] .

Often Komitas was present during the time of this collaborative creation, witnessing people singing and dancing. For example in 1905 in the Caucasus he observed a choral circle dance. The song started with the pattern of four notes, rest and then two notes. The group was repeating the same, while the soloists changed with another person every time taking the lead and singing in a comfortable level to his voice. By the end of the dance Komitas wrote twenty-one versions of those two melodic lines. The difference between the first and the last version was huge, and when he requested to repeat the first version it was not possible any more, as what was remembered was the last one. And no one could know who composed it, because it was the creation of the whole group [29] .

Most of the folk songs were short-lived, because they were composed as the response to the temporary situation, with new songs always emerging, in particular with the dance pieces, which were born in the moment and died in the moment [30] .

By collecting all the folk songs and dances, the main aim of Komitas was to preserve the pieces, which were fusing and changing constantly and keep it in their original form, as part of the Armenian musical heritage. He traveled all over Eastern and Western Armenia to collect songs and dances – Shirak, Iktir, Artashat, Kodayk, Ashtarag, Vagharshapat, Abaran, Van and other Armenian populated territories. The main interest for the composer was the place and birth of those compositions, their style of the theme, the occasion of the interpretation, the used musical instruments, the structure and scale in which they were played or sung as well as the details of the intervals [31] . Komitas also observed that the folk music has evolved into a local dialect, as much as the language. The peasant knew his own musical dialect as well as he knew his own language. The tunes from the mountainous regions of Armenia had more of rough, passionate and martial musical motives, while the tunes from the plains were more mild and gentle [32] .

 Although Komitas had a European musical education (German and French), he used that to enrich his work and help in his research while staying and preserving the rich Armenian spirit. It was his strength and value. Being familiar with the Turkish, Persian and Arabic music, Komitas had a point of comparison, which helped him to be more specific and certain about the Armenian musical style [33] .

In Komitas’ tempered scale view he describes the Armenian music as composed of chains of Tetra-chords, where the last of each is the beginning of the next, which differs from the European method based on the octave scale. Komitas gives us these six Tetra-chords, upon which, by having different mixtures we maintain the Armenian scales.

    “The different combination of these six Tetra-chords creates all the Armenian scales”.

Komitas’ musical thinking was oriented toward chamber and more vocal arrangements [34] . We can also observe this style in his piano pieces, for example in “Six dances” (which we shall discuss in details later), where the structure of the piece is based more on the melody and percussive accompaniment, just as having the idea of a vocalist and a percussive accompaniment. It is also essential to mention that Komitas, while working with folk music, entered the understanding of form and structure, as in any classical piece [35] . However he had not completed his musical analysis, which concerned the dialects, and even if he did, either it was destroyed during the 1915 genocide or still remains in form of manuscripts.   

Komitas played a crucial role in forming a school of music in Armenia by teaching many subjects, which we must say, were addressed the first time. In the teaching process teacher plays the most important role and Komitas with his multi talent was delivering in-depth first hand knowledge to his students. We must also note that the musical schools of the beginning of the century were approaching many subjects sometimes not even straightly connected to musical studies.

To help his students, Komitas wrote number of books among which is “Armenian notation”, “Harmony”, “music Theory”. Apart from teaching folk music, Komitas found important to familiarize his students with European classical music.

 Komitas’ creative life laid a foundation to the formation of the Armenian national music school, which united centuries old folk musical experience and professional music studies. Therefore we must conclude that Komitas was the most important person in the history of the Armenian music school.

4. Arno Babadjanian (1921-1983)

Arno Babadjanian was a highly regarded composer in the former Soviet Union, a colleague of Rostropovich and Shostakovich. 

Arno Babadjanian was born and raised in Yerevan, Armenia. Although there were no professional musicians in his family, his father loved music and played himself some Armenian traditional instruments such as Kamancha and Shvee.

In his early days, young Arno was noticed by Aram Khachaturian himself and was given an advice to pursue a career of a professional musician. The piano lessons under the guidance of E.Chosrovian played an important role in the development of the young musician, first in Yerevan and later in Moscow Conservatory. Apart from the piano lessons the future composer was given a broad musical education under V.Talian.

In the following years, under the guidance of H. Litvinski, N. Peikoi and D.Rozalizki in the House of Armenian Culture in Moscow, Babadjanian produced his first important piece of music, which was called “Polyphonic Sonata for piano”. This work significantly contributed to the Armenian school of music however it was recognized as such only ten years later.

In 1947 Babadjanian participated in the first international competition of young musicians in Prague, where his vocal work “Raise the flags of friendship” received a wide recognition. In 1950 he completed the work on “Heroic Ballade” which reflected his impressions from the competition, and followed by “Piano Trio” proved the successful artistic development of the composer.

Babadjanian’s work and activities as a musician and composer were inseparable, according to the composer himself, from the life and development of the city of Yerevan which influenced Babadjanian’ choices as a musician. His work attracted attention from the early years and lasted for more than 50 years. During those years Babadjanian produced number of works, in variety of musical genres- from piano and cello pieces to popular vocal and instrumental works.

His other works are a violin concerto, Symphonic Variations for piano and Orchestra, a Piano Trio, a Sonata for Violin and Piano, three string quartets and numerous solo piano works and songs. 

In each case, his compositions bear the mark of the original and inspiring Armenian talent who managed to promote through his work the Armenian national music, in former Soviet Union and abroad.

He died in 1983 in Moscow [36] .

This next chapter will contain a study of the “Vagharshabad Dance”, the original theme, which is a transcription of the folk theme taken in the beginning of the 20th century. This main theme will be the base of the two arrangements of Komitas and Babadjanian, which we will study and compare their two versions, and find the similarities and the dissimilarities, to find their approach in keeping the theme’s original Armenian folk spirit.

5. Vagharshabad Dance, The Original Theme

According to the sources, the original theme of Vagharshabad Dance is unknown. It is assumed to be composed before the 19th century, by the local villagers. There is no research made on the original theme, which would address from where or when it has appeared and the circumstances it was composed. The only sources we have are through the transcriptions.

The first person who studied it was a composer and a musicologist, N. Dikranian. In his version we see that he used the name "Ranki" [37] . There are no clues why is it called this way while later it was called "Yeranki- Yerevani" by Komitas, which also later was changed by a close friend of him M. Babayan, who changed it to "Yeranki" [38] . By further new composers such as Khatchatur Avedisian, Arno Babadjanian, and some others it was called “Vagharshapat Dance”.

As referring to the later composers, we see that they used the name Vagharshabad instead of “Ranki” or “Yeranki”. The reason might be that because on some occasions Komitas himself used the name “Vagharshabad” or “on that area style dances”. And the reason why Komitas used both names (Ranki-Yerevani or Vagharshabad), might be because in those times both cities (Yerevan and Vagharshabad) were in a bind, and there were no difference between their people. So it is very possible that people had the same habits and the same style of dances. As a conclusion from the name, we might say that this dance is originated from Vagharshabad city, and that is also why later composers changed it to “Vagharshabad Dance”, to keep the tradition and the name.

There is a possibility that Komitas might have based his version on N. Dikranian work, as both versions are quite similar. However Robert Atayan [39] concluded that it is unlikely, because even if both versions look similar they have different ornamentations. Komitas’ version is more fluent and less ornamented, when Dikranian’s is richer. Judging from the difference in the ornamentations, we may conclude that Komitas version was taken from the village people and is folk in its origin [40] . It is also a fact that at the time when Komitas wrote it, he did not know or have met Dikranian [41] . So the possibility of adoption of Dikranian’s work by Komitas is most unlikely. Another thing is that in those times the idea of writing dances, and especially transcribing dances and classifying them, as “the Armenian Dances” did not exist. Therefore we can assume that the 1st version of Komitas- 1902 [42] and Dikranian’s earlier transcription are written apart form each other.

It is a pity that the main theme is left unknown, or in those times no one could remember how it has began, and through time we only have Dikranian’s and Komitas’ versions, from which the latest is taken as a base for the further variations by other composers and study by musicologists. This piece is transcribed to piano, string quartet and chamber orchestral piece as well.

Through two major musicologists and composers, N. Dikranian and Komitas, and their efforts, the two valuable versions of “Ranki” are preserved to this day. Both represent two different major schools through the way in which it is introduced in national and instrumental- performance style.

 As to the way of its performance, it may be a solo female dance (according to Komitas piano version, which we will talk about later in page 45), and is played by Nay and Tar instruments. The occasion of the performance is not mentioned anywhere and at the time when Komitas transcribed the piece it was almost lost and being forgotten.

Nowadays the dance is still alive and many dance groups in Armenia and the Diaspora use it as a theme to perform. And as to the dance steps, different choreographers use the old traditional steps, but enrich it with the new techniques and modern ideas. This dance is not a piece played or danced in different occasions such as in weddings or any other traditional gatherings. It is more a dance piece, which is studied and performed by new choreographers and the composers create new versions with new ideas. 

5.1. The Nature

As a main reference we are going to take the first version by Komitas, which he transcribed it in 1902 from the local villagers in Vagharshabad, because all the coming composers based their arrangements on his version.

In Komitas first version (1902), we see that as a tempo he mentioned “presto” on the piece, but later the piano arrangement (1907) is slower in tempo (….=48), and characterized by the word “Nazani” (in Armenian meaning “gracious”) in the header. It is very possible that that the first version was taken from a fast exciting dance based on the tempo “presto” he used, but he had in his mind another version to arrange later in a slower tempo with having in mind the word “Nazani” which we can relate it to the “Naz Bar” which is an Armenian traditional female dance, meaning “grace dance” and is always performed by a group of female dancers or as solo performance. And for this main reason, it may give us the probability to say that this dance may be a soft (slow) female dance. Another certainty is that Komitas mentioned specific instrument names, the “Nay and Tar” (see page 45), to give the inspiration and the spirit, of how to play and feel the peace. He did not mention any percussive instruments that are used usually in any exciting and fast dance. Another evidence is that he is mentioning the “Nay” and not “Zurna” for example, and what we know is that “Nay” is an instrument used for calm and soft music, on the contrary from Zurna.

Other composers such as Babadjanian transcribed the piece in the form of a heroic theme and more suitable for the male dancers, judging from the form, rhythm and the dynamics of the dance (we will analyze this in the coming chapters page 55). The possible reason might be in the name of “Vagharshabad” as a great city bearing the significance of a national symbol and it's historic values and perhaps also in the mention of “presto” in Komitas original transcription.

5.2. Form- Version 1902 By Komitas

The melody consists of three themes where the second theme is repeated twice, once in the middle and second in the end. The first theme consists of 8 measures, the second- 4 measures and the third- five measures and then in conclusion repeating the second theme slightly different in 6 measures. 

We can divide the measures also in this way:

1st Part
2nd Part
“question”
  4  +  4
(2+2) (2+2)
A
“answer”
4
(2+2)
B
“question”
2  +  3
2  +  3
C
“answer”
4   +   2
(2+2)  2
B’

As a conclusion we can see that the form is based on A-B-C-B’. As we see some of the amount of measures of the dance is not divided equally. In its piano version of 1907 it is more structured, and the melody has few changes, which we will discuss later (look to the other versions of Komitas page 48).

 Also with Babadjanian, we see that he based his piano arrangement on Komitas’ piano version, where in B and B’ the numbers of the measures are the same. This symmetric form (having equal measures) can fit more logically to a classical European dance form [43] , but not specifically to the Armenian folk dance. This idea is more obvious in C as well, where the measures of the version 1902 are changed by Komitas later in 1907, and in Babadjanian version was changed as well to 4 measures, which helped in not breaking the rhythm and make it more symmetric. It can be because both had transformed the monodic folk theme to a classical arrangement, and as well as the unsymmetrical folk form to a symmetrical classical form.

This transformation from non-symmetrical to symmetrical number of measures doesn’t prove that the main theme of 1902 is wrongly transcribed, because the music of Armenia and its neighborhood is rich by non-symmetrical forms and even not-paired (odd) rhythms. This change to symmetrical with Komitas and Babadjanian may be based on their European classical background and education [44] .

5.3. Tonality And Scale

As to the tonality Komitas is using on the key F sharp and C sharp and during the melody we see a B flat, while in the higher octave we observe a change in the F sharp becoming F natural. If we put all the used notes together, in the conclusion we come to this scale, which is the combination of three chained tetra-chords in the form of 1- ½ - 1 / ½ - 1 ½ - ½ / 1 – ½ - 1. 

It is 2 kinds of tetra-cords where the first one is repeated twice. These tetra-cords are also mentioned in Komitas studies on the origin of Armenian music. (See page 33) 

One of the differences between the classical and the folk music is that the classical system is based on the Octaves [45] , and the Armenian folk scale is not. In the folk scale, it is formed by chains of tetra-chords (usually the sum is not an “octave”), each of these tetra-chords have its strongest note which we call “tonic of tetra-chord” and from these tonic tetra-chords, the strongest becomes the main “tonic” of these chains that form the scale. That is why it is “monotonic”, which means that they have only one tonic note, and it is never repeated again (on a higher or lower octave). And also because of this same reason they have the tendency to go to the middle, that is all the notes from above and the bottom have the tendency to go to the only tonic, which is placed in the middle.

If we say so then theoretically we will have the idea of a non ending chains of tetra-chords, but practically this is not possible because; first if we start to go further than the usual scale (2-3 tetra-chords), the binding and the intensity of the relation between the notes may decrease, and second because folk music is made by the people and mostly is sang or played on folk instruments, so it is limited in the human voice register. Also folkloric instrument register is usually arranged between one or mostly in two octaves, and it is not large as the classical instruments nowadays.

In the folk music range, mostly it is made of three chains of tetra-cords, making a ten notes consisting scale, which is called “tega-chord”.

         The Armenian folk music exists of four main tegachords:

1. Hypoprukian-Lokrian Tega-chord

2. Hypotrian-Eolian Tega-chord

3. Harmonic Tega-chord

4. Hypoeonian-mixolitian Tega-chord [46]

If we analyze “Yeranki-Yerevani” 1902, we can see that the combination of the tetra-chords matches to the Harmonic tega-chord.

The Harmonic tega-chord is called so because the middle tetra-chord, which is the main (½  – 1 ½ - ½), is a Harmonic tetra-chord.

As we look to the picture above we see that A is the tonic and D is the dominant. The reason is because in the folk music the tonic is usually in the middle (see page 41).  Another characteristic of the Harmonic tega-chord is that there is the tendency for the “dominant” to become a tonic as well, and the reason is the “second augmented” that we have in the middle tetra-chord, it can equally dissolve in both higher and lower directions, to the tonic and to the dominant [47] .   

And this we can apply it on “Ranki” as well

Also we can realize that if we take both the tonic and the dominant as beginning notes, the first ascending and the second descending, we may see that they reflect each other like mirrors, having the same distance from the note to the other.

Another characteristic of a Harmonic tega-chord is the “low note”, which appears in the third tetra-chord, in the second note. The same note E appears twice in the scale but only in the higher register changes to a “low note”

If we look to the example above, we realize that the E, which is below the tonic, as a tending higher tetra-chord note, is high and has an ascending movement [48] (which is another reason for E to shift to E sharp), where as the higher E has the tendency to go down to D, the first note of the third tetra-chord, which is also the dominant of the whole scale, as well as the tendency to the tonic, so with these two reasons it becomes logical to have the higher E as a low note.

But as we look to the transcription of Komitas “Ranki”, we see that he did not mention this low note, as it is supposed to be in a Harmonic tega-chord, (in his version the low notes equivalent to E). The reason might be coming from a classical background he had, also considering that later in all cases it will be a well tempered piano piece, so any way the low-note E, will not be possible to play. Another reason is the fact that he was familiar with all the folk systems and whether he mentioned it on his paper or not, for him it would be clear the kind and the tonality of the piece. 

5.4. Ambitious

The “Ambitious” of the piece is arranged between F sharp and G

And we see twice a first octave E sharp, once in the second measure and another time in the fourth measure.

If we try to compare the notes to the Harmonic tega-chord, we realize that we must have an E instead of the E sharp because it is the first note of the first tetra-chord (for this specific scale that we are talking about).  But in Komitas version (1902) we don’t see any E, and what we see instead is an E sharp which appears twice but only as a “grace” note. It can be that this piece is played only in this range and having the E sharp as a “grace” note, we cannot take it as a main. Also because in the later other versions, he changed this passing E sharp as a normal E [49] . And also this E sharp in the version 1907 (D sharp in the reality), is written as a main note but in brackets, which might be meaning that it is as the performer taste, whether doing it E sharp or E natural [50] .

As a conclusion it might be that this note is an E sharp, but which if we consider will give another range of tetra-chord, but being mentioned only as a Cue note and only twice, and also in Komitas different versions more mentioned as an E natural except in the piano version (1907) which is an E sharp [51] but in brackets, we may say that it is more possible to consider the E sharp originally an E natural, but attracted to the “tonic” of the first tetra-chord F sharp (see page tonality 41, or even to the main “tonic” A.

6.Komitas- “Yeranki-yerevani” Piano version 1907

6.1. The Nature

The Komitas transcription to “Yeranki” dance goes to the year 1902, February 22. Later in 1906 it became a part of a series of dances called “6 dances”. The first time being played as a dance series, was in a concert in December 1, 1906 in Paris by the pianist Sh. Babayan [52] under the title “Armenian Dances”, in which “Ranki” was one of the dances.

In the form of “6 Dances”, “Ranki” is the first dance and it is played as an introduction to the other coming dances “Unapi” - “Marali” - “Shoushiki” – “Hed-arach” - “Shoror-Garno”.

There are many versions of the same theme (Ranki) made by the composer, done in different times between 1902 and 1916, and in different places – Etchmiadzin, Paris, Berlin, Constantinople. These versions are written almost the same when it concerns the melody, with slight difference in the ornamentations or the accompanying notes, and in their relation with the main melody. But mostly it is different in the tempo - Presto, Allegro, Grazioso, measures - 6/4, 6/8, 10/16 and the keys

It is obvious that he made many constant changes in the piece, and that is may be because he was experimenting with new ideas and new methods, or simply being a perfectionist. There are some scratch notation scripts by Komitas between the years 1904-1905, about some ideas of transcribing this piece into a small orchestral piece, where he noted about writing it for string instruments and even later to add percussive instruments as well. However this orchestral version was never found. Another idea he had was to write it for two “Nay” and two “Tar” instruments, and this is the second fact where we come to the chamber orchestration. But again we have no proves whether he wrote these versions but got lost in the 1915 tragedy, or he never wrote them but only had some experimental ideas in his mind.

  The version that is printed is the one from the year 1907, and it is mostly used in the time being. There is also a publishing made in Paris in 1925, under the name “Komitas Vartapet”, it included the “Six Dances” [53] .

The name of the Dance is “Yeranki-Yerevani”, taken as a tempo   …=48, and beside it written  “Nazani” meaning “Gracely”, also mentioning the name of two instruments “Nay” and “Tar”, where he says it should be played in the style of these two instruments. It is also written in the beginning of the piece  “to be played always piano (tender) and equally”.

6.2. Rhythm                       

 Concerning the rhythm Komitas writes 12/8, although the original version 1902 is written in 6/8. It is conceivable that the reason lies in the phrasing sentences of the original version 1902, where each 2 measures are actually one phrase. And in this piano version we can see it more clearly because of the writing system of 12/8, where the whole phrase (which was two measures in the original version) lies in one measure, divided by a bar into two semi-measures.

He made changes in the rhythm as well, where he transformed the tempo from a fast “presto” to a slow tempo ....= 48. This change in tempo made each phrase in the slower version of 12/8 gain more time, and consequently gave to Komitas more freedom to play with the rhythm, by using more rhythmic ornaments in the spirit of the often used Armenian rhythm in different variations through the themes A, B, C.

In part A:

Komitas 1902



Komitas 1907
In part B:
In part C:

6.3. Form

This piano version still contains three themes on the basis of A-B-C-B. He made few changes in the structure, where the unequal measures became even, as we see in the part C where the original version is (2+3) measures, becoming (2+4) in the piano version, and equal, where the part B and B’ in the original, which don’t have the same number of measures B=(2+2) and B’=(4+2), became equal in the piano version in both B=(2+2). Therefore we have A=2+2, B=2+2, C=2+4, B=2+2. If we compare this with the first original version, we get:

Original Theme (1902)
 Piano version (1907)
6/8
(4+4)
A
(2+2)
B
(2+3)
  C 
(4+2)
B’ 
12/8
(2+2)
A
(2+2)
B
(2+4)
C
(2+2)
B

As we notice, the C and B’ in the original version have been changed to even and equal measures in the piano version 1907.

6.4. Tonality, Scale And Harmony

The tonality of the melody is in G Harmonic-Tegachord (one tone lower than the original version 1907), where G is the Tonic and C is the Dominant.

In the beginning of the piece we see a special way of writing the keys

and the reason may be his classical education, because Komitas knew all the rules of the classical music [54] . Therefore in order to be able to use the A flat, he first neutralized the B and E flats, and kept the A. This kind of writing we can see very often in Komitas’ pieces. Perhaps he found it easier to write the keys the way they should be from the beginning, instead of writing in the classical rules and then make many changes in the piece. Komitas kept the classical form, just neutralized what was not needed from it, and left what he needed for the piece. What is a fact also is that he tried many ways to find the best solution to write the keys. In the folk style the Gamma is completely different from the classical. The proof is his many attempts in the method of alteration, where in each version he tried different ways. But obviously this version is more logical for the player to read and understand, and that is why it is more accepted.

In most of the piece Komitas was thinking harmonically of another “tonic”, which is C, and is shown especially in the beginning and the end of the theme as a repetitive base-accompanying note.

As a conclusion, we have two “tonics”: one melodic, which is G, and the pther harmonic, which is C.  

6.5. Style

As we go through the piece, we realize that the way he transcribed it is in the style of “Nay” and “Tar” instruments (as he shows it in the beginning). When we look to the notes, we see clearly a melody and an accompaniment, which are being played.

The melody can be replaced by “Nay” instrument and we see it marked with the notes whose lines are tending high, and the duration sometimes when needed are kept long,

and accompanied with the “Tar” instrument, marked with the notes whose lines are tending down. The reason why we can confirm that he wrote exactly the style of the “Tar” and “Nay”, is because “Nay” is a wood wind instrument and mostly people play the main melody with it. And “Tar” is an instrument where in its technique of playing, there is always a repetitive note, which goes through the melody almost without stopping and sometimes changing, except very rare, and it is used as a base-accompanying note. And here in “Yeranki” we can see those repetitive notes as C, G, F and very rare A flat.

It is common sometimes for the “Tar” to tune the double string notes, one an octave higher then the other, therefore while playing on one string we can hear a tune played as if played with two instruments in different octaves. This can be another characteristic of this version which gives us the prove of having the “Tar” specifically as the second instrument, because both left and right hands (in the piano version), play exactly the same, without any change, except the right is two octaves higher than the left.  

From the beginning till the end Komitas kept the spirit of the ”Tar” and “Nay”, and he did not add any chords and harmonies to sound it richer, perhaps he wanted to keep the spirit of the piece as pure and simple as it was delivered to him. This way it is easier to see the reflection of the dance, although to interpret for a pianist such simple and fine piece sometimes (not to say most of the times) is very difficult, because one must find the right atmosphere, the right balance and feeling to be able to transfer this simplicity.

As simple as the piece is, as much as little dynamics we find in it, but he made clear all the important changes he wanted to have through little but clear directions. It is very possible that because of the simplicity of the piece Komitas did not want to make it very wavy with dynamics, also to give the freedom to the interpreter to put his/her feelings by combining it with the information that is found on the paper.

As we go through the piece we can realize the whole process of the development, where it starts gracefully and piano “Always piano and equal”, until we reach the part C where it becomes more energetic “Poco a poco energico” and after two measures from C where the bridge starts to go back to B, we see “Poco a poco animato et frescamente” and the climax is on the beginning of the second two measures of the bridge where it delivers the melody back to B, is written “ “Poco a poco vivamente con spelendore” and on the return to the second B, it calms down “Con grazia e civettera” which stays till the end. So most of the time we see that it is in a calm atmosphere, where in C we see the development of the piece and with it the dynamic which goes more and more energetic, until it reaches to the Recapitulation B (the second time) where it relaxes again. We should not forget to mention that in the end under the last line, it is written “The second time to play the same more gentle and more piano, and one octave higher”. By doing so the whole atmosphere goes even gentler especially when it is played an octave higher. The piece is already written in the higher octave of the middle register of the piano (the most used part), where the right hand is in the second octave. And the second time eventually goes an octave higher, which is the third octave; eventually we reach to the high register of the piano, which is mostly used or played to give a certain atmosphere or character, and most of the time is meant for “Piano” less sound dynamic, or even to give the impressionistic figure. But In this case the nearest logical thought is to make it sound less and more gentle.

We can also find some “crescendos”  (ascending in sound), “Diminuendo” (descending in sound), which go parallel to the ascending and descending of the melody, may be to give a better idea and to understand those specific parts to be played eventually with less sound or louder.

An important role in this piece to my opinion, play the “Staccato” and the “_”, which create a special character and style. We find that all the repetitive notes, which are meant to present the “Tar” character, are marked “staccato”. It can be because the instrument itself when played, those repetitive notes are meant to be the base accompaniment, and cannot last too long, because of the technique how it is played and that is by pinching the string with hard leather. If we look to the combination of the “Staccato” and the “_”, and analyze how they sound, we can find a relation between the piece and the character of the Armenian “Naz Bar”, which gives us the inspiration of the Armenian girl who is dancing gracefully and “flirting”. Also as we mentioned before, Komitas is also uses the word “civetteria” in the end of the part B’, which means the word “flirt” in Italian.  

6.6. The Alterations D sharp or D, And The E flat or E

Concerning the D sharp which is an E sharp in the original version 1902, we see the change from a Cue note in the original to a normal in the piano version (also in the other versions), but what is interesting is that in the piano version he mentions it in brackets, which means that it is not obligatory, only as the interpreter desires. Also in all the other versions he never uses the sharp, this version is the only one and still is not obligatory.

There is also some research by R. Atayan, where he mentions the D sharp as a request from M. Babayan and her sister Sh. Babayan (close friends to Komitas) who was the person playing these pieces. Maybe for this reason Komitas mentions it in brackets, which can give us the doubt he did not like the idea very much but couldn’t reject the pianists request. Also may be this is why this version is the only one where we see the D sharp [55] .

Another reason of using brackets for D sharp is the harmonic C (see the tonality), which has an attraction on the D sharp to shift it to D neutral. 

And what considers the E, neutralized on the key and flatted inside the piece in the higher octave, we can say that Komitas gave the priority to the lower E neutral in the scale, which has the tendency to go up to the tonic G [56] . In an earlier version he used different method by putting both E and E flat on the key. [57]    

6.7. Conclusion

There are many reasons why we can consider this piece of a high value and important as an Armenian folk piece. One of the reasons is because he kept it pure and simple, although he had the European education and knew very well the Harmony and the Theory of European music; Germany was his biggest school and which played a big role in his life and education. But still Komitas stayed loyal to the Armenian spirit and style, by using as inspiration the traditional instruments ”Tar and Nay”, and the atmosphere or imagination of the Armenian girl dancing in grace and “Nazani”. Another reason is that although a part of his life Komitas spent in Paris, and was very fond of Debussy and Ravel, as it was the revolutionary time of impressionism, he did not get in those waves, and we can see that he is out of those affections. He had his own style and nationality, which if heard, could directly addresses us to the composer’s inner soul.   

7. Babadjanian – “Vagharshapat Dance”

7.1. The Nature

The name, which was “Yeranki – Yerevani”, was changed and renamed “Vagharshapat dance” even before Babadjanian’s version, by other composers too. The reason might be more historical, to keep the city name “vagharshapt” an important role in the Armenians tradition, also to relate the piece to its roots. As we mentioned before as well, sometime Komitas himself named the dance as “Vagharshabad Dance”, -this might have given them the permission and the right to change the name, or to rename it.

Babadjanian has written this piece in 1970’s. It is a piece that can be played alone, or most of the time with a “prelude” that comes before.

7.2. Rhythm

 The tempo here is faster than Komitas version and in general much more energetic and “masculine”, where the rhythmical and harmonic richness dominates the piece. He took the tempo “Allegretto” and as a measure 6/8, on the contrary from Komitas’ piano version, which is written in “Grazioso” and 12/8. It is very much possible as well, because the original version 1902 was already in “presto” and 6/8.

The piece starts with two rhythmical measures, as an introduction, where Babadjanian gives us the character of the percussive instrument, which brings us, directly from the beginning, to the energetic atmosphere. If we imagine the Armenian percussive sensation (specially that all the Armenian dances in general are accompanied by percussive instruments), where we can translate it, if it is played on “Tumpook”, in the following way:

…… with stem down = Dum : it is the base beat played in the center of the skin.

……. with stem up = Tack : it is the treble beat played on the side of the skin.

 We can simplify this rhythm to the following:

After these two measures (introduction), the melody begins accompanied with the same rhythmical feeling, even though he doesn’t show clearly the accents as much as he shows in the first two measures.

7.3. Form

The structure goes the same as Komitas’ piano version A-B-C-B, repeated twice these two times are repeated with slightly small changes in the harmony and the register. We also notice that he added two measures of introduction, which we talked about them in the previous chapter of rhythm, and in the end there is an extra measure (F major chord), which comes as a conclusion.

1st time
2st time
(2)
intro
(2+2)(2+2)
A
(2+2)(2+2)
B


(2+2)(4)

  C 

(2+2)(2+2)
B
(2+2)(2+2)
A
(2+2)(2+2)
B
(2+4)(4)
C
(2+2)(2+2)
B
(1)
fin

7.4. Tonality, Scale And Harmony

The scale of the piece is as the following:

which is almost the same as the original version 1902, but transposed two tones lower. The difference is in the lower note D flat that he used, instead of the C sharp (which is an E sharp in the 1902 version).

As to the tonality, Babadjanian writes it under the B flat major, although in the piece generally we can see lots of changes in harmony and tonality, as well in the end he finishes in F major (where F is the “tonic” of the tega-chord). Of course these many changes come from the reason that the Gamma of this piece is not classified under the classical rules because of its folkloric origin, and if we try to write it under the classical scale, it won’t suit any. But because of the rich harmony that he is using, and the time he composed being in the modern epic, where using many different complicated and unconnected harmonies to the tonality became normal, it can be acceptable.

On the contrary from Komitas, who kept the melody pure and clear, and more related to its monodic folk spirit, Babadjanian used the modern harmonies as a base for developing the same tune, which took the theme further from its origin and brought it closer to the side of classical European form of developing a piano tune. He put it in the common spirit of the modern Armenian style of his period.

7.5. Style 

We can have a clear idea about the style if we look to the dynamics and the “Rubattos” which Babadjanian uses through the piece. The many “ritenutos” that we see, which are placed always before the Part B, in the last measures of A and C, in both times, and that is to prepare the entrance of the part B. It might be because B is the repetitive part of the piece, and to make it more showing, he made a big entrance by using the “ritenutos”.

This version has also many dynamical changes, from “pianissimo” to “fortissimo”. What we can notice is that Babadjanian always goes to “piano” or “pianissimo” when he starts with part B, which is the refrain. So he prepares this B by first making a “ritenuto” and then starts the B with piano. There is only one exception and that is before the last B part, where he goes to “fortissimo”, but that is because it is the climax of the piece. Later in the same part B, he goes back to piano and ends it softly.

Of course we shouldn’t forget the pedaling, which is used very often, simply because it is full of chords and many hand jumping between the big intervals. To make the melody go fluently and connect the harmonies we must use the pedal continuously.

 7.6. Conclusion

After mentioning all the characteristics of the piece we can realize that it is completely different and even opposite to Komitas’ version. This one has more an exciting character, with many “Rubatos” and dynamic differences, as well as the harmonic structure which is very much complicated comparing to Komitas’ version. This makes the piece look more powerful with sound, and the fast tempo with full of chords makes it more technical, which takes us to the conclusion of being more of a “male” or “masculine” dance. And also we can find a little bit of romanticism with the “Rubattos” Babadjanian used.

8. Final Opinion

If we would compare both Komitas piano version and Babajanian’s version, we can see that as much as Komitas’ version is simple from the harmony side and calm in tempo, on the contrary is Babadjanian’s, which is full of harmonic complexity and very dynamic in rhythm and very much energetic. We cannot say that Babadjanian’s version is better because of the richness of the structure and harmonies; he lived in a time where to use such chords and harmonic sequences was very common and very much acceptable. We also cannot say that Komitas version is “primitive” because, first as him being an ethnomusicologist, he preferred to stay in the characteristic of the Armenian folk spirit, which is already rich in its way and its form. Because of this he had to stay in a certain borders, which made it possible to keep the piece in its origin, and that is: the Armenian instrumental characters, the image of the Armenian woman dancing in grace, and also we might say the transparency of the people who went early morning to the fields and enjoy work by singing and dancing and creating music spontaneously. In the end, what is music if not the creation of joy, peace and simplicity, combined with time and tradition of the people, each in their own character and style.

As to Babadjanian’s version, we can see that it is more technical and more powerful with sound and dynamics, more complex with harmonies and rhythmically it is faster and more percussive, where as harmonically it is modern-classical, except that he took an Armenian traditional melody and transcribed it to a piano piece, as a piece of his time and his own. While listening to it or analyzing it we can still hear the Armenian old melody, but as being kept in its tradition or exactly in its own style, is a bit argumentative. But for sure and with no doubt it has its own value as a characteristic and classical piece composed by Babadjanian, where we can see a bit of the Russian influence as well (in the way he uses the harmonies), him being spent most of his life time living between Russia and Armenia. 

No doubt that these two versions open to us a different perspective of two different versions of the same piece, and present to us two different schools in different times. And by mentioning time, we may see that although the difference in time is less than a century, but the style and the structure of the of the music development is very huge.

Komitas by being one of the first founders of the Armenian music school, and the one who saved most of the old traditional folk and church music, through time made possible to the coming composers musicologists and musicians to develop their style and character based on the old and traditional system, refreshed by the new and different ideas of the present, which would also be a bridge to our future.

9.Bibliography

 M. Haroutunian, P.  Parsamian, “Hay yerajshdoutyan Badmoutun”. Edition “Nor Tbrots”, Yerevan, 1996.

A. Batmakrian, “Hay Yerke Tareri Michits”. Offset press Donuigian broth, 2nd edition, Beirut, 1977.

M. A. Proudian, “HayJoghovertagan Yerajshdagan   Sdeghdzakordzoutun”, Yerevan, 1983.         

Komitas, “Hotvadzner yev Usumnasiroutunner”, Yerevan, 1941.

V. Nersessian, “Essays on Armenian Music”, London, 1978.

R. Soulahian Kuyumjian, “Archeology Of Madness”- Komitas, Portrait of Armenian Icon, Komitas Institution Princetone, New Jersey, 2001.

A. Shahvertian, “Hay Yerajshdoutyan Badmoutyan Agnargner”, Haybedhrad Yerevan, 1959.

V. Vartanian, “Haverj Jamport”, Beirut, 1991. 

R. Atayan, “Komitas”- Solo Piano works, Yerevan.

M. Khorenatsi, “History of the Armenians”

[1] Dr. Dikran kouyumjian, “The Arts Of Armenia”

[2] Markarit Haroutunian Anna Parsamian,“Hay Yerajshdoutyan Batmoutun” (Armenian Music History), yerevan 1996, p. 14, 19.

[3] Dr. Dikran Houyumjian, “The Art of Armenia”

[4] A. Batmakrian, ”Hay Yerke Tareri Michits” (Armenian Songs Through The Ages), 2nd edition Beirut 1977, p.24.

[5] Dr. Dikran kouyumjian, “The Arts Of Armenia”.

[6] A. Batmakrian,”Hay Yerke Tareri Michits” (Armenian Songs Through The Ages), 2nd edition Beirut 1977, p. 65.

[7] M. A. Proudian, “Hay Joghovertagan Yerajshdagan Sdeghdzakordzoutun” (Armenian Folk Music Creation), Yerevan 1983, p. 8.

[8] We can ask the question why the Armenian folk music has less ornamentation than the ones of the surrounding countries, or whether earlier they had more and only with time (in the last century) it started to get less and less. We will not talk about this in details in this issue because it is a subject to a different research.

[9] M. Demirjian, “Armenian Music” in “Aztag” daily newspaper, 16 January 2001.

[10] For more details see p. 25.

[11] A. Batmakrian, ”Hay Yerke Tareri Michits” (Armenian Songs Through The Ages), 2nd edition Beirut 1977, p. 73.

[12] Dr. Dikran kouyumjian, “The Arts Of Armenia”

[13] One of the famous Armenian troubadours, who lived in the 18th century.

[14] A. Batmakrian, ”Hay Yerke Tareri Michits” (Armenian Songs Through The Ages), 2nd edition Beirut 1977, p. 57.

[15] Komitas, “Hotvadzner Yev Usoumnasiroutunner”, Yerevan 1941, p. 139.

[16] A. Batmakrian, ”Hay Yerke Tareri Michits” (Armenian Songs Through The Ages), 2nd edition Beirut 1977, p. 232.

[17] V. Nersessian, “Essays On Armenian Music”, by R. Atayan “Armenische Chasen”, London 1978, p. 141.

[18] A. Batmakrian, ”Hay Yerke Tareri Michits” (Armenian Songs Through The Ages), 2nd edition Beirut 1977, p. 239.

[19] A. Batmakrian, ”Hay Yerke Tareri Michits” (Armenian Songs Through The Ages), 2nd edition Beirut 1977, p. 241.

[20] R. Soulahian Kuyumjian, “Archeology Of Madness”, Komitas, Portrait of an Armenian Icon, Komitas Institute Princeton, New Jersey, 2001, p. 33.

[21] R. Soulahian Kuyumjian, “Archeology Of Madness”, Komitas, Portrait of an Armenian Icon, Komitas Institute Princeton, New Jersey, 2001, p. 43, 44.

[22] A. Shahvertian, “Hay Yerajshdoutyan Badmoutyan Agnargner” (Armenian Music History Comments), Haybedhrad Yerevan, 1959, p. 358, 359.

[23] V. Vartanian, “Haverj Djamport” (Eternal Traveler), Beirut, 1991, p. 112.

[24] Markarit Haroutunian Anna Parsamian,“Hay Yerajshdoutyan Batmoutun” (Armenian Music History), yerevan 1996, p. 113-114.

[25] A. Batmakrian, ”Hay Yerke Tareri Michits” (Armenian Songs Through The Ages), 2nd edition Beirut 1977, p. 298.

[26]   Komitas, “Hotvadzner Yev Usoumnasiroutunner”, Yerevan 1941, p. 10-11.

[27] Markarit Haroutunian Anna Parsamian,“Hay Yerajshdoutyan Batmoutun” (Armenian Music History), yerevan 1996, p. 115.

[28] Komitas, “Hotvadzner Yev Usoumnasiroutunner”, Yerevan 1941, p. 24.

[29] V. Nersessian, “Essays On Armenian Music”, by S. Poladian “Komitas vartapet and His contribution to the to the ethnomusicology” London 1978, p. 19.

[30] V. Nersessian, “Essays On Armenian Music”, by S. Poladian “Komitas vartapet and His contribution to the to the ethnomusicology” London 1978, p. 25.

[31] Markarit Haroutunian Anna Parsamian, “Hay Yerajshdoutyan Batmoutun” (Armenian Music History), yerevan 1996, p. 115.

[32] V. Nersessian, “Essays On Armenian Music”, by S. Poladian “Komitas vartapet and His contribution to the to the ethnomusicology” London 1978, p. 23.

[33] A. Shahvertian, “Hay Yerajshdoutyan Badmoutyan Agnargner” (Armenian Music History Comments), Haybedhrad Yerevan, 1959, p. 357.

[34] Markarit Haroutunian Anna Parsamian, “Hay Yerajshdoutyan Batmoutun” (Armenian Music History), yerevan 1996, p. 118-119.

[35] A. Shahvertian, “Hay Yerajshdoutyan Badmoutyan Agnargner” (Armenian Music History Comments), Haybedhrad Yerevan, 1959, p. 416.

[36] Markarit Haroutunian Anna Parsamian, “Hay Yerajshdoutyan Batmoutun” (Armenian Music History), yerevan 1996, p. 324-328.

[37] Ranki as well as Yeranki has the same meaning, in different dialect meaning colorful.

[38] In the MAGAKROUTUN no. 587, it is mentioned that the name "Yeranki" is given by M. Babayan after 1925, when she sent the notes to Yerevan so that it would be published. In Komitas' all versions, the name is remained "Ranki". And in no. 581 we can see a version of the piece written in Armenian and French “Rangue a la Tar”, in 1906 December 1, before a concert in France (referred by R. Atayan).

[39] R. Atayan is a musicologist and specialist in Komitas

[40] N. Dikranian also took his version from the people and the difference in the ornamentation might come from the reason or the logic that the melody could not be played twice, with the same ornamentations, simply because it was always partly improvised even if it was a piece that has been learned. 

[41] R. Atayan, “Komitas”, Yerevan, p. 185.

[42] Komitas had more than one version for this piece.

[43] Dance music must be equal in its form and must have pair measures to fit the choreography.

[44] The symmetrical form is more favorable and used in the European classical dances.

[45] An octave consists of 8 notes, where the 8th note is taken as a beginning to the next octave.

[46] M. A. Proudian,  “Hay Joghovertagan Yerajshdagan Sdeghdzakordzoutun”  (Armenian Folk Music Creation), Yerevan 1983, p.22, 23, 29.

[47] M. A. Proudian,  “Hay Joghovertagan Yerajshdagan Sdeghdzakordzoutun”  (Armenian Folk Music Creation), Yerevan 1983, p. 30, 46.

[48] M. A. Proudian,  “Hay Joghovertagan Yerajshdagan Sdeghdzakordzoutun”  (Armenian Folk Music Creation), Yerevan 1983, p. 21.

[49] In other transcriptions the E is equivalent to D because he changed the tonality from “G Harmonic tega-chord”, to “A harmonic tega-chord”. But as a comparison between the scales it is the same range and the same distance.

[50] More details about this Cue note see page       in the piano version 1907, where it appears as a D sharp because of the change of the tonality

[51] In the piano version this E sharp will appear as a D sharp, because he changed the tonality.

[52] It is also known that these dances were being written for her, because she was a close friend to Komitas and a well-known pianist and singer in Paris. She was the sister of Marko Babayan.

[53] R. Atayan, page 152, 153, 158-no. 28, 159, 187.

[54] He knew that to have an A flat, first we must have B and E flat. Therefore by having these three B-E-A flats, we may have the C minor or E flat major tonality.

[55] R. Atayan, “Komitas”, Yerevan, Page 193.

[56] R. Atayan, “Komitas”, Yerevan, Page 196.

[57] In the version 1905 Komitas used on the key                Op. 572, in this way he showed exactly all the alterations that are being used.

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