Black Sea Sketches is a portrait of some of the diverse musical cultures surrounding the Black Sea and in its hinterlands. Its six separate chapters follow a very broad trajectory from close-ups of traditional music (chapters 1-4) towards wide-angle studies of art music (chapters 5-6), and each of them opens windows to big, border-crossing themes about music and place. A wide variety of repertoires is discussed: ancient layers of polyphonic music, bardic songs, traditional music from the coasts and mountains, the sacred music of Islam and Orthodox Christianity, the art music of Europe and West Asia, and present-day popular music ‘scenes’. The usual practice is for each chapter to begin with a Black Sea coastal location before reaching out into the hinterlands. The result is a collection of six relatively discrete essays on different locations and topics, but with underlying thematic continuities, and offering a wide-ranging commentary on cultural difference. Firmly grounded in ethnographic and documentary research, this is an important study for scholars and researchers of Ethnomusicology, as also of Caucasian and Russian/East European Studies.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Homo Polyphonicus
Chapter 2 Giants, Heroes and Circassians
Chapter 3 Not Only Greeks
Chapter 4 Across the Sea
Chapter 5 Building Houses
Chapter 6 Placing Composers
Jim Samson has published widely on the music of Chopin and Liszt, on analytical and aesthetic topics in 19th and 20th century music, and on the cultural histories of East Central and South Eastern Europe.