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Title: The Šarakan Hymn Tunes and their Subdivisions
Author(s): HAKOBIAN, Levon
Journal: Revue des Études Arméniennes
Volume: 33    Date: 2011   
Pages: 283-315
DOI: 10.2143/REA.33.0.2144987

Abstract :
One of Komitas’s papers reads: ‘There are ten Šarakan hymn tunes: eight jayn and two stełi... The total number of main Šarakan tunes and their subdivisions is fourty...’. Taking Komitas’s remark as starting point, I have tried to reveal the meaning of his terms ‘main tune’ and ‘subdivision’ and to find out the real number of different tunes (or, to put it more scientifically, melodic models) represented in Šarakan. According to the established view, the whole body of Šarakan hymns is divided among eight principal models (echoi, jayn), each of them having its ‘satellites’ known as darjvack‘ and steghi. The number of various darjvack‘ models represented in the classical manual of N. T‘aščean is 9, while the number of stełi is 3; hence, the total number of melodic models (8 + 9 + 3 = 20) is considerably inferior to that indicated by Komitas. The systematization of models in T‘aščean’s book was based on their scales and the positions of their functional tones (i. e., those tones which, in terms of the Western church music theory, are equivalent to repercussa, confinalis, and finalis). To grade the Šarakan tunes in a more minute manner, I have introduced such additional criteria as characteristic melodic turns, versification of verbal texts, and distinctive xaz (neumatic) patterns. Taking into consideration all these criteria, I have distinguished at least 32 ‘subdivisions’ within the eight principal echoi; there are also four tunes whose positions within the whole system of echoi seem to be rather unclear. Hence, the number of the revealed melodic models fluctuates between 40 and 44, i.e. virtually coincides with that mentioned in Komitas’s paper.

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