Ensemble “Rustavi” Administration Press Release, September 14th, 2019


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Connecting with the 50th anniversary of the Ensemble “Rustavi”, there has been published a very important anthology – “400 Georgian Folk Songs”.


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Specialist in folklore


On May 18th, 2001 UNESCO proclaimed Georgian folk song a Masterpiece of the Intangible Heritage of the Humanity’s Spiritual Culture. Before this world recognition, the Georgian folk song attracted attention of the outstanding foreign authority (Romain Rolland, Peter Tchaikovsky, Igor Stravinsky, Boris Asafyev, Siegfried Nadel, Chinghiz Aitmatov, Mstislav Rostropovich, etc.). The above-mentioned decision of UNESCO created new prospects for popularization and study of the Georgian folk song. There is being distinguished the necessity of discussion and research of the musical folklore of the Georgian as well as of all the peoples living in Georgia in whole apparently.

The Georgian folk musical culture consists of many such unique and original qualities that cause great interest and admiration of musicians and specialists of artistic thinking of various fields.

The beginnings of the Georgian folk music disappear in the depth of the millennia. We get notifications about archaic layers of its history from the oldest written sources and tangible cultural monuments obtained as a result of archeological excavations. We have to consider the oldest magic spells, rituals and exaltation chants for the deity of weather, the prayers uttered for the agrarian deity, exaltation hymns for the sun and round dance activities, healing chants dedicated to magic forces, etc. still preserved in different parts of Georgia as an echo of those old centuries.

In terms of music-linguistics, Georgia is a multi-dialect country. Scientists distinguish about fifteen musical dialects. Often there is so big difference among the dialects that a rooky listener may consider them to be a musical art of even different nations.

The archaic layers of musical thinking most distinctly are kept in the musical dialects of the mountainous part of eastern Georgia (Khevsureti, Tusheti, Pshavi). Here we can find out rudimentary forms of the dialect, the melody and the polyphony.

The main cause of the growing attention of professional musicians to the Georgian folk music has to be searched in the originality, extraordinary stylistic peculiarities and, what is the most important, in highly developed and multifarious forms of the polyphony of the national musical language. The polyphony and the chorus are the most distinct peculiarities and characteristics of the Georgian musical thinking.

We can meet one of the most widespread homophone and homophone – polyphonic types of polyphony in plains of eastern Georgia (Qartli and Kakheti). Genre diversity, expressive melodious forms and refined modulation system points to the high level of the development of musical thinking.

The memory of the inhabitants of Racha and, especially, Svaneti, the parts situated on the southern slopes of the Caucasus range, has preserved the oldest mythological beliefs almost in their original form. In the songs of Svaneti, one can easily notice perfect rhythmic synchronism during the movement of all the three parts that helps distinguish vertical simultaneous sonority and is heard as the motion of chord complexes.

This type of polyphony is a characteristic feature for almost all musical dialects of west Georgia, but in plains (Imereti, Samegrelo, Achara, Guria regions) in the process of its historical development took place its gradual transformation. In a three-part texture, each part created its own melodic style and achieved absolute independence that caused counterpoint contradiction of the parts. The contrasting contradiction of the parts helped create extraordinary, highly exquisite simultaneous sonority most of which represent discordant sounds. In this regard, there is distinguished a Gurian musical dialect. The Gurian song is an exceptionally significant thing in the history of the world polyphonic thinking. It is unique and there is no resemblance with other peoples’ music.

The Georgian folk music is a distinctive thing, phenomenon and its polyphony is generated from the local basis. Scientists also remark that polyphony in the Georgian music is originated from the time much earlier than of the professional music of west Europe. Georgia is the very first country in the whole Christian world that began to establish polyphony in church hymns.

Many pages of the rich history of the Georgian folk music have not been read yet. There are lots of problematic questions that have to be studied further, comprehension of which shall undoubtedly help reveal new prospects of this unique musical culture.