The narrative in vocal music: the genre aspect

Xia Liu
2019 Aspects of Historical Musicology  
Logical reason for research. Relevance of the presented topic is determined by the fact that with the help of knowledge gained in the field of inter-scientific interaction, it is possible to obtain new research results on both, traditional and new issues of musicology. In vocal music, which combines musical and extra-musical factors, there are a number of its own "eternal questions", one of which is the interaction of the word and music. There is no definite answer to the question of what is
more » ... leading in the vocal art – a word or music, each time this is decided individually within the framework of a certain genre and style. But there is always a certain verbal "programming" of a vocal composition with the text. One of the serious and complex concepts associated with a textual basis is the "narrative", and the study of the effect of the narrative in the musical art requires a special attention in both theoretical and practical directions. Innovation. The article is devoted to considering a narrative in the vocal music in the genre aspect. The narrative nature is understood as a narrative orientation associated with a certain emotional content; at the same time, the narrative is characterized, on the one hand, as a factor of the verbal text of a vocal composition (the extra-musical component), and, on the other hand, as a factor of a single whole vocal composition (the musical component). From the point of view of its implementation, the narrative in vocal music has two main functions – the composer's one and the performer's one, which in its own way manifests itself in various vocal genres. The most striking of the narrative vocal genres in vocal music are the opera and the ballad. In the opera, the narrative has a more complex synthetic nature in connection with the interaction of various types of art (music, literature, theatre). In the chamber-vocal genre of the ballad, the narrative side is presented more revealingly and is more closely associated with the verbal text (which is due to the literary origin of the genre). The purpose of the present study is to identify the specifics of the narrative in vocal music in the genre aspect. The main methods of the presented research are the genre one and the functional one. The genre method is necessary to characterize vocal genres in connection with the chosen perspective for studying the meaning and the effect of the narrative in vocal music. The functional method allows one to determine the peculiar features of the interaction of the extra-musical narrative and music in the conditions of various vocal genres. The research results. The directions of the interaction of words and music in the vocal art are diverse: this can be their interaction in a concrete composition through the prism of the style (of the performer, the composer, and the historical epoch); the features of the composer interpretation of the verbal text; the intonation and phonic patterns associated, for example, with a specific national source, and much more. The verbal text as a guideline, already being coloured emotionally, is representing, in fact, a kind of narration. As it is known widely in the field of philosophy and psychology, the narrative is a statement of interrelated events presented in the form of the sequence of words or images. Sometimes the meaning of the term "narrative" coincides with the words "narration", "story"; but there are other meanings (for example, as a "psychological attitude"). In music, these two meanings, "narrative" and "psychological attitude", interact, as a result, within the framework of certain vocal genres the individual creative decisions born. The main feature of a narrative composition is the presence of a mediator between the author and the world of narrative (Schmid, V., 2008). This is especially important for understanding the specifics of the manifestation of the narrative nature in music, where there is such a "mediator". In vocal music there are other signs of narrative, understood as the quality of the verbal text itself, because the genres of vocal music are quite diverse in scale and objectives – from the opera to the vocal miniature. The narrative qualities are primarily possessed by those texts that describe the figurative and emotional situation from a third person, a storyteller. In vocal music, this applies primarily to genres with the leading literary and the vivid plot beginning – these are musical and theatrical compositions (an opera), as well as the chamber-vocal genre of a ballad. The narrative qualities of the musical component can manifest themselves in different ways – both, on permanent basis, to enhance the emotional effect, and in opposition, for a contrasting juxtaposition and creating a dramaturgy layering and volume. The musical accompaniment often "deciphers" for the listener that emotional, figurative, plot subtext that is partially absent in the literary text, according to the laws of the narrative nature. The tasks of the vocalist as an interpreter of compositions of the narrative genres are the ownership of the special complex of performing techniques related to the need to identify the entire figurative potential, which is embedded in the vocal composition (both in the text part and in the music one), as well as in its presentation to the listener in an individual performing version. With this, each genre possesses with its own specifics. An opera is a genre where the musical and literary art interacts with the theatrical art. The chamber-vocal genre of a ballad has its own characteristics, the main of which the narrative nature is. Conclusions. The narrative nature in the art of music is primarily associated with its extra-musical source. Both literary criticism and psychology study the narration, since the narrative as a story-telling is characterized by an emotional attitude, which is dictated from the outside to the one to whom the narrative is directed. Since the text (the word) is also used in vocal music, it is possible and necessary to talk about the existence of the narrative in music with all the specifics of its action. In vocal music, one can distinguish genres where the word text contains the narrative to a greater extent, which determines the specifics of the genre. This is the opera, but there the narrative is associated not only with the literary, but also with the theatrical factor. A more revealing vocal genre in the aspect of the narrative nature is such a genre of the chamber-vocal music as the ballad. The prospects for the study of the narration in the musical art are associated both, with the interaction of the musical and extra-musical principles and the issues of musical interpretation, which the performing musicology considers. Since the narrative prepossess a mediator between its source and the recipient, and in the musical art there is also a mediator between the author (the composer) and the listener.
doi:10.34064/khnum2-18.13 fatcat:vag4vvnqefbuthwttv3yflmk2u