Sutartinės, Lithuanian multipart songs
Inscribed in 2010 (5.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
- Sutartinės, Lithuanian multipart songs
- © 2009 by Martynas Sirusas, Lithuanian Folk Culture Centre
Sutartinės (from the word sutarti – to be in concordance) is a form of polyphonic music performed by female singers in north-east Lithuania. The songs have simple melodies, with two to five pitches, and comprise two distinct parts: a meaningful main text and a refrain that may include nonce words. There are almost forty different styles and ways of performing Sutartinės. Mainly, they can be performed by two singers in parallel seconds; by three singers in strict canon, all performing both phrases of the melody at staggered intervals; or by two groups of singers, the lead singer of each pair singing the main text, while the partner sings the refrain, before the second pair repeats. The poetic texts encompass many themes, including work, calendar rituals, weddings, family, wars, history and moments of daily life. Choreography is uncomplicated and movements are moderate, often austere, such as walking in the form of a circle or star while linking arms and stamping feet. Sutartinės are performed on solemn occasions, as well as festivals, concerts and social gatherings. Their performance promotes the sharing of cultural values and provides a feeling of cultural identity, continuity and self-esteem. Sutartinės are usually sung by women, but men perform instrumental versions on pan-pipes, horns, long wood trumpets, fipple flutes and plucked zithers.
Decision 5.COM 6.26
The Committee (…) decides that [this element] satisfies the criteria for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, as follows:
- R.1: Sutartinės songs are deeply rooted in the community, transmitted from grandmother to granddaughter and now to broader audiences, and provide their practitioners with a sense of identity and continuity;
- R.2: Their inscription on the Representative List alongside other already-inscribed forms of polyphonic singing could promote inter-cultural dialogue while increasing the visibility of intangible cultural heritage at the national and international levels;
- R.3: The efforts of the community concerned to safeguard Sutartinės are complemented by the financial and administrative support of the State; measures aim especially at encouraging transmission and continued performance of Sutartinės;
- R.4: The community members have been actively involved in the nomination process, and their commitment is clearly demonstrated, along with their free, prior and informed consent;
- R.5: Sutartinės, Lithuanian multipart songs were included in 2008 in the National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage Values.
© 2009 by Lithuanian Folk Culture Center
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