Two-part singing and playing in the Istrian scale
Inscribed in 2009 (4.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
- Two-part singing and playing in the Istrian scale
On the Istrian peninsula in western Croatia, several varieties of two-part singing and playing in the Istrian scale are preserved by Croatian, Istro-Romanian and Italian communities. The style is characterized by vigorous, partly nasal singing. It involves a degree of variation and improvisation in both vocal parts but always ends with two performers singing in unison or an octave apart. Typical musical instruments are the sopele shawms, always played in a pair, bagpipes, flutes and the tambura lute. Several local sub-styles have developed their own characteristics. For example, in kanat, performed primarily by the Croatian population, the second voice is often exchanged for or doubled with a small sopele; in the widespread variant known as tarankanje, words are sometimes replaced with characteristic syllables (ta-na-na, ta-ra-ran, etc.) designed to imitate the sound of the flute. This tradition is still a part of everyday life and festive occasions, including wedding ceremonies, community and family gatherings and religious services. Its bearers, about a hundred outstanding singers and players and some ten craftspeople, have acquired their skills and knowledge from their elders. Nowadays they are often associated with organized amateur folklore groups, spread throughout the region.
Decision 4.COM 13.36
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: Two-part singing and playing in the Istrian scale have been transmitted from generation to generation as an essential component of the identity of the local populations;
- R.2: Inscription of the element on the Representative List would contribute to raising awareness of the significance of intangible cultural heritage and especially to strengthening the self-respect of community members and practitioners;
- R.3: The nomination presents a number of sound safeguarding efforts, and a set of well-defined safeguarding measures is proposed for the future, including documentation, research, publications, awareness-raising and transmission;
- R.4: The participation in the nomination process of the community, particularly that of two associations, is described, and their letters of consent are provided;
- R.5: The element is inscribed in the Register of Cultural Goods of the Republic of Croatia maintained by the Ministry of Culture.
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