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Articulating Armenian folk music characteristics in Tigran Mansurian's Havik for viola and percussion (1998), as mediated by the work of Komitas Vardapet

posted on 16.02.2017, 02:48 by Burslem, Megan
This thesis examines the characteristics of Armenian folk music and discusses the external factors that have influenced the development of the Armenian folk music tradition. In particular the thesis focuses on the work of Komitas Vardapet, ethnomusicologist, composer and folk music collector, and how his voice recording of the folk song Havik (recorded in 1912) influenced the composition of the same name, by Armenian composer Tigran Mansurian. Havik for viola and percussion (1998) was composed by Mansurian in response to the recording made by Komitas in 1912. This thesis culminates in an in-depth discussion of my performance of Mansurian's Havik (1998), and how my performance has been informed by Armenian folk music practices. This discussion focuses specifically on the performance practice techniques employed by myself, as a violist. This thesis builds on pre-existing research on the Armenian folk music tradition from both a sociological and theoretical perspective, and also employs the use of interviews throughout. This thesis discusses the way in which I will present a performance that is historically enlightened as well as informed by Armenian folk music practices and seeks to specify, with technical and musical examples, the ways in which this can be achieved.


Principal supervisor

Joel Crotty

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre

Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music

Campus location



Faculty of Arts