Imina Aliyeva

Azerbaijani Modes: Their Evolution and Manifestation in Traditional and European Genres (Cognitive Approach)

The topic of this report is the evolution of Azerbaijani modes and their contemporary existence. Azerbaijani modes are considered as schemata that function in the genres of traditional music and composer's works. The author compares intervals of Azerbaijani modes with Nikolai Garbuzov’s pitch zones and finds that all the intervals of Azerbaijani modes, including specific mugham intervals, are covered by the zones. This led the author to the conclusion that the 12-tone equal temperament and European notation play the role of an abstraction for Azerbaijani modes just as they do for the other pitch systems and musical phenomena. In fact, the 12-tone equal temperament does not preclude the top-level frames of the Azerbaijani modes. The author proposes to classify the Azerbaijani modes on the basis of their intonational recognition, namely as a phenomenon of auditory perception, when the mode is viewed as the acoustic absolute, which can easily be intonationally distinguished, and differentiated from other modes. To date, the main Azerbaijani modes (rast, shur, segah, shushter, chahargah, bayati-shiraz, humayun) show themselves in two categories: in mughams as modal structures that keep 17-step scale inherent to Azerbaijani traditional music (‘micro-intonational schemata’) and in the composers’ works with the scales corresponding to 12-tone equal temperament (‘macro-intonational schemata’). The spectrum of their existence and manifestation in all common European genres, embracing different states, includes the full modal structures (the most approximated to traditional music – mugham). These structures can be related to the harmonic system, and even the fragments (‘splinters’) of Azerbaijani modes in serialism, forming situation that can also contribute to the field of studying the problems of European harmony, cognitive musicology, and theory of ear training.