Istrian Music – “Na tanko i na debelo” on “Istrian music scale”
I wrote above about “rozenice”, about love and the rose and I would just let you know that few years ago Bruno Krajcar composed a song named “Roza” that speaks about love and rose. It is one of my favourite songs that every time I have the opportunity to listen remind me the story of the “Little Prince” and his rose.
In this part I will try to describe with words the technicalities of this singing described by Dario Marusic in its “Istrian Traditional Music Atlas”. The people that studied music, once they hear the Istrian traditional music, will understand it. There are mainly three types of this particular Istrian two part polyphony:
- descant two part polyphony,
- two part polyphony from Cicarija (“bugarenje”), and
- two part polyphony in the “Istrian scale”.
The descant two part polyphony is characterized by moments when two voices have contrary motion interchanging with moments of drone singing. This style is present among the Istrian Italians in Galizana and in Vodnjan, to a lesser extent in Rovinj, while it almost completely disappeared from Bale.
The two part polyphony from Cicarija is the singing known also as “bugarenje”, which has almost disappeared. “Bugarnje” is a style where two voices are in interrelations of non-tempered narrow intervals, usually in seconds and diminished thirds with unison moments and long unison final ending, where however one of the two voices lowers additionally for a second or diminished third.
This type of singing was spread among Istrian Croatian people in Cicarija, among Istrian Istro – Romanians in Zejane and Istrian Slovenian in Golac.
The two part polyphony in the so called “Istrian scale” is the most spread style all over Istria and is practiced by almost every ethnic group.
My grandparents used to sing this type of polyphony. Passages that make this two part singing are in parallel non tempered sixths with moments in octave. This type of singing is also called “na tanko i na debelo” (on thin and thick) and corresponds to the music of the shawms (sopele).
Present tendency is to sing in the thirds or in groups and often the second voice is replaced or doubled by the small shawms.