Breton Music

 

Some of the video analyses on this page result from the cooperation between the CERMAA and Dastum, the well-known Audio fund for traditional music of Brittany, with other analyses of songs or instrumental music recorded in Brittany by Amine Beyhom in 2003, 2007, 2009 and 2011.

To differentiate these analyses from other analyses of the VIAMAP series which are more Maqām-oriented, the bakground colors have been changed to blue(ish) and yellow(ish), and the cursors colors to tones of red.

In all the animations, the upper part offers a general view of the analysis while the lower part shows the detailed analysis which includes, in this case, an overprint of the Western scale. The color code for the horizontal lines in the upper stripe is: Red lines for the tonic and its octave, Green for the fourth and Blue for the fifth.

The music for the first two analyses of the song “Ar bern plouz” performed by well-known traditional singer Manu Kerjean in Bonen (department no. 22 in France) is taken from the CD DAS153 (ed. Dastum) entitled Manu Kerjean – Chanteur du Centre-Bretagne, track 15. The analyses are published as by-products of the article “MAT for the VIAMAP. Maqām Analysis Tools for the Video-Animated Music Analysis Project” by Amine Beyhom – NEMO-Online Vol. 4 No. 7, November 2018, p. 145-258. (See http://nemo-online.org/Articles.)

The third and fourth analyses feature performances on bombard by sonor (and instrument maker) Jorj Botuha, from recordings undertaken in 2003 in Brittany by Amine Beyhom.

Note that video-analyses hold two rankings: one for the dedicated page, and the second – between parenthesises – chronological (date and time of publication) for all the video-analyses published by the CERMAA.

Video-analyses

1 (39): “Ar bern plouz” chanté par Manu Kerjean à Bonen (22) éd. Dastum: Manu Kerjean Chanteur du Centre-Bretagne DAS153 (piste 15); uploaded 11/10/2018: https://youtu.be/IlERM9mEw9g
2 (40):Ar bern plouz” chanté par Manu Kerjean à Bonen (22) éd. Dastum: Manu Kerjean Chanteur du Centre-Bretagne DAS153 (piste 15 – Tempo = 1 :3); uploaded 11/10/2018: https://youtu.be/oslJy0P_snU
3 (42): Jorj Botuha – Sonor and Instrument maker: Paotred er gueù à bleuigner” (2003) recorded, analyzed and edited by Amine Beyhom; uploaded 14/12/2018: https://youtu.be/_q_xHXAPTxc
Paotred er gueù à bleuigner performed by Jorj Botuha

This is the third analysis in the Breton series, and features the song “Paotred er gueù à bleuigner” performed by Jorj Botuha on the 13th of September 2003 in Auray – France (Brittany). Botuha was interviewed and recorded by Amine Beyhom, and performed on three different bombards[1]. The particular bombard used for this song is tuned to a ≈ 438 hz. It is a copy – made by Botuha – of an original from the region of Karnak in Brittany, performed here with a wide double-reed in boxwood[2].

The scale is analyzed in details in the article “Dossier : Mesures d’intervalles – Méthodologie et Pratique.” Revue Des Traditions Musicales Des Mondes Arabe et Méditerranéen 1, no. 1 (June 2007): 181–235. http://foredofico.org/CERMAA/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Beyhom_2007_Mesures_d_intervalles_RTMMAM_n11.pdf by Amine Beyhom (notably p. 195-202), and follows the approximate progression a 3 b 3 c 4 d 4 e 4 f# 2 g 4 A (numbers correspond to intervals in multiples of the quarter-tone). This corresponds, in the lower part from a to d, to the scale of maqām Ḥusaynī in Arabian music[3]. Subsequently, the Graphic scale features a b- instead of a b.

The whole song spans one octave to the most, with the initial tonic slightly rising; the base tonic was measured around 31 s_a (for 31 seconds of the analysis as shown on the graphic output – to differentiate this time from video time in seconds or “s_v”) equivalent to 39 s_v. The second degree is clearly zalzalian (with bordering approximate three-quarter-tones intervals) and the fourth and the fifth degrees are slightly raised[4].

The graphic and video-analysis (with Praat) and editing are by Amine Beyhom and feature an intensity curve (relative) in maroonish color.

[1] The bombard is a conical-bore double-reed instrument with a powerful sound played by sonors for traditional dances in Brittany. It is usually played with the Breton bagpipe, the binioù, in the binioù khoz (“old bagpipe”) version. The melodic range of the binioù lies one octave above the range of the bombard. Most bombards are tuned to a ≈ 440 hz.

[2] The form and material of the reeds impact the resulting notes – and consequently the scale.

[3] The “mode” used is however – and clearly – neither Ḥusaynī nor any other Arabian maqām.

[4] Note that while the third degree (c) seems raised by a near quarter-tone in the performance of the scale analyzed in the aforementioned article by Amine Beyhom (see Figure 5b p. 202), the performance as such shows no such difference with plain c – performed either plain or slightly raised.

4 (43): “Greis mad pier gali galan” performed by Jorj Botuha – Sonor and Instrument maker – on the 13th of September 2003 in Auray – France (Brittany), recorded, analyzed and edited by Amine Beyhom; uploaded 17/12/2018: https://youtu.be/y-jvnN1blyM

Greis mad pier gali galan performed by Jorj Botuha

The fourth CERMAA analysis in the Breton series (and no. 43 in the VIAMAP series) features the melody “Greis mad pier gali galan” performed by Jorj Botuha on the 13th of September 2003 in Auray – France (Brittany). Botuha was interviewed and recorded by Amine Beyhom, and performed on three different bombards[5]. The particular bombard used for this song is tuned to a ≈ 448 hz: it was measured in situ, back in 2003 and with the help of an EM-50 “Oriental” (Roland) keyboard (below), as 445.4 hz.

The EM-50 “Oriental” (Roland) keyboard used by Amine Beyhom for pitch measuring and melodic contour modeling in Brittany in 2003 in the workshop of Jorj Botuha in Auray. To the left, on top of the keyboard, the notebook of the author with annotations and two double-reeds made by Botuha – Photo credit: Amine Beyhom

It is an original instrument in boxwood – dating back to (approx.) 1850 – from the region of Aradon (Gulf of the Morbihan) in Brittany. The original missing reed was replaced by one of the making of Botuha[6].

Original bombard in boxwood from approx. 1850 from the region of Aradon (Gulf of the Morbihan) in Brittany owned by Jorj Botuha in 2003 – Photo credit: Amine Beyhom

The scale and parts of the melody are analyzed in details in the article “Dossier : Mesures d’intervalles – Méthodologie et Pratique.” Revue Des Traditions Musicales Des Mondes Arabe et Méditerranéen 1, no. 1 (June 2007): 181–235. http://foredofico.org/CERMAA/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Beyhom_2007_Mesures_d_intervalles_RTMMAM_n11.pdf by Amine Beyhom (notably p. 211-215), and follow the approximate progression a 4 b 3 c+ 3 d 5 e+ 3 f#+ 4 g#+ 1 A (numbers correspond to intervals in multiples of the quarter-tone, + and – signs to alterations of one quarter tone with “#+” meaning that the degree of the scale is raised by 3 quarter-tones). This does not correspond, to our knowledge, to any other known scale.

The melody spans one octave to the most, with a stable tonic (measured around 34 s_a – for 34 seconds of the analysis as shown on the graphic output below – to differentiate this time from video time in seconds or “s_v”) equivalent to 42 s_v.

Tonic was measured around 34 s_a (seconds of analysis), 42 s_v (seconds of video time)

The third and fifth to seventh (sub-tonic) degrees are clearly raised when compared to a Western minor scale on a, but the scale features a just fourth and a stable tonic.

The graphic (with Praat), video-Analysis and editing are by Amine Beyhom and feature also an intensity curve (relative) in maroonish color.

[5] The bombard is a conical-bore double-reed instrument with a powerful sound played by sonors for traditional dances in Brittany. It is usually played with the Breton bagpipe, the binioù, in the binioù khoz (“old bagpipe”) version. The melodic range of the binioù lies one octave above the range of the bombard. Most bombards are tuned to a ≈ 440 hz.

[6] The form and material of the reeds impact the resulting notes – and consequently the scale.

 Posted by at 5:40 am