Abstracts of issue 7-8 (1989)

Antonin Sychra

Semantics in Folksong

Translation in Greek: Yiannis Fotiadis
Yannis Fotiadis one of the most promising young theoreticians of art drew attention on this paper and translated it for Musicology. Unfortunately, he passed away before his translation is published.


The concepts of Antonin Sychra (1918-1969), as a specialist in the aesthetics of music and disciple of Jan Mukarovsky (founder of the Prague School of Structuralism), represent in the field of musicology a Marxist functionalistic trend, that ended up with neopositivistic methods of statistical analysis of aesthetic forms, departing from certain theories of communication. From a historical point of view, this paper is one of the most important attempts to criticize the historical and philological main orientation that characterized the research of his time. In this paper, a method is introduced for a semantic analysis of structures departing from the unity between speech and music, as well as from the specific ways of interpretation used by the people. These ways often just like in the Moravian passionate long songs result in relativization of the primary importance of certain concepts in traditional aesthetics (like pitch, duration, rhythm, and form).
This way the author manages to show how expressive elements of the passionate song refer to a collective subjectivism by constituting the most important means for the basic semantic intention, for the content that tends to loosen the stability of the form. The analysis is based upon the inductive, descriptive and comparative method, upon the particularities of the Czechoslovakian folk culture, while at the same time represents an introduction to applied concepts of semiotics and to the basic critique of the traditional methods.