Abstracts of issue 10-11 (1998)

Katy Romanou

The Messing of the Dressing*

*A paraphrase of the title of Arnold Schoenbergs article, The Blessing of the Dressing, where he mentions his Greek student Nikos Skalkottas.

In this essay, Katy Romanou gives an account of recent developments in the field of musicology. She holds that most of the new academic specializations are panic reactions, aiming acceptably at professional claims, and that most texts supporting them are sophisticated deconstructions of self imposed structures, sophisms of scientific writing.

Her own understanding of the situation is that Western music is in a process of dewesternization (i.e. loosing the characteristics it acquired during the 18th and the 19th centuries), concurrently with the westernization of most other civilizations. Music is transformed by influences from all national identities, which, as a result, are gradually losing their importance. Musicology, as well as theory and analysis, will follow sooner or later, bringing into the fore the tools, the methods and an unanimous use of terms that will permit the description of actual music.
The writer observes that, as the national schools in the 19th century were a result of western influence, so, today, the music of the West (but not Western music), spreading all over the world, is resulting to the understanding of all cultural phenomena and their esteem (by the people that created them). The history of modern Greek music has for long been presented mutilated, since what was not compatible with the norms of recent western historiography (the history of musical works) was considered unimportant by superficial admirers of Western music (enchanted by its dressing). Today, the identity of the Neohellenic musical civilization may be widely understood. Musicology in Greece is a blessed virgin, having substantial problems to solve and projects to realize.