Polyphony & Music

Polyphony & Music

Georgian Music

From the first moment you hear Georgian music, it draws you in and you immediately find yourself in the presence of individuals who treasure the rich culture and history of Georgia - expressing the beauty of their people, heritage, and nation through music and dance. Developed over the centuries, the traditions and styles of performance have been handed down from generation to generation by outstanding singers, many of whom founded their own schools and whose memory lives on in the minds of the Georgian people.

Georgian polyphony

There are three types of polyphony in Georgia: complex polyphony, which is common in Svaneti; polyphonic dialogue over a bass background, prevalent in the Kakheti region in Eastern Georgia; and contrasted polyphony with three partially improvised sung parts, characteristic of western Georgia. The Chakrulo song, which is sung at ceremonies and festivals and belongs to the first category, is distinguished by its use of metaphor and its yodel, the krimanchuli and a cockerels crow, performed by a male falsetto singer. Some of these songs are linked to the cult of the grapevine and many date back to the eighth century. The songs traditionally pervaded all areas of everyday life, ranging from work in the fields (the Naduri, which incorporates the sounds of physical effort into the music) to songs to curing of illnesses and to Christmas Carols (Alilo). Byzantine liturgical hymns also incorporated the Georgian polyphonic tradition to such an extent that they became a significant expression of it. Having previously suffered the drawbacks of socialist cultural policies, traditional Georgian music is now threatened by rural exodus as well as by the increasing success of pop music. In many archives one finds recordings of polyphonic songs from the beginning of the twentieth century; these recordings are, however, not secure enough to guarantee the long-term preservation. 

Georgian Traditional musical instruments

A rich variety of musical instruments are known from Georgia. Among the most popular instruments are: blown instruments soinari, known in Samegrelo as larchemi (Georgian panpipe), stviri (flute), gudastviri (bagpipe), sting instruments changi (harp), chonguri (four stringed unfretted long neck lute), panduri (three stringed fretted long neck lute), bowed chuniri, known also as chianuri, and variety of drums. 

Traditional Georgian music
Ensemble Tbilisi
georgian instruments