Folk Songs as Cultural Texts
Dr. Mohammad Shabana - Egypt
Contrary to the common tenet that music is a universal language, this researcher contends that music is only a language since each nation has its own musical language which distinguishes it from other nations. He also remarks that folk songs differ from all other folk arts in that it is a mixture of words and tunes. Therefore, this study has two parts, one on the word and the other on the music.
The researcher holds that the cultural reading of folk music has certain conditions such as availability of field material that reflects the given community. This in turn entails the presence of academic institutions that are concerned with folk culture or folklore. Folklore atlases, he confirms, represent a scientific tool for introducing the various elements of folk culture on maps demonstrating their location in the same country.
The article also emphasizes the importance of objective study of folk music which categorizes it according to occasion of performance, topics, and geographical location. Then follows the process of music recording, which is another instrument for music analysis in order to identify the musical characteristics of folklore.
The study introduces the cultural values of some song texts to show how they reflect the community’s socio-cultural, economic and aesthetic concepts and how they strengthen social relationships and support oral and religious values.