Special tunes

Among the tunes built overwhelmingly of descending or hill-shaped lines some tunes of a different melodic outline were also subsumed as the general criteria required. I make special mention of them in each class.

The tunes built of short motifs are peculiar in the Karachay tune stock. One is the rain prayer (№ 1) rotating around the middle note of the E-D-C trichord, another is № 8 skipping on A-E,. I ranged them in Class 1.

The small but distinct group of plagal tunes descending below the keynote then ascending from there is also subsumed in Class 1 (e.g. № 4).

There are tunes with lines 1 and 4 progressing low and the middle lines being higher pitched. Their rising first part differentiates them from the majority of Karachay and Turkic tunes, so they are ranged in separate classes. Class 4 contains apparently archaic tunes of four short lines in domed and pseudo-domed (AB/AvC) structure, and Class 13 includes domed structures of four long lines that emerged upon more recent influences. Several of the jir tunes also belong here.

In contrast to the typical convex and descending line patterns, there are some concave lines1 and some that descend to the keynote in mid-line.2 A few ascending first lines can also be found, e.g. 99, 104, 192. About 10% of the presented tunes belong to this category, so the ascending or valley-shaped first line is not exceptional in Karachay folk music. (Their rate in the whole collection is, however, lower.)

What is truly rare is a jump upward after a stay on lower degrees, and so is melody motion on broken chords (64). A jump from degree VII to the 3rd degree occurs sometimes (151, 152, 154) and in some archaic tripodic tunes skipping down to the Vth degree is also found (171). In several tunes large leaps can be found, which is in opposition to the prevalent “smooth” melody writing.3 A very special but informative tune (183) is taken from Omar Otarov’s collection, and another one performed by professional musicians (188).

1 E.g. № 66, 95, 105, 107, 109, 110-112, 115, 134, 135, 137, second line of 142-145, 179, 187, 189 and 190.

2 E.g. № 150, 203, 204, 207, 220-224, 271.

3 E.g. № 69-70, 80, 83, 124, 201, 219, etc.