"Svevende intervaller" - og svevende begrep
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionMusikk og tradisjon 2012(26):93-112
The article discusses the term “svevende tonalitet” (“floating tonality”) that is frequently used in descriptions of Norwegian traditional music. The term refers to variations in intonation patterns, but is used in different and, not always very precise, ways by different authors. Common to most descriptions, however, is the view that “floating tonality” in some way is a sign of an older and, therefore, valuable musical practice. Several possible interpretations of the term are mentioned, and the article then proceeds to discuss what little empirical evidence there is available in the literature. Most authors are concerned with possible more or less fixed systems of intonation that may lie behind and explain the observed performances, but little attention has been given to how intonation patterns are learned. It is proposed that intonation patterns are as much a product of learning as of strict laws of music and/or physics, and some possible consequences of such a view are discussed.