The position of the history of Greek art music in the European horizon (the evolution of the research in the diptych Centre [Central Europe] – Periphery)
We tend to refer to the history of art in Europe, or to the history of European art music, since we take for granted the existence of common cultural characteristics all over Europe, which, moreover, are supposed to be evolved within a linear progress of time, creating thus narrations in time and aesthetic penetrations in space, which can be considered as ruled by important common principles, those of European civilization. In general, however, throughout the historic evolution of the notion of “European cultural identity”, West was of much more importance than East. Today, this notion is largely defined by the French and German cultures, regardless of the existence of various other nationalities in Europe. Eurocentrism, however, is no longer a “measure” to evaluate cultures viewed as “peripheries” or “margins”, as Greece was considered to be for a long period since its establishment. Nowadays, in particular, the destabilisation of the West as a self-perceived entity is an economical, political and cultural reality.
In the field of musicology, also, the idea of “Western music” is challenged as a category against which “others” can be perceived. In the last two decades of the twentieth century some scholars have questioned the focus on history as the product of great men, great works, great traditions or great innovations. This has led to the study of music as a social force and to histories of musics previously excluded by scholars, many of whom have tended to concentrate on the art music of social élites. In the process of re-reading music history, it is a certainty that any contribution to the studies of regional cultures, such as Greek culture, should enrich our perception of the multiple interactions between central “mainstream” trends and indigenous traditions. Within this perspective, the present essay analyzes the multiple aspects of the position of the history of Greek art music in Europe.