Ordoulidis, Nikos, The eastern piano: an introduction and certain special cases in point. The 12th Symposium of the ICTM Study Group Mediterranean Music Studies ‘Music and Sound at the Mediterranean Crossroads’, Morocco, June 19-24, 2018.
The main ambition of the whole enterprise is the elevation of a particular, historically influential and embryonic, investigation wise, aspect of the piano: its participation in musical idioms different from the so-called ‘classical’ music of the West. The research project focuses on the discographical repertoire of a variety of musical worlds covering a wide geographical span. Modeness is the common denominator that characterizes the musical idioms in question. Research up to the present indicates that the instrument is not only present in places of live performance but also in discography of the repertoire in question. Pianistic discographical repertoire is detected with certainty in the following countries: Turkey, Israel, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Greece et al. In other words, the Mediterranean is the main stage where this phenomenon occurs. This role of the piano is barely known, to the point of it being considered non-existent. A careful examination of discography from the beginning of the 20th century features a plethora of recordings, which astound with their variety and ingenuity in the induction of the piano in the examined idioms. When the piano infiltrates these traditions, either participating in an orchestra or solo, not only does it oblige us to re-evaluate the boundaries between ‘western’ and ‘eastern’ music, but also their supposed opposition within an especially charged polarizability. It also allows us to deconstruct all kinds of exoticisms (orientalism – occidentalism), revealing evidence of a creative coexistence, which transcends conventional borders and cultural stereotypes. This paper will examine the cultural framework of the regions in question, discussing certain special cases from discography, which will facilitate in outlining what is a unique piano network.