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Carp, Paula


CARP, PAULA (1911–1991), Romanian ethnomusicologist and theorist. She studied at the Conservatory of Music in Bucharest and taught for a while in high schools. She joined the Arhiva de Folklore (1934–1944), and worked as researcher at the Institute of Folklore (1949–1968). She also was member of the Uniunea Compozitorilor şi Muzicologilor (National association of professional composers and musicologists) in Romania. Paula Carp was C. Brăiloiu's preferred transcriber of music, for this reason she transcribed for him the pieces published in Brăiloiu's famous essay "Bocete din Oaş" ("Laments in Oaş County", as well as preparing the transcriptions for other ethnomusicological studies and books. In the interval between the two world wars she committed herself to the study of Jewish musical traditions such as the Sephardic synagogal tunes, which were recorded in the 1930s on cylinders. These recordings were provided by Brăiloiu from the Arhiva de Folklore and were transcribed by her. Yet, none of these music collections or academic essays acknowledged her contribution. Besides Romanian and Jewish folk music, Paula Carp also worked on Bulgarian and Tartar music. She did numerous ethnomusicological field work, collecting and transcribing thousands pieces. She would make sketchy transcriptions during actual performances for archival and cataloguing purposes and was very keen in observing and theoretizing on the characteristic features of folk melodies. She eventually devised a complex method for the refining and the establishing of multifunctional musical transcription. Her method became normative after 1960. Thus, besides acting as a mentor to all folk music transcribers, she marked the development of Romanian ethnomusicology by her relative notation. Her method was based on and aimed at integrating the tunes in a system that facilitated comparison and classification, on ease of identifying variants and versions as well as on circulation, interferences, and contacts or links between melodies. In terms of ethnomusicological theory, Paula Carp contributed ideas, methods of analysis, and demonstrative ways for dealing with the compositional development of folk tunes, the foundation and dynamics of melodic and rhythmic formulas, and the architectural structures that build up tunes. She studied the political subgenre of "new folk songs," as well as the free-form and free-style of the epic songs (ballads) and the lyrical rubato that was typically characteristic of folk music in Romania (doine). She was co-author with Al Amzulescu of the collection Cântece şi jocuri din Muscel ("Songs and Dance Pieces from Muscel region," 1964). Her relatively few but seminal academic essays became long-lasting landmarks of the Romanian ethnomusicology understood as basic and fundamental research: collecting and transcribing, cataloguing, classifying, and typologizing.

[Marin Marian (2nd ed.)]

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