The Syriac researcher Poles Gajuo finishes his Master's Degree in Ethnomusicology at the Haute Ecole de Musique of Geneva

12/11/2023
©VN

The Syriac researcher Poles Gajuo, which he Laus Plena Foundation has been supporting since 2016, successfully completed his Master's degree in ethnomusicology at the Haute Ecole de Musique de Genève on 10 November 2023, with a mark of 5.6 (the maximum being 6) for his Master's thesis on the theme “The Easter celebrations in the different Syriac Traditions of Iraq (Assyrian, Chaldean, Syriac Orthodox and Catholic) - a Comparative Analysis of Rites, Modes, Chants and Melodies”. He defended his Master’s thesis in front of the jury made up of Prof. Xavier Bouvier (director of the Ethnomusicology department), Prof. Luca Ricossa and Prof. Christophe Riedo.

Obtaining the Master's degree, which falls within the disciplines of musicology, ethnology, sociology and anthropology, crowns a very consistent effort made by Poles Gajuo to acquire the vast knowledge required. The Laus Plena Foundation is particularly happy about this important accomplishment.

During his Master's degree, in addition to the ordinary classes and exams, Poles Gajuo had to participate in conference cycles, in an instrumental ensemble and several concerts, in the production of a CD, and complete an internship at the Geneva Museum of Ethnography, Section of Ethnomusicology, where he notably classified a collection of chants from the Middle East collected by researcher Paul Mattar. He  participated in numerous Masterclasses at his own initiative. He also had to present, in the context of his exams, research works on various subjects, some of which were linked to the Syriac musical tradition. This did not only encourage him to read the voluminous existing Western literature on Syriac traditions as well as the Eastern authors who have published researches on the subject, and to consult Syriac manuscripts, but also helped to deepen his knowledge, his insight and his analysis studies on these traditions. Among the researches that he delivered, he issued papers with the following titles:

-        “A Comparative Analysis of the Mosul, Baghdida (Qaraqosh) and Bartella Syriac Catholic Musical Traditions for Holy Week: Interactions and Influences” (présenté aussi durant le colloque musicologique sur les Traditions Syriaques des 17-21 mars 2021);

-        « L’Octoéchos Syriaque » ;

-        « Chant Syriaque et Chant Grégorien : Approche Comparée sur des thèmes choisis (Modalité; Organisation des hauteurs; Intervalles; Rythme) »

-        « La Tradition Musicale Syriaque de Baghdida, Irak : Pratique et transmission, Interaction avec la Société locale »;

-        « Rapport entre Forme Musicale et Texte dans la Tradition Musicale Syriaque »

-        « Systèmes de documentation musicale : L’écriture musicale dans la Tradition Syriaque »

The wider Project regarding the recording and transcription of the Eastern Catholic Syriac sacred music tradition (Iraq) entrusted to Poles Gajuo will now continue at a more sustained pace. Poles Gajuo is also developing a computer application allowing the texts of chants to be searched and located throughout the repertoire. The methodological tools acquired during the Master's degree allow him to approach this task with even greater professionalism.

According to the wish of Poles Gajo and according to the commitment of the Laus Plena Foundation, the Foundation will publish the Syriac Catholic musical repertoire at the end of this important transcription work, in order to make it available to the Syriac Catholic community. It is also planned to be made available on the internet with reference recordings.

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