Nowadays, the reference and use of the term “traditional” music, raises a number of interesting questions for many people, whose answers are always highly contextual. Questions such as: “What is the function and usefulness of traditional music in the 21st century?”, “What kind of attitude and handling is appropriate for it?”, “Which material can be included under this term and which not, and who is responsible for defining it?”, “What are the limits of a material commonly accepted as ‘traditional’, in which it can be expressed without being denatured to another musical genre? “ and, of course, the century-old mother of all questions “What is traditional music?”
Considering the time at which this research was carried out, I find that, at least within the geographical area of Europe but perhaps elsewhere, and within a period where more and more people are trying to promote their diversity or even peculiarity, so as to achieve their social or even anthropological lifting, each person’ s own conception of "traditional" music can, act as one of the means towards the aforementioned goal. The isolation of this music in order to 'protect' it against foreign elements, the preservation of its supposed 'authenticity' and the strict rules and limits being set are some obvious indicators of this process. Within this context, traditional music often becomes a museum(1) exhibit that we can, theoretically, conceive with all our senses, except for the touch. Touch is characterized by both its passive and energetic character and this energy has the potential to change and distort things. Imagine a huge “Do not touch!” sign. “Do not touch”' because we do not have the necessary degree of connection to the “exhibit”, “Do not touch”, because even if we have this degree of association, we have not obtained the necessary approval from the person in charge. But, who is in charge after all? Is there one? Who has appointed her/him? Authenticity is a term that has the parameter of past time, so that any authentication attempt should refer to a fait accompli(2). In the case of traditional music, even though this accomplished event refers to some point in the past, it is nevertheless given the sense of a non-existent time, so that this past event can only be accessed, through hypotheses and senses; but senses lead to fallacy themselves, quoting Parmenides. Moreover, regarding the certification of the reference event, let us only refer to numerous disputes of the historical scientific community. These questions and thoughts triggered several endless discussions, which usually led to dead ends. The unconvincing nature of repetitive arguments around tradition served only as the dough generated new and bigger
questions that followed me for at least the last decade as an artist, a person and above all as a musician, whose musical journey always references traditional music.
(1) Even though the etymology of Museum suggests the place of the worship of the Muses, the term is used here to highlight the negative aspect of a severely sterilized context.
(2) Proven event of the past