”Maanviljelijä Esko Jaakola Ylivieskasta mainitsee, että naispuolisilla veisuunaloittajilla oli veisuussa mahdi. Heidän veisuunsa kuului läpi kirkon, kun siellä pidettiin esimerkiksi herättäjäseuroja.”
Sibelius-Akatemian kansanmusiikin osastolla taiteellisen jatkotutkinnon tehnyt kansanmusiikin lehtori Sinikka Kontio (os. Järvinen, synt. 1964 Rautio, nyk. Kalajoki) on ammentanut musiikkiinsa – Vanhan virsikirjan veisuuseen ja kanteleensoittoon – suomalaisen hengellisen kansanmusiikin rikasta antia. Jatkotutkinnon kirjallisessa osassa mm. käydään tätä tutkimusmatkaa läpi niekku niekulta ja virsi virreltä.
The power of hymn singing
The Old Hymnal and the adaptation of traditional hymn singing styles to the making of my own music
Publication 7 of the Sibelius Academy Department of Folk Music
This postgraduate Doctor of Music Degree course at the Sibelius Academy Department of Folk Music has, with various other studies, included three concerts, two CDs, and a thesis. The primary focus has been traditional hymn singing and the Old Hymnal — a hymn book published by the Finnish Lutheran church in 1701.
For more than 15 years I have researched the traditions of hymn singing, collecting examples from diverse parts of Finland, and especially concentrating on two revivalist movements, Pietism (herännäisyys) and Beseecherism (rukoilevaisuus). When I began my postgraduate course in 1991, the most valuable sources were some nineteenth-century transcriptions and the recordings of professor Erkki Ala-Könni, which date from the 1940s through to the 1980s. I learned to imitate the singing styles of the hymn singers, practising their vocal timbres, ornaments, tempos and their pronunciation of the text. I also investigated how the texts of the Old Hymnal were combined with traditional melodies. The result of some of this work was heard at my first concert in May 1993.
My original objective in this postgraduate course was to carry across the characteristics of traditional hymn singing to the medium of instrumental music. This aim was very apparent in the spring of 1995 with my second concert and my first CD.
After that I worked for some years with traditional hymn singing; giving concerts and lectures, working as a music producer, and doing field work. My third concert, which was a Christmas concert in December 2000, bore the title ”Mary’s Joy” (Marian ilo). Then in January 2001 I recorded a CD ”Maria Magdalena’s Grief” (Marian suru). Both largely featured hymn singing, but there were also some instrumental pieces employing texts and traditional tunes from the Old Hymnal. I aimed to combine what I had so far learned and developed as the basis for a style of my own.
The first chapter of this thesis describes the history of the Finnish hymn books from the 16th to the 20th centuries. The 1701 hymn book has been in use by the Finnish church and by revival movements for a longer time than any other. Despite the chorale book released in 1702 and many other alternative manuscripts, hymns were instead sung with traditional melodies passed on orally from one generation to the next. A broad history of Pietism and Beseecherism are also provided in this chapter.
The second chapter introduces the material used in the musical component of the course. The hymn singing practice of the revival movements is discussed. In a musical analysis, I describe the hymn singing style of one particular pietistic singer Mrs Kerttu Fiannula. A second, more general analysis deals with the ornamentation of hymn singing. Examples of ornaments are collected on an accompanying CD. Hymn singing styles have earlier been rarely described in Finnish literature.
The third chapter introduces every hymn used in the concerts and on the CDs. Musical concepts and in particular the singing styles of specific hymn singers are described.
The Old Hymnal has become of great importance to me. The texts and music of this very special book embody every possible aspect of music: cheerfulness, sadness, sensitivity, power, peace, vehemence, toughness, ugliness and beauty.