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Bertso's Melodies

Brief foreword / Joanito Dorronsoro (1994)

Each nation makes its own way through history and the small Basque Country, nowadays open to the strong winds of Europe, and although it is having some hard time to hold to its personality, it is being really rich in what has been historically placed in oral literature and what has been known as the peculiar cultural expression of "bertsolaritza". But inside the wide world of culture and when it comes the time to accurately define "bertsolaritza", it must be said that we should go further than just placing it in oral literature since it fully hits the area of popular and traditional music.

The world of bertsolarism and popular music have come a lot more closer one from the other, and have been much more linked than what it's been believed so far; to analize this fact has been the main aim of this fifteeen years investigation work. After analizing song-books and song recopillations, bertso-books and records and cassettes published in the area of bertsolarism, and also most of our songwriter's records and cassettes brought to light since 1960 to our days, and thus, after choosing among the so many changing but similar sounds and after naming each one of them, we have classified them by size.

Together with the fruitful treasure of popular music, therefore, the most useful source for our work has logically been our tradition of bertsolarism which has come alive until our days and also, in a lower level, the new compositions and productions of today's some musicians, songwriters and bertsolaries.

This work seemed to be necessary, along with some other efforts that are being completed these days, in order to insert traditional bertsolarism in teaching and to be able to use its many pedagogical values as well.

The basic unit of this work is, in each page, a bertso-melody written by solfa accompained by its denomination and its information record, after that, and considering the size of the bertso, these units have been grouped following an alphabetical order. About the musical notation it must be said that the staff lines are fashioned to the usual writing size of the bertso, thus, beside showing a closer link between text and music, we can master easier the structure of the song concerning both the melody and the rhythm.

The different files of the record:

- size
- special
- who created it
- when it was created
- who collected it
- where it was collected
- when it was published
- record-cassette
- without music
- whose bertso
- variant
- tone
- rupture
- strucutre
- use
- note

Although the record of many melodies brings fewer information, every record has all these sections. After showing the size of the bertso's melody, in some cases comes what is called the special melody, when the quality of the music or the importance os the "air" in the bertso world requires it. What comes next is by who and when it has been created, after pointing out this in the few cases we know about it, it is shown by who -person or group - an where - in wich town or city - it has been collected; and then where it has been published, that is, in which song recopillation, magazine or loose music score has come to light and also in which record-cassette has appeared. In the following two sections it is mentioned whose bertsolari is the melody-dressed bertso unit and also in which song or bertso-book can be found by the bertso-follower, the whole bertso-session without music. Since many melodies are very similar, it's important to let the reader know about it and that is what comes to make clear the variant section. And in order to show the feature or characteristics - after the classification by the bertso's content from my point of view - there comes the information or data related to music, tone, rupture and structure. It is important for the bertso-follower to know how firmly-rooted is the air among the bertsolaries and we have tried to inform about it in the use section, mentioning the bertsolari who has made use of it an also when and where that use has taken place. And finally the record's content and essence ends up with may different notes that couldn't been placed in the other sections.

And after mentioning these short clarifications, let's say that we have named and arranged the valuable treasure that was spread out in thousand of pages, music records and bertso-sessions, many times without a name, thus, hoping all this material will be a lot more useful for bertsolaries, music-followers and teachers so in the future as well these treasures that in long decades the Basque Country has created to express its feelings and impulses will help us to keep living in bertsos and singing.

As we have mentioned before, fortunately, our bertso-creation is in good health and keeps producing new airs without interruption. In oder to be able to publish, we had to draw a line in time and so we have collected the bertsos created until 1993, but our purpose is to keep working, publishing from time to time -as complement of this publication- the old melodies we have had to leave beside together with the new creations.