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date: 19 October 2019

Albania (Alb. Republika e Shqipërisë)locked

  • Jane Sugarman,
  • George Leotsakos
  •  and Zana Shuteriqi Prela


(Alb. Republika e Shqipërisë)

Country in south-east Europe. Under Ottoman rule from 1385, Albanians proclaimed their independence in 1912. This was recognized by international conferences in 1913 and again after World War I. The country was occupied by Italy from April 1939 and during World War II by Germany. In 1946 a people’s republic was proclaimed with a Soviet-type constitution. China succeeded the USSR as Albania’s chief patron (1956–71); thereafter the country lived in isolated ‘revolutionary self-sufficiency’ until 1990, when a pluralist political system was adopted and the first non-Communist government elected (1992).

George Leotsakos, revised by Zana Shuteriqi Prela

Art music along Western lines began in Albania during the Rilindja Kombëtare (National Renaissance), a broad political and cultural movement for the country’s independence dating from the 1830s. The most significant musical tradition that Albanian music inherited from past centuries is Byzantine music, which represents the first evidence of musical notation in Albania, found in medieval musical manuscripts. Most of the codices, found in the city of Berat, have liturgical content. In this collection, of musicological interest are the nine manuscripts with biblical content whose fragments are given with ecphonetic notation and the six manuscripts with Byzantine notation. The musical manuscripts of Albania come from five different cities of the country and date from the 13th century until the 19th. Despite their small number, the provenance of these musical manuscripts and their typological and chronological variety testifies to the spread, existence, and continuity of the Byzantine psaltic art in Albania....

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