Georgian polyphonic chant and folk song is beginning to receive scholarly attention outside its homeland, and is a useful case study in several respects. This study focuses on the theological nature of its musical material, examining relevant examples in light of the patristic understanding of hierarchy and prototype and of iconography and liturgy. After brief historical and theological discussions, chant variants and paraliturgical songs from various periods and regions are analysed in depth, using a primarily geometrical approach, describing the iconography and significance of style, musical structure, contrapuntal relationships, melodic figuration, and ornamentation. Aesthetics and compositional processes are discussed, and the theological approach in turn sheds light on questions of historical development. It is demonstrated that Georgian polyphony is a rich repository of theology of the Trinity and the Incarnation, and the article concludes with broad theological reflections on the place of sound as it relates to text, prayer, and tradition over time.
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