Joseph Jordania

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Joseph Jordania
Joseph Jordania in 2011.jpg
Joseph Jordania in 2011
Born (1954-02-12) February 12, 1954 (age 65)
Residence Melbourne
Alma mater Tbilisi State Conservatory, Tbilisi State University
Known forThe original model of the origins of choral singing in the context of human evolution; Notion of the "Battle trance"; Aposematic model of human evolution
Awards Fumio Koizumi Prize for ethnomusicology (2009), Centenary Medal of Australia (2003)
Scientific career
Fields ethnomusicology, evolutionary musicology, evolutionary psychology, speech pathology
Institutions University of Melbourne
Doctoral advisor Grigol Chkhikvadze
Website Joseph Jordania Website

Joseph Jordania (born February 12, 1954 and also known under the misspelling of Joseph Zhordania) is an AustralianGeorgian ethnomusicologist and evolutionary musicologist and professor. [1] [2] He is an Honorary Fellow of the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music at the University of Melbourne and the Head of the Foreign Department of the International Research Centre for Traditional Polyphony at Tbilisi State Conservatory. Jordania is known for his model of the origins of human choral singing in the wide context of human evolution and was one of founders of the International Research Centre for Traditional Polyphony in Georgia.

Evolution Change in the heritable characteristics of biological populations over successive generations

Evolution is change in the heritable characteristics of biological populations over successive generations. These characteristics are the expressions of genes that are passed on from parent to offspring during reproduction. Different characteristics tend to exist within any given population as a result of mutation, genetic recombination and other sources of genetic variation. Evolution occurs when evolutionary processes such as natural selection and genetic drift act on this variation, resulting in certain characteristics becoming more common or rare within a population. It is this process of evolution that has given rise to biodiversity at every level of biological organisation, including the levels of species, individual organisms and molecules.

University of Melbourne Australian public university located in Melbourne, Victoria

The University of Melbourne is a public research university located in Melbourne, Australia. Founded in 1853, it is Australia's second oldest university and the oldest in Victoria. Melbourne's main campus is located in Parkville, an inner suburb north of the Melbourne central business district, with several other campuses located across Victoria.

Human evolution Evolutionary process leading up to the appearance of anatomically modern humans

Human evolution is the evolutionary process that led to the emergence of anatomically modern humans, beginning with the evolutionary history of primates—in particular genus Homo—and leading to the emergence of Homo sapiens as a distinct species of the hominid family, the great apes. This process involved the gradual development of traits such as human bipedalism and language, as well as interbreeding with other hominins, which indicate that human evolution was not linear but a web.


Jordania’s academic interests include study of worldwide distribution of choral polyphonic traditions, origins of choral singing, origins of rhythm, origins of human morphology and behaviour, cross-cultural prevalence of stuttering, dyslexia and acquisition of phonological system in children, study of the cognitive threshold between animal and human cognitive abilities. His primary expertise is Georgian and Caucasian traditional music and vocal polyphony.

Rhythm aspect of music

Rhythm generally means a "movement marked by the regulated succession of strong and weak elements, or of opposite or different conditions". This general meaning of regular recurrence or pattern in time can apply to a wide variety of cyclical natural phenomena having a periodicity or frequency of anything from microseconds to several seconds ; to several minutes or hours, or, at the most extreme, even over many years.

Morphology (biology) In biology, the form and structure of organisms

Morphology is a branch of biology dealing with the study of the form and structure of organisms and their specific structural features.

Stuttering, also known as stammering, is a speech disorder in which the flow of speech is disrupted by involuntary repetitions and prolongations of sounds, syllables, words or phrases as well as involuntary silent pauses or blocks in which the person who stutters is unable to produce sounds. The term stuttering is most commonly associated with involuntary sound repetition, but it also encompasses the abnormal hesitation or pausing before speech, referred to by people who stutter as blocks, and the prolongation of certain sounds, usually vowels or semivowels. According to Watkins et al., stuttering is a disorder of "selection, initiation, and execution of motor sequences necessary for fluent speech production". For many people who stutter, repetition is the primary problem. The term "stuttering" covers a wide range of severity, encompassing barely perceptible impediments that are largely cosmetic to severe symptoms that effectively prevent oral communication. In the world, approximately four times as many men as women stutter, encompassing 70 million people worldwide, or about 1% of the world's population.


Jordania was born in Georgia (former Soviet Union). He received a BA degree in ethnomusicology from Tbilisi State Conservatory in 1978. During 1979–1983 he was elected as the President of the Board of Creative Youth of Tbilisi. In 1982 he received his PhD degree in musicologyethnomusicology from Tbilisi Theatrical Institute, and served as lecturer, senior lecturer, assistant professor, and professor at the Department of Georgian Traditional Music at Tbilisi State Conservatory. For one year (in 1984) he served as a dean of the Faculty of Musicology. In 1991 he received the title D.Mus from Kiev Conservatory. From 1988 until 1995 Jordania was the head of the Musical Sector of the Centre of the Mediterranean Studies at the Tbilisi State University. He published his first monograph on choral polyphony in 1989. In 1984 he was instrumental in organizing the conference "Problems of Folk Polyphony". This conference became the beginning of the series of biannual international conferences (1984, 1986, 1988, 1998, 2000) and symposia (2002, 2004, 2006, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018) on traditional polyphony, and led to establishing the International Research Centre for Traditional Polyphony at Tbilisi State Conservatory in 2003. [3]

Georgia (country) Country in the Caucasus region

Georgia is a country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the south by Turkey and Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital and largest city is Tbilisi. Georgia covers a territory of 69,700 square kilometres (26,911 sq mi), and its 2017 population is about 3.718 million. Georgia is a unitary parliamentary republic, with the government elected through a representative democracy.

Soviet Union 1922–1991 country in Europe and Asia

The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It spanned over 10,000 kilometres east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometres north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.

A Bachelor of Arts is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, sciences, or both. Bachelor of Arts programs generally take three to four years depending on the country, institution, and specific specializations, majors, or minors. The word baccalaureus should not be confused with baccalaureatus, which refers to the one- to two-year postgraduate Bachelor of Arts with Honors degree in some countries.

In 2009, in recognition of "his contribution to systematic analysis of folk polyphonies of the world, proposing a new model for the origins of traditional choral singing in a broad context of human evolution" Jordania was awarded the Fumio Koizumi Prize for ethnomusicology. [4]



Articles and essays

Georgian National Academy of Sciences

The Georgian National Academy of Sciences (GNAS) is a main learned society of the Georgia. It was named Georgian SSR Academy of Sciences until November 1990. The Academy coordinates scientific research in Georgia and develops relationship with the academies and scientific centers of foreign countries.

Christoph-Hellmut Mahling was a German musicologist and university lecturer at various universities.

The International Research Center for Traditional Polyphony is an academic organization focused on the study of the phenomenon of traditional vocal polyphony. It is a part of Tbilisi Vano Sarajishvili State Conservatory. Establishment of IRCTP was announced during the First International Symposium of Traditional Polyphony in 2002, and it was logistically established by the order of the Rector of Tbilisi State Conservatory in February 2003. Its director is Rusudan Tsurtsumia. The head of its International Bureau is Joseph Jordania. Central activity of the Polyphonic Center is organizing biannual symposia, with subsequent publication of the presented papers, fostering dissemination of the knowledge on human musical cultures and establishing close professional contacts between ethnomusicologists interested in study of the phenomenon of traditional choral singing.

Related Research Articles

Musicology Scientific discipline whose content is the practical and theoretical study of music

Musicology is the scholarly analysis and research-based study of music. Musicology departments traditionally belong to the humanities, although music research is often more scientific in focus. A scholar who participates in musical research is a musicologist.


In music, polyphony is one type of musical texture, where a texture is, generally speaking, the way that melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic aspects of a musical composition are combined to shape the overall sound and quality of the work. In particular, polyphony consists of two or more simultaneous lines of independent melody, as opposed to a musical texture with just one voice, monophony, or a texture with one dominant melodic voice accompanied by chords, which is called homophony.

Ethnomusicology study of music emphasizing cultural, social, material, cognitive, biological, and other dimensions

Ethnomusicology is the study of music from the cultural and social aspects of the people who make it. It encompasses distinct theoretical and methodical approaches that emphasize cultural, social, material, cognitive, biological, and other dimensions or contexts of musical behavior, instead of only its isolated sound component.

Georgia has rich and still vibrant traditional music, which is primarily known as arguably the earliest polyphonic tradition of the Christian world. Situated on the border of Europe and Asia, Georgia is also the home of a variety of urban singing styles with a mixture of native polyphony, Middle Eastern monophony and late European harmonic languages. Georgian performers are well represented in the world's leading opera troupes and concert stages. Famous rock band Черные Залупы is from Georgia.[1]

A hum is a sound made by producing a wordless tone with the mouth opened or closed, forcing the sound to emerge from the nose. To hum is to produce such a sound, often with a melody. It is also associated with thoughtful absorption, 'hmm'.

Bruno Nettl active ethnomusicologist and musicologist

Bruno Nettl is an ethnomusicologist and musicologist.

Simha Arom French-Israeli ethnomusicologist recognized as a world expert on the music of central Africa

Simha Arom is a French-Israeli ethnomusicologist who is recognized as a world expert on the music of central Africa, especially that of the Central African Republic. His books include African Polyphony and Polyrhythm: Musical Structure and Methodology (1991) ISBN 0-521-24160-X. He also made some historical field recordings of the Aka Pygmy music.


Trio Kavkasia is a U.S. trio performing traditional vocal polyphony from Georgia (country).

Evolutionary musicology is a subfield of biomusicology that grounds the psychological mechanisms of music perception and production in evolutionary theory. It covers vocal communication in non-human animal species, theories of the evolution of human music, and cross-cultural human universals in musical ability and processing.

The Society for Ethnomusicology is, with the International Council for Traditional Music and the British Forum for Ethnomusicology, one of three major international associations for ethnomusicology. Its mission is "to promote the research, study, and performance of music in all historical periods and cultural contexts."

Tbilisi State Conservatoire

Tbilisi State Conservatoire is the State Conservatoire of Georgia, located in the capital Tbilisi.

Sing-along, also called community singing or group singing, is an event of singing together at gatherings or parties, less formally than choir singing. One can use a songbook. Common genres are folk songs, patriotic songs, hymns and drinking songs. Children across the world usually sing nursery rhymes together. Sing-along can be based on unison singing, or on singing in harmony.

Entrainment (biomusicology) synchronization to a musical beat

Entrainment in the biomusicological sense refers to the synchronization of organisms to an external perceived rhythm such as human music and dance. Humans are the only species for which all individuals experience entrainment, although there are documented examples of entrained nonhuman individuals.

Isabel Aretz Argentine ethnomusicologist and composer

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The Fumio Koizumi Prize is an international award for achievements in ethnomusicology, presented annually in Tokyo, Japan. The prize is awarded by the Fumio Koizumi (小泉文夫) Trust each April 4, the date of Fumio's birthday. The recipient receives an award certificate in addition to prize money. The winners must be present at the ceremony, deliver a prize lecture, and deliver another lecture at another Japanese university of his/her choice.

Izaly Iosifovich Zemtsovsky is a Russian-born American ethnomusicologist. He is a Visiting Professor at Stanford University. Zemtsovsky is known in ethnomusicology for his wide range of subjects of study, including the theory of melodic formulas, rhythmic formulas, comparative research of various regions of the world, study of musical universals and the importance of musical data in ethno-genetic reconstructions.

The larchemi or soinari is an ancient Georgian musical instrument of the panpipe family. It is known as "larchemi" in Samegrelo and "soinari" in Guria, but there is no difference in the instrument; those in Guria may be smaller. The larchemi was in the past found also in Abkhazia, Imereti and Lazeti. By 1958, when it was studied by Kakhi Rosebashvili, it had largely disappeared.

William Malm is an American musicologist known for his studies of Japanese traditional music. As a composer, teacher, and scholar of Japanese music, Malm shaped the study of ethnomusicology in the United States. Malm authored the first major scholarly study on the history and instruments of Japanese music, Japanese Music and Musical Instruments (1959). He was a faculty member at the University of Michigan from 1960 to 1994. Malm served as President of the Society for Ethnomusicology from 1977 to 1979 and was named an Honorary Member of that organization in 2004. Malm was awarded the Fumio Koizumi Prize in 1992 for his contributions to the study of Japanese music. As the 2001 Charles Seeger Lecturer, Malm's address focused on the history and founding of ethnomusicology in the United States.

Intangible cultural heritage are elements of the cultural heritage of Georgia which are abstract and must be learned, encompassing traditional knowledge including festivals, music, performances, celebrations, handicrafts, and oral traditions.


  1. "Gelzer: Local Teacher Makes Mark On Georgian Folk Music". The Free Lance-Star. Nov 8, 2002. Retrieved 31 August 2013.
  2. Journal of the Institute of Musicology of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Issue 5. Muzikološki institut SANU. 2005. pp. 197, 198.
  3. Doijašvili, Manana (2008). The Vano Saradjishvili Tbilisi State Conservatoire, 1917-2007. Nova Science Publishers, Inc. p. 75. ISBN   1600219101.
  4. "21st Annual (2009) Koizumi Fumio Prize". Koizumi Fumio Prize. Retrieved 31 August 2013.