Dec 142018
Paotred er gueù à bleuigner performed by Jorj Botuha

This is the third CERMAA analysis in the Breton series, and features the song “Paotred er gueù à bleuigner” performed by Jorj Botuha on the 13th of September 2003 in Auray – France (Brittany). Botuha was interviewed and recorded by Amine Beyhom, and performed on three different bombards[1]. The particular bombard used for this song is tuned to a ≈ 438 hz. It is a copy – made by Botuha – of an original from the region of Karnak in Brittany, performed here with a wide double-reed in boxwood[2].

The scale is analyzed in details in the article “Dossier : Mesures d’intervalles – Méthodologie et Pratique.” Revue Des Traditions Musicales Des Mondes Arabe et Méditerranéen 1, no. 1 (June 2007): 181–235. by Amine Beyhom (notably p. 195-202), and follows the approximate progression a 3 b 3 c 4 d 4 e 4 f# 2 g 4 A (numbers correspond to intervals in multiples of the quarter-tone). This corresponds, in the lower part from a to d, to the scale of maqām Ḥusaynī in Arabian music[3]. Subsequently, the Graphic scale features a b- instead of a b.

The whole song spans one octave to the most, with the initial tonic slightly rising; the base tonic was measured around 31 s_a (for 31 seconds of the analysis as shown on the graphic output – to differentiate this time from video time in seconds or “s_v”) equivalent to 39 s_v. The second degree is clearly zalzalian (with bordering three-quarter-tones intervals) and the fourth and the fifth degrees are slightly raised[4].

The graphic and video-Analysis (with Praat) and editing are by Amine Beyhom and feature an intensity curve (relative) in maroonish color.

The video-analysis was uploaded 14/12/2018 and is also available at

[1] The bombard is a conical-bore double-reed instrument with a powerful sound played by sonors for traditional dances in Brittany. It is usually played with the Breton bagpipe, the binioù, in the binioù khoz (“old bagpipe”) version. The melodic range of the binioù lies one octave above the range of the bombard. Most bombards are tuned to a ≈ 440 hz.

[2] The form and material of the reeds impact the resulting notes – and consequently the scale.

[3] The “mode” used is however – and clearly – neither Ḥusaynī nor any other Arabian maqām.

[4] Note that while the third degree (c) seems raised by a near quarter-tone in the performance of the scale analyzed in the aforementioned article by Amine Beyhom (see Figure 5b p. 202), the performance as such shows no such difference with plain c – performed either plain or slightly raised.

 Posted by at 20:20