The Methods of Narrative Song
The work program includes international workshops, seminars, education and artistic work aimed at finding answers to the question of what types of means the singer uses when singing long narrative songs, using both ethnomusicological and artistic research methods. The focus is on similarities and differences in runosong, ballad and byline, especially how the song is produced. What kind of part is with creativity and improvisation, and what proportion is directly remembered? How can the creative process be described and explained?
In research literature, it is thought that runosong is a generative form of singing, in which the singer "recreates" the story when singing. She builds a story by formulas, verses he/she knows, or by forming new verses within the meter she/he is competent. The ballads are thought to be remembered, and the singer is thought to make variations only by mistake, when he/she maybe forgets something.
A Swedish scholar-musician Susanne Rosenberg describes the consciousness of the singer, while singing the song, by two different levels. The other is controlled and conscious singing, which happens in a time frame of 5-7 seconds, as the other happens in a shorter timeframe where conscious control is not any more possible. In the latter case, we are dealing with present and instinctive improvisation. Rosenberg uses the concept of nuet.
In addition, Russian bylina tradition has its own means, and it is also interesting to study more closely its relation, for instance, to runosong.