The Georgian culture has evolved over the country's long history,
providing it with a unique national culture and a strong literary
tradition based on the Georgian language and alphabet. This has provided
a strong sense of national identity that has helped to preserve Georgian
distinctiveness despite repeated periods of foreign occupation and
An element of the rich and diverse culture of the Georgian people, the
traditional songs of Georgia are a musical chronicle of the country's
history. Despite the numerous incursions of foreign invaders, Georgia
has preserved its language, both oral and written, its architecture, its
religion and a large number of unique songs and melodies.
Developed over the centuries, the traditions and styles of performance
have been handed down from generation to generation by outstanding
singers, many of who founded their own schools and whose memory lives on
in the minds of the Georgian people.
Georgian folk music is one of the most important elements in the
treasure house of Georgian spiritual culture, an aural chronicle of
Georgia's centuries-old history.
The specific geography of Georgia, its historic and social conditions
have brought about the development of a number of dialects, both
linguistic and musical, that are named after the respective place-names:
Kakheti, Kartli, Racha, Svaneti, Megrelia, Imereti, Guria, Ajaria and
others. The musical dialects of all those regions differ in rhythm,
intonation, texture and harmony, whole sharing one common feature:
polyphonic singing. Georgia folk songs mostly contain three voice-parts.
However, four-part labor songs are encountered in Guria and Ajaria. In
these parts of Western Georgia a distinctive kind of figurative
polyphonic-singing is widespread "Krimanchuli" or "Gankivani", a type of
Georgian folk music, featuring complex, three-part, polyphonic
harmonies, has long been a subject of special interest among
musicologists. There are many talented folk groups in Georgia whose
common purpose is to revive and preserve Georgian folk music.
In today's Georgia, folk songs are most frequently sung around the
table. The ceremonial dinner (supra), a frequent occurrence in Georgian
homes, is a highly ritualized event that itself forms a direct link to
Georgia's past. On such occasions, rounds of standardized and improvised
toasts typically extend long into the night.