The Ethnomusicological Phonoarchive



The Ethnomusicological Phonoarchive of the Belarusian State Academy of Music


The Ethnomusicological Phonoarchive of the Belarusian State Academy of Music (ÅÐ BSAM) is a type of a archive, which can be defined as academic. Being unique in its space and content of the materials, presented in different collections, it is now the only one phonoarchive of the Belarusian traditional music which functions within the frame of the High School of music in Belarus. Starting from the very beginning of its existance, this archive was arranged according to a model of specialised scientific and educational structure, functioning with the aim of becoming a centralized collecting, scientific processing (score transcription and analysis, systematization, catalogization, investigation). Use in an educational process of the higher music school the authentic examples of the traditional vocal and instrumental music of Belarus, which had been preserved as the result of a planned field investigation of ethnic territory of the Belarusians. As an example the creation in the 1970's with the funds of the ethnomusic in BSAM (the Belarusian State Lunacharsky Conservatory at that time), the archive of the Cabinet for folk music of the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory, the latter founded and headed for a long time by the famous K. Kvitka.

Formerly a problem of the status of audioarchives of the ethnomusic of Belarus has never been widely discussed by a scientific circle. Neither from a scientific position, nor a methodical one the state of this archive as a base overdisciplinary unit within a structure of the ethnomusicology in Belarus has never been investigated. Now, with a new impulses given to the Belarusian ethnomusicology, its role as an activator of an educational process in the BSAM facilitates its acceptance as a base ethnomusicological archive. New understanding of the activities of the sound-archive, in its turn, makes it actual a question of observation of its funds from the position of the content, geography of field studies, technical level of preservation of the recordings, completeness of the archive documentation, including the score transcriptions, methods of scientific systematization and analysis. The modern state of the sound-archive of the Belarusian traditional music held in the BSAM permits to make such a survey in almost complete form.

Now, in the year 2007, the phono-fund of the ethnomusicological sound-archive of the BSAM is composed from 138 collections of recordings, belonging to 42 collectors. A complete amount of the materials includes more than 1600 hours of sounding.

From the 1970s the field-work of the ethnomusicological department of the Belarusian State Academy of Music progressed in several directions. One of them is connected with the topics of the diploma and dissertation works, it is implemented as a part of an individual field-work plan for the students at graduate and post-graduate levels. One more, but not less important, direction of the field studies is represented by expeditions, which are realized within the framework of a students practice. Supervisors of the field expeditions are Professors of the BSAM L. Mukharinskaya, L. Kostyukovetz, T. Yakimenko, I. Nazina, teachers V. Prybylova, K. Kryvasheitsava, T. Bercovich.

The geography of the investigated territories, according to a list of descriptions, includes 87 regions of the modern Belarus, as well as some border-line territories of Smolensk, Pskov (Russia) and Kiev (Ukraine) regions.

During the period 19702007 the territories of Central Belarus (Minsk region), Northern Belarusian area (Belarusian Poozerye, Vityebsk region) and Eastern Belarusian area (Belarusian Podneprovye, Mogilyev regions) were investigated most intensively.

The territory of Central Belarus coincides with the area of the Minsk region. It's of a special interest for ethnomusicologists because of its special place on the border and the crossing of various style areas of Belarusian traditional music. Among the 22 modern administrative districts of the Minsk region expeditions of BSAM worked in the 16 ones: Sluck, Soligorsk, Ljuban, Starye Dorogi, Kleck, Borisov, Krupki, Dzerzhinsk, Stolbcy, Mjadel’, Molodechno, Vilejka, Mar’ina Gorka, Uzda, Cherven’, Berezino districts.

The base for scientific research of musical traditions of Belarusian Poozerye is the expedition materials of the 17 districts of the Vityebsk region. The majority of districts were investigated repeatedly. The research work in the central area of Poozerye was more intensive (Dokshitsy, Polotsk, Chashniki, Lepel, Ushachi, Glubokoye, Shumilin, Beshenkovichi districts).

Field research in Mogilyev part of Belarusian Podneprovye were actively begun by ethnomusicologists of the Belarusian State Academy of Music in the 1970s and continued (with several trips to selected regions) in the period from 1990–2000.

The left-bank territory of Dnepr basin (the Dnepr-Sozh area) is represented quite well in archives. The survey of this territory passed in the administrative borders of Gorki, Dribin, Mstislavl', Chausy, Slavgorod, Krichev, Klimovichi, Kostiukovichi, Khotimsk district. The right-bank of Dnepr (Dnepr-Drutzk-Beresina interfleuve area) was examined during expeditions to Krugloye district. Song traditions of south-western part of Mogilyevshchina are presented by recordings made in Glusk district.

Among the 16 districts of the Mogilyev region noted in the register of ethnomusic archive of the BSAM the following were repeatedly investigated at the end of the 1990s: Klimovichi district (village Stariy Dedin, inv. by L. Kostyukovetz and L. Shamsutdinova), Belynichi district (1998, under the direction of L. Kostyukovetz and V. Vakhula), Bykhov and Kirovst districts (2000, 2001, by Krivosheitzeva), Krichev and Shumyachi districts (2002, L. Kostyukovetz). For the first time Gorki, Dribin, Khotimsk, Glusk districts were investigated in the 1990's, each of which outlines adjoining territories (northern, eastern and southeastern respectively) of Mogilyev part of the Belarusian Podneprovye.

Among the 17 modern administrative districts of the Grodno region, territory which is part of regional tract of the Belarusian Ponemonye (western regions of Belarus), expeditions of BSAM worked in the 14 ones: Oshmiany, Voronov, Grodno, Diatlovo, Zel'ven, Iv'e, Korelichi, Lida, Mosty, Novogrudok, Svisloch', Slonim, Smorgon', Shchuchin districts. Expeditions to Grodnenshchina were held in 19691992.

The musical culture of the Belarusian Polesye (southern regions of Belarus) is presented by archival records of the BSAM, made on the territory of the Brest and Gomel regions of Belarus for the first time. Though the quantity of the districts enclosed in the borders of each region by the expeditions of various collectors coincides, the periodicity of repeated trips shows, however, greater intensity of field researches in the western area of the Belarusian Polesye.

Among the 16 modern districts of the Brest region, 9 ones (Bereza, Gantsevichi, Drogichin, Ivanovo, Liakhovichi, Luninets, Malorita, Pinsk, Stolin, Ivatsevichi) were visited 18 times by expeditions in 1971–2004. Expeditions of the BSAM worked in 9 districts of Gomel region, among the 21 ones. In total, 12 tours were organized to Gomelshchina during the period from 1978 until 2000.

The specific point of the EP BSAM is that it is keeping quite a wide hand-written collection of score-transcriptions, which are made by students under the guidance of scientific supervisors – the leading ethnomusicologists of the country. A special form for documenting the traditional music culture of Belarus, score-transcriptions serve as an illustration of the ways of field-work studied provided by the BSAM. The earliest written transcriptions of the archive are dated by the years 1956–58 (materials in the expeditions to the former Checher, Zhlobin and Turov regions of the Gomel region).

A systematic character of the field studies of the musical traditions in all the ethnocultural regions of Belarus, resulted into creation of an archive of audio-recordings, on which the subjects of many ethnomusicological issues of different genres, presented by various authors, were recently developed. Besides the Ph.D dissertations, diploma works and referats, the mentioned materials are currently used for scientific papers, investigations of different type, etc. Among the already published are, books of the series "The Belarasian Musical Folklore Investigations, Presented by Young Ethnomusicologists" (released under the coordination and edition of Prof. T. Yakimenko, 1991, 1996, 2004), Scientific works of BSAM (Series II, Isuues of Ethnomusicology).

The newest directions here are also multi-media presentations of the Ph.D dissertations, made recently by young researchers.

A stable part of the ethomusicological work in BSAM has been also preparing of the scientific phono-collections on CD's. This is quite new for the sound-archive of the traditional music direction of the processing of the field recordings, made during various expeditions. Being carefully selected and systematized by authors, these recording constituted such collections, as "Maslenitsa Musical Tradition of Belorussian Podneprov’e" (V. Prybylova, 2006), "Nadezhda Adamovna Shved" (K. Kryvasheitsava, 2007). Both these collections are a part of a series of phonograph collections "Audio Atlas of Traditional Musical Culture of Belarus".

The "Audio Atlas" is exhibiting the traditional musical culture of Belarus is a systematic way, with account of the regional, areal, typological and melogeographical specific features of ethnic culture, and by the methods of modern ethnomusicology.

Series is opened by CD "Maslenitsa Musical Tradition of Belorussian Podneprov’e", 2006. 26 tracks, 48’23”. Author: Vasilina Prybylova, restoration of recordings: Sergey Bogdanov, design: V. Prybylova, A. Dalinin, series manager: Tatyana Bercovich.

Shrovetide Rites Songs are alive phenomenon of our present and a great part of calendar song tradition of the Upper Dnieper Region.

Maslenitsa songs open spring in agricultural ritual calendar of Belarusian Podneprov’e. Performance of Maslenitsa ritual songs and folk tunes falls at Maslenitsa week before the Lent period. These are ritual songs and folk tunes ("when they teeter", "when they wave", "when they hitch up a log", "when they call of spring"), as well timed to the period of Maslenitsa celebrating (lyrical, dancing, comic under song, the so called pripevka).

The collection includes all the class of Maslenitsa tunes. Its musical material represents East region of Belarus as well some adjoining territories of Pskov region. This collection demonstrates the basic tunes fixed in the system of folk song melos of Belarusian Podneprov’e. The tunes can be divided in some territorially isolated typological groups.

A style of Maslenitsa soundings is presented by samples which begin with the words such as "A my maslenitsu dyzhydali" ("We have been waiting for Pancake week"). The records belong to the first typological group of Maslenitsa songs. They are marked by the plasticity of round dance rhythm-formula, figured melodic lines, softness of ton turning while syllabic and musical-rhythmic form are stable.

The next 13 tracks (¹ 517) present the second typological group. A style of the ritual tunes characterizes Chashniki-Orsha-Mstislavl' areal. The distinctive features of the songs are swinging tunes, invariable 6-syllabic refrain (as antimetabole q ee|ee q) with words ("Chamu tabe maslenitsa dy nya sem nyadzel", ¹ 7 ) or twice repeated words of the second part of the poetic row ("Na vulitsy dzeuki gulyali, gulyali", ¹ 12).

The riches of deep singing timbres as well as quite sudden change of song texture are appropriate for musical style of Maslenitsa songs of the southeast and south of Belarusian Podneprov’e.

The type of heterophonic-monodic joint singing ("Na vulku dzeuki gulyali", ¹ 20 ) dominates in Maslenitsa songs of Klimavichi-Khotimsk areal. While heterophonic-burdon performance of the songs belongs to mosaic and "multicolor" song tradition of Sozh-Besiadz'-Iput' areal (¹ 24 "Maslianaya, vot ya ydu" , ¹ 25 "Zekatsilasia zharkae soneika"). All the means of sound influence including intonation and rhythmic-structural maintenance of tunes open the basic ritual sense as well as the function of the songs of the mentioned territories as spring calling.

Separate class of songs in the phonocollection timed to the Maslenitsa ceremony is presented by single tracks (¹ 18, 2123, 26). These songs allow the singer to show the greater freedom. The songs can be performed in every moment of Maslenitsa week and, moreover, in various moments of spring-summer season.

 Creating of three-dimension panorama of Belarusian traditional music culture, which is one of the crucial ideas of the "Audio Atlas", is hardly possible without an exposure of its individual representatives. The collection "Nadzezhda Adamauna Shved" displays a song tradition of the village of Perarou (Zhytkavichy District, Homel Region), incarnated in the singing of one of its most talented holders. Author: Katsiaryna Kryvasheitsava, restoration of recordings: Sergey Bogdanov, design: Aliaksandr Prybylou, K. Kryvasheitsava, series manager: Tatyana Bercovich. 2007. 26 tracks, 63’35”.

Features of this tradition especially vividly came to light during the recording in the village of Stoupnya (Rahachouski District), where Nadzezhda Adamauna sang with a group of the natives. The recording shows that calendar and family song traditions of different places of Belarus are not equal. Even during the performing of later tradition songs, which are more homogeneous in their style, the sound of Nadzezhda Adamauna and that of the other participants is not identical.

The collection represents a calendar song cycle of the Zhytkavichy District, including the tunes of the three seasons – Winter (¹ 3 – "shchodry", ¹ 4 – "kaza", ¹ 5 – Christmas psalm), Spring (¹ 8 – "zahukanne viasny", ¹ 9 – spring round dance, ¹ 10, 11, 13 – Whitsunday songs) and Summer  14 – harvest time song). The family cycle is represented by wedding tunes . A separate part of the collection includes later traditional songs – ballades (¹¹ 31, 32), family-common (¹¹ 29, 30), lyric (¹¹ 27, 30 , 34) and jocular (¹¹ 7, 26).

The collection includes narrations and comments on the songs and rites, that paints a graphic vivid picture of the traditional culture as well as it reveals the peculiarities of its holders as the cultural anthropological type.