On the Relevance of the Creative Musical Endeavors of Evgeny Gippius for 21st Century Musical Scholarship

Igor V. Macijevski


The endeavors of the most significant Russian ethnomusicologist
of the 20th century, Evgeny Vladimirovich Gippius are unique
in their scope of coverage of issues, as well as in the means of
their manifestation. A wide circle of readers is familiar with
his fundamental compilations of traditional folk songs, which
surpassed their time by the level of their notation and became
classics in Russian scholarship. His theoretical works are of equal
rank with them. Study of Mily Balakirev’s compilations of folk
songs opened up the textual direction in folk music studies, and
study of the Russian “chastushka” presented one of the sources of
the formation of organophony.
Among the methodological elaborations and revelations
mention must be made of the position of analytical notation and
its implementation into the practice of Russian ethnomusicology,
the conception of rhythm, the issues of areal research of ethnic
music or the programmatic-pictorial complex of the rite. Evgeny
Gippius was among the funders of research in the sphere of
comparative musicology in Russia.
A substantial contribution to the study of history of
ethnomusicology has been made by Gippius’ articles and essays on
the outstanding activists in Russian and world scholarship, Erich
Moritz von Hornbostel, Carl Stumpf and Victor Buliayev. The
musicologist undertook the immense labor of scholarly editing
of notations of traditional songs (by Karelians, Udmurtians,
Adygeians, Belarusians, Tuvans, Balkarians, Karacheyevians,
Special emphasis must be made of Gippius’ contribution
to the study of the ethnical instrumental musical culture. The
interest in instrumental writing and the peculiarity of the approach
towards its study are conditioned by the scholar’s artistic image,
the individual features of his personality, upbringing, education,
overall culture and mentality.

Keywords: Evgeny Gippius, analytic notation, areal
research, the conception of rhythm, music folklore studies,
organophony, folk music compilations, comparative musicology,

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