Evgeny Gippius and Lev Christiansen: Two Approaches to the Art of Folk Singing

Irina L. Egorova


The outstanding 20th century music scholars Evgeny Gippius
and Lev Christiansen are the founders of diverse approaches
towards folk music studies. Comparing their scholarly and
practical aims, conceptions and methods of study, the author
brings out the common and distinctive features in the scholars’
views on the problems of folk song performance. The scholarly
aims of Gippius are directed at modeling historical integrity
of typical signs of national meloi within the framework of
statistical schemes (maps) of areal dissemination of musicalpoetical
types. Christiansen’s musical research pertains to
phenomenological understanding of the essence of traditional
performance and a living continuity of mastery of interpretation
of the idea of song through the successive generations. Whereas
in Gippius’ conception the connection of music with text is
coordinated by means of rhythm, according to Christiansen’s
conception this connection is carried out on the basis of a
common idea encoded in thecontent of a poetical text and
melody. Notwithstanding the existent difference in their views,
the scholarly works of both musicologists contain a substantial
amount of attention towards the problem of the artistic
manifestation of the ideal conception of a song; their scholarly
positions complement each other and comprise a unified space
that connects various directions of musicological thought about
the art of the folk song.

Keywords: Evgeny Gippius, Lev Christiansen, folk music
studies, folk song

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