Evgeny Gippius Concerning the Problem of Documentation of Folk Music

Roman F. Zelinsky


The article provides characterization for the approach of the
well-known Russian musicologist Evgeny Vladimirovich
Gippius to the problem of documentation of folk music. Gippius
presented a scholarly foundation for the so-called analytical
notation, in which the graphics of placement of the staves with
the notes reflect the compositional peculiarities of the musical
material. Documentation of musical texts is raised to a level of
high caliber in a number of compilations of song heritage of the
Russian, Ossetian, Mordovian, Karelian and Finnish peoples,
where Evgeny Gippius was the editor. The article is based on
personal impressions and personal experience of the author’s
communication with the musicologist. He was a witness of
Gippius’ serious approach towards identification of all details
concerning passport data of folk music performers, their ethnic
background, musical repertoire, dialect, style of performance
and other issues. Having a profound knowledge of Slavic,
Turkic, Finno-Ugric, Altaic, Samoyedic, Paleo-Asian and other
musical cultures, Gippius gave precise definitions to their
respective genre specificity, in order to lead the way to a scholarly
classifying conclusion, as well to practical recommendations for
demonstration of genuine ethnic musical traditions on stage. The
musicologist expressed his opinion in regard to transcription of
melodies from the Bashkir tradition of ozon-kuy. He thought
it improper to provide melodies with meters, as this parameter
is essentially absent from the traditional music culture of the

Keywords: Evgeny Gippius, folk music, transcriptions of
Bashkir ozon-kuy

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