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The preservation of the sound heritage of the peoples of the Udmurt Republic: the experience of the leading sound archives of the world

Published in the book: Russia and Udmurtia: history and modernity. Materials of the International scientifically-practical conference, dedicated to the 450th anniversary of the voluntary entry of the Udmurt Republic in the Russian state. – Izhevsk: Publishing house "Udmurtia University", 2008. – Pp. 866-878.


Tjeerd de Graaf (Groningen, Netherlands)

Viktor Denisov (Russia, St. Petersburg, Russia)

In the Udmurt Republic, as in many other regions of the Russian Federation, for more than 80 years of use of recording devices has accumulated a huge variety of sound materials. Most of these materials stored in the archives of various institutions, museums etc. the Most significant is undoubtedly an audio archive of the Udmurt radio, which stores recordings of broadcasts, from 1952 to the present day. In essence, it is a unique sound archive, reflecting the daily life and activities all over the Republic during this period. Currently in it concentrated to 40 000 units of storage. This archive is stored in digital form on hard drives in WAV format.

Significant volume and its scientific value sound archive also assembled faculty and students of the philological faculty and the faculty of Udmurt Philology, Udmurt State University, research staff of the Udmurt Institute of history, language and literature (formerly UNII) Ural branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences during the dialectological and folk expeditions on the territory of the Udmurt Republic and abroad. A lot of sound on magnetic tapes can be stored also for researchers themselves and just in private collections.

The history of recording, as we know, is averaging just over 130 years, from 1877 since the invention of the phonograph by the American inventor Thomas Edison. The phonograph began to be used to capture speech from about the 1890's and were widely used until the 30s of the last century, and in some countries even up to the 1950-ies. The recording was made on wax cylinders (rollers) and wax discs, which, unfortunately, were short-lived and fragile. In addition, because repeated listening quality sound on wax cylinders or discs rapidly deteriorated and was left wantingbest.

In Russia the phonograph appeared almost immediately after the start of its mass production, and the first known record dates back to 1889 (Approx.1). It is difficult now to imagine it, but in 1890-ies in Russia were thousands of phonographs. Promoter and distributor of this device in Russia was an entrepreneur, ethnographer, musician, and scientist Julius Block (1858-1934), who, incidentally, first recorded the voice of Tchaikovsky. There is also evidence that, until the great Patriotic war in the Tchaikovsky Museum in Klin was stored fonovic, depicting the game of the great composer. But this record was not moved to another, more perfect and solid carrier and, in all probability, have died (Approx. 2).

Then replaced the phonograph came a gramophone with records, and since the beginning of 50-ies and up to the end of 80-ies of the last century – the analog tape recorder and magnetic tape. Then began the era of digital recording. The first digital recording was made in 1985, and since the early 1990s, widespread technology R-DAT, then CD and DVD recording on magnetic and optical discs.

In Udmurtia regular to phonograph records started in the late 20-ies of the last century in the course of large-scale linguistic expeditions organized by a renowned scholar of Finno-gravedom D. V. Babraham. In these expeditions he participated also Udmurt scientist, ethnographer, writer and poet Kusebay Gerd (K. P. Dummies) (Approx. 3). The following series of entries in the expeditions conducted in the 30-ies of the last century researchers J. A. Eshpai and M. P. Petrov, and V. A. Pchelnikov. And 1940, in Leningrad, a famous musicologist Zinaida V. Ewald recorded media Udmurt language already in the Studio.

The materials of these expeditions, including wax cylinders, stored in the phonogram archive of the Institute of Russian literature (Pushkin House), Russian Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg, which employs highly trained specialists who have the skill to communicate with these fragile media audio, and there are modern devices for sound reproduction with rare wax cylinders.

Historically, a significant portion of world heritage in audio visual documents that reflect the linguistic and cultural diversity of mankind is kept in relatively small institutions. "Because of their endemic lack of funding, these institutions cannot be seen as archives in the strict sense because they do not have sufficient modern technical capabilities for the preservation of audio materials in digital formats that will be available in the future. Moreover, a significant number of sound materials of international importance is still in the scholars and other individuals who collected them" (Approx. 4). These materials are also at risk of irretrievable loss. Save them for mankind can only specialized store – phonogrammarchiv, in which there are all conditions for this. The need for such storage became apparent in the late 19th century.

The first of these repositories - Vienna phonogram archive was founded at the initiative of the physiologist of the University of Vienna Sigmund Exner (Sigmund Exner and his colleagues. The date of its Foundation is considered to be April 27, 1899. Soon Vienna phonogram archive has become a leading center in Europe for the collection and scientific study of the audio language, the folklore, music and culture of the peoples of Europe and other regions of the world. This was one of the first sound archive has received international recognition. About the merits and significance of the Vienna phonogram archive also says the fact that he is still independent unit in the structure of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. The following historical collections of the phonogram archive collected in 1899-1950, and represents a unique value for the whole mankind, included in the UNESCO programme "memory of the world" ("Memory of the World"):

o Rudolf Piech (Rudolf Pöch): Papua New Guinea (1904-1906), Kalahari (1908);
o Adolphus dir (Adolf Dirr): Caucasian languages (1909);
o Rudolf Trebitsch (Rudolf Trebitsch): Greenland (1906), the Celtic minorities in Europe (1907-1909), the Basques (1913);
o Abraham Idelson (Abraham Z. Idelsohn): Different traditions and styles of reading the Bible in the Jewish Diaspora (Jerusalem, 1909-1913);
o "Songs of Russian prisoners of war" the first World war (1915-1917): records by representatives of various nationalities and ethnic groups in tsarist Russia;
o German dialects in Austria.

Currently the historical collections of the phonogram archive contain about 50,000 units c total playing time of over 7,000 hours. On the state of the sound archive and its technical capabilities to speak of the fact that it now employs 25 full-time employees, as well as constantly engaged temporary employees, student interns and graduate students. The archive is well equipped technically: it has three studios in digitization station for auditory users, studios for recording and rewriting. In addition, given the importance of maintaining a vintage and analog equipment in working condition, a special laboratory to service equipment, equipment for the replication of records and field surveys.

It is interesting, even the enumeration of the subjects of sound collections:

o Voice portraits (collection transferred to the Austrian Library);
o Ethnicity;
o Ethnolinguistics and dialectology;
o Cultural anthropology and folklore;
o Ringtone jukebox;
o Zoology;
o Medicine and science;
o Ambient sounds and noises;
o Early collections.

In the period after 1950-ies Vienna phonogram archive in addition to the records of the Austrian folk music, focused on recording the folklore of the peoples of Africa, the Roma of Central and South-Eastern Europe and Turkey, Afghanistan (before the events of the 1980s), Indian tribes of the continent and peoples of Tibet and the Himalayas. Special mention should be made about the expedition to record the sounds of the wild nature of the Amazon basin.

In addition, the Vienna phonogram archive is actively engaged in international activities as a member of IASA (international Association of Sound Archives) and the Technical Committee of this organization under the auspices of UNESCO. His staff are constantly traveling in international expeditions to various regions of the world, as well as participate in international projects in Romania, Albania, China, Russia. The technical staff of the archive creates a unique technical instruments and donates them to the partner phonogrammarchiv.

For many years the phonogram archive of successfully combines scientific research with commercial. An example of this is the publication records and later CD with separate historical collections under the name "Sound files from the audio archive". Since 1999, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the phonogram archive of the full edition of "Historical collections (1899-1950, CD reviews (Approx. 5).

Already for many years been the leader of this institution is Dietrich schüller (Dietrich Schüller), honorary Chairman of the Technical Committee of IASA, which made a great contribution to the development not only of the Vienna phonogram archive, but in promoting the ideas and standards of the sound archive at the international level.

The Berlin phonogram archive (Berliner Phonogramm-Archiv) was founded in 1900 on the initiative of the psychologist Carl Shtumpf (Carl Stumpf) and originally referred to the Psychological Institute of Berlin University. Then, under the leadership of Erich f. Hornbostel (Erich Moritz von Hornbostel) he became one of the leading sound storage of his time. An important part of the meeting amounted to the record folksong prisoners of war, who during the First world war was carried out under the direction of K. Shtumpf and on the initiative of V. Degen, the future founder of the Berlin sound archive. In 1934 Berlin The phonogram archive was transferred to the Ethnographic Museum (Museum für Völkerkunde). During world war II archive collection were separated, part of them were in Leningrad, where he was returned at the end of the 1950s in East Berlin, the Academy of Sciences. In 1991, meetings were again reunited in the Ethnological Museum (Völkerkundemuseum Berlin-Dahlem), where a part of the Department of ethnomusicology. There are more than 150,000 entries, mainly samples of traditional music in more than 230 Nations of the world, including more than 30.000 wax cylinders (the originals, negatives and copper wax copies without originals). The historical collections of the archive are also 2 000 shellac records. In 2006, S. Ziegler published a book containing a complete description of the Fund's wax cylinders of the Berlin phonogram archive (Susanne Ziegler, “Die Wachszylinder des Berliner Phonogramm-Archivs“).

In 1999 the Berlin phonogram archive, one of the largest sound archives in the world, was included in the UNESCO memory of the world".

The Berlin sound archive (Berliner Lautarchiv) was established in 1920 on the initiative of the linguist Wilhelm Degen (Wilhelm Doegen) as a Department of the Prussian State library. The basis of the archive amounted records (mostly samples of oral speech) that are made during the First world war in pow camps in Germany, and held since 1917 recording of voices of famous people of the early twentieth century. From 1922, the archive began to specialize in documentary records of the German dialects and other European languages and dialects. Thus, if in Berlin The audio archive is stored mainly samples of traditional music, Berlin Sound archive contains along with musical recordings in the first place this valuable collection of samples of oral speech. In 1934, the collections were transferred to the Berlin University. Under the direction of linguist-Africanist of Diariha of Westerman (Diedrich Westermann) archive turned into a research and training Institute. Work continued on the record of the voices of famous people. After the Second world war, the Institute changed the name and in 1969 became one of the offices of the Department of phonetics and receivedany Of Humboldt University. Currently Sound archive is part of the Musicological Seminar (Musikwissenschaftliches Seminar) at the Berlin Humboldt University. (Approx. 6). In 1999 work began on the systematic description and digitization of historical collections, which is to this day.

It should again be said about collections of records the times of World war I Berlin and Vienna sound archives, who did a great scope and importance of job – entry of prisoners of war, representing various regions and peoples of tsarist Russia. During the period from 1915 to 1918 in the Berlin phonogram archive was recorded wax roller 1022 1651 and shellac records (Approx. 7). A preliminary study of the catalogues of the archives and listening to audio materials showed that there are records of prisoners of war from the territory of modern Udmurt Republic. These recordings much earlier than anything available in Russian archives audio content for this region. Given the precision and accuracy of filling materials (metadata), made at the time of the recording, and storage conditions of these sound materials, it is safe to say that they are unique in all respects. It is therefore necessary to make every effort to obtain copies of these records and placement in the sound archive of the Udmurt Republic with the purpose of their further research.

In the beginning of XX century (this date is considered to be 1909), by academician A. A. Shakhmatova have any Phonographic archive of the First Slavic branch of the Library of the Imperial Academy of Sciences. Now this is the audio archive of the Institute of Russian literature (Pushkin House), Russian Academy of Sciences. The basis of the Foundation laid field recording samples of folklore of the peoples of Russia and Eastern Europe on wax cylinders collected by academicians A. A. Ahmatova and N. S. Derzhavin and supplemented by the records of master of Philology E. A. Voltaire — the first Keeper of the archive. However, the working base of the phonogram archive was formed in 1926 by the efforts of E. Gippius (custodian from 1926 to 1944) and Z. V. Ewald.

Officially store folk sound of records exists in the system of the Academy of Sciences in 1931, it was in this year in the audio archive were United's biggest folk music library in Leningrad and Moscow for their centralized storage and use. This included the collection of former Phonographic archives of the Library of the Imperial Academy of Sciences, sound archives of the Museum of anthropology and Ethnography of the Academy of Sciences, which included folklore and dialectological recording of the peoples of Siberia, the Far East and Central Asia. Some time later Phonographic collection of the Leningrad state Conservatory, music library Anthem (the State Institute of musical science), Institute of Oriental studies Academy of Sciences, the Musical-ethnographic Commission at the Ethnographic Department of the former Imperial society of naturalists, anthropology and Ethnography (Moscow) and a number of other sound archives were transferred to the phonogram archive.

In 1938, the phonogram archive became part of the Department of folk-poetry of the Institute of Russian literature. As a result of all these transformations and the phonogram archive of the merger became the owner of extensive and diverse Fund of folklore recordings of more than one hundred Nations of the world. His collection contains about 10,000 wax cylinders (rollers), recorded on the phonograph of Edison, and more than 500 wax discs. In 1970-80-ies on the initiative of V. V. Korguzalov (at that time head of the phonogram archive of the Institute of the Russian literature) and with the support of academician D. S. Likhachev information with wax cylinders was rewritten on the magnetic tape. In addition to these records, in the audio archive holds a substantial collection of phonograph records and one of the richest collections of Russian folklore on magnetic tapes (Approx. 8).

Currently, the Fund phonogram archive consists of over 150 000 items. Along with recordings of Russian folklore that make up the bulk of the collections, it presents sound materials of different nationalities living on the territory of Russia and abroad. Thus, the specificity of the phonogram archive of the Pushkin House is the huge diversity of its funds generated for nearly a hundred years.

As already noted, this invaluable repository of the audio heritage there are also records of folklore character on wax cylinders 90 (290 songs), made on the territory of Udmurtia. Part of the rollers is owned by the Udmurt Institute of history, language and literature of Ural branch of RAS, which was originally stored in the archive of the Institute UDM. Iial, and then in 1980-ies were deposited in the phonogram archive and subsequently were converted to magnetic tape.

Folklore collection of the phonogram archive of the Pushkin House, a unique collection of sound recordings and manuscripts that have preserved rare specimens of oral tradition, are of great value to the history of world culture. This is evidenced by the fact that by UNESCO, the historical collections of the phonogram archive of the Pushkin House also included in the program "memory of the World".

Promote unique stock records phonogram archive promotes started with the 1983 edition of the album (Approx. 9), and since 2000 and series CDs (Approx. 10). Not less important role in the systematization and study of collections played a series of international projects, which will be discussed in this article.

However, rich sound and manuscripts collections of the phonogram archive of the still insufficiently known in the art, because the directories are not fully published. You want to spend a great deal of work on transfer of significant collections from magnetic tapes to modern digital format, organize the digitization of the manuscript Fund and implement a number of other important activities, in order for the audio archive has taken a worthy place among similar institutions in the world.

International projects

For many years there is a serious work of reconstruction, description and digitization of the collections of the Pushkin House, equipping it with modern technical facilities. An important role in this process of reconstruction of the sound archive also played a part of the Pushkin House in international projects funded by different European organizations. The authors of these lines also are participants in these projects.

The first of these projects "The Use of Acoustic Data Bases in the Study of Language Change" (1995-1998) funded by the organisation INTAS of the European Union in Brussels (Approx. 11). During this project, was able to reconstruct some part of the collections of the Pushkin House, which is important for future research not only due to historical and cultural reasons, but also from the point of view of linguistic description of language change occurred. As a result of the second INTAS project "St. Petersburg Sound Archives on the World Wide Web" (1998 - 2001) part of the historical sound recordings was posted on the Internet (Approx. 12). In both of these projects also participated Vienna phonogram archive of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, which was responsible for the technical aspects. In the course of these projects was completed description of audio archival material from the collection of renowned linguist V. M. Zhirmunsky, created in St. Petersburg-Leningrad in the early 20th century. His main scientific interest has been focused on the study of German dialects in Russia. In the period from 1927 to 1930 he did a great job of recording songs of the German colonists. These recordings were made in an unusual format - on wax discs on cardboard basis. Therefore, in the framework of the project INTAS these discs were transferred to Vienna phonogram archive to overwrite on the magnetic tape with the subsequent transfer of information contained in a modern digital format. Currently some of these materials are also placed in a special database.

For the third INTAS project "The construction of a full-text database on Balto-Finnic languages and Russian dialects in Northwest-Russia (2000-2003) resulted in a Finno-Ugric languages in the vicinity of St. Petersburg and in the southern and middle parts of Karelia. They represent specific linguistic picture of the region in which the Finno-Ugric languages: Vepsian, Ingrian Finnish, Votic and Karelian, and various archaic dialects of the Russian language still coexist in close contact with each other (Approx. 13).

Audio archives of St. Petersburg also contain valuable materials in Yiddish, the language of Eastern European Jews, which at the beginning of the 20th century only in the Russian Empire spoke a few million representatives of the people. In the archives it was discovered the unpublished manuscript of Sophia Davydovna Magid, "the Ballad of Jewish folklore" with sound materials on wax cylinders. Together with specialists from St. Petersburg these sound materials were studied in the framework of the project entitled "Voices from the Shtetl, the Past and Present of the Yiddish Language in Russia" (1998 - 2001) with financial the support of the Netherlands Foundation for scientific research NWO (Approx. 14).

In 2002 - 2005 was also done with recordings of the languages of the small peoples of the Russian Federation. In this project the Dutch Foundation for scientific research NWO has also provided financial support. In the framework of the research program Voices from Tundra and Taiga" has managed to combine the materials of the old records with the data of modern field research in order to make the description of the languages and cultures of certain ethnic groups in Russia (Approx. 15).

In addition, this period was also studied languages and culture of indigenous peoples of the Arctic region of the Russian Federation, as they are especially in need of fixing before it disappears entirely. Previous work on the reconstruction of old sound recordings in the archives of St. Petersburg has allowed us to compare languages still in use in those regions, with records of these same languages made more than half a century ago. These archival records also contain samples of spoken language, folklore, fairy tales other languages of the peoples of Siberia (Approx. 16).

In the summer of 2005 working group, completing the project report NWO in the framework of the research program Voices from Tundra and Taiga", published a catalogue of collections of folklore records (on CD), songs and oral traditions of the peoples of Siberia and the Far East that is stored in the audio archive of the Pushkin House (Approx. 17). Material collections became the basis for further analysis by researchers working in the field of phonetics, linguistics, anthropology, history, ethno-musicology and folklore. In addition, this material is extremely important for the development of methods of language teaching with the inclusion in this process themselves representatives of ethnic groups, as well as for the preservation and revitalization of these languages and cultures.

However, currently most of the collections still remains unavailable, while in private archives, which are not provided with necessary storage conditions. In the new project, which since September 2006, is funded by the special program "Endangered Archives of the British library (Approx. 18), is scheduled to make part of these recordings available, placing them in a database phonogram archive of the Pushkin House. A participant of this project is the Institute of linguistic research, one of the most important centers for the study of indigenous languages of the Russian Federation. Partner in this new project is again the phonogram archive of the Austrian Academy of Sciences as one of the most modern and technically equipped sound archives in the world. As noted above, the purpose of this project is to overwrite the sound material from old media in a new digital format and placing them in a safe place along with metadata, which will merge all supporting materials and manuscripts relating to these records. Thus, you can count on the fact that the implementation of the project of the new modern storage standards will help to modernize archival capabilities in the Russian Federation and put them in one row with the best sound archives in the world.

As the experience of the sound archives of the world, the shelf life of magnetic tapes ends after 30-60 years (depending on belt type and manufacturer) even with their proper storage and periodic rewind for removing static electricity. Magnetic layer and the base tapes begin to collapse under the influence of mechanical, physical and chemical processes. After a certain time the information recorded on such media, may be irretrievably lost to future generations. In the same way destroyed records that were widely used throughout the world. In this situation only the speedy transfer of sound archives from analog formats to a more reliable modern digital formats, you can retain and make available for a wide range of users.

Another problem faced by sound archives, is the aging of recording and reproducing analog technology due to the rapid introduction of digital technology. Choose digital formats are also quickly changing and getting older within a short period of time. Most of the sound archives in Russia due to the lack of funding does not keep up with the rapid movement of modern recording technology and sound reproduction. But this is only part of the problem.

All now know that it is necessary to apply modern methods of digitization for the further preservation of the recorded information. But it is not, however, how much it costs, what technique should be used, what standards are needed for digitization in the future to have greater access to collections, and that these standards are compatible with international standards (Approx.19).

As already noted, the Vienna and the Berlin Phonogrammarchiv already have full digitize their audio collections. These phonogrammarchiv posted full details of sound collections, as well as samples of some of the entries. Generally, on-line access from the Internet are not themselves high-quality sound and graphic images, but their compact and truncated versions of low quality and low resolution, so-called "icons". In special cases it may be accessible only to the fragments of high-quality collections.

As for sound storage of the Russian Federation, it is necessary to say that in our country, for example, still lack a unified state program for the conservation of the audio heritage. There is also the strategy of using a single modern digital formats for use in these archives. This situation may cause the funds of the sound archives in Russia, both small and large, in a short time can be irretrievably lost. All this is due, in our opinion, for the following reasons:

o lack of funding
o lack of technical specialists for the preservation and digitization of sound collections
o lack of uniform standards for the storage and digitization of records
o lack of technical equipment of archives both analog and modern digital techniques
o insufficient exchange of information between the audio archives
o the lack of a unified state program on support of sound archives

Given the sound archives of the situation, it is urgent to take measures for the preservation of the priceless sound heritage.

Another problem of sound archives in Russia is the weak link with foreign audio archives. Meanwhile, should pay close attention to the experience of foreign colleagues, the activity of which is regulated by special international organization under the auspices of UNESCO – IASA: International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives. Currently it comprises more than 400 members from 50 countries. Practical work of this Association is coordinated by a Technical Committee, which develops recommendations on standards digitizing audio materials. The Committee, comprising leading sound archives in the world, is active in the dissemination of the strategy and principles for the preservation of sound archives. In the framework of its activities the Technical Committee imposes very stringent requirements on the technology of reproduction and re-recording signal from the analog archival media in a modern digital format. By these standards, the optimum playback of signals from analog record can only be achieved with the help of modern, smooth-running professional equipment, best – latest generation to ensure that the level of distortion when overwriting was minimal. Sound lab should be equipped with professional Studio recorders and equipment, capable of playing all existing speed records. Digitization, according to the requirements of the Technical Committee, should be produced using high-precision analog-to-digital Converter with archival resolution of 96 kHz, 24 bits. The archive files you want to record at least the modern magnetic tape drive information (for example, LTO-3), memory capacity up to 400GB, for which reliability must be stored in different places. In parallel with the archive file information is written on CD discs available in the MP3 format and stored on hard drives with the possibility of access to the stored information via the Internet (Approx. 20).

In addition to digitizing audio material you want to scan and digitize manuscripts (metadata) that usually accompany the audio archives. Without metadata audio archives largely loses its value because there is no other information that reveals many important details record: the date, the players, the equipment and the format in which produced record, etc. it is Clear that manuscripts are often in poor condition and cannot be handed out to everyone. Electronically, these materials may become available to a wide range specialists and people interested in this problem.

In terms of mass adoption of digital technologies in our lives IASA members and the Technical Committee are constantly engaged in monitoring and analysis of the situation and, if necessary, update the information on standards of digitized audio materials. They are in constant contact with the developers of new technology standards of digital records and the producers of new digital technology.

In Russia IASA just starting up his business and offers his recommendations for equipment, the application of uniform principles and standards for digitization, etc. In the near future the Technical Committee of the organization on its website plans to place in Russian full information about the strategy, principles and standards for the safeguarding of the audio heritage. In our view, Russian sound archives should work closely with IASA to use it to learn all the technology, standards, etc. and work to date. When in Russia will have their modern sound laboratories technicians, and most importantly - normal funding, they will be able to take its rightful place among the leading sound archives in the world. In the future, it is necessary to think of creation in the Russian Federation is the unified National Electronic Sound Depository (ISD), in which the rights of all owners sound collections are legally clearly defined and written. All these measures will allow the Russian sound archives to preserve their wealth for future generations and to become equal partners of the global archival community.

Interesting fact:

Folklore (Engl. folklore) — folk art, most often it is oral; art collective creative activity of the people, reflecting his life, beliefs, ideals, created by the people among the masses poetry (stories, songs, and ditties, anecdotes, tales, epos), folk music (songs, instrumental music and plays), theatre (drama, satirical plays, puppet theatre), dance, architecture, fine and decorative art.