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Records of the Udmurt language and folklore in the phonogram archive of the Institute of Russian literature (Pushkin House)

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. – P. 879-884.


Viktor Denisov (St. Petersburg, Russia)

The phonogram archive of the Institute of Russian literature, which in 2009 celebrates 100 years old, was created on the initiative of academician A. A. Shakhmatov and was part of the Library of the Imperial Academy of Sciences. In it was stored a large number of manuscripts and audio materials relating to various languages and ethnic groups of Russia and foreign countries. The basis of the Fund Phonographic archive amounted recording on wax cylinders samples of folklore of the peoples of Russia and Eastern Europe, collected in a folk-linguistic expeditions as its first curator and head of E. A. Voltaire (1856-1941), and A. A. Shakhmatova, N. S. Derzhavin and other scientists. After 1917 the materials FA were transferred to the State Institute of art history and combined with the collections of the Commission on the study of folklore of the peoples of the USSR GIII.

In 1926 the United Keeper archive becomes known musicologist, Evgeny Gippius (1903-1985). In 1931 the collection of the Folklore of the Cabinet of GIII were merged with the sound archives of the Museum of anthropology and Ethnography of the Academy of Sciences (MAE), which included folklore and dialectological recording of the peoples of Siberia, the Far East and Central Asia. Then he was transferred 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 others. Thus, the audio archive, which in 1938 was moved to the Institute of Russian literature Institute (Pushkin House) and transferred to the Department of folk-poetry, became the owner of extensive and diverse Fund of folklore recordings of more than one hundred nationalities 1.

Currently, the Fund phonogram archive has more than 150,000 more units. The earliest records of sampled speech and folklore on the first recording apparatus – phonographs were made in Russia in the late nineteenth century, shortly after the invention of the phonograph in the same period, the oldest European phonogrammarchiv Vienna and Berlin. Since 1971, the audio archive is a Central Foundation of sound recordings of folklore at the Academy of Sciences. In 1970-ies information with wax cylinders was rewritten on the magnetic tape. In recent years, with the development digital technology an opportunity of transfer of archival records from analog format to digital, making them more available for study.

Folk phonogram archive collection, a unique collection of sound recordings and manuscripts that have preserved rare specimens of oral tradition, are of great value to world culture. Therefore, by UNESCO, these collections phonogram archive of the Pushkin House is included in the programme memory of the World" (Memory of the World).

In the audio archive, along with other materials, stored and Udmurt records, including texts and tunes, including conceived and prepared for before the war series "Songs of the peoples of the USSR"

It is known that the first recordings of native Udmurt language into the phonograph were held in Udmurtia during ethnographic and linguistic expeditions in the second half of the 20-ies of the last century. These expeditions were organized on the initiative of renowned Russian folklorist, academician Y. M. Sokolov and member-correspondents of the D. V. Bubrega, wonderful vinoprovoda played a huge role in the formation and development of Finno-Ugric linguistics. At that time there only was the process of the formation of literary languages of these people, so it was important to describe and to identify the dialects and subdialects, which could become in the future. As a result of the efforts of these scientists was organized expeditions in Mordovia (1927 and 1928), Udmurtia (1929 and 1930), Karelia (1930) 2. The expedition not only gathered a wealth of factual material, but also helped to interest in the work of local scientific personnel. For example, to participate in the Udmurt linguistic expeditions were invited the best specialists from Udmurtia, as well as Kazan, Moscow and Leningrad, a total of 15 people. Its membership includes well-known Udmurt writers and scientists of the Cedar Mitra, Constantine Bauchi, Ivan Yakovlev, Mikhail Timashev, Elizaveta Efimova, Michael Caukin, Pavel Fedorov, Kusebay Gerd. Formed the band a prominent educator and organizer of public education in Udmurtia Evdokia A. Knyazeva. Subsequently, many of the members of the expedition were repressed.

Part of the expedition with the participation of Gerd worked in the Central part of Udmurtia – Jurinskom (modern Igra), UVA, Vavozh, Mozhginskoye areas, with basic centers in the settlements: S. Suhr, S. New Multan, Malinovka (village, which was founded in the mid 20-ies of XX century on the initiative of kusebay Gerd), D. Pazel-Ikya. Kusebay Gerd (literary pseudonym Kuzma Pavlovich Chainikova) participated in 1929 in his last expedition. Recording on wax cylinders were made directly to them, talented Udmurt scientist, ethnographer, poet, and essayist. Researcher creativity Gerd Hungarian scientist Peter Domokos wrote about him: "He stands out with its mighty talent, amazing versatility, organizational skills, incredible efficiency, European perspective worldview among many significant representatives of developing after the revolution of national cultures" 3.

In the summer of 1929 K. Gerd, as a member of the expedition, recorded on the territory of Udmurtia about 100 wax cylinders. After receiving the order to return to Izhevsk and anticipating his arrest, K. Gerd left in Moscow with his good friend and compatriot Vera Nikolaevna the Nedzvetskaya the most precious thing he had was a box of wax rollers. More than 40 years she kept these invaluable materials. In the late 70-ies of the last century Udmurt scientist, writer and journalist A. G. Shklyaev met with Vera Nikolaevna, who asked him to drive the rollers in Izhevsk for transmission in Udmurt Institute of history, language and literature 4. Then, in the 80-ies of the swabs were transported to the recovery in the phonogram archive of the Institute of Russian literature and in 1986 rewritten on the magnetic tape.

Initially it was assumed that the collection of Gerd was about 100 wax cylinders. It is likely that from Izhevsk in the phonogram archive of the Pushkin House were sent only recording of folk songs and recordings with linguistic materials could remain somewhere in other place. It remains to be seen. But another interesting fact: while imprisoned in Solovki, Gerd K. writes in a letter to I. A. Nagovitsin (Soviet public figure, an Udmurt nationality, 1926-1937, the people's Commissar of social security of the RSFSR) the following: "my Health is quite deteriorated and I am extremely concerned that my the handwritten archive huge collections Udmurt songs, riddles, tales, of my unpublished works, etc. will die useless, because my wife's departure from Izhevsk, my entire archive, a burden on her, left somewhere to fend for themselves. I appeal to You with a request: will You be able to take any measures to this archive and valuable library of the votyaks somehow have been saved or even passed somewhere in academic institutions. In addition, I have Moscow acquaintances left the Phonographic archive of entries Udmurt songs, melodies to 300 cushions"5. From this letter it becomes apparent that Ponomariov was significantly greater than 100, because until 1929 K. Gerd annually was a member of a linguistic-ethnographic expeditions in the territory of Udmurtia. During this time he managed to accumulate enormous amount of factual material.

Analysis of Phonographic records collection No. 240 /room-ciphers in the unified numbering with on 6010 6046/ specific to this expedition and stored in real time the audio archive of the Pushkin House, revealed the presence of only 37 wax cylinders. The whereabouts of the rest of the sound materials unknown. Given the fragility and the fragility of the material (wax), made of cushions, it can be assumed that they are to date hardly survived.

Preview magnetic records copied from wax cylinders, showed that there are only recorded 59 songs. Some entries are accompanied by comments Gerd, in which he identifies the author (authors) of execution, time and place of the recording.

The songs are performed both female and male voices without accompaniment of musical instruments. The sound quality of records, unfortunately, leaves much to be desired. Almost all tracks are superimposed technical noise, and sometimes impossible to make out even the melody, not to mention separate words. At a certain technical support you can decipher about half of the recorded material. However, the rest of the records without a thorough technical intervention is extremely difficult to decipher. According to preliminary information obtained from the staff of the Udmurt iial Ural branch of RAS, in the archive this Institute can be stored decryption of some songs.

At present the study of the sound archive of kusebay Gerda, who is undoubtedly a unique and valuable folklore and ethnographic material, folklorists Udmurtia not receive enough attention.

In addition to the archival records of Gerd are stored in the audio archive also records several field expeditions to the mid 30-ies of the last century. This is primarily received in Pushkin House 1937 collection of wax cylinders 35 / No. 138, numbers, codes in the unified numbering – 4310 on 4344/, the total number of ritual and lyrical songs – 152. These entries informants Udmurts on the territory of Udmurtia, Tatarstan and Vyatka region was conducted by Yakov Andreyevich Eshpai – honoured art worker of the Mari ASSR, PhD, who made a study of the Mari folk songs. At the time he he worked as researcher Mari Institute of language, literature and history and participated in these expeditions as a professional musician and folklorist. Worked with him Mikhail p. Petrov, Udmurt writer, poet, playwright, member of the USSR writers Union. In the mid 30-ies of the last century he took an active part in folklore expeditions in the territory of the Udmurt Republic, and participated in the description and interpretation of the collected material. The archive of the Pushkin House in folder No. 29 preserved his correspondence with E. V. Gippius and members of the editorial Board of the collection "800 songs of the peoples of the USSR" associated with the process of collecting folklore material and its selection for this compilation of 6 songs.

The work of these collectors was held in preparation for the release of the three-volume collection "800 songs of the peoples of the USSR", which was carried out by the staff of the phonogram archive of the Folklore section of the Institute of Anthropology, Archaeology and Ethnography of the USSR Academy of Sciences led by the chief editor E. V. Gippius.

In the audio archive of the Pushkin House there are materials on the interpretation of the collection gathered. Besides the staff of the phonogram archive of the Folklore of the Cabinet and the collectors of folklore in deciphering and editing the lyrics were attended by the researcher of the Institute of Language and Thinking V. I. Altarev and employee UNII A. N. Klabukov.

Next collection No. 141 /air-ciphers: 4383-4398/ rollers 16, 66 songs, was collected in the mid 30-ies of the last century V. A. Pchelnikov, researcher, and subsequently the head. the arts sector of the Udmurt research Institute. This work was conducted at the request of the editorial Board of the collection "800 songs of the peoples of the USSR". Recording was carried out mainly in the UVA and Celinska regions of Udmurtia, in the accompanying documents indicated by the (performers), his age and place of recording. In the description definitely quoted the first line of the song with translation into Russian language. Reference was also made musical instruments, in support of which were held of record: the two-row accordion, violin (Krez) (psaltery), Ciphergen, ously the gums (cane flute), tambourine 7.

Despite the fact that the work was a wealth of factual material, and held his careful treatment, for various reasons, the collection "800 songs of the peoples of the USSR" was never published.

Finally, in 1940, researcher of the Folklore of the Cabinet of Zinaida V. Ewald recorded in the Studio phonogram archive 2 roller 13 songs from V. I. Altarev, later known Udmurt linguist. Collection No. 210 /air-ciphers: 5433-5434/ includes wedding, recruiting and guest tracks.

Thus, in the audio archive of the Pushkin House is now 90 Udmurt Ponomariov, with 290 songs recorded in the period from about 1925 to 1940. Compared with the records of the languages of other peoples of the Russian Federation, Udmurt materials in the audio archive is not so much. Low sound quality of most materials is due to the fact that fonality repeatedly auditioned for the purpose of fixation of the lyrics and their sotirovski. Despite the fact that all of the above collections is written on magnetic tape, they are still in a dangerous situation, because the shelf life of magnetic tapes is very limited. Therefore, it is important to translate these sound archival materials in digital format in accordance with modern international standards and at the same time to prepare the copy in the format MP-3 for wide user access. Most of the records in need of serious restoration using modern digital technology.

In our opinion, for the safeguarding of the audio heritage for future generations to have a Unified Library of the Udmurt records for the purpose of placing in her of all available archival materials on the Udmurt language and folklore. This, of course, the rights of the owners of the collections of both organizations and individuals should be legally respected.

It is also necessary to include in this Library unique sound materials in Udmurt language and folklore, which are stored in the oldest Phonogrammarchiv Europe – Vienna and Berlin 8. These recordings were made in the years 1915-1918 prisoners of war from the Udmurts, who was captured during the first World war. Especially valuable in these records, in addition to the quality of their sound, by thoroughly documenting the recording process of the informants with filling out detailed questionnaires. Therefore, you should make all efforts to obtain these valuable materials and placing them in the sound archive of the Udmurt Republic with the aim further scientific research.


1. About the history of the phonogram archive of the Institute of the Russian literature, see: E. V. Gippius Phonogram archive of the Folklore section of the Institute of anthropology, Ethnography and archaeology of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR // Soviet folklore, No. 4-5, 1936. p. 405-413; Maged S. D. a List of collections in the Phonogram archive of the Folklore section of IAEA Academy of Sciences of the USSR // Soviet folklore, No. 4-5, 1936. p. 415-428; Burykin A. A., Girfanova A. H., Kostrov A., Marchenko, Y. I., Svetozarov N. Etc., Schiff V. P. Collection of peoples of the North in the phonogram archive of the Pushkin House. – SPb.: The philological faculty of St. Petersburg state University, 2005. - 132 p.

2. More information about the results of these expeditions, see: Issues of dialectology and history of the Udmurt language // Collection of scientific works. – Izhevsk: WIEL UB RAS, 1992. - 148 p.

3. Peter Domokos. Kusebay Gerd // Kusebay Gerd and Udmurt literature: Collection of articles. – Izhevsk, WIEL Uro an SSSR, 1990, p. 62.

4. Shklyaev A. G. Letter Gerd and Gerd // Kusebay Gerd and Udmurt literature: Collection of articles. – Izhevsk, WIEL Uro an SSSR, 1990, p. 150.

5. Kuznetsov N. With. Out of the darkness... . - Izhevsk, 1994, pp. 67-68.

6. FAP No. 29. The phonogram archive of the Institute of the Russian literature (the Pushkin House).

7. Ibid.

8. Ziegler, Suzanne. “Die Wachszylinder des Berliner Phonogramm-Archivs“, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, 2006, S. 52.

Interesting fact:

The Nenets (self — Nenets; former names — Samoyeds, uraki), a people inhabiting a large area from the Kola Peninsula to the right Bank (downstream) of the Yenisei. Speak Nenets language. Samoyedic-speaking ancestors of the Nenets, some of which was probably familiar with the reindeer, in the 1st Millennium B. C. under the pressure of nomadic pastoral tribes relocated from the taiga and forest-steppe regions of southern Siberia, where they mingled with the aboriginal hunting and fishing population (in the traditions of the Nenets last called Siirt). The Nenets led a nomadic life. The basis of their economy were herding reindeer herding, land and sea hunting, fishing. Before the October revolution of 1917 large remnants of the clan system existed pronounced inequality. Part of the Nenets perceived Orthodoxy, the majority adhered to animistic beliefs, widespread shamanism.