Music of Russia
Learn more about Music of Russia
|Music of Russia|
|Genres||classical — folk — psytrance — pop — hip hop — rock|
|History (Timeline and Samples)|
|Awards||MTV Russia Music Awards|
|Festivals||Bard Music Festival|
|National anthem||"Hymn of the Russian Federation"|
|Adygea — Altai - Astrakhan - Bashkortostan — Buryatia — Chechnya — Chukotka — Chuvashia — Dagestan — Evenkia - Ingushetia — Irkutsk — Kaliningrad — Kalmykia — Kamchatka — Karelia — Khakassia — Khantia-Mansia - Komi Republic - Krasnodar — Mari El — Mordovia — Nenetsia — Ossetia — Rostov — Ethnic Russian — Sakha — Sakhalin — Tatarstan — Tuva — Udmurtia|
Russia is a large and extremely culturally diverse country, with dozens of ethnic groups, each with their own forms of folk music. During the period of Soviet domination, music was highly scrutinized and kept within certain boundaries of content and innovation. After the fall of the USSR, western-style rock and pop music became the most popular musical forms in Russia. Some native artists broke through.
 Classical, opera and balletclassical music innovation. The first important Russian composer was Mikhail Glinka (1804-1857), who added religious and folk elements to classical compositions, composing pioneering operas like A Life for the Tsar and Ruslan and Lyudmila; though these operas were distinctively Russian, they were based on the Italian tradition.
Glinka and the composers who made up The Mighty Handful after him (Rimsky-Korsakov, Mussorgsky, Balakirev, Borodin and César Cui) were often influenced by Russian folk music and tales. This same period saw the foundation of the Russian Music Society in 1859, led by composers Anton and Nikolay Rubinstein. The Mighty Handful and the Russian Music Society were rivals, with the former embracing a Russian national identity and the latter musically conservative. Among the Mighty Handful's most notable compositions were the operas The Snow Maiden (Snegurochka), Sadko, Boris Godunov, Prince Igor and Khovanshchina, and the symphonic suite Scheherazade.
Other prominent Russian composers include Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, and in the 20th century Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Scriabin, Shostakovich and Alfred Schnittke. Of these, Tchaikovsky remains the most well-known outside Russia, and his fame as the country's most famous composer is unquestioned. He is best known for ballets like Swan Lake and The Nutcracker.
During the 19th century, Count Uvarov led a campaign of nationalist revival which initiated the first professional orchestra with traditional instruments, beginning with Vassily Andreyev, who used the balalaika in an orchestra late in the century. Just after the dawn of the 20th century, Mitrofan Pyatnitsky founded the Pyatnitsky Choir, which used rural peasant singers and traditional sounds. By the time of the Soviet Union, however, it had become one of many groups playing sanitized folk music, now often called fakelore.
 Soviet Era
In the 1910s romances (in exotic Russian, Caucasian, Gypsy and Italian styles) became very popular. The greatest and most popular singers of romances usually sang in operas at the same time. The most popular was Fyodor Shalyapin. Singers usually composed music and wrote the lyrics, such as Alexander Vertinsky, Konstantin Sokolsky, Pyotr Leshchenko.
The Soviet Era produced many prominent musicians in spite of oppression from the government. Some émigrés remained popular abroad, like pianist Vladimir Horowitz, whose 1986 performance in Moscow, the first in his native land, was a landmark event.
In the 1960s, Vyacheslav Shchurov organized concerts featuring folk singers from across Russia, beginning in 1966. Shchurov thus inspired a wave of singing ethnomusicologists who appeared among the urban intellectuals and recorded rural folk musicians. Perhaps the most important group to follow in Shchurov's wake was the Dmitri Pokrovsky Ensemble. A group of musicians called bards arose at the same time. Generally ignored by the state, bards like Vladimir Vysotsky helped lead a popular return to traditional music. The 1960s also saw the beginning of Alla Pugacheva's music career which continues to this day.
The same period saw the birth of Russian rock with the band Pojuschie Gitary who created a style called VIA and later released the first Russian rock opera, Orpheus and Eurydice. Other rock bands of the era included Tcvety, Sinyaya Ptica and Golubiye Gitary.
By the 1980s, popular folk-oriented groups had arisen. The Cossack Kazachy Krug and Pesen Zemli became most popular. A musical underground (magnitizdat) also arose, where poetic and satirical musicians like Bulat Okudzhava and Vladimir Vysotskiy gained black market fame playing their self played songs.
 Perestroika Music
 Post-Soviet Music
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Classical crossover: Ariaphonics
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 Folk music
Main article: Music of Adygea
Adygea's national anthem was written by Iskhak Shumafovich Mashbash; music—by Umar Khatsitsovich Tkhabisimov.
Main article: Music of Altay
Altay is a Central Asian region, known for traditional epics and a number of folk instruments.
Main article: Music of Bashkortostan
The first major study of Bashkir music appeared in 1897, when ethnographer Rybakov S.G. wrote Music and Songs of the Ural's Muslims and Studies of Their Way of Life. Later, Lebedinskiy L.N. collected numerous folk songs in Bashkortostan beginning in 1930. The 1968 foundation of the Ufa State Institute of Arts sponsored research in the field.
The kurai is the most important instrument in the Bashkir ensemble.
Main article: music of Buryatia
The Buryats of the far east is known for distinctive folk music which uses the two-stringed horsehead fiddle, or morin khur. The style has no polyphony and has little melodic innovation. Narrative structures are very common, many of them long epics which claim to be the last song of a famous hero, such as in the Last Song of Rinchin Dorzhin. Modern Buryat musicians include the band Uragsha, which uniquely combines Siberian and Russian language lyrics with rock and Buryat folk songs.
Main article: Music of Chechnya
Chechnya best-known folk tradition is the polyphonic choir, similar to traditions in neighboring nations of the Caucasus, especially the Georgians. Alongside the Chechen rebellion of the 1990s came a resurgence in Chechen national identity, of which music is a major part. People like Said Khachukayev became prominent promoting Chechen music.
Main article: Music of Dagestan
Dagestan's most famous composer may be Gotfrid Hasanov, who is said to be the first professional composer from Dagestan. He wrote the first Dagestani opera, Khochbar, in 1945, and recorded a great deal of folk music from all the peoples of Dagestan.
Main article: Music of Karelia
Karelians are Finnish, and so much of their music is the same as Finnish music. The Kalevala is a very important part of traditional music; it is a recitation of Finnish legends, and is considered an integral part of the Finnish folk identity.
The Karelian Folk Music Ensemble is a prominent folk group.
Main article: Ethnic Russian music
Archeology and direct evidence (such as the frescoes at the Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev) show a variety of musical instruments in ancient Russia. Authentic folk instruments include the livenka (accordion) and woodwinds like zhaleika, svirel and kugikli, as well as numerous percussion instruments: buben, bubenci, kokshnik, korobochka, lozkhi, rubel, treschetka, vertushka and zvonchalka.
Main article: Music of Sakha
Shamanism remains an important cultural practice of the ethnic groups of Siberia and Sakhalin, where several dozen groups live. The Yakuts are the largest, and are known for their olonkho songs and the khomus, a Jew's harp.
Main article: Music of Tatarstan
Tatar folk music have rhythmic peculiarities and pentatonic intonation in common with nations of the Volga area, who are ethnically Finno-Ugric and Turkic. Singing girls, renowned for their subtlety and grace, are a prominent component of Tatar folk music. Instruments include the kubyz (violin), kurai (flute) and talianka (accordion).
Main article: Music of Tuva
Tuvan throat singing, or xoomii, is famous world-wide, primarily for its novelty. The style is highly unusual and foreign to most listeners, who typically find it inaccessible and amelodic. In throat singing, the natural harmonic resonances of the lips and mouth are tuned to select certain overtones. The style was first recorded by Ted Levin, who helped catalogue a number of different styles. These are include borbannadir (which is compared to the sound of a flowing river), sygyt (similar to whistling), xoomii, chylandyk (likened to chirping crickets) and ezengileer (like a horses trotting). Of particular international fame are the group Huun-Huur-Tu and master throat singer Kongar-ool Ondar.
 Ukrainian music
Main article: Music of Ukraine
Though Ukraine is now an independent country, Ukrainians constitute the second-largest minority in Russia. The bandura is the most important and distinctive instrument of the Ukrainian folk tradition, and was utilized by the famous 15th century kobzars, a kind of wandering performing who composed dumy, or folk epics.
|Music of Eastern Europe|
- Broughton, Simon and Didenko, Tatiana. "Music of the People". 2000. In Broughton, Simon and Ellingham, Mark with McConnachie, James and Duane, Orla (Ed.), World Music, Vol. 1: Africa, Europe and the Middle East, pp 248-254. Rough Guides Ltd, Penguin Books. ISBN 1-85828-636-0