Friday, August 25, 2017

"Exotic" Tunes: Athanasius Kircher's Tarantellas (1641)


Athanasius Kircher (1602-1680; see Wikipedia; good introduction: Larsen 1989, at the Internet Archive), Jesuit from Germany, was one of the most famous and productive scholars of the 17th century. He has been called "The Last Man Who Knew Everything" (Findlen 2012) or the "Master of a Hundred Arts" (Reilly 1974), to quote the titles of two of the more recent works about him. Kircher wrote about numerous different topics, for example about China, Egyptology, medicine, geology, musicology and much more (see the list of his books at Roessler, Kircher; see also at the Internet Archive). 

I am interested here only in his work in one particular field. Kircher also happened to be among the first who made available popular tunes and songs of the people from Europe's cultural periphery. Today they would be called "folk-tunes". One may say that he could be regarded as one of the first folklorists or ethnomusicologists. I am referring of course to the famous tarantellas from the south of Italy, dance tunes that at that time were said to cure the bite of the tarantula. 

We can find them in his work about magnetism, Magnes Sive De Arte Magnetica Opus Tripartitum - first published in 1641 and then in new editions in 1643 and 1654 - as part of a chapter "De Tarantismo, sive Tarantula Apulo Phalangio, eiusque Magnetismo, ac mira cum Musica sympathia", an extensive scholarly discussion of what was called tarantism (see here 2nd ed. 1643, pp. 755-77). He offered eight tunes, some of them with texts, together with helpful notes (pp. 761-4, see the translation in Brewer 2011, pp. 2-9). 


But at first it is necessary to review the digital copies of this work. We have to find them which is not always that easy. Then we have to check if they are usable: are the scans complete and in good quality?. Not at least there is also the question if these digital copies are presented in a way that they can be used effectively? 

A good start is the above-mentioned list of digital copies of Kircher's books (Roessler, Kircher). Wikisource offers a links to scans of Kircher's publications with musical content including this one. To find more copies several search engines and catalogs are needed: KVK, Europeana, Google and Google Books, the Internet Archive and others. The result is once again very impressive. All in all I found more than 30 digital facsimiles of this work, eight of the 1st edition, nine of the 2nd and 14 of the third. Two thirds of them - twice as many as by all other libraries together - were produced by Google. This shows that they still rule the field. 

Athanasius Kircher, Magnes Sive De Arte Magnetica Opus Tripartitum, Scheus, Roma, 1641, here pp. 872-6 
dto., Editio Secunda, Kalcoven, Köln, 1643, here pp. 761-4 
 dto., Editio Tertia, Mascardi, Roma, 1654, here pp. 591-6 
It is good to have so many copies but as is known there are some serious problems with the quality of the Google-scans. Particularly troublesome is the fact that many of them are not complete. Everything that has a different format than the book itself has - in many cases - not been scanned correctly: fold-outs with maps, illustrations and music or other extras. This is not occasional sloppiness but a general problem that must always be taken into account. Therefore every Google Book needs to be checked for completeness. In this case - Kircher's books are lavish productions - it would be a very time-consuming task: how many illustrations and plates are missing? Were they already missing from the original copy or did they get lost during the scanning process? 

But I can't do this here and I only have checked if they are usable for my own purposes: at least the chapter about the tarantula including the musical examples should be complete. Surprisingly in nearly all copies it is. Only in two scans made from copies of the 2nd edition the plate with the "Antidotum Tarantulae" (after p. 762) is missing (UGent; BM Lyon). This seems to have happened during the scanning process. In another one (BSB) it is also missing but in this case it is a problem of the original book (see VD 17 23:255233C). In general most of the scans are better than expected. Of course some look a little uneven and some are still only in black & white but the pages I needed were there. But I don't doubt that a closer inspection would reveal other defects. 

The copies made available by other libraries also seem to be reliable but I think their online readers are not as good and effective as they should be. They are much slower and less flexible than those of Google Books and of the Internet Archive. The latter offers at the moment still the best possible reader and therefore I used as my working copy a scan of the 2nd edition - from the Boston College Library - that is available there. The Internet Archive's own scans are generally much more reliable than those by Google Books and usually I prefer them to all others. 


Tarantism, an exotic and strange custom from Europe's cultural periphery, used to be a favorite problem for scholars for a very long time. A wealth of relevant literature was produced over the last several centuries and it is still discussed today (see f. ex. the overviews in: Strasser 1984; Schedtler 1994; Arcangeli 2000, at; Le Menthéour, 2009, at Michigan Publ.; Daboo 2010; Korenjak 2013; still useful; Bergsøe 1865, at Google Books; Büsching 1778, at UB Tübingen). It was known well before Kircher's publications. Perotti referred to the tarantula in his Cornucopiae seu Latinae Linguae Commentarii (1527, col. 51; see Becker 1836, col. 11) as did Spanish humanist Pedro Meija in his immensely popular Silva de varia lección (1540, see German ed., 1564, pp. cciiii). In England it was John Case who included a short remark in The Praise of Musicke (1586 [ESTC S115011], p. 56, at EEBO]: 
"Likewise in Apulia when anie man is bitten of the Tarrantula, which is a certain kinde of flie, verie venimous and full of daunger, they finde out the nature and sympathie of the sicknesse or humor, with playing on instrumentes, and with diuersitie of Musicke, neither doe they cease from playing, vntill the often motion and agitation, haue driuen the disease away".
This fable also found its way into literature. There is for example a reference in Sidney's Arcadia (1590, here 1598, p. 33): "This word, Louer, did not lesse pierce poor Pyrocles, than the right tune tune of musicke toucheth him that is sicke of the Tarantula". Italian physician Vincenzio Bruni dedicated one of his Tre dialoghi to this problem (Napoli, 1601, pp. 1-37). More names could be added. But it was Kircher who actually discussed it in detail, as a scientific case study in the context of his ideas about musical therapy. "Rather than offering rarefied speculations [...] Kircher focuses on the here-and-now, observing, scrutinizing, documenting" (Gioia, p. 118). 

Most important in this respect was that he made available the tunes and songs performed at these occasions. He hadn't collected them himself. Instead he relied on the information sent to him by two Jesuits who lived and worked in Apulia and who had witnessed cases of tarantism. Their names are given at the start of the chapter (2nd. ed., p. 756). There have been some doubts about the reliability of these notations. All except one of these tunes are in common time while all tarantellas collected later were in triple metre (see Daboo, p. 122). Perhaps these two padres didn't have enough experience with this kind of music or these tunes were really performed this way. 

Kircher offered all in all eight tunes. For some of them he added texts. He was able to comment on every one of them, gave some information about the instrumentation, the performance context and the effects. One of them - the only one in triple time - had been sent to him from Napoli as the "true tarantella". In this case he had some doubts but added it nonetheless. His theories about musical therapy and his discussion about tarantism are of course now completely outdated. But this collection of tunes and songs remains important as "a unique example of actual music from this historical moment" (Daboo, p. 122), a very fascinating documentation of the popular music of the people from the South of Italy. 

At that time not much music of this kind - "exotic" tunes either from the European periphery or from outside of Europe - was available (see my bibliography at Google Docs). Spanish musicologist Francisco Salinas had published popular tunes from Southern Europe in his De Musica Libri Septem (1577; see also Pedrell 1899). Some original music from the Americas had been made available by Jean de Lery (1585) and Marc Lescarbot (1617). One Turkish piece can be found in both Salomon Schweigger's, Newe Reyßbeschreibung (1608) and Kepler's Harmonices Mundi (1618). 

Most closely related to Kircher's work was a book published only several years earlier. Friedrich Menius had included three fragmentary tunes recorded from performances of Baltic peasants in his Syntagma de Origine Livonorum (1635, see the reprint in Scriptores Rerum Livonicarum II, 1848, p. 525; see Graf 1963). Menius (1593-1659), at that time professor of history in Dorpat, also offered these songs and tunes in the context of an academic treatise. He was interested in the origin of the non-German Baltic populations, also a very popular topic among scholars at that time (see now Donecker 2017, part. pp. 123-46). But he also added interesting and notes about the musical performances. These tunes are in fact the earliest available examples of the music of the Latvians and Estonians and it would take a long time - more than 140 years - until more was collected and published. 

Neither Kircher nor Menius were interested in these tunes and songs itself but only in their value as an historical source and as documentary evidence in the context of their treatise. Nonetheless both works can be seen as the symbolic starting-points for subsequent research into the popular music of the people from Europe's cultural periphery. At that time both the Baltic peasants and Kircher's Apulian taranti must have been as exotic and strange to the common European scholar as some newly discovered people on the other side of the world. Unfortunately Menius' innovative efforts were quickly forgotten and it would take more than 140 years until more Baltic tunes were collected and published. But Kircher's tarantellas always remained available and were reprinted regularly over the next centuries. 


Kircher returned to this topic in two of his later publications, both musicological works:
  • Athanasius Kircher, Musurgia Universalis Sive Ars Magna Consoni Et Dissoni in X Libros Digesta, Grignani, Roma, 1650, II, pp. 221-4, at the Internet Archive: Vol. 1 & Vol. 2 [= Google Books-UC Madrid: Vol. 1 & Vol. 2]; at Google Books: Vol. 1 & Vol. 2 [= BSB], also at the Internet Archive: Vol. 2 
  • Athanasius Kircher, Philosophischer Extract und Auszug aus deß Welt-berühmten Teutschen Jesuiten Athanasii Kircheri von Fulda Musurgia Universali, in Sechs Bücher verfasset, Laidigen, Schwäbisch Hall, 1662, here pp. 179-87, at Google Books [= NBC]; at Google Books [= BSB] 
  • Athanasius Kircher, Phonurgia Nova Sive Conjugium Mechanico-physicum Artis & Naturae Paranympha Phonosophia, Dreher, Kempten, 1673, pp. 204-16, at the Internet Archive [= Google Books-BNC Roma]; at the Internet Archive [= Google Books-BSB] 
  • Athanasius Kircher, Neue Hall- und Thonkunst, oder Mechanische Geheim-Verbindung der Kunst und Natur, Durch Stimme und Hall-Wissenschaft gestiftet, In unsere Teutsche Sprache übersetzt von Agatho Carione, Schultes, Nördlingen, 1684, pp. 144-52, at Google Books [= BSB], also at the Internet Archive
In his Musurgia Universalis we can find a summary of this problem, but no musical examples. The German translation made Kircher's ideas also available to those who couldn't read Latin. I should add that this influential standard work (see Scharlau 1969) also included some remarks about non-European music (I., p  565; German ed. p. 151). Here he added two examples, one a fragmentary Chinese tune he had received from a Jesuit colleague who had been in China, the other the Turkish melody from Kepler's Harmonices Mundi

Kircher also wrote about tarantism in his Phonurgia Nova and here he offered his readers at least one of the tune originally published in the Magnes Sive De Arte Magnetica, the "Antidotum Tarantulae" (here pp. 209-10). He added a nice illustration of dancers and musicians (p. 206). Both the tune and the image can also be found in the German translation (p. 145 & p. 148). 

Other scholars also discussed this problem with reference to Kircher's work. Samuel Hafenreffer (1587-1660, see Wikipedia), physician and professor in Tübingen, did not invest much efforts but simply quoted most of Kircher's original text in his book about dermatology. We can find it here as part of the chapter about animal bites. He also reprinted all the music. But beware, this book has until now only been digitized by Google and in all five available copies the fold-out with the "Antidotum Tarantulae" (after p. 488) is either missing or mutilated: 
  • Samuel Hafenreffer, Nosodochium, In Quo Cutis, Eique Adhaerentium Partium, Affectus Omnes, Singulari Methodo, Et Cognoscendi et Curandi Fidelissime Traduntur, Ulm, 1660 , p. 475-520, at Google Books [= ÖNB]; at Google Books [= UofLausanne]; at Google Books [= UTorino]; at Google Books [= NB Napoli]; at Google Books [= BSB
The tarantula also earned an entry in Matthias Zimmermann's encyclopedia and he reprinted one of Kircher's tunes, the "Antidotum Tarantulae". But beware again, this scan, the only one available of this publication, is of very bad quality and barely usable. But at least we can see that a foldout with music was originally included: 
  • Matthiae Zimmermann, Florilegium Philologico-Historicum, Aliquot myriadum Titulorum, Cum Optimis Authoribus, qvi de qvavis Materia scripserunt, qvarum praecipuae curiose & ex professo tractantur, Adhibita re Nummaria & Gemmaria, Praemittitur Diatriba De Eruditione Eleganti Comparanda Cum Figuris, Parts II, Güntherus, Dresden & Meissen, 1689, here p. 757, at BSB [= GB] 
It seems that during the 18th century the tarantula and tarantism were referred to even more often. It was mentioned in literary works, for example by Jonathan Swift in his Tale of a Tub (1704, p. 203): "He was troubled with a Disease, reverse to that called the Stinging of the Tarantula, and would run Dog-mad at the Noise of Musick, especially a Pair of Bag-Pipes". Physicians discussed this topic in their treatises, like Giorgio Baglivi from Italy in his De Praxi Medica (1699, here Engl. ed., 1723, pp. 312-73) and Richard Mead from England in his Mechanical Account of Poisons (1702, here 1708, pp. 59-81). 

Travelers went to Apulia and reported what they saw, for example Johann Georg Keyßler (II, 1741, pp. 232-3) and Johann Hermann Riedesel (1771, pp. 250-9). But the original story - music as a cure for the bite - was more and more treated with suspicion and then debunked. German physician Ernst Gottfried Baldinger ridiculed it as a "Fabel" in an article in the Neues Magazin für Ärzte (1779, p. 143) and Anton Friedrich Büsching, geographer and jurist, found even harsher words in his Eigene Gedanken und gesammelte Nachrichten von der Tarantel (1779, at UB Tübingen), a collection of critical articles and documents. He regarded it all as a fraud. 

I will only list here those relevant publications that included some music. Among those was one that stood out: 
  • Georgius Vallerius, Exercitium Philosophicum de Tarantula, Quod Indultu Ampliss. Collegii Philosophici in Regia Upsaliensi Academia, Uppsala, 1702, at Google Books [= BL]; at the Internet Archive 
In this Swedish dissertation the author not only discussed Kircher's standard talking-points but also compared the Italian tarantellas with Swedish popular dances and songs and saw similarities (see also Arcangeli, p. 98). This may be regarded as a very early example of comparative ethnomusicology. Vallerius also reprinted several of Kircher's melodies and the frontispiece depicts two traveling musicians with drums and bagpipe performing an unidentified tune:

In Germany one or more of Kircher's tunes were included in a several books published during the first half of the century. It is interesting to see the many different contexts in which this topic was discussed: 
  • Germanus Adlerhold, Umständliche Beschreibung Des anjetzo Vom Krieg neu-bedrohten sonst herrlichen Königreich Neapolis, nach dessen bewunders-würdigen Natur-Gütern, Fruchtbarkeit, Flüssen, Seen, Meer-Busen, und Häfen [...]. Zusamt einer nachrichtlich-Alphabetischen Verzeichnus aller in denen zwölff Provincien dieses Reichs enthaltenen Städten und Vestungen ; Nebst vielen schönen Kupffern auch mit und ohne Land-Carten. Wobey eine Erzehlung was sich seit dem Tod Caroli II. in diesem Königreich begeben, Buggel, Nürnberg, 1702, pp. 239-60, at ÖNB [= GB]; at BSB [= GB
  • Michael Bernhard Valentini, Museum Museorum, oder Vollständige Schau-Bühne aller Materialien und Specereyen, nebst deren natürlichen Beschreibung, Election, Nutzen und Gebrauch. Aus andern Material-, Kunst und Naturalien-Kammern, Oost- und West-Indischen Reiß-Beschreibungen, Curiosen Zeit- und Tag-Registern, Natur- und Artzney-Kündigern, wie auch selbst-eigenen Erfahrung. Zum Vorschub der Studirenden Jugend, Materialisten, Apothecker und deren Visitatoren , wie auch anderer Künstler als Jubelirer, Mahler, Färber u.s.w. also verfasset, und mit etlich hundert sauberen Kupfferstücken unter Augen geleget. ZUnner, Frankfurt, 1704, pp. 514-6, at the Internet Archive 
  • Abraham Friedrich Krafft, Der Sowohl Menschen und Viehe Grausamen Thiere schädlichen Ungeziefers Und Verderblichen Gewürmer Gäntzliche Ausrottung: Oder vielmehr Ausführliche Unterweisung, Wie allerley Thiere, als reissende Wölffe, listige Füchse, wütende und rasende Hunde, Mader, Iltißen, Wieseln [...] gäntzlich auszurotten, zu vertilgen und zu vertreiben, Buggel, Nürnberg, 1709, pp. 344-67, music p. 362, at Google Books [= BSB
  • Georg Ernst Stahl, Praxis Stahliana, Das ist Collegium Practicum, Welches theils von Ihm privatim in die Feder dictirt, theils von seinen damahligen Auditoribus aus dem Discurs mit besonderem Fleiß nachgeschrieben, Nunmehrs aber aus dem Lateinischem ins Deutsche übersetzt, mit vielen Anmerckungen und Raisonnemens aus 29. jähriger Praxi bekräfftiget und erläutert, auch nach der Vorschrifft des Herrn Autoris bey dieser zweyten Auflage um viel vermehrt und verbessert zum Druck befürdert worden von Johann Storchen, alias Hulderico Pelargo, Eyssel, Leipzig, 1732, p. 31, at Google Books [= BSB]; also 3rd ed., 1745, p. 31, at ÖNB [= GB] 
  • Historische Nachricht von der Tarantula, und derselben Abbildung, in: Kern Anmuthiger und Zeit-kürtzender, Eines auserlesenen Vorraths curieuser und nützlich-gesammleter Wissenschafften und deren brauchbaresten Kunst-Stücke, 1. Sammlung, Funcke, Erfurt, 1745, pp. 283-7, at BSB
Adlerhold's book is description of the Kingdom of Napoli. The tarantula was what most readers presumably knew best about this area and therefore he couldn't avoid including a long chapter about this topic. Valentini (1657-1729; see Wikipedia), professor of medicine in Giessen, discussed the tarantula and the musical cure of its bite in his monumental medical compendium. Krafft in his book about animals regarded as vermin also felt it necessary to add a well researched chapter. All three used Kircher's "Anitidotum Tarantulae" as a musical example. 

Georg Ernst Stahl (1659-1734), professor of medicine in Halle, also reprinted this tune - he had taken it from Valentini's book - but he seems to have been quite skeptical about this story. He only mentioned it in passing in connection with some short remarks about music and medicine. Swiss "Küh-Reyhen" that were said to cure homesickness of soldiers from Switzerland served as another example. In Funcke's Kern Anmutigher Wissenschaften, a popular scientific periodical, the old stories about the tarantula and the tarantella were recycled once again more or less uncritically and here we can also find the same tune. 

Shortly later a different tune was made available in an article published by an English magazine:
  • Stephen Storace [i. e. Stefano Storace], A genuine Letter from an Italian Gentleman, concerning the Bite of the Tarantula, in: The Gentleman's Magazine and Historical Chronicle 23, 1753, pp. 433-4, at Google Books 
One Steven Storace , i. e. Stefano Storace (1725-1781, see Wikipedia), an Italian musician who later moved to Britain - his son of the same name would become a popular composer there - claimed to have come across someone bitten by the tarantula. He learned the tune on the spot, played it for him and helped him to recover (see also Gioielli 2008). This article was translated into German the following year and his tune reappeared later in several other publications, for example a Viennese dissertation and Tans'ur's influential Elements of Musick
  • Ein ächter Brief von einem italienischen Herrn über den Biß der Tarantul. Aus dem Gentleman's Magazine for Sept. 1753, in: Hamburgisches Magazin, oder, Gesammlete Schriften, aus der und den angenehmen Wissenschaften überhaupt 13.1, 1754, pp. 1-8, at the Internet Archive [= BHL] 
  • Johann Baptist Mathias Schwarz, Dissertatio Inauguralis Medica De Tarantismo Et Chorea Viti, Wien, 1766, at Google Books 
  • William Tans'ur, The Elements of Musick Display'd. Or, Its Grammar, or Ground-Work Made Easy, Rudimental, Practical, Philosophical, Historical, and Technical. In Five Books, Crowder, London, 1772 [ESTC T153927], pp. 217-20, at the Internet Archive 

One more tune from Apulia was made available by English traveler and scholar Thomas Shaw (1694-1751; see DNB 51, p. 446, at wikisource) in the second edition of his popular and influential book about his Travels in the Middle East. In a short chapter about scorpions and phalangiae he couldn't resist referring to the tarantula and the dance "to obtain [...] copious perspiration". In a note one tune is printed. I haven't seen it in an earlier publication so I assume Shaw had heard and noted it himself. There is no mention of Kircher's work but only of Italian botanist and physician Mattioli's commentary on Dioscorides (1554, here 1565, p. 362), another early reference to this phenomenon:
  • Thomas Shaw, Travels or Observations Relating to Several Parts of Barbary and the Levant. Illustrated with Cuts. The Second Edition, with Great Improvements, Millar, London, 1757 [ESTC T114688], p. 191, n.9, at the Internet Archive 
Occasionally also a musicologist expressed his opinion about this topic. Jacob Adlung (1699-1762) wasn't fond of the "Antidotum tarantulae" and quipped that it sounded so miserable that one gets sick rather than healthy from it. He only included one half of this melody which he had found in Kircher's Phonurgia Nova thinking it was the second of two tunes: 
  • Jacob Adlung, Anleitung zu der musikalischen Gelahrtheit, theils vor alle Gelehrte, so das Band aller Wissenschaften einsehen; theils vor die Liebhaber der edlen Tonkunst überhaupt [...], Jungnicol, Erfurt, 1758, pp. 57-8, Tab 1.1, at the Internet Archive [= Oberlin] 
All of Kircher's tune were later made available once again in a German dissertation about the human ear: 
  • Christian Ernst Wünsch, De Auris Humanae Proprietatibus Et Vitiis Quibusdam, Leipzig, 1777, pp. 38-43, at Google Books [= BSB] 
A decade later six more tarantellas were included in a Spanish publication: 
  • Francisco Javier Cid, Tarantismo observado en España, con que se prueba el de la pulla, dudado de algunos, y tratado de otros de fabuloso, Gonzalez, Madrid, 1787, here after p. 14, at the Internet Archive 


After the turn of century tarantellas began to appear in collections of national airs. Edward Jones, Welsh harper and editor of a series of anthologies dedicated to foreign tunes (for more about Jones see my article in this blog), once again revived Kircher's "Antidotum Tarantulae" but his source was Zimmermann's Florilegium Philologico-Historicum. He also added some variations: 
  • Edward Jones, Maltese Melodies; Or National Airs, And Dances, usually performed by the Maltese Musicians at their Carnival & other Festivals; with a few other characteristic Italian Airs & Songs; To these are annex'd a selection of Norwegian Tunes, never before Published; and to which are added Basses for the Harp or Piano-Forte, London, n. d. [1807], pp. 38-9, at the Internet Archive 
Among the more important publication dedicated to this topic was surely Justus Hecker's influential book about dancing manias. This work was translated into English and other languages. Hecker (1795-1850), historian and physician, reprinted all of Kircher's tunes and made them available for a new generation of readers: 
  • J. F. C. Hecker, Die Tanzwuth, eine Volkskrankheit im Mittelalter. Nach den Quellen für Aerzte und gebildete Nichtärzte bearbeitet, Enslin, Berlin, 1832, pp. 26-54, tunes: pp. 89-92
  • J. F. C. Hecker, The Epidemics of the Middle Ages, London, 1844, pp. 107-133, tunes: pp. 167-74, at the Internet Archive 
At this time the tarantella had already been adopted by modern composers and a lot of new pieces were composed and published. Nearly 400 relevant publications were announced between 1829 and 1900 in Hofmeisters Monatsberichten (at Hofmeister XIX). Many travelers went to Apulia and witnessed local performances of tarantellas. Goethe made it there during the 1780s but his short report was only published much later, in 1810 (pp. 110-2; see Assel & Jäger at Goethezeitportal). Others brought back tarantella tunes they had heard there, like Gustav Parthey (I, 1834, App., No. V, p. 6) and Karl August Mayer (I, 1840, pp. 387-8, see also pp. 366-73). But the old tunes were also republished and remained available, for example in a history of dancing:
  • Albert Czerwinski, Geschichte der Tanzkunst bei den cultivierten Völkern von den ersten Anfängen bis auf die gegenwärtige Zeit, Weber, Leipzig, 1862, pp. 54-7, at Google Books 
Of course some of the experts for national airs and Volkslieder also weighed in. Danish composer Berggreen included nine tarantellas in his comprehensive anthology of international Folke-Sange. Eight of them (No. 90-96) were modern pieces from different sources, for example Parthey's book and several Italian collections. As an example of the older style he revived Storace's tune (No. 97). But of course he was familiar with the historical development of the genre and in his notes also referred to Kircher: 
  • A. P. Berggreen, Italienske, Spanske og Portugisiske Folke-Sange og Melodier, Samlade og Udsatte for Pianoforte, Anden, Meget Forogode Udgave (= Folke-Sange og Melodier, Fædrelandske og Fremmede 7, Anden Utgave), C. A. Reitzel, Köbenhavn, 1866, here No. 97, p. 129 , also notes, p. 246, pp. 251-2 
I will close with two musical encyclopedias from the latter part of the 19th century. In both of them we find informative summaries of this topic. One or more of Kircher's tunes were reprinted and once again made available to those interested in the history of this genre. 
  • Musikalisches Conversations-Lexikon. Eine Encyklopädie der gbesammten musikalischen Wissenschaften. Für Gebildete aller Stände, begründet von Hermann Mendel. Fortgesetzt von Dr. August Reissmann, Bd. 10, Oppenheim, Berlin, 1878, pp. 104-108, at the Internet Archive 
  • A Dictionary of Music and Musicians (A. D. 1450-1889). By Eminent Writers, English and Foreign. With Illustrations and Woodcuts. Ed. by Sir George Grove. In Four Volumes. Vol. IV, MacMillan, London & New York, 1889 , pp. 58-9 
During the 20th century these tunes were also regularly published again. For example the original plate with the "Antidotum Tarantulae" appeared as the frontispiece in a Handbook of Medical Entomology (1915, p. ii). We can find them in musicological works and other academic publications discussing tarantism. Some of Kircher's tarantellas were recorded. Today they are of course available on YouTube (see f. ex. here). Now these melodies have a consecutive history of more than 350 years. They have made it in to the modern world even though Kircher's own theories are long out-dated.

  • Alessandro Arcangeli, Dance between disease and cure: the tarantella and the physician, in: Ludica. Annali di Storia e Civilà del Gioco 5-6, 2000, pp. 88-102, at 
  • Jutta Assel & Georg Jäger, Goethes Italienische Reise - Neapel: Volksleben Folge 3: Tarantella (Italiensehnsucht Deutscher Künstler der Goethezeit), 2015/16, at Goethezeitportal  
  • Giorgio Baglivi, The Practice of Physick, Reduc'd to the ancient Way of Observations Containing a just Parallel between the Wisdom and Experience of the Ancients, And the Hypothesis's ogf Modern Physicians, Intermix'd with many Practical Remarks upon most Distempers. The Second Edition, Midwinter etc., London 1723 [ESTC N9783], at the Internet Archive 
  • Philip V. Bohlman, Representation and Cultural Critique in the History of Ethnomusicology, in: Bruno Nettl & Philip V. Bohlman (eds.), Comparative Musicology and Anthropology of Music. Essays on the History of Ethnomusicology, Chicago & London, 1991, pp. 131-51 
  • Karlis Brambats, Ein frühes Zeugnis livländischen Singens, in: Musik des Ostens 8, 1982, pp. 9-29
  • Carl Ferdinand Becker, Systematisch-Chronologische Darstellung der musikalischen Literatur von der frühesten bis auf die neueste Zeit, Friese, Leipzig, 1836, at the Internet Archive [= GB
  • V. Bergsøe, Iagttagelser om den italianske Tarantel og Bidrag til Tarantiesmens Historien i Middelalderen og nyere Tid, in: Naturhistorisk Tidsskrift 3.2, 1865, pp. 239-299, at Google Books
  • Charles E. Brewer, The Instrumental Music of Schmeltzer, Biber, Muffat and their Contemporaries, Abingdon & New York, 2011 (see Google Books
  • Anton Friedrich Büsching, Eigene Gedanken und gesammelte Nachrichten von der Tarantel, Berlin, 1778, at UB Tübingen 
  • Jerri Daboo, Ritual, Rapture and Remorse. A Study in Tarantism and Pizzica in Salento, Bern etc, 2010 
  • Stefan Donecker, Origines Livonorum. Frühneuzeitliche Hypothesen zur Herkunft der Esten und Letten, Köln etc, 2017
    Paula Findlen (ed.), Athanasius Kircher: The Last Man Who Knew Everything, New York & London, 2004  
  • Walter Graf, Die ältesten deutschen Überlieferungen estnischer Volkslieder, in: Musik des Ostens 1, 1963, pp. 83-105 
  • Johann Georg Keyßler, Neueste Reise durch Teutschland, Böhmen, Ungarn, die Schweitz, Italien, und Lothringen, worinn der Zustand und das merckwürdigste dieser Länder beschrieben wird. Mit Kupfern, Försters und Sohns Erben, Hannover, 1740-1, 3 Bde., at BSB [= GB] 
  • Mauro Gioielli, Il tarantismo campano in una lettera di metà settecento, in: Utriculus. Bollettino trimestrale dell’Associazione Culturale “Circolo della Zampogna” di Scapoli 22, No. 46, April-June 2008, pp. 29-33, at 
  • Ted Gioia, Healing Songs, Durham & London, 2006 
  • Andrea Korenjak, Musik und rituelle Heilung am Beispiel des Tarantismus - Historische, ethnologische und psychologische Reflexionen, in: Jacob A. v. Belzen (ed.), Musik und Religion. Psychologische Zugänge, Wiebaden, 2013, pp. 125-164 
  • A. Dean Larsen (ed.), Athanasius Kircher (1602-1680). Jesuit Scholar. An Exhibition of his Works in the Harold B. Lee Library Collections at Brigham Young University. Introduction and Descriptions by Brian L. Merrill, Provo, 1989, at the Internet Archive [= BYU] 
  • Rudy Le Menthéour, The Tarantula, the Physician, and Rousseau: The Eighteenth-Century Etiology of an Italian Sting, in: Proceedings of the Western Society for French History 37, 2009, pp. 35-47 , at Michigan Publishing 
  • P. Conor Reilly, Athansius Kircher, S. J.: Master of a Hundred Arts, 1602-1680, Wiesbaden, 1974 (= Studia Kircheriana 1) 
  • Karl August Mayer, Neapel und die Neapolitaner, oder Briefe aus Neapel in die Heimat, Schulze, Oldenburg, 1840 & 1842, 2 Bde., at the Internet Archive [= GRI] 
  • Richard Mead, A Mechanical Account of Poisons in Several Essays. The Second Edition, Revised, with Additions, Smith, London, 1708 [ESTC T55004], at the Internet Archive 
  • Friedrich Menius, Syntagma de Origine Livonorum, Dorpat, 1635 (not yet digitized; reprinted in: Scriptores Rerum Livonicarum II, Riga & Leipzig, 1848, pp. 511-42, at the Internet Archive) 
  • Gustav Parthey, Wanderungen durch Sicilien und die Levante, 2 Bde. & Anhang, Nicolai, Berlin, 1834 & 1840, at the Internet Archive 
  • Felipe Pedrell, Folk-lore musical castillan du XVI. siècle, in: Sammelbände der Internationalen Musik-Gesellschaft 1, 1899-1900, pp. 372-400 (Internet Archive
  • Johann Hermann Riedesel, Reise durch Sicilien und Großgriechenland, Orell etc, Zürich,. 1771, at the Internet Archive 
  • Hole Rößler, Athanasius Kircher: Forschungsbibliographie & Werke im Internet , at 
  • Ulf Scharlau, Athanasius Kircher (1601-1680) als Musikschriftsteller. Ein Beitrag zur Musikanschauung des Barock, Phil. Diss., Marburg, 1969, (= Studien zur hessischen Musikgeschichte 2) 
  • Susanne Schedtler, Musiktherapeutische Aspekte der Tarantella in Geschichte und Gegenwart. In: Jahrbuch für musikalische Volks- und Völkerkunde Band 15, 1994, 181-221 
  • Gerhard F. Strasser, 'Wie von der Tarantel gebissen': Tarantismus und Musiktherapie im Barock, in: Martin Bircher et al. (eds.), Barocker Lustspiegel. Studien zur Literatur des Barock. Festschrift für Blake Lee Spahr, Amsterdam, 1984 (= Chloe. Beihefte zum Daphnis 3), pp. 245-64

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Gustav Parthey's Remarks about Sicilian and Egyptian Music in his Wanderungen (1834/40)

In the previous article I have discussed an interesting addition to my bibliography of "exotic" tunes in European publications from the 16th to the 19th century (see here in my blog and the bibliography at GoogleDocs): a few Bedouin tunes the Finnish orientalist G. A. Wallin's collected during the 1840s.

Two decades earlier young German scholar Gustav Parthey had traveled to the Mediterranean and to Egypt and he also brought back some music: tunes from Sicily, Malta and Egypt. They later appeared in his travelogue which is worth rediscovering not only because of his own contribution to this field but also because he reprinted some formerly unpublished tunes and notes by a famous traveler of the previous century: 
  • Gustav Parthey, Wanderungen durch Sicilien und die Levante, 1. Theil. Wanderungen durch Sicilien und Malta, Nicolai, Berlin, 1834, here Musikbeilage 
  • Gustav Parthey, Wanderungen durch Sicilien und die Levante, 2. Theil: Wanderungen durch das Nilthal, Nicolai, Berlin, 1840 
  • Gustav Parthey, Wanderungen durch Sicilien und die Levante. Anhang zum zweiten Theil der Wanderungen durch Sicilien und die Levante, Nicolai, Berlin, 1840, pp. 15-20,
    all at the Internet Archive 
Gustav Parthey (1798-1872; see Wikipedia; see ADB 25, 1887, pp. 189-91, at wikisource), German art historian, Egyptologist and philologist - he was the grandson of Friedrich Nicolai (1733-1811), the influential publisher, writer and critic, a key figure of literary enlightenment - studied in Berlin and Heidelberg. After his dissertation in 1820 he went on an extended journey through Europe and to the Mediterranean and also the Levant. Especially Egypt and the Holy Land used to be popular travel destinations for German intellectuals (see f. ex. Goren 2003; Amin 2013) . 

He returned in 1824 and soon became director of the Nicolaische Buchhandlung, the publishing house founded by his grandfather. Parthey also made himself a name as a private scholar. Among his publications were a dictionary of Coptic language, a geography of old Egypt and catalogs of modern and antique works of art (see wikisource). Later he moved to Italy and died in Rome. 

His travel report appeared in two parts, first a volume about Sicily and Malta in 1834 and then in 1840 the second one about his time in Egypt. An extra volume with a map, illustrations, astronomical observations by the one of his companions, the astronomer and mathematician Johann Heinrich Westphal, a small Nubian dictionary and a chapter about music was published as a supplement. 

Parthey's account of his travels is well written and still very pleasant to read. He was mostly interested in the antiquities and offered good summaries of the history of the places he visited. But he also happened to be a good and sympathetic observer who showed some genuine interest in the people he met, their culture and their everyday life. 

In the volume about Sicily and Malta we can find some helpful and valuable remarks about the music he heard (see pp. 27-8, 93-4, 124, 140, 143-4). For example he discussed the legendary Sicilian poet Giovanni Meli (1740-1815, see Wikipedia), a name not unknown in Germany. His songs were still popular among the people and sung all over Sicily (pp. 45-48). 

The Musikbeilage offered a collection of 21 songs and tunes mostly from Sicily and Malta that he had recorded from oral tradition - "dem Volke abgehorcht" -, among them some of Meli's together with the melodies they were sung to as well as songs apparently imported from Tyrol and France (Nos. IV & XII). Of course he couldn't resist including a tarantella from Apulia (No. V). 

The volume about Egypt also includes a number of short and often casual remarks about musical performances he witnessed (f. ex. pp. 63, 91, 186, 203, 208-9, 280, 294, 560-2). But more important and informative are a chapter about music as well as 21 tunes and songs that can be found in the extra volume, the Anhang zum zweiten Theil (here pp. 15-20). It is obvious that Parthey was not particularly impressed with what he had heard there. In fact he sounds very disappointed: 
"Die Armuth des heutigen Orients an edleren geistigen Genüssen zeigt sich auch in der Musik [...] Man findet im Orient weder eine wissenschaftliche noch eine praktische Ausbildung der Musik, einen zwei- oder mehrstimmigen Gesang hört man nirgends, die Notenschrift ist gänzlich unbekannt, von Generalbass oder Kontrapunkt hat niemand einen Begriff [...]" (p. 15). 
This was a not uncommon attitude for travelers from Europe. But nonetheless he collected some tunes (Nos. I-VI), for example a song of Nubian sailor, a Nubian variant of the popular tune "Malbrook s'en va-t-en guerre" as well as a "lament of an Arabian girl whose lover was conscripted by the Pasha. She wants to go to him but her mother holds her back with beatings" (see p. 15). He also noted that these melodies were difficult to transcribe "weil die Araber und Nubier, ausser den halben, auch Drittel-Töne haben, woran ein europäisches Ohr sich schwer gewöhnt". 

But apparently Dr. Parthey wasn't really satisfied with what he had heard and noted. Therefore he made available some more tunes collected eight decades earlier by the famous Carsten Niebuhr. His grandfather Friedrich Nicolai used to conduct correspondences with numerous contemporaries. Among them was Niebuhr (1733-1815, see Wikipedia; a good introduction: Wiesehöfer & Conerman 2002), who between 1774 and 1780 had sent several letters to Nicolai where he discussed Arabian music and also included a number of melodies (see Kalliope). 

Niebuhr, a German engineer in duty of the Danish king, started his journey to Arabia, India and Persia in 1760 together with five companians. In 1767 he returned as the only survivor. The first two volumes of his famous Reisebeschreibung nach Arabien und anderen umliegenden Ländern appeared in 1774 and 1778. This would become one of the most important and widely read travel books of the 18th century and it was quickly translated into other languages. 

Unlike many other travelers Niebuhr was also a trained musician. He played the violin and even performed there for the locals. He also tried to keep his ears open and listened to what he heard. In his Reisebeschreibung we can find a chapter about "Leibesübungen und Zeitvertreib der Morgenländer bey müssigen Stunden" and here he wrote a little bit about music (I, pp. 175-182, at the Internet Archive). But, just like Parthey eight decades later and just like other visitors in the meantime, he was more or less disappointed and mostly critical. Particularly valuable were Niebuhr's descriptions of musical instruments (see Pl. XVI, at UB Kiel). He was also able to transcribe tunes he had heard. For some reason he only included one single melody in his work (dto., E)

Parthey had access to his grandfather's estate and reprinted nearly all the unpublished tunes from the correspondence as well as the relevant parts from six of the letters Niebuhr had written for Nicolai: they offer explanations and notes about these tunes and Arabian music in general. First there is the original, uncorrected version of the tune published in the Reisebeschreibung (No. VII). Then there are five tunes identified by Niebuhr as Greek (12.3.1775) - perhaps these were "Oriental melodies" performed for him by a Greek musician that he referred to in an earlier letter (30.9.1774) - as well as three Arabian and Egyptian tunes, among the a sailor's song he had heard on a ship (Nos. XIV-XII; 12.3.1775). This of course isn't much but there is so little Arabian music available from that time that even the fragmentary pieces recorded by Niebuhr may count as a major addition. 

The rest are tunes from other publications. The music of the dervishes of the mosque in Pera (Nos. XVIII-XX) was of course taken from Ferriol's Recueil de Cent Estampes Representant Differentes Nations du Levant (1715, p. 16) but Niebuhr had some doubts about its authenticity. One part he claimed he had heard himself but another one didn't sound "morgenländisch" to him (18.4.1775).

He also referred Nicolai to a new Danish publication, Georg Höst's Efterretninger om Marokos og Fes, samlede der i Landene fra ao. 1760 til 1768 (1779). Höst (1734-1794; see Dansk Biografiskt Leksikon) had spent most of the 1760s in Morocco, first working for the short-lived Danish-African Company and then as vice-consul. Encouraged by Niebuhr he wrote his own report about his time there which also included a chapter about music as well a generous amount of tunes (pp. 241-6, plate No. 32). Niebuhr sent some of thm to Nicolai even before the book was published (here only No. XXI). In the last letter reprinted he even translated some relevant parts of this chapter for Nicolai (3.4.1777, 20.3.1780). 

Taken together both Niebuhr's tunes and comments as well as those by Parthey himself eight decades later offer interesting insights into how non-European - here Arabian - music was experienced and judged by European scholars (see also Lebedeva 2011 & Harbert 2008). Both showed a remarkable openness and were willing to listen but in the end they were mostly disappointed about what they heard. Their attitudes - particularly the cultural bias - were still very similar even though in the meantime major treatises about Arabian music - particularly Villoteau's work (1809) - had been published. Nonetheless the tunes they have collected - no matter how their authenticity in a modern sense may be judged - and their often casual descriptions of musical performances and performance contexts are still valuable historical sources. 

  • Abbas Amin, Ägyptomanie und Orientalismus. Ägypten in der deutschen Reiseliteratur (1175-1663). Mit einem kommentierten Verzeichnis der Reiseberichte (383-1845), Berlin, 2013 
  • [Charles Ferriol], Recueil de Cent Estampes Representant Differentes Nations du Levant, tirée sur les Tableaux peints d'apres Nature en 1707 et 1708 par les ordres de M. de Ferriol, Ambassador du Roi a la Porte. Et gravées en 1712 et 1713 pat les soins de Mr. Le Hay, Le Hay, Duchange, Paris, 1715, p. 16, at Gallica Bnf & the Internet Archive
  • Haim Goren, "Zieht hin und erforscht das Land". Die deutsche Palästinaforschung im 19. Jahrhundert, Göttingen, 2003 
  • Benjamin J. Harbert, Of Their Knowledge in Musick: Early European Musical Encounters in Egypt and the Levant as Read within the Emerging British Public Sphere, 1687-1811, in: Pacific Review of Ethnomusicology 13, 2008, at Ethnomusicology Review
  • Georg Höst (i. e. Høst), Efterretninger om Marokos og Fes, samlede der i Landene fra ao. 1760 til 1768, N. Müller, Kiøbenhavn, 1779, pp. 241-6, plate No. 32 (at the Internet Archive) 
  • Carsten Niebuhrs Reisebeschreibung nach Arabien und anderen umliegenden Ländern, 2 Vols., Möller, Kopenhagen, 1774-8, at UB Kiel & UB Heidelberg, here Vol. 1, pp. 175-182 & plate No. 26 (there are also several GB-scans, for example this one at the Internet Archive , but the plates are never correctly scanned). 
  • M. Villoteau, De l'État Actuel de l'Art Musical en Égypte. On Relation historique est descriptive des Recherches est Observations faites sur la Musique en ce pays, in: Description de l'Égypte, ou, Recueil des Observations et des Recherches qui ont été faites en Égypte pendant l'Éxpédition de l'Armée Française. État Moderne, Vol. 1, De L'Imprimerie Royale, Paris, 1809, pp. 607-846, available at the Internet Archive & at World Digital Library 
  • Josef Wiesehöfer & Stephan Conermann (eds.), Carsten Niebuhr (1733-1815) und seine Zeit. Beiträge eines interdisziplinären Symposiums vom 7.-10. Oktober 1999 in Eutin, Wiesbaden, 2002

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Georg August Wallin's Bedouin Tunes (1851-1864)

For a while now I am working on a little project about "exotic" tunes in European publications from the 16th to the 19th century (see here in my blog and the bibliography at GoogleDocs). Occasionally I happen to find some additions. Here is one I thought particularly interesting: Finnish orientalist Georg August Wallin who traveled through the Middle East during the 1840s and noted a handful of Bedouin tunes. 

Wallin (1811-1852; see Öhrnberg 2011; Wikipedia; see also Berg et al. 2014, Berg 2015) was born in the Åland isles. He studied Oriental languages since 1829, first in Helsinki and then in St. Petersburg. After his graduation he worked as a librarian but in 1843 he went to Cairo and from there he traveled all through the Middle East and also to Persia, saw Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem and made expeditions through the desert. He "was the first European to get to know the Bedouins and their way of life, and to live among them for a considerable time" and the "first scholar to collect Bedouin poetry" (Öhrnberg 2011). 

After his return he became professor of Oriental literature in Helsinki in 1851 but died only shortly later at the age of 41. Very little of what he wrote was published during his lifetime. Most of it came out only posthumously . There were some articles in German and English but the greatest part of his writings is only available in Swedish. 

Wallin was also a trained musician and played some instruments: the flute and the bass. He listened to songs and music he heard during his travels and was able transcribe some melodies (see Elmgren I, p. xliii). The first relevant publication was an anthology of "modern Arab songs" - with translations and notes - in a German journal: 
  • Georg August Wallin, Probe aus einer Anthologie neuarabischer Gesänge, in: Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft, 5, 1851, pp. 1-23; 6, 1852, pp. 190-218, at the Internet Archive

For some reason he included here only one tune (5, p. 4) that he had transcribed from a singer's performance. A second one was published two years later, after his death, in a partial edition of his diaries from the first expedition from Cairo to the Arab desert: 
  • Georg August Wallin, Första Resa från Cairo till Arabiska Öknen. Fragment, Simelius, Helsingfors, 1853, here p. 69, at Google Books 
He had heard this piece from his Bedouin companions while riding through the desert: it was one single line sung endlessly to a simple melody, "but with many variations in the voice, first in the deepest bass, then in the thinnest falsetto, sometimes with a rippling loud voice [...], sometimes barely audible".

A decade later some more tunes came to light. S. G. Elmgren edited four volumes of Wallin's diaries between 1864 and 1869 and in the first we can find five melodies. He noted (pp. xiii-xiv) that Wallin had given them only shortly before his death to Finnish folklorist Henrik August Reinholm.
  • Elmgren, S. G.: Georg August Wallins Reseteckningar från Orienten åren 1843–1849, Vols. 1–4, Frenckell & Sön, Helsingfors, 1864–1866, at the Internet Archive [= WellcomeL], here I, p. xxxiii

At that time Wallin's melodies could have been a welcome addition to what was already available. But as far as I can see they were not taken note of by musicologists, folklorists or editors of songbooks. 

Arab tunes had been published in European books since the 18th century (see my bibliography, at Google Docs). Thomas Shaw in 1736 (p. 272) and Danish traveler Georg Höst in 1779 (after p. 244) had both presented a few pieces they had collected. Shaw's tunes were also regularly reprinted in other publications. Otherwise not much was added until the end of the century. The great breakthrough was surely Villoteau's De l'État Actuel de l'Art Musical en Égypte (1809, at the Internet Archive), an extended treatise with many musical examples. A few travelers added some more tunes, like Burkhardt (1831, p. 66) and especially Lane in his An Account of the Manners of the Modern Egyptians (1836, II, pp. 80-93). 

When Kiesewetter wrote Die Musik der Araber (1842, at the Internet Archive) he still had only a rather limited corpus at tunes at hand. He relied mostly on Shaw, Villoteau and Lane. At the same time the "sounds of the desert" became immensely popular among European music fans. French composer Félicien David's Le désert (1844) was a great success. More original tunes were only published in the 1860s, in Salvador Daniel's Chansons Arabes, Mauresques et Kabyles (at the Internet Archive) and Alexandre Christianowitsch's Esquisse Historique de la Musique Arabe aux Temps Anciens (1863, at the Internet Archive). 

Wallin's tunes would have fit well to this new interest for Arab music but by all accounts they remained unknown. Not even Danish composer A. P. Berggreen, editor of Folke-Sange og Melodier Fra Lande Udenfor Europa (1870, at the Internet Archive), the best and most comprehensive popular anthology of international national airs, seems to have been familiar with them. In this respect Wallin's work was more or less forgotten. 

I should add that Wallin's writings are a good and important source for research into the music in that area. He clearly kept his eyes and ears open and was a good observer and listener. In his diaries we can find interesting descriptions of musical performances. For example the three articles in English published in the Journal of the Royal Geographical Society offer some relevant remarks: 
  • Georg August Wallin, Notes taken during a Journey through Part of Northern Arabia, in: Journal of the Royal Geographical Society 20, 1851, pp. 293-344, at the Internet Archive [= jstor] 
  • Georg August Wallin, Narrative of a Journey from Cairo to Medina and Mecca, in: Journal of the Royal Geographical Society 24, 1854, pp. 115-207, at the Internet Archive [= jstor], here pp. 147, 183, 185, 187
  • Georg August Wallin, Narrative of a Journey from Cairo to Jerusalem, Journal of the Royal Geographical Society 25, 1855, pp. 260-290, at the Internet Archive [= jstor], see here f. ex. pp. 265, 268 
His complete writings are now published - in Swedish of course - by the Svenska Litteratursällskapet i Finland.  
Seven volumes are available at the moment, all with notes, commentaries and helpful introductions. This is an excellent edition and thankfully the pdfs of these volumes can be downloaded for free. There are no additional tunes - apparently he hadn't collected more - but the complete diaries should include more information about the music he heard during his time there. 

  • Patricia Berg et al., Dolce far niente in Arabia. Georg August Wallin and His Travels in the 1840s, Dolce Far Niente in Arabia, Society of Swedish Literature in Finland, Helsinki, 2014 
  • Patricia Berg, The Travels of G. A. Wallin and His Views on Western Influence in the Middle East, in: Neil Cooke & Vanessa Daubney (eds.), Every Traveller Needs A Compass. Travel and Collecting in Egypt and the Near East, Oxford & Haverton, 2015, pp. 23-32 
  • Kaj Öhrnberg, The extraordinary travels of Georg August Wallin or ‛Abd al-Wālī. From the Åland Islands to the Arabian Peninsula, in: The National Library of Finland Bulletin 2011, at NLF

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Two New Publications about Thomas Moore's Irish Melodies

Thomas Moore (1779-1852) was one of most popular songwriters of the 19th century. His Irish Melodies (here Vol. 1 & 2, at the Internet Archive), published in 10 volumes between 1808 and 1834, were immensely successful, not only in Britain but also in the USA and in Europe. I have written here a little bit about some of Moore's songs - especially the German versions - and I must admit I was always a little bit surprised about the lack of literature about the musical side of his works. What was available did not reflect Moore's great importance as a songwriter. Thankfully there are now two new publications, one book and one article, that look like they could fill some gaps:
  • Sarah McCleave, The Genesis of Thomas Moore's Irish Melodies, 1808–34, in: Paul Watt et al. (eds.), Cheap Print and Popular Song in the Nineteenth Century. A Cultural History of the Songster, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge & New York, 2017, pp. 47-69 (see Cambridge University Press; see also Google Books &
  • Una Hunt, Sources and Style in Moore's Irish Melodies, Routledge, Abingdon & New York, 2017 (see Routledge; see also Google Books and
I haven't yet seen the complete books but only the parts available at Google and amazon and I think they are both worthwhile and interesting. Sarah McCleave's article can be found in a new anthology about 19th century songsters. She discusses the early publication history of the Irish Melodies and especially the variations in different print editions. Moore worked constantly on his songs, even after the publication, and regularly introduced little changes. 

Una Hunt's book is particularly important because she is the first one for a long time to discuss the sources of the songs. Until now we only had Veronica ní Chinnéide ground-breaking article (1959) and the helpful additional information in Aloys Fleischmann's Sources of Traditional Irish Songs (1998). She offers here some new insights that are worth considering and I am looking forward to study this work in detail. 

Unfortunately both books a very expensive and as far as I can see there are at the moment only very few copies in German libraries. They can also be bought as ebooks that are a little bit less expensive. To be true, I find the pricing of academic publications like these very problematic. 

I should add that there is at the moment a project about the reception of Moore's Irish Melodies and Popular National Airs in Europe. I hope I can read the resulting publications in a couple of years. But I wish to recommend the project's blog (at Queen’s University Belfast) that offers a lot of interesting articles. 

  • Veronica ní Chinnéide, The Sources of Moore's Melodies, in: The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, Vol. 89, No. 2, 1959, pp. 109-134 
  • Aloys Fleischmann (ed.), Sources Of Irish Traditional Music, C. 1600 - 1855, 2 Vols., New York & London 1998

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Some Estonian Songbooks (1860-1900)


I have just written a little treatise about the collection and publication of Volkslieder - national songs - of the Estonians and Latvians from circa 1770 until the late 19th century (see the previous blogpost). Texts were published in considerable numbers, first by Baltic-German scholars and then by the first generation of Estonian intellectuals. But tunes only played a minor role. Very few were made available until the 1860s. Only since then - during the era of what is called the national awakening - they began to appear, not in academic anthologies but in songbooks for choral singing. 

The first one to publish two rahwawiis was Carl Robert Jakobson in 1869 in a small anthology with the title Wanemuine Kandle Healed (at digar). The first collection of Estonian Volkslieder only appeared in 1890: Karl August Hermann's Eesti rahwalaulud (at the Internet Archive). This was very late. For example in Finland - also a nation trying to find its own voice - the very first anthology of national songs was already made available in 1831 and more would follow soon (see in this blog: The Collection and Publication of National Airs in Finland 1795-1900).

Even the neighbouring Latvians were a little bit faster in this respect. Some original Latvian traditional tunes had already been published in 1859 by the pastor Juris Caunītis and the teacher Jānis Kaktiņš in their songbook 100 dseesmas un singes ar nohtem (see Karnes, p. 205, p. 219, n. 64, see Das Inland 25, 1860, p. 151). In 1869 a conference of Latvian teachers called for a more systematic collection of traditional tunes (Apkalns, pp. 151). The key figure here was Jānis Cimze (1814-1881; see Wikipedia) from the teacher seminary in Valka who in 1872 published the very first anthology of Latvian Volkslieder arranged for choirs: Dseesmu rohta jaunekļeem un wihreem (see Karnes 2015; Apkalns, pp. 148-53). 

Here I will attempt a select bibliography of Estonian songbooks published since 1860. I am foremost interested in the publication of rahwalaulud. Why did traditional tunes play a comparatively small role? How many were published? Why took it so long until the first anthology appeared? But it is equally important to see the wider context: the development of a national repertoire for choral singing. This was what Estonian teachers and musicians were interested in. At first this repertoire consisted nearly solely of translated German songs and only slowly Estonian songs - both new works and rahwalaulud - were added. 

Today - in the digital era - a bibliography is not only list of books. Thankfully most of the publications needed here have been digitized and are therefore quick at hand. This is a great progress. These are all rare books that are available in only a very few libraries. Back in the old days it would have been necessary to travel to these libraries to see them. Now they can be checked online and the reader has also direct access to these primary sources. 

In Estonia the digital libraries are well-organized. For a systematic approach we should start with Eesti rahvusbibliograafia (erb), the Estonian National Bibliography that is available online. A look for example at the entry for Jakobson's Wanemuine kandle healed (erb) shows that one can find here all relevant bibliographical data as well as other helpful information. Usually both the number of copies printed, the price and the content - here a list of the songs in this book - are included. It is also possible to get a chronological list of all the publications a particular writer - in this case Jakobson - was involved in (erb). 

Thankfully there is also a link to a digital copy if one exists as well as a link to a book's record in ester, the National Library Catalogue that also offers the link to the digital copy. The most important digital libraries are digar - Estonian National Library - , etera - University of Tallinn - and the one of the University of Tartu. Jakobson's songbook is available at digar. The online readers of etera and digar - here only for a part of the books - are usable but not as flexible as I would wish. But all digitized books can also be downloaded as pdf-files and I have taken the liberty to upload some of those I needed to the the Internet Archive where they are much easier to use. 

The number of books already digitized by the Estonian libraries is impressive but there are of course still some that haven't been scanned yet. Thankfully it is also possible to order the digitization of a book, but only if it is available at one of the libraries in Tallinn and - apparently - if it was printed before 1900. In this case there is a link in ester that leads to EOD, the well-known network of libraries. Therefore digital copies of five more relevant songbooks can now be accessed online.

Most of the editors, composers and writers mentioned here are not exactly household names outside of Estonia. Therefore some basic information is needed and here the German wikipedia proved to be very helpful. Links to the relevant articles are added but they can only serve as a short introduction. For some of the more obscure names I found only Estonian sources, either Wikipedia or another encyclopedia. 

Otherwise I can recommend some books. Estonian music history in the second half of the 19th century is more or less identical to the history of the national singing movement, therefore I found Arro's Geschichte der estnischen Musik (1933) very helpful. He is good at describing the context and also discusses nearly everyone mentioned here. But it is better to ignore his stern judgments about most Estonian song composers. Nearly all of these editors were also busy in other fields, as writers, poets, teachers, journalists and cultural activists. For that reason a good history of Estonian literature is also useful. Hasselblatt's (2006) is the best so far. 


The new choral singing movement from Germany and Switzerland (good overview: Klenke 1998) was quickly adopted by the Baltic-Germans (see Loos, p. 226). They had their own choirs: in 1833 the first Liedertafel was founded in Riga, in 1849 a choral society in Reval and the year 1857 saw the the first great German song festival. They also had their own songbooks where we can find the popular German repertoire: 
  • Baltisches Liederbuch, Plates, Riga, 1861, at UofTartu & the Internet Archive 
  • Vierundzwanzig Volkslieder mit ihren Singweisen für Sopran und Alt 1. Heft, Laakmann, Dorpat, 1871, at digar 
  • Liederbuch für Knaben- und Mädchenschulen, von A. W. Schönberg, Gesanglehrer am Gymnasium zu Arensburg, 1876 [erb], at digar 
  • Joh. Reinfeldt, Baltischer Liederkranz. Ausgewälte Lieder zum Gebrauch für den Gesangsunterricht, 2. vermehrte und verbesserte Auflage, 1. & 2. Teil, Kluge, Reval, 1886 [erb], at digar & the Internet Archive 
  • Joh. Reinfeldt, Baltischer Liederkranz. Ausgewälte Lieder zum Gebrauch für den Gesangsunterricht, 3. vermehrte und verbesserte Auflage, 1. Teil, Kluge, Reval, 1898 [erb], at digar & the Internet Archive 

The Estonians - just freed from the shackles of serfdom - also started singing in choirs and at first they were of course taught by their German pastors. What should they sing? For centuries they had been treated to imported hymns translated into Estonian and these religious songs made up the greatest part of their repertoire. More collections appeared during these years, for example: 
  • [Johann August Hagen], Choralbuch zum Gebrauche für die Orgel und das Pianoforte. Enthaltend Kirchen-Melodien für Deutsche und Ehstnische Kirchen-Gesangbücher, so wie auch für Dr. K. C. Ulmanns geistliche Liedersammlung. Tallinna ja Tarto lauloramatute täis wisi ramat Reval, n. d. [1844] [erb], at digar  
  • Tallinna- ja Tarto-ma Kirriko laulo ramato laulo wisid, Jacoby & Co., Pärnu & Viljandi, n. d. [1860] [erb], at digar 
What was missing were secular songs. The pastors didn't like the Estonians' traditional song culture which was under perpetual cultural pressure. Instead some of them also promoted modern German songs that were translated into Estonian. An early pioneer was Emil Hörschelmann (1810-1854, see Arro 1933, pp. 28-51) who - besides writing and publishing hymns - also put out a small collection of German songs, Mönned armsad laulud (1847, erb, at digar). It seems this booklet was quite popular. New editions appeared in 1852 and 1862. 

During these years the first generation of Estonian writers and teachers came to the fore and they would single-handedly begin to create what they regarded as their national culture. But most of them still preferred the adoption of German singing culture. The key figure here was Johann Voldemar Jannsen (1819-1890; see Wikipedia; Hasselblatt, pp. 175-7, 184-8, 203; Arro, pp. 89-97; see erb), teacher, writer, journalist, translator, choirmaster and activist. In 1850 he was "barred from full membership in a German choir because of his ethnicity" (Ŝmidchens, p. 70) and felt it necessary to start his own. 

He at first translated religious songs, for example Krummacher's Zionsharfe (here f. ex. 1827, at Google Books). The first part of the Estonian version appeared in 1845 with the title Sioni-Laulo-Kannel ehk 333 uut waimolikko laulo (erb). More parts would follow as well as other similar collections. But he also tried to take care of the secular repertoire and in 1860 he published an anthology with the title Eesti laulik - "The Estonian Singer" - with 125 texts. 
  • [Johann Voldemar Jannsen], Eesti Laulik. 125 uut lauo neile, kes hea melega laulwad ehk laulo kuulwad. Esiminne jaggo, Laakmann, Tartu, 1860 [erb], at digar; at BSB [= Google Books]; at the Internet Archive [= GB-Oxford]
    -, 2. Trük, Laakmann, Tartu, 1865 [erb], at Google Books [= BL] 
Jannsen was no Herderian and no friend of Estonian rahwalaulud (see Arro 1933, pp. 90-1; Ŝmidchens, pp. 77-8). In fact he didn't like them and preferred German songs. All texts in this songster were translations from the German and he completely avoided any original Estonian pieces. But nonetheless his anthology became very popular and was reprinted several times. He also compiled a tune-book with only the melodies because he couldn't afford to publish complete arrangements for choirs: 
  • [Johann Voldemar Jannsen], Eesti Lauliko wisi-ramat. 120 uut laulo-wisi , Laakmann, Tartu, 1862 [erb], at the Internet Archive 

Other early pioneers also relied completely on German songs. Martin Körber (1817-1893; see Arro, pp. 112-9; Wikipedia), a German pastor in a little village on the isle of Saremaa did a lot for the musical culture of his flock, not at least because he didn't want them to sing their traditional drinking songs. He himself wrote new songs and taught them the people, he had them sing in choirs and also organized the earliest local song festivals. One collection of his songs was published with music: 
  • Laulud Sörwemaalt, mitme healaga. Lieder aus der Schworbe, mehrstimmig, Laakmann, Tartu, 1864 & 1867, 2 Vols. [erb: Vol. 1 & Vol. 2], at Uof Tartu 
Friedrich Brandt (1830-1890; Wikipedia), teacher and writer, also put together a songster with the title Eestima öpik (1864, erb at digar) - "The Estonian Nightingale" - that included both translations from the German as well as his own works. This collection was reprinted several times and apparently sold in great numbers. He for example included the popular German ballad "Es waren zwei Königskinder" ("Kuningatte lapsed", p. 28). Folklorist Walter Anderson (1932, pp. 23-48) has shown that nearly all variants collected from oral tradition are derived - directly or indirectly - from this anthology. Brandt also published a little songbook with music, Pisukene laulu- ja mängimees (1869, erb, at digar). Just like Jannsen he avoided all references to his sources. But it seems that these songs were mostly his own. 

Friedrich Kuhlbars (1841-1924; see Wikipedia; Hasselblatt, p. 267), teacher, writer and poet, compiled the first songbook for schools and he only used songs imported from Germany: 
  • Laulik koolis ja kodus. Ued laulud ühe, kahe, kolme ja nelja healega ja kaanonid. Noorele ja wanale, iseäranis Eesti koolidelle wäljaanud Friedrich Kuhlbars, Gläser, Tartu, 1868 [erb], at digar 
Here we can find pieces by Schulz, Silcher, Gersbach and Julius Mayer as well as many that are only described as "Deutsche Volksweise". Interestingly there is also an version of Thomas Moore's "Last Rose of Summer" ("Õue viimne roosikene", No. 15, pp. 13-4). But he didn't feel it necessary to include even a single original Estonian song. 

In the meantime Jannsen had launched Wanemuine, a society for choral singing and other convivial activities (see Arro, pp. 98-101). It was named after a mythological character in Kreutzwaldt's Kalevipoeg, the god of music with the harp ("Laena mulle kannelt, Vanemuine!"). This society played a major role during the next decades and Wanemuine himself appeared on the covers of some songbooks. Jannsen also organized the first Grand Song Festival in 1869 in Tartu (see Arro, pp. 102-8). This was of course modeled after the German song festivals but it set the start of a long-running tradition (see Wikipedia). The repertoire performed at these festivals shows the development of the national Estonian singing culture: 
  • [Johann Voldemar Jannsen], Eestirahwa 50-aastase Jubelipiddo-Laulud. Tartu Wanemuine seltsit wäljaantud, Laakmann, Tartu, 1869 [erb]; at digar & the Internet Archive 

This is the songbook for the first festival. Here we can find for the most part religious songs - that's what the local choirs sang at home - and only a few of secular character. Nearly all of them were by German composers, for example Beethoven, Mozart, Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Abt and Kreutzer. Finland was the other major source. There is one song by Finnish composer Karl Collan (No. 22, p. 71) and Jannsen himself wrote a new text for the tune Frederik Pacius had composed for Runeberg's "Vårt land", the future Finnish national anthem. His "Mu isamaa, mu õnn ja rõõm" (No. 21, p. 70) would then become - after independence in 1918 - the Estonian anthem. 

Then there were two more Estonian patriotic songs: "Mo isama on minno arm" and "Sind surmani" (No. 25-6, pp. 76-9). These are poems by Jannsen's daughter Lydia Koidula (1843-1886; see Wikipedia; see Hasselblatt, pp. 249-59) that were set to music by Alexander Kunileid (-Säbelmann; 1845-1875, see Wikipedia; see Arro, pp. 115-20), a graduate of Cimze's teacher seminary and an aspiring young composer. These two pieces may count as the first published original Estonian songs but - as musicologist Arro has shown - Kunileid had borrowed the tunes from a Finnish songbook.

The first one who took efforts to promote a more original Estonian repertoire was Carl Robert Jakobson (1841-1882; see Wikipedia; Arro, pp. 109-115; Hasselblatt, pp. 261-4), a teacher - also a graduate of Cimze's seminary -, journalist and a very productive writer, particularly of school-books (see erb). He criticized the predominance of the German songs at the festival and published a little booklet with five Estonian songs, all arranged for male choir. The title translates as "The Sounds of Wanemuine's Harp" and the god of music himself appeared on the cover:
  • Wanemuine Kandle Healed. Neljähealega meeste koorid. Eesti Laulupühaks 1869. Wälja annud C. R. Jakobson, Transchel, St. Petersburg, 1869 [erb], at digar 
The words of all five songs were by Lydia Koidula. Three of them - including the two published in the songbook for the festival - were set to music by Kunileid. But the melodies for the other two are described as "Eesti rahwawiis" (Estonian popular tunes): "Miks sa nuttad" & "Meil aia äärne tänawas". The source of these two is not clear but - as mentioned above - it was the first time that Estonian "folk-tunes" were used in a songbook for choirs. Unlike Jannsen Jakobson - who was very critical of the German cultural and economic dominance - had no problems with traditional songs and he saw them as a source for a future national repertoire. Two more anthologies appeared only shortly later and here he showed again that he had different ideas than Jannsen of what the Estonians should sing: 
  • Wanemuine Kandle Healed. Nelja healega meeste koorid. Wälja annud C. R. Jakobson. Toine jagu, W. Gläser, Tartu, 1871 [erb], at the Internet Archive 
  • Rõõmus Laulja. Kooli lugemise raamatu Wiisid. Wälja annud C. R. Jakobson. Esimene jagu: Kahe, kolme ja nelja healega laulud, laste ja segatud kooridele, Laakmann, Tartu, 1872 [erb], at digar & the Internet Archive 
In the second volume of Wanemuine Kandle Healed the tunes of four of the 15 songs were described as "Eesti rahwawiis", collected by Jakobson himself or by Johannes Eglon (1836-1908; see Eesti Entsüklopeedia), another graduate of Cimze's seminary. Jakobson - C. R. Linnutaja was his pseudonym - also wrote new words for three of them and the fourth was combined with a text by Kreutzwald. Besides these there were also some pieces with tunes by Kunileid as well as songs from Finland and Hungary, two linguistically related peoples. 

Rõõmus Laulja was a songbook for schools and it looks a little bit different from Kuhlbars' earlier anthology. Of course Jakobson couldn't avoid at least some German songs. But there were five original Estonian pieces, four with "Eesti rahwawiis" and one written by Kunileid. He also again included a considerable amount of Finnish songs. All in all this looked like a deliberate attempt to push back the German repertoire and to promote his videas for the future development of Estonian national music. 

But one may say that Jakobson was at that time some steps ahead of what was possible. Other anthologies published at that time were still much more conservative in this respect: 
  • Friedrich Kuhlbars, Wanemuine ehk Neljakordne Laulu-Lõng. Laulud meestekoorile, Laakmann, Tartu, 1870 [erb], at the Internet Archive 
  • Adelbert Hugo Willigerode, Laulo-salgokenne. Korilaulud Jummala nimmel Keisrile auuks rahwale roömuks soprano, alto, tenore ning basso heältest laulda. Essimenne jaggo, 24 kolilaste-pühha laulu, Laakmann, Tartu, 1870 [erb], at digar
    Adelbert Hugo Willigerode, Laulo-salgokenne. Korilaulud Jummala nimmel Keisrile auuks rahwale roömuks soprano, alto, tenore ning basso heältest laulda. Tölne jaggo: 24 kewwade aea laulo, Laakmann, Tartu, 1870 [erb; not yet digitized] 
  • Jaan Nebokat, Ilmalikud meestekoorid. Seminaride, kihelkonnakoolide ja lauluseltside tarwis wäljaantud. Saksakeelest ümberpandud, Laakmann, Tartu, 1870 [erb; not yet digitized] 
  • [Jaan Jung], Laulud kolme heälega. Keige laulu armastajatele, isseärranis Eesti kolidele ja lastele wäljawallitsetud, seatud ja üllespantud J. Jung, Laakmann, Tartu, 1871 [erb], at digar, at UofTartu
    [Jaan Jung] Laulud kahe ja kolme häälega ja kaanonid. Kõigile laulu armastajatele wälja annud J. Jung, 2. jagu, Laakmann, Tartu, 1876 [erb], at digar; at Uof Tartu 
All these collections offered a germanized repertoire and only very few or none Estonian songs. This was no wonder with Willigerode (1818-1893; see Wikipedia; Arro, pp. 79-80), a German clergyman with a lot of sympathy for the Estonian singing movement. He even was a honorary member of Wanemuine and Jannsen had asked him to be the chairman of the committee for the first song festival. But even younger Estonian teachers like Nebokat (1844-1908; see Wikipedia) and Jung (1835-1900; see Wikipedia) followed in Jannsen's footsteps and preferred songs from Germany. 

This decade also saw the first publications of Karl August Hermann who would become the most important and influential promoter of Estonian choral singing. Hermann (1851-1909; see Wikipedia; see Arro, pp. 155-83), born in a poor family, was at first trained as a teacher and then went to the university of Leipzig to study Mongolian and Slavic languages. There he received his doctorate. Back home in Tartu he made himself a name as a writer and scholar of astonishing productivity (see erb). He was busy as linguist, translator from German, author of books for children and instruction books for Russian, editor and journalist, he wrote a history of Estonian literature (1898, erb) and later even started an encyclopedia. 

But he also was a trained musician and became known as composer, songwriter, arranger, choirmaster, folklorist and popular music writer. Musicologist Arro is not fond of Hermann's abilities as composer but that is not the point. He took great efforts to create a repertoire for mostly rural choirs and singers and what was needed were simple songs in the popular style. That's exactly what he did. 
  • Eesti kannel. Neljä Häälega laulud segakoorile. Komponeerinud ja wälja annud K. A. Hermann, 1. wihk. Laakmann, Tartu, 1875 (= Eesti Kirjameeste Seltsi Toimetused 5) [erb], at etera & the Internet Archive 
  • Koori ja kooli kannel. Walja Walitud mitme häälega segakoorilelaulud, kõigile lauluarmastajatele iseäranis aga Eesti kihelkonna- ja külakoolidele iseäranis aga Eesti kihelkonna- ja külaskoodile on kosku pannud K. A. Hermann. 1. anne, Laakmann, Tartu, 1875 [erb], at digar & the Internet Archive 
  • Karl August Hermann, Kodumaa Laulja. Waimulikud ja ilmulikud neljä häälega laulud meestekoorile. Esimene kogu Komponeerinud ja wälja annud K. A. Hermann, Laakmann, Tartu, 1877 (= Eesti Kirjameeste Seltsi toimetused 7) [erb], at etera 
Both Eesti Kannel and Kodumaa Laulja included his own tunes with words - both religious and secular - written by himself and others. In fact at that time these two books presented the greatest number of new original Estonian songs. Nothing comparable had been published before and one may say that Hermann single-handedly created a national repertoire. It seems that at first he was not particularly interested in Estonian Volkslieder. In Eesti Kannel there is only one described as "Eesti rahwawiis" (No. 23, pp. 74-5). Koori ja kooli kannel was - as the title says - intended for schools and choirs and included nearly exclusively German songs. 

Another anthology for schools appeared in 1878. Ado Grenzstein (-Piirikivi; 1849-1916; see Wikipedia), also a teacher trained in Cimze's seminary, compiled this very interesting collection in six parts that was built mostly on European Volkslieder, not only from Germany but also from other countries from Italy to Latvia. 
  • Kooli laulmise raamat. Kuues jaos kirja pannud A. Grenzstein, I.-VI. jagu, Schnakenburg, Tartu, 1878 (= Eesti Lirjameste Seltsi toimetused 15) [erb], at etera (in 1 Vol.) & the Internet Archive; at digar 

Here we can even find an Estonian version of "Robin Adair/Eileen Aroon", interestingly not based on any of the popular German versions but instead on the variant used by Boildieu in his La Dame Blanche (VI, No. 14, pp. 17-8). Grenzstein kept the share of German pieces to a minimum and included a considerable number of Estonian songs, both rahwalaulud and new works. This was the closest the school-children came to learn an Estonian national repertoire in an European context.

Grenzstein's collection was way ahead of its time. We can look into the songbooks for the Grand Song Festivals in 1879 and 1880 and see that - even though there is a little more diversity than a decade ago - the German songs still made up the greatest part of the songs performed:
  • Karl August Hermann, Eestirahwa teise Üleüldise Laulu-Pidu Meestekoorid. Tartu Wanemuine Seltsi wälja antud, Laakmann, Tartu, 1877 [erb], at digar & the Internet Archive 
  • Eesti tänu-laulu-pidu laulud. Kaiserliku Majestedi Alekasandri II. 25-aastase walitsuse juubeli-püha mälestuseks wälja annud pidu toimekond, Laakmann, Tartu, 1880 [erb], at digar & the Internet Archive 
  • Laulu-kogu. 1880-ma jubeli aasta mälestuseks. Wälja annud P. Abel ja Dr. M. Weske, J. Erlemanni, F. Säbelmanni ja teiste abiga, Schnakenburg, Tartu, 1880 [erb], at the Internet Archive 
Another anthology from this time is a little bit different. Linde (1851-1908; see Wikipedia), also a graduate of Cimze's seminary, offered here mostly Latvian songs with Estonian texts: 
  • Adolf Linde, Lõbus Lõuke. Meeste healtele, Schnakenburg, Tartu, 1881 [erb], at the Internet Archive 
During the 1880s Dr. Hermann was even more busy than before: 
  • Koori ja kooli kannel. Walja Walitud mitme häälega segakoorilelaulud, kõigile lauluarmastajatele iseäranis aga Eesti kihelkonna- ja külakoolidele iseäranis aga Eesti kihelkonna- ja külaskoodile on kosku pannud K. A. Hermann. 2. anne, Laakmann, 1882 [erb], at digar & the Internet Archive; at etera 
  • Eesti kannel. Waimulikud ja ilmalikud segakoorilelaulud kirkus, koolis ja kodus laulda. Wälja annud K. A. Hermann. 2. wihk, Schnakenburg, Tartu, 1883 [erb], at etera & the Internet Archive; at digar 
  • Eesti kannel. Neljä Häälega laulud segakoorile koolioas ja kodus laulda. 3. wihk. Trükki andnud K. A. Hermann, Laakmann, Tartu, 1884 [erb], at digar & the Internet Archive 
The second volume of Koori ja kooli kannel included mostly German songs as well as a few by Estonian and Finnish composers. In the two volumes of Eesti kannel he was able to add works by some more Estonian composers and songwriters like Grenzstein-Piirikivi, Jung and young Miina Hermann (1864-1941, see Wikipedia) - not related but one of his pupils - who would later become the most important female composer in Estonia. 

Hermann also started a monthly musical periodical that was then published for more than a decade:
  • Laulu ja mängu leht. Kuukiri Eesti muusika edendamiseks. Wastuwaw toimentaja ja wääljandja Dr. K. A. Hermann, 1885-1897, 1908, at digar, at etera;
    Vol. 2, 1886; Vol. 3, 1887; Vol. 4, 1888, also at the Internet Archive  
Here the interested reader could find for example informative articles about composers, musicians, singers. The first four numbers of the second volume included texts about Beethoven, Liszt, Rubinstein, Wagner. And in No. 12 in Volume 4 there was even an article about Dr. Hermann by Dr. Hermann himself. This magazine was a major contribution to the musical education of the Estonians.

He also added a supplement with songs, mostly arranged for choirs. Of course Hermann was plugging his own works but otherwise he selected an interesting national and international repertoire. For example the fourth volume included translated German songs by Bach, Abt, Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Gluck, Silcher and others, some pieces by Swedish composer August söderman as well as Russian, Finnish, Estonian and Latvian Volkslieder. He also offered young composers like Miina Hermann the opportunity to make their works available to a wider public. 

At around this time Hermann became more interested in Estonian rahwalaulud. He wrote some articles for the Laulu- ja mänguleht (for ex. in Vol. 3, 1887, pp. 9-10) and then in 1890 published the very first anthology of Estonian Volkslieder
  • Karl August Hermann, Eesti rahwalaulud. Segakoorile. Esimene wihk, Hermann, Tartu, 1890 (Eesti Kirjameeste seltsi tolmetused 89) [erb], at etera & the Internet Archive 

Here we can find a short introduction with some musical examples as well as 40 songs, all arranged for mixed choirs. Most of these tunes had been collected by Hermann himself, the rest by colleagues like Aleksander Thomsen (1845-1917, see Wikipedia), a teacher and composer, also a graduate of Cimze's seminary. The texts of most of these songs were also taken "from the mouth of the people" - "rahwa suust" - but some were combined with new lyrics by Hermann or others. All in all this was a very interesting anthology and also an attempt to reanimate traditional songs and make them usable for modern rural and urban choirs. 

Hermann announced this as the first volume but it took a while for the next booklets of this series to appear. Vols. 2 (see erb) and 3 (see erb; at the Internet Archive) only came out in 1905 respectively 1908. Instead he wrote a little treatise in German about Estonian Volkslieder that was published shortly later. Here he included 27 original melodies, mostly collected by himself: 
  • Karl August Hermann, Ueber estnische Volksweisen. Separat-Abdruck aus den Verhandlungen der gelehrten estnischen Gesellschaft zu Dorpat, Hermann, Dorpat, 1892, at UofTartu,
    -, in: Verhandlungen der gelehrten Estnischen Gesellschaft zu Dorpat 16, 1896, pp. 54-72, at the Internet Archive 
He complained that nobody had yet been interested in the songs of the Estonian people. The few printed in songbooks since 1869 had "vanished among the art songs". Volksmelodien weren't known "weil man das Volk zu wenig kannte". They only sang their songs in family circles but not when strangers, particularly Germans, were present. In recent years the traditional tunes were replaced by modern songs and only "old Estonian women in remote areas" still sing them.

This sounds reasonable and it should be recalled once again that generations of German pastors fought against their flock's traditional music and also a considerable part of the first generation of Estonian intellectuals and teacher weren't fond of the songs sung by the people. Hermann noted that during his youth 30 years ago he had heard many original folk tunes and he had been busy collecting them for a while. This booklet as well as his anthology were the results of his researches. What he tried was to bring "back" the old rural songs and make them usable for modern choral singing. 

His little treatise is still worth reading, not only because it was the very first attempt at discussing this genre. He tried a description of the different styles, from the eldest to the modern tunes. and also pointed out European influences on the more recent melodies. There are also some fancy speculations about a possible relationship to Greek, Egyptian and Sumerian music but such theories were not uncommon at that time. He simply tried to postulate a connection to the ancient civilizations to place the formerly so often derided music of the Estonians in a wider cultural context: "Es ist jedenfalls ein interessanter Gedanke, dass die alten Aegypter und die klassischen Griechen ebenso gesungen haben, wie die Esten bis auf die gegenwärtige Zeit" (p. 65). 

Later Hermann also tried to expand his operations to Germany. 150 songs from his Laulu- ja mängu leht translated into German were published in a massive anthology in 1893:
  • Karl August Hermann, Völkerlieder für vierstimmige gemischte Chöre. Eine Sammlung von 150 geistlichen und weltlichen volkstümlichen Kompositionen und Volksliedern der Italiener, Franzosen, Spanier; Russen, Tschechen, Serben, Letten; Niederländer, Engländer, Walliser, Schotten, Iren, Amerikaner, Schweden, Dänen, Norwegeer; Armenier; Inder; Esten, Finnen, Lappen, Tscheremissen, Magyaren; Türken; Chinesen; Japaner; Javaner. Für den Chorgebrauch gesammelt, bearbeitet und herausgegeben von Dr. K. H. Hermann, Klinkhardt, Leipzig, 1893, at BBF 
This was a very worthwhile collection of international Volkslieder, and it is clear that Hermann - someone from the European periphery - had a different outlook than those from the cultural centers in Germany or England. His selection was much more varied than what his German or English colleagues at that time had managed to put together. Unfortunately the Estonian part was somewhat disappointing because he preferred to promote his own songs instead of rahwalaulud

Meanwhile in Estonia other songbooks appeared and we can see that repertoire became more diverse. Estonian songs now made up a greater part than before. A good example is this collection for schools. Around a third of the 30 songs included are described as "Eesti rahwawiis" while the share of German songs was brought to a minimum. Instead the pupils get some more modern Estonian songs by Piirikivi and Hermann as well as some European Volkslieder, for example from Scotland and Sicily:
The anthologies produced for the song festivals in the 90s also show a more varied repertoire even though they remained more conservative than for example songbooks for schools. Nonetheless the greater number of Estonian songs - both modern pieces and rahwalaulud - is notable (see also Arro, p. 153): 
  • Neljanda üleüldise ja teise tänu-laulupidu segakoori laulud, Hermann, Tartu, 1891 (Eesti Kirjameeste Seltsi toimetused 91) [erb], at digar & etera 
  • Neljanda üleüldise ja teise tänu-laulupidu meestekori laulud, Hermann, Tartu, 1891 (Eesti Kirjameeste Seltsi toimetused 92) [erb], at digar 
  • Eesti Rahwa Wabastuse Seitsme-kümne-wiie Aasta Juubeli Tänulaulupidu laulud. Segakoorid, Laulupidu toimetawad seltsid, Jurjewis [Tartu], 1894 [erb], at digar 
  • Eesti Rahwa Wabastuse Seitsme-kümne-wiie Aasta Juubeli Tänulaulupidu laulud. Meestekoorid, Laulupidu toimetawad seltsid, Jurjewis [Tartu], 1894 [erb], at digar 
  • VI. Eesti üleüldise laulupidu meestekoorid. Trükki toimetanud K. Türnpu, Lootuse ja Estonia Selts, Tallin, 1896 [erb], at digar 
  • VI. Eesti üleüldise laulupidu segakoorid. Trükki toimetanud K. Türnpu, Lootuse ja Estonia Selts, Tallin, 1896 [erb], at digar 
I will close this little history of Estonian songbooks with another of Hermann's productions, a comprehensive anthology for all purposes and occasions: for schools, home, concerts and festivals. Here we can find a very diverse repertoire - both religious and secular - that shows how much had changed in this respect since the 1860s. There is still an emphasis on German songs but all in all what is offered here is much more balanced. The original Estonian repertoire consists mostly of Hermann's own songs but a few pieces by others as well as some rahwawiis are also included: 
  • Laulude raamat. Ilu-hääled kooli, kiriku, kodu, konzerdi ja pidu tarwituseks. Kokku seadnud ja wälja andund Dr. K. A. Hermann, Hermann, Jurjewis [Tartu], 1897 [erb], at digar & the Internet Archive; at UofTartu 
We can see how a small group of teachers, writers and activists managed to create a kind of national repertoire. Music played a particularly important role for the development of Estonian culture. This was of course a slow process but all the more impressive. The Estonians were stuck between the dominant German culture on one side and the the Czarist government with their attempts at Russification on the other side. All publications were still subjected to censorship. Nonetheless they created a cultural space and used it as good as possible. 

Noteworthy was the lack of interest in traditional Estonian tunes. Here we can see that the longstanding prejudices against the musical culture of the Estonians were even shared by some important protagonists of the first generation of national activists, especially Jannsen. Over the years only a few tunes found its way into popular songbooks. Compared for example to the situation among the Latvians this was somewhat disappointing. And it is also interesting to see that most of the early collectors and popularizers of rahwalaulud - Jakobson, Kunileid, Thomsen, Grenzstein - had been trained in Cimze's seminary. They were clearly influenced by their Latvian colleagues. A more systematic collection of Estonian "folk tunes" only started after the turn of the century and in an European perspective this was really very late. 

  • Walter Anderson: Das Lied von den zwei Königskindern in der estnischen Volksüberlieferung, in: Verhandlungen der Gelehrten Estnischen Gesellschaft 26, 1932, pp. 1-130, at UofTartu 
  • Longins Apkalns, Lettische Musik, Wiebaden, 1977 
  • Elmar Arro, Geschichte der Estnischen Musik. Band I, Tartu, 1933 
  • Cornelius Hasselblatt, Geschichte der estnischen Literatur. Von den Anfängen bis zur Gegenwart, Berlin & New York, 2006 
  • Kevin C. Karnes, A Garland of Songs for a Nation of Singers: An Episode in the History of Russia, the Herderian Tradition and the Rise of Baltic Nationalism, in: Journal of the Royal Musical Association 130, 2005, pp. 197-235 (
  • Dietmar Klenke: Der singende „deutsche Mann“. Gesangvereine und deutsches Nationalbewußtsein von Napoleon bis Hitler, Münster, 1998 
  • Helmut Loos, Deutsche Männergesangvereine im Ostseeraum und der Anfang der lettischen Singbewegung, in: Martin Loeser & Walter Werbeck, Musikfeste im Ostseeraum im späten 19. und frühen 20. Jahrhundert, Berlin, 2014, pp. 221-36 
  • Heinrich Rosenthal, Kulturbestrebungen des estnischen Volkes während eines Menschenalters (1869-1900). Erinnerungen, Cordes & Schenk, Reval, 1912, at the Internet Archive 
  • Guntis Šmidchens, The Power of Song. Nonviolent National Culture in the Baltic Singing Revolution, Seattle, London & Copenhagen, 2014