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About electronic book

The anthology “Lithuanian Instrumental Folk Music. Wind Instruments” edited in 1959 by Stasys Paliulis has ever since been, still is and will be the main source most frequently consulted by researchers of musical folklore, composers and other authors, participants of the folklore movement. This book is already a bibliographic rarity, as its only edition saw publication in the late 1950s. Folklorists and leaders of the folk groups still share its rare copies or copy relevant pages. However, modern technologies today enable saving natural resources and provide possibilities for creating virtual books available on internet. Thus, with the financial support granted by the Lithuanian Council for Culture, an electronic version of the book was created in 2016.

The book “Lithuanian Instrumental Folk Music. Wind Instruments” is so valuable because the material that it contains was recorded “almost on the verge of its extinction”, according to Stasys Paliulis. It comprises nearly all the repertoire of the wind instruments from the northeastern Lithuania along with melodies from Ukmergė, Zarasai and Raseiniai regions (in total – 366 tunes). Among them, 94 melodies are for multi-pipe whistles skudučiai, 27 – for wooden trumpets’ sets ragai, 7 – for one wooden trumpet ragas-daudytė, 51 – for two long wooden trumpets daudytės, 17 – for goat horn (Lith. Ožio Ragas), 10 – for transverse flute švilpa, 83 – for longitudinal flute lamzdelis, 30 – for ensembles of 2–4 lamzdelis, 9 – for reed-pipe (Lith. Birbynė), 20 – for mixed ensembles, and 18 – for Jews harp (Lith. Bandūrėlis). Paliulis recorded most of them himself in the northeastern Lithuania before the WWII. Therefore, it is still possible to see the musical style of this region and be acquainted with the repertoire for the instruments that became extinct in this territory in the middle of the 20th century, including multi-part instrumental music played on skudučiai, ragai, and daudytės. The instrumental polyphony of the northeastern Lithuania was included into the UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2010, along with the polyphonic Lithuanian songs sutartinės. This involves an obligation to uphold this tradition nowadays. Since the Lithuanian Folklore Archives of the Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore preserves the phonograph recordings of the ancient sutartinės and instrumental music, this institution initiated creation of a website www.sutartines.info in 2015, publishing in it 3 volumes of “Sutartinės” by Zenonas Slaviūnas, edited in 1958–1959. In 2016, the anthology of instrumental music by Stasys Paliulis was published there as well.

Stasys Paliulis (1902–1996) was an enlightened person, educator, and folklorist. He was born in a region famous for sutartinės and skudučiai, in a family of a renowned folk musician Mykolas Paliulis and a folk singer, performer of sutartinės Elzbieta Paliulienė (nee Gaidelytė). He grew up surrounded by people favoring and upholding the local cultural traditions. Following an example of his cousin, a renowned folklore collector Adolfas Sabaliauskas, Paliulis became involved in collecting sutartinės and instrumental folk music, continuing this for decades and encouraging others to record the rapidly vanishing treasures of folklore as well. His love for his homeland, folksongs and music prompted Paliulis to promote folklore along with collecting it. He taught schoolchildren and students of the Vilnius Pedagogical Institute to play multi-pipe whistles and trumpets, fostered and animated the old musical traditions that were still alive in his native Biržai region and other places in the first half of the 20th century. During his studies in Kaunas University, Paliulis was most interested in the vocal sutartinės. Later he concentrated on the instrumental music and published the above-mentioned anthology in 1959. On the grounds of this book, he defended his doctoral thesis in 1964, afterwards publishing numerous research and popular articles on the subject of the instrumental music.

The electronic book created on the platform www.sutartines.info is a virtual publication of the anthology of the instrumental music by Stasys Paliulis, adapted for the modern reader. In the course of the project, the introduction by the editor, 366 melodies and 114 pieces of lyrics, 37 sound scales of skudučiai and ragai, 12 illustrations, signatures of the recordings and other materials were digitalized, comprising 430 scanned pages. Various data related to the musical recordings, instruments, musicians and other performers, places of their residence and recording, collectors, time of the collection, etc. were entered into the Lithuanian Folklore Archive’s Database. Descriptions of the folklore pieces also contain commentaries by the book editor and specifications by the creators of the digital version. If the lyrics of the piece is available, it is not only on the scanned page, but also in the description. The musical instruments, folklore genres, publications and geographic localities are interconnected with the databanks of the IS Aruodai, while sound recordings – with the Database of the Folklore Sound Recordings. Connections to the Photo Database allow the users to see pictures of the informants stored in the Lithuanian Folklore Archives. The advanced search opens the selection of the musical instruments and genres. If the piece was recorded on a phonograph wax cylinder or on a disc, authentic sound recordings are available, presenting the genuine performing style and subtleties of intoning. To facilitate the search, pieces with available sound recordings are listed separately. Following the example of Scandinavian archives, an interactive map was created, attaching the native places of the informants to the Google Maps system and visibly demonstrating the distribution of skudučiai, ragai and other ethnic instruments across Lithuania.

Creation of the electronic source was carried out at the Department of the Folklore Archives of the Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore by Eligija Garšvienė, Andželika Jakubynienė, Rima Visackienė, Irena Žilienė, and Rūta Žarskienė (leader of the project); programmed by Arūnas Ciesiūnas; supported by the Lithuanian Council for Culture and the Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore (project No S/ETN-104(6.23)/2016). For the background, photos by Rimantas Motiejūnas are used. Reviewed by prof. dr. (HP) Daiva Vyčinienė and dr. Vykintas Vaitkevičius.

Rūta Žarskienė

Lietuvos kultūros tarybaLietuvių literatūros ir tautosakos institutas Lietuvos Respublikos kultūros ministerija