• Vol. 6 (2020)

    Dear Readers,

    The treatise The Musical Instruments of Madagascar was published in 1938 by the Musée d’Ethnographie du Trocadéro (later Musée de l’Homme) in Paris. Its author, Curt Sachs, was a native of Germany; by the time it was published he had already left Paris and emigrated to New York, fleeing the National Socialist government. The study, uniquely conceived and broadly executed, consists of three parts. 200 Malagasy instruments from the collection of the Musée d’Ethnographie du Trocadéro form the basis of the first part; the second complements it with observations of instruments from other museums. The third part is a sort of essay in which the author offers a somewhat kaleidoscopic look at Madagascar, including its demographics and the various cultural and political events that influenced the island’s history. The classification and distribution of Malagasy musical instruments offered Sachs a subject both vivid and complex; he takes pleasure in proving the efficacy of the method he had developed in Geist und Werden der Musikinstrumente (1929) to extrapolate the chronology of historical events from the current distribution of musical instruments. More than 80 years after its publication Sachs’ reasoning provides a good example of evolutionist thinking, which informed many ethnomusicological studies at that time.

    Yu-hsiu Lu’s article “Exploring polyphony in response singing (yaqiang) during the ‘pipe-smoking event’ of the Yi people” is more than a simple ethnographic description of a musical event. The author, who graduated from the University of Vienna and now teaches at the National Taiwan Normal University, also examines the different concepts of polyphony that have been discussed and developed in ethnomusicological circles in recent years. These discussions have gradually moved away from the original definitions of polyphony, which were strictly based on musical structure, in favor of more flexible concepts that allow the inclusion of cognitive, interactive, and performative aspects. The author takes part in this discourse, finding that a distinction must be made between polyphony as a phenomenon and polyphony as a concept in the examination of polyphonic singing in the “pipe-smoking events.” Lu’s article is the first translation from Chinese that we have published. Every translation is a challenge for our team of editors, authors, translators and copy-editors; in this case we were particularly fortunate to cooperate directly with the author, without whom we might have been forced to admit defeat before reaching our goal.

    “Hidden Turkish music and the issue of harmony in Turkish music” by Vahid Lütfü Salcı (1883-1950) is presented here for the first time in English, but it is likely unknown to many Turkish-language readers as well, since there is no modern Turkish edition of the essay. Salcı was a poet, musician, and folklorist, and was himself a member of the Bektaşi Order of dervishes. His paper – originally a 26-page monograph – is the first substantial work on the music of the Alevi (Kızılbaş) and Bektaşi and explores the question of how deeply these were influenced by urban Western music. Paul Koerbin, a passionate researcher into the music of the Alevi-Bektaşi in his own right, drew our attention to the work and suggested it be published in TDE. We are additionally grateful to him for his engaging and highly sensitive translation of the text into English.

    Jan Stęszewski’s article “On the history of the term ‘ethnomusicology’” reopens an old discussion: who deserves the honor – in academic terms – of having verifiably used the term “ethnomusicology” for the first time? In this context, the name Ƚucjan Kamieński (1885-1964) arises, a university professor from Poznan who founded the first Polish phonograph archive in 1930 and was the first person to lecture on comparative musicology at a Polish university. In spite of these accomplishments, his name is practically unknown outside of Poland: the outbreak of World War II put an end to his academic career; he was imprisoned by the Gestapo in 1939 and, after the war, accused of collaborating with the occupying forces – in other words, he was a man who constantly found himself on the wrong side. After his death, a fragment of a typewritten article from 1934 was found among his personal effects in which he mentions “ethno-musicological” lectures – long before the publication of Jaap Kunst’s Musicologica (1950). The goal of Steszewski’s article, however, is by no means getting the last word in the formal discussion about a technical term: it aims to preserve the memory of Ƚucjan Kamieński and the year 1934.

    20 years after its original publication as part of the exhibition “Theatrum Naturae et Artis – Wunderkammern des Wissens,” we are pleased to present the English translation of Susanne Ziegler’s article “Historical sound recordings in the Berlin Phonogramm-Archiv and in the Lautarchiv.” It is possibly the last time that the history of these two archives will ever be discussed and contrasted in such detail; many of these archives’ recordings have become digitally available in the meantime. As the “Author’s Note” informs us, the two archives will likely be combining their offerings at the Humboldt Forum soon, both online ( and physically in central Berlin. The institutions’ history and the location of the physical sound recordings may at first glance seem superfluous to interested parties and users of such online archive portals – but the question of copyrights and future commercial usage leads directly to questions of provenance, and to the question of the rightful owner of the archived materials (or their legal successor). The legal conditions under which the recordings were originally made and the politics of the institutions that commissioned the research, and which now house the archives, will be of great interest.

    We wish you pleasant reading, and we are always happy to hear your reactions!

    The Editors
    Regine Allgayer-Kaufmann & Gerd Grupe

  • Vol. 5 (2019)

    Dear Readers,

    We, the editors of TDE, are pleased to present Volume 5 (2019). As with previous volumes, it contains a mixture of texts from the pioneering days of comparative musicology/ethnomusicology and more recent articles.

    We open the volume with a posthumously published two-part contribution by the Dutch ethnomusicologist Johann Sebastian Brandts Buys († 1939) on kepatihan notation from Solo (Surakarta/Java). In the introduction, the author explains – in a self-critical and highly amusing manner – how it was possible that he, a declared opponent of Western cipher notation, became a proponent of cipher notation for Javanese gamelan music.

    We owe the suggestion to translate and publish this remarkable contribution, as well as the one that follows it – Jaap Kunst's inaugural lecture from 1942 – to Wim van Zanten, the guest editor of these two articles. We would like to thank Wim for overseeing the translation process – he supported the translators with expert advice, and put the finishing touches on the text. We would also like to thank the translators, Jane Harvey and Rosemary Robson, and everyone else involved for their dedicated work.

    The third “classic” in this issue comes from Carlos Vega, a pioneer of ethnomusicology from Argentina. We publish the essay “The Science of Folklore”, first published in 1943 as an introduction to his book A Panoramic View of Popular Music in Argentina. It took a lot of heads to bring this text into the linguistic form presented here; we would like to thank Philip Yaeger, who revised the entire text and finally submitted it to us in a concise translation, accurate in language and content. In this case, as always, we welcome your feedback and commentary.

    The contribution by the Iranian music historian Hassan Mašhun was first published in 2006. The article is about the role of religious music in preserving what the author calls “Iranian national music”, by which he means the music of the Sassanid Empire, the last pre-Islamic Persian empire. Mašhun uses examples from the practice of rowze ceremonies, from dirge singing and from the religious drama šabih āni to show that not only did elements from the Sassanid culture survive in these religious practices into the early 20th century, but that the traditional texts continue to be important sources of Iranian music history to the present day.

    The last article in this issue is the contribution of a collective of authors (Simha Arom, Natalie Fernando, Susanne Fürniss, et alii) from France. Their contribution concerns the categorization of the musical heritage of geocultural regions, here using the example of Central Africa (including the Central African Republic, Cameroon, and Gabon). However, the authors emphasize that their approach has the potential, in principle, to be applied to other geocultural regions worldwide. We hope that this appeal will be heard by our readers, and we are curious to find out whether it catches on. The text was first published in French in 2008; we are particularly thankful to Michael Tenzer for agreeing to translate it into English, in close collaboration with the authors.

    We hope you enjoy reading TDE Volume 5 and look forward to your feedback!

    The Editors
    Regine Allgayer-Kaufmann & Gerd Grupe

  • Vol. 4 (2018)

    Dear Readers,

    Beginning with this issue, TDE will be published in a new layout, making it even more user- and mobile-friendly. We wish to apologize for the late appearance of TDE Vol. 4 (2018): like many other online scientific journals, we use the Open Journal Systems (OJS) platform; we have now upgraded to the latest version, OJS 3, which – among other things – makes the publication  smartphone-compatible. It took some time for this change to be implemented and we editors had to familiarize ourselves with the new software; we thank you for your understanding.

    The newest issue presents a single recent article: Sāsān Fātemi’s “Heterochronic Rhythm in Iranian-Arabian-Turkish Music” (2015). Mr. Fātemi is a professor of ethnomusicology at the University of Tehran and a member of TDE’s editorial board. Future issues will include further contributions from other members of the editorial board in accordance with TDE’s general aim: the presentation of relevant papers originally appearing in languages other than English.

    The other four contributions are from pioneers of ethnomusicology. The issue opens with a work by the Romanian composer, ethnomusicologist, and folk music researcher Constantin Brăiloiu, “A Problem of Tonality” (1955). Brăiloiu enjoys an international reputation; many of his publications have already been translated from their original French into English[1]. The possible development from pentatonics to heptatonics, referenced in the subtitle “Pentatonic Metamorphosis”, is described by the author as a “pentatonic metamorphosis”; however, his final paragraph speaks modestly of a “nicely reassuring fiction”. We think that Brăiloiu’s analysis, though speculative, still possesses a unique charm. For this volume of TDE, Byron Dueck has translated the work into English and reset the musical examples; we thank him for his extraordinary devotion and extraordinary care in terms of source criticism.

    Giulio Fara, originally from Cagliari, Sardinia, was a professor of aesthetics and music history at the conservatory in Pesaro, the birthplace of Rossini. His text “Studi Etnofonici”, published between 1919 and 1922, is almost completely unknown outside of Italy; we offer it here for the first time to a wider readership. In consultation with Giovanni Vacca, who translated the text into English with great insight and commitment, we have interpreted the original title as “Ethnomusicological Studies”. Be sure to read the “translator’s note”, in which Vacca conveys an impression of the challenges he faced during the translation process.

    The Janković sisters, Ljubica and Danica, are pioneers of ethnochoreological research in Serbia; their text “Safeguarding Our Folk Dances” is a chapter from the second part of the eight-volume work Norodne Igre, the first volume of which was published in 1934.

    The collector, researcher and comparative musicologist Bozidar Širola (1889-1956) was a leading Croatian ethnomusicologist; his ideas have left a lasting impression on future generations. The article “The Problems of Our Musical Folklore” is a pioneering work in comparative musicology and highly interesting from a theoretical, methodological, and analytical standpoint. In her introductory note, Naila Ceribašić successfully contextualizes Širola’s work in its ideology and epistemology, making clear its continued relevance to modern musicology.

    We wish you happy reading and look forward to your feedback!

    Regine Allgayer-Kaufmann, Gerd Grupe
    The Editors

    [1] See Problems of Ethnomusicology, edited and translated by A. L. Lloyd. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984.

  • Vol. 3 (2017)

    In addition to classic texts on folk music by Adolf Chybiński and Ernst Klein, Erich von Hornbostel is again represented by two papers. We also present the first in-depth ethnographic account of the music of Upper Guinea (Charles Joyeux 1924) and two contemporary papers by Hans-Hinrich Thedens and Elizabeth Travassos.

  • Vol. 2 (2016)

    This volume, similar to Volume 1, presents a mixture of historical and more recent papers. Among the former is an article demonstrating von Hornbostel’s keen interest in the areas of acoustics and the psychology of music. In addition, this volume includes the first English publication of André Schaeffner’s attempt at a new classification for musical instruments (1932), a work that – despite being highly praised by Margaret Kartomi – was previously somewhat neglected, probably due to its having been available only in French. The four contemporary contributions cover a broad range of issues and geographical areas, including a culturally informed analysis of Fulɓe music and articles on the treatment of musical heritage in Slovenia and the Emirates

  • Vol. 1 (2015)

    Welcome to the first issue of Translingual Discourse in Ethnomusicology (TDE), a new peer-reviewed, open-access e-journal, aiming at encouraging discourse across language barriers by publishing English translations of ethnomusicological papers which originally appeared in other languages and therefore probably have not received their due recognition.