Historie v drážkách - počátky zvukových záznamů etnické hudby

Matěj Kratochvíl email
   Etnologický ústav AV ČR, v.v.i.


This text examines the early history of the recording of ethnic or traditional music and some of the problems connected with the interpretation and analysis of the historical recording. Since the last decade of the 19th century, increasing number of people, scholars as well as amateurs were using Edison’s phonograph to record music of various nations over the world. These recording represent an important source for research today. We must however take into consideration that the recordings were made with various motivations and for various purposes and that the information they contain is not always easy to interpret. Since the beginning, traditional music was recorded not only for the purpose of research or archiving but also as a product of music industry. This fact often influenced the selection and form of the recorded material. Listening to these early recording today, we must therefore analyze the sound in the context of its origin. Besides the short survey of early activities in the field of recording of ethnic music, this text presents one example of a large and ambitious recording project. The Phonographic commission of Czech Academy of Sciences and Arts was active between 1928 and 1937 and its aim was to record various sonic expressions of the nations living in Czechoslovakia. Closer look shows that the image of the culture as presented by this collection is in several ways distorted and that it needs to be analyzed with regard to the political and social context of its time.

Klíčová slova

ethnomusicology; phonograph; traditional music; music industry

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