Recordings from the Estonian Folklore Archives 3

Introduction to the Original 2003 Edition

This is a new and enlarged edition of the scholarly anthology "Estonian Folk Songs and Instrumental Music" that was published originally in 1970 as a five-record album set with an accompanying booklet of the song texts. It was compiled by Herbert and Erna Tampere and Ottilie Kõiva.

Herbert Tampere, [unknown person,] Ottilie Niinemägi (Kõiva), Minna Kokk and Erna Tampere in July 1957. Photo by R. Hansen. ERA, Foto 2926.

Herbert Tampere (1909–1975) is one of the great figures of Estonian folklore studies and folk music research. He started working at the Estonian Folklore Archives in 1928, a year after its founding. He worked as a researcher at the archives until 1945 when he fell into political disfavour and was forced to distance himself from the work at the archives. However, he was still able to teach folk music at the Tallinn Conservatory (currently the Estonian Academy of Music). Allowed back to the folklore archives, he worked there as its director from 1952–1966. In his later life he gave up his directorship starting to teach at the conservatory in 1967, where he later became a professor. Nevertheless, his main work was with the archives during this period as well.

Herbert Tampere’s scholarly works encompass all areas of folklore. At the archives he participated in the collecting and systematizing of various different genres of folklore. The folklore materials he collected include approximately 12 000 pages of written material, 2000 notations and 878 sound recordings. A large part of the latter were recorded with the help of his wife Erna Tampere. He has a number of significant publications to his credit (publications of the texts and tunes of three parishes for the “Vana Kannel” (Old Psaltery) series, an anthology of folk tunes from the western part of the southern Estonian area, a five-volume anthology “Estonian Folksongs with Tunes”). A large part of his work was devoted to the older Estonian folk songs (including his theses “Generic Specifications and Musical Styles of Estonian Regilaul”) as well as dance and instrumental music. He has also dealt with Estonian and Livonian folk beliefs and customs, the history of Estonian folklore, and other subjects.

With respect to the present collection, Herbert Tampere’s sense of mission as well as his ability to systematically organize the recording of the older layer of Estonian singing traditions cannot be overemphasized. As the representative of the Estonian Folklore Archives, he was one of the organizers of the recordings that were made at the National Radio in 1936–1938 (Oskar Loorits, the director of the archives at the time, was the person who was chiefly responsible for turning an idea into reality). Many results of his fieldwork from the period prior to the Second World War have been recorded onto wax cylinders. In the age of tape recording, which began in the archives in 1953, Tampere consistently sought out ways to make sound recordings of the highest calibre during his longer annual collecting expeditions as well short taping excursions to individuals who still knew the traditions well. In this work Aino Strutzkin (1925–2002), who shared his ideas and principles, was to become his assistant. Strutzkin was editor of the programming at Estonian Radio and she played an important role in organizing the recording of Estonian folk music and popularizing it over the radio.

Aino Strutzkin, programming editor of Estonian Radio, and Herbert Tampere visiting composer Mart Saar in 1962. Photo by A. Sõber. ERA, Foto 6855.

Erna Tampere (Leesment, b. 1919) got married to Herbert Tampere in 1942. She worked in the folklore archives (at that time the Department of Folklore at the Literary Museum) first as a research assistant and later as the director of the sound archives from the mid 1950’s to 1993. Erna Tampere began collecting folklore in 1956 when she took part in Herbert Tampere’s expeditions. After her husband’s death she continued the annual field expeditions until 1990. As the director of the sound archives she was very precise; also very competent in transcription, she transcribed the majority of song texts that were recorded after the Second World War. In addition to this anthology, she has taken part in the preparation of many other publications of Estonian regilaul.

Ottilie-Olga (Olli) Kõiva (Niinemägi, b. 1932) started working at the folklore archives (Department of Folklore at the Literary Museum) after graduating from the University of Tartu in 1954. She was the director of the archives (1966–1977) after Herbert Tampere. In her research Olli Kõiva has concentrated on the traditions of Estonian regilaul: problems of genre and typology, performance contexts, and the relationship between singer and tradition. She defended her philology candidacy in 1965 with her thesis on the “Regilaul Traditions of Kihnu Island”. She has taken down approximately 3000 pages of manuscript on her expeditions to Kihnu and many other places. More than 400 of her interviews have been taped. In the materials collected by Olli Kõiva one can clearly see a true expert knowledge of singing and the ability to establish a good rapport with her informants. Particularly valuable is her ability to record as accurately as possible the context of the singing performances. The most important of the primary resources that Olli Kõiva has published is the comprehensive collection of regilaul from Kihnu in the “Vana Kannel” series (volume VII). She was also involved in the editing of volume V of the same series. Olli Kõiva has compiled popular works on folk songs and has produced radio programmes.

The anthology of record disks that was published in 1970 was the first audio publication of Estonian traditional music. It was published in connection with the 1970 International Congress of Finno-Ugric Studies. The editors at that time were particularly adamant about the scholarly principles behind the choice and manner of presentation of the materials included in the anthology. It provided an opportunity to bring together in one publication a cross section of the archival recordings of the older Estonian musical traditions in contrast to the staged performances of folk music that were current at that time. The main part of the anthology consists of regilaul and other older vocal genres (herder’s calls, spells and charms, children’s songs) that were contemporaneous with them. With respect to instrumental music, pieces played on archaic herder’s instruments and older dance tunes were included. The categorization of the songs was primarily based on the function of the songs that takes into account their musical and contextual unity as laid out in the strongly ethnological backdrop of Herbert Tampere’s research. This same function-based categorization has been repeated in this edition. Lyrical songs that are not directly tied with any work or ritual have been arranged according to subject matter. The titles used for the songs are those current among song researchers that have been agreed on by them for designating various song types. In the event of a composite type the title used is the one that is usual for the part that is primary in the song.

Changes made to the 2003 edition. Because of the limited space available on the original 1970 disks many of the songs were presented in shortened versions. In this edition all songs have been presented in their complete entirety as they are found in the original sound recordings (the songs that were shortened in the 1970 version but published as complete versions in the 2003 edition are 7, 9, 28, 41, 45, 46, 60, 63, 67). A number of commentaries by the singers themselves have been added (pieces 3, 5, 12, 13, 19). In the case of two singers the archive number found in the text book of the first edition, which was supposed to refer to the original recording, did not actually correspond to the song that appeared on the records (these include the pieces recorded by Helene Kukk with the archive reference RKM, Mgn. II 802 – pieces 5, 27, 97, 98; and the pieces recorded by Selma Lätt with the archive number RKM Mgn. II 1149 – pieces 15, 33, 34). The numbers used here for these are the ones found for the original archival material.

The English translation of the songs running parallel to the Estonian texts has been added to the book while the Russian and German synopses of the songs found in the first edition are missing. A short introductory overview of the performers has also been added here. A significant addition here are abbreviated notations for all pieces. In contrast with the first edition, the archive numbers and information pertaining to the recording of the piece have been placed at the end of the book. Also included is the number of the pieces as they appeared in the first edition as well as references to any other publications where the complete notation of the piece can be found. The choice of photographs found in the first edition have been changed and enlarged. The list of photos is on page 224. Finally there is a index of all performers cross-referenced with material pertaining to them on the CD’s and in the book.

Herbert Tampere’s introduction to the 1970 edition has been republished unchanged. It provides an excellent introduction to the concept of folklore, its origin and development as well as the history of folklore collecting in Estonia. It also provides an overview of the main features of the older folk songs and their manner of singing, their history as well as a look at musical instruments and their functions. To a degree, the precept of history and culture current at that time comes out in the text along with some typical clichés of the day. These were, however, necessary given the ideological mechanism of control used by the Soviet Union, in order to ensure that the authorities would allow the publication of the anthology. The names of many of the institutions mentioned in the 1970 edition have also been changed today: The Department of Folklore at the Fr. R. Kreutzwald Literary Museum – today the Estonian Folklore Archives of the Estonian Literary Museum; the Institute of Language and Literature – the Estonian Language Institute; Tartu State University – University of Tartu. The size of the collections at the archives has also grown. Today there are close to 120 000 sound recordings, half of which are recordings of folk music.

In the arrangement of the overview of the singers and musicians the names of the Estonian parishes and counties refer to those used at the turn of the 19th century. The map on page 41 shows the parishes where the performers come from. The index at the back of the book can be used to find the specific page that detailed information is provided for any given performer. The quantity and quality of information available for them varied greatly from individual to individual. This prevented any standardization of facts to be presented but in any case this was not the intention. The short articles on each performer range between two extremes, either all relevant facts known are given or only the most significant details from the material available on the individual. Names are presented in the form that they are traditionally known by. The Estonian text also contain other official variants of the names or any nick-names. The main source for the overview has been the material found in the collection of the Estonian Folklore Archives. In the case of the singers and musicians recorded prior to World War II the main sources were August Pulst’s manuscript “Memoirs from the Realm of Music” and the surveys completed by the performers at the time of the recording sessions at the National Radio. These are stored at the Estonian Theatre and Music Museum (f. M 234:1, M 237 and 238). All works cited are listed in the reference list at the back of the book.

The examples of music presented in this booklet should be useful to the reader/listener in helping to capture the metric structure, rhythmic patterns, scale and melodic contour characteristic of the regilaul. Because the songs come from different periods of time and different geographic regions, the tunes are based on differing sets of rules. The checkered characteristics of the various musical styles are further complicated by the individual singing and playing styles of the singers and musicians. For this reason there have been significant generalizations made in the transcriptions of the melodies. Decisions made by earlier scholars transcribing the notes (Herbert Tampere, Arnold Tampere, Udo Kolk, Veljo Tormis, Ingrid Rüütel, Urve Lippus, Vaike Sarv, Anu Vissel, Taive Särg, Edna Tuvi, Janika Oras, Ene Viidang, Maarja Kasema, Kristi Umberg, Helen Kõmmus, Tiiu Talts, Silvia Saretok) have also been taken into consideration.

In general the tunes have been transcribed according to the principles used in western professional musical traditions. In addition to the usual conventions used to indicate pitch and length additional signs have been adopted to indicate very minor changes in pitch () and length () in one or the other direction. When unexpected stresses occur, musical accents () and stressed syllables ( - ) are indicated, similarly shorter ( ´ ) and longer () breathing pauses. Although Estonian music is not particularly colourful in terms of embellishments, the following can also be found in the present collection of music: grace notes (), unusual melisma ( ~ ), upward and downward slides () and glissandi (). Spoken notes are marked with a little crosses (). The approximate tempo of individual pieces is indicated using the Mälzel metronome whereas the tempo of the refrains is indicated with even less precision.

An attempt has been made to show the structure of the songs by means of the notes, which should better convey the results of the preceding analysis. A double line has been included at the end of a structural unit that repeats. Any variations present in the repetitions has not been indicated. Different variations have only been indicated for herder calls. The majority of songs have been represented by a two-phrase melody. The second phrase is either used for repeating the verse or singing the following verse. In the case of two phrases written onto one line of music, the break between the two is indicated with a bar-line. Older regilaul often consist of only one musical phrase. Tunes with four melodic phrases have been marked over two lines of music one after the other. In southern Estonia a shorter or longer refrain is often added to the melody (üles; katrisanti; trii-rilla, traa-ralla, trii-ridiridi-rallalla), which is separated from the melodic phrase of the tune with a broken line. The refrain is usually found at the end of a line, although some occur in the middle of a line (küläkar´us, õo-õo, kuku tsirku, õo-õo). There are also some songs where the refrain occurs at the beginning of the verse creating a unique vocative verse (Kuningas! Kuningas!).

As a rule syllables forming a verse have been indicated with a short note (an eighth note is approximately 300 milliseconds in duration). The duration of the notes at the end of verses or half verses in northern Estonia have been lengthened according to the requirements of the musical style ( or ).The majority of older Estonian folk song verses consist of a four-part metre, which is indicated in the notation with four two-syllable pairs of stress groups () Stress groups can also consist of three parts and a verse can also end with a one-part stress group that is usually longer (). The rhythm of Estonian folk songs is as a rule syllabic. When one syllable extends over more than one note all the notes belonging to that syllable are joined with a ligature. In the event of more syllable per note a compressed rhythm is indicated ().

In swinging songs, lullabies, some Setu songs and the majority of Kihnu songs the stress groups are as a rule in three parts. When one stress field is consistently filled with three stress units of equal duration they have separated with a short broken line (). In newer folk songs instead of stress groups the measure has been indicated.

The melodies have been transposed in the key of G. Because the range of the older songs was often only four or five notes the key signatures have been indicated according the modal structure. Newer melodies have been indicated as being in either G major or G minor.

Most of the songs have been performed solo. When a song has been sung by a lead singer with another singer repeating the verse, the repetition is indicated with the stems of the notes pointing down. In Setu songs, where the lead singers verse is repeated by a choir, the lead and lower parts are indicated with the notes pointing downward, only the upper parts are indicated with the stems in an upward position.

This CD-set was remastered at the sound studio of the Estonian Literary Museum by Jaan Tamm (partly based on open reel tape copies of wax cylinders and reportage discs by Heino Pedusaar and Voldemar Kiis). The song texts were edited for print by Janika Oras. Dialect consultants were Ellen Niit and Andreas Kalkun. Music examples were transcribed from recordings by Vaike Sarv (songs) and Krista Sildoja (instrumental tunes); music notation was made by Edna Tuvi. Janika Oras also provided biographical data on singers and musicians, assisted by Kadri Tamm. Liina Saarlo and Indrek Tenno prepared historical photographs; Liina also edited the map of Estonian parishes. Translation into English was made by Harri Mürk and edited by Ergo-Hart Västrik. Additional assistance was granted by Ottilie Kõiva, Erna Tampere, Mall Hiiemäe, Avo Kartul, Tarmo Kivisilla, Kristi Salve, Mari Sarv, Ants and Mart Johanson, Kristin Kuutma, Kanni Labi, Igor Tõnurist and Anu Vissel. Design and lay-out were made by Hele Hanson-Penu (AS Triip) and based on Christy Kütt’s tapestry “Wedding Guests” (2002).

The editors wish to thank all the generous assistance and advice given by many individuals. They would also like to thank the sponsors of this project.

June 18th, 2003

Janika Oras,
Vaike Sarv,
Kadri Tamm,
Ergo-Hart Västrik