A Journey to Resia. Ella von Schultz Adaïewsky’s 1884 Manuscript  and the Birth of Ethnomusicology in Europe Visualizza ingrandito

A Journey to Resia. Ella von Schultz Adaïewsky’s 1884 Manuscript and the Birth of Ethnomusicology in Europe

Curatela Ilario Meandri
Collana [Biblioteca Musicale LIM - Saggi]
Dimensioni 17×24 cm, pp. XXIV+168
Anno 2017
ISBN 9788870969016

In 1883 the pianist, composer and musicologist Ella Adaïewsky, accompanied by the Polish linguist Jan Badouin de Courtenay, set out on a journey to Resia. Her aim was to study and document, for the first time, the music and dance repertoires of the linguistic enclave with Slavic roots that for centuries had inhabited this remote town in the Julian Alps, on the border between Italy and Slovenia. In the years that followed, Adaïewsky worked diligently on Un voyage à Résia. The tables reproduced in the appendix (a, b, c, d) were published in 1885 with no further comment by de Courtenay, in Materialen zur Südslavischen Dialektologie und Ethnographie. And yet, that a much more thorough and more detailed study existed, the one contained in her manuscript, was not known until it was discovered in 2009 by Elsa Geiger. We do not know the reasons that led Adaïewsky and de Courtenay to sacrifice a text whose significance is recognised in the author’s preface to the manuscript as «the first serious attempt at musical analysis in terms of rhythms that we were the first to note, and of the characteristic features of these melodies and dance tunes». Today, however, it is all the more valuable for the new light it sheds retrospectively on a key phase of nascent modern ethnomusicology in Europe, and on the key contribution to it made by Ella Adaïewsky. The manuscript, published for the first time in Italian in 2012, is provided here in an English translation along with an extensive critical commentary by Febo Guizzi. As Guizzi has maintained, «the aim of this book is not to establish new entries in the record books but to reflect on a work of exceptional qualities», that reveals surprising signs of autonomy and originality which derive from the author’s artistic personality as a pianist and composer, her qualities as a writer and, notably, from the contact of her thought with the women’s emancipation movement – a reality almost completely unacknowledged in the historical canon of ethnomusicology, and whose significance cannot be overemphasised.

Appendix. The Synoptic Tables

Manoscritto originale