On September 5-9, the 33rd European Seminar in Ethnomusicology took place in Tbilisi, Georgia. The conference was hosted by the International Research Center for Traditional Polyphony at Tbilisi State Conservatoire, which is very experienced in holding International Symposia on Traditional Polyphony since 2002.

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In 2014 the International Research Centre for Traditional Polyphony of Tbilisi state Conservatoire and Berlin Phonogramm-archiv realized joint project “Echoes from the Patst: Georgian Prisoners’ Songs Recorded on Wax Cylinders in Germany 1916-1918”. Involved in the project were the employees of both institutions: Nino Nakashidze, Nino ,akharadze, Maia Kachkachishvili, Carsten Neubert,Albrecht Wiedmann, Emily Schalk; editors of the publication Prof. Rusudan Tsurtaumia and Prof. Susanne Ziegler.

The publication consists of a book and two CDs. The book tells about the historical preconditions of recording sessions, history, importance of the project for Georgian culture and work process. As for the audio material, CD 1 comprises 65 out of the 90 audio examples preserved at the Ethnological Museum, national Museums in Berlin – Prussian Heritage, CD 2 comprises original written documents on the 84 examples the description of which existed at the sound archive of Humboldt University.

The International Research Center for Traditional Polyphony of Tbilisi State Conservatoire published an English language collection of ethnomusicological works “Echoes from Georgia: Seventeen Arguments on Georgian Polyphony” in 2010. the project was realized with the support of Nova Science Publishers (USA), with the participation of Mr. Frank Columbus (President of the Publishing House) and Mrs. Nadya Gotsiridze – Columbus (Vice President), for this Georgian ethnomusicologists are grateful to them.

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In 2006-2008 the International Research Centre for Traditional polyphony realized the project “Echoes from the Past – Transmission of wax cylinder collections on digital media” with financial support of Georgian Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport, and support of Vienna phonogrammarchiv; as part of the project Mr. Franz Lechleitner of Vienna Phonogrammarchiv visited Georgia twice and with his device transmitted the Georgian folk songs from wax cylinders to digital media. This was followed by the publication of the catalogue and 16 audio CDs in three stages. The recordings underwent minimal processing in order to maintain initial sounding at most, which increases scientific value of the publication and grants it original meaning.

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This publication of the IRCTP is the first manual of Georgian folk music in the 100-year history of Georgian ethnomusicology and 80-year history of Tbilisi State Conservatoire; this text-book publishes as part of the UNESCO program (2005), is primarily intended for the Conservatoire students of Performance Departments and all interested in Georgian folk song; it covers all basic issues of Georgian folk music, discusses all Georgian folk music dialects. Theoretical topics are enclosed with 60 recently-deciphered songs presented on two CDs. The authors of the text-book are Tamaz Gabisonia and Tamar Meskhi with Rusudan Tsurtsumia as a responsible editor.

In 2005 the International Research Centre for Traditional Polyphony published the collection “Essays on Georgian Ethnomusicology” (in English) with the support of UNESCO. The publication aimed providing scientific information on Georgian folk music, its dialects, forms of polyphony and important issues. The collection includes Ilia Chavchavadze’s essay “Georgian Folk Music” and works of Georgian scientists of different times (Aleksandre Jambakur-Orbeliani, Ivane Javakhishvili, Shalva aslanishvili, Dimitri Araqishvili, Grigol Chkhikvadze), reflecting the origin and development of Georgian musical folkloristics.


The CD published in 2003 presents the materials of Kakheti expedition (1952) preserved at the Georgian Folk Music Laboratory; the expedition members were Grigol Chkhikvadze (leader), Otar Chijavadze, Eduard Savitsky, temur Eristavi, Kakhi Rosebashvili and Alexandre Bukia.

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One of the directions of the International Research Center for Traditional Polyphony is expedition activity. On the whole, thirteen expeditions (10 as part of UNESCO project) have been realized with the participation of the Conservatoire lecturers and students, thanks to them utterly interesting examples have been documented from the elderly. Vast expedition material displayed on the Web Site includes photo, audio, video examples recorded between 2003-2015 in the following regions:

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In 2002 polyphony symposia were initiated on the basis of the International Research Centre, these are held every 2 years at Tbilisi State Conservatoire. The Symposia are held with the patronage of the Georgian President and financial support of the Georgian Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection. With its format and diversity of themes it occupies distinguished place among similar scientific forums and allows the researchers of world polyphony to share the results of recent studies to each other. Besides, if before Georgian polyphony was known to the world practically thanks to various ensembles, after the initiation of the symposia this phenomenon became the topic of interest for world scientific circles – from 2002 at each symposium one or more papers of foreign researchers are dedicated to Georgian polyphony.

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