"Interview with Tatiana Bershadskaya_reMusik.org № 2-110830"
reMusik Journal Saint-Petersburg Contemporary Music Center Monday, September 05, 2011 • Interview: № 2-110830 - 2011. | Organization | Publication | Recourse Center | Journal | News | artistic creation itself and all theories are born as a generalization of artistic searches of composers. Now, things are so variegated that if you look at only the European continent, it is difficult to imagine some kind of uniform or conception. prevailing conceptio I can say now that we have, especially in western music theory, a certain substitution of ideas about musical systems as with laws, born by the essence of musical intonation, to a conception of them as the sum of various Western compositional techniques. Wester and modern Russian composers and musicologists are very occupied with this at the moment. Testimony to this can be found in the published book “Theory of Composition in the 20th Century” by Photo by Natalia Krivtsova authors from Moscow. Essentially, in the book they talk about te techniques. In this relationship, the name of the book by Tatiana Bershadskaya. The voice of Russian Kogoutek “Technique of Contemporary Composition,” seems to me to more music theory in the 20th and 21st century. accurately correspond to its contents. I personally make a very clear distinction between the “technique of composition” and the l laws generated by the What position does music theory “intonation essence” of music. In this occupy in our present times? Is it sense, I would like to think that I am a true follower of the national trends of possible to talk about some sort of music theory. I think that I have reason theoretical teaching, like a generally to say that Russian music theory, as a (at least within one continent) whole, is based more on the study o theof intonation process itself in music. accepted conception of a musical Yavorsky and Asafiev made the start at system, similar, for example, to the the turn of the 19th to the 20th century. Stanislava Evtyushina They spoke about intonation as the conception of the major-minor system essential aspect of music. In general, I of the 18th-19th centuries? If this isn’t This interview with Tatiana have to say that the concepts of possible, then what theoretical schools procedural music and fun functionality are Bershadskaya1, one of the oldest musicologists, music theorists and (or trends) could we name? typical for Russian music theory. (Of respected figures of Russian arts and course, I could be mistaken because; it’s professor of the St. Petersburg State It’s difficult for me to answer such a embarrassing for me to say that I might Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory, was general question so quickly. I can at least not have studied so well all of the trends lead by the St. Petersburg Center for say that we will probably not find such a of western music theory. I talk about it in Contemporary Music – “reMusik.org.” universally accepted theory in our times a way that seems true to me.) likes the major-minor system. This is the In tthe words of T. Bershadskaya, 1 Официальный сайт Т.С. Бершадской : case because there are too many trends in our national theory of music differs from www.remusik.org/bershadskaya/ |1 © Санкт-Петербургский центр современной академической музыки www.remusik. or g reMusik Journal Saint-Petersburg Contemporary Music Center Monday, September 05, 2011 • Interview: № 2-110830 - 2011. | Organization | Publication | Recourse Center | Journal | News | others in its attention to the procedural terminology is absolutely in a state of stay as the Leningrad conservatory). This aspect, the functionality of music and to disorder, full of various names and is, of course, the school of Yuri Tyulin, a certain system of the intonation terms, which theorists, sometimes within who is the founder of the concept of process. This idea is exemplified in the one current or trend, understand variable functions and general theory of “musical form as a process,” differently or with one term define two functionality and systemic order. which occupied a large role in the work different things. In this sense, the state of Function (more often than not lad of Asafiev, in the theory of functionality our terminology forces us to judge which function), whic in classical theory is and changeable functions of Yuri Tyulin, musicology and music theory as still a understood as an unshakeable feature of in the concepts of Kushnarev, who for very imperfect science. a concrete chord in a concrete system, the first time spoke about monadic lads2 turned out to be moveable and became a as a system and in his functional “… Russian music theory, part of the process. Yuri Tyulin organization, which is completely as a whole, is based more transferred this idea of a procedural equivalent to the major-minor harmonic system to all aspects of music. When on the study of the system. Kushnarev spoke about monadic n Tyulin speaks of the variableness of lads for the first time as a complete intonation process itself in function, he talks about this not only in functional system. Before this, monodies music”. the context of harmony and lads but also were chiefly looked upon with the in the context of functionality of form in position that they were more or less Tatiana Bershadskaya thinks that a way that merges with Asafiev’s sound rows rather than functional working out an exact terminology should understanding of form as a process. systems. Kushnarev set up defined, be the first task at hand or in any case something Although this wasn’t somethin fixed in specific functions for monadic lads and one of the first tasks in music theory, stone for them in some specific works, with these, in the judgment of which must be done in order that we as students constantly heard this in Bershadskaya, made a discovery in the musicologists and musicians understand our lessons. This was eventually picked theory of musical systems. each other to a satisfying degree. In the up and developed as a general problem So, the role of our national theory of opinion of Bershadskaya, this problem of the functionality of music in the work music in the area of the Theory of unfortunately is not being observed. This of Anatoly Milki and as a problem of the Musical Systems, and above all, in the once again underlines the situation that ionality functionality and variableness of the area of lads (of which, until now has not we have an absence of a single, function of form in the work of Viktor fully received a similar term and generally accepted conception. Bobrovsky. Especially Tyulin formed all definition in foreign conceptions), in my Musicians look at many things quite of these ideas as a general principle. I opinion is undeniable. differently and by working this problem have already spoken about the role of out, in at least some kind of starting Asafiev as the founder of the concept of Tatiana Sergeevna, you have very positions, a single conception of intonation. clearly outlined the status of affairs in terminology can be had. According to Leo Mazel, a marvelous musician, the very essence of music theory. Do Tatiana Bershadskaya, the efforts of analyzer, and theorist of the Moscow you think that this status is reflected in musicologist should be directed toward school, was one of the brightest figures the terminology, which is used in the this goal. of the 20th century. There was also music world today? Viktor Zuckerman who worked at the Tatiana Sergeevna, could you tell same time and also jointly with Mazel On this subject, I can add one wise us please what are the more famous was a preacher of integrated analysis of quote of Nikolai Chernishevsky, which names in Russian music theory? musical works. says, “the state of scientific terminology in use is demonstrated in the state of the Well, you know there are very many In the opinion of Bershadskaya, sciences.” With this thought in mind, big names. I will, of course, talk mainly Christoph Kushnarev was a great you can say that our musical science about those people that I knew and with master, composer, expert of polyphony presents itself as a rather sad picture. Our whom I have interacted. I will also talk and the creator of a particularly strict mainly about my St. Petersburg, or to be teaching method. Bershadskaya suggests 2 Lad – A pitch-specific system of subordination of a more exact, Leningrad conservatory that the most important thing handed defined row of pitches or sound elements logically differentiated by the degree and form of their inhibiting (because for me it will, always in a way, down from him was his discovery of the or supporting roles. |2 © Санкт-Петербургский центр современной академической музыки www.remusik. or g reMusik Journal Saint-Petersburg Contemporary Music Center Monday, September 05, 2011 • Interview: № 2-110830 - 2011. | Organization | Publication | Recourse Center | Journal | News | theory of monodic lads, which he created things that have been traditionally My interests were developed in the from his own national Armenian accepted in the past. process of study and further professional monodic music, but which, of course, Certainly, Bershadskaya feels activities. I can immediately say that, greatly outstepped the narrow closest to problems dealing with above all, it is about the problems of nationalistic framework as it sheds light harmony and lads and because of that musical language, of musical intonation on many new laws, including many cannot speak on the topic of Yuri and the musical pitch system. regarding contemporary music. In the Holopov, a brilliant musicologist who I began as an adherent to the words of Bershadskaya, the theory of created a very large school of thought problems of harmony having studied in Kushnarev resonates with the teachings (in the present case, T.B. is talking about the class of Nikolai Privano and later of different national cultures, for the degree of prevalence of his concepts, with Yuri Tyulin. example with the modal theories of which were picked up all throughout In the center of Bershadskaya’s monody of the Near East. Tatiana Russia). A different question would be interests, lie the problems of harmony Bershadskaya has much evidence to how she views these concepts. and form. Her final paper to enter show that the Far East (Mongolia, and T. Bershadskaya has a bit of doubt about graduate school was a “complex China) is responding to this concept. She his ideas. She doesn’t agree with many symphonies of Dvorak. analysis” of the symphon thinks that, maybe, these theorists didn’t of the fundamental concepts, above all This paper allowed her to enter the properly know the work of Kushnarev with his rejection of the material graduate course of Y. Tyulin. and already focused on her substance of harmony, which in her view Afterwards, Tyulin moved back to Tashkent and Bershadskaya fell into the “One of the most important points, that I can class of Kushnarev. This move ended up consider a real find of my own, is the concept of a defining her future interests and carrier or informant of lad functions. I’m talking existence. Her dissertation was w concerned with polyphony in Russian about a certain structure, which is capable of folk songs. Although she doesn’t informing us about the functional meaning of a consider herself to be a folklorist or given sound group”. ethnomusicologist, this work, which was published in 1961, is still being used as a interpretation of the given concept. creates a lot of confusion. Soon, a small reference in Russia and abroad. Bershadskaya has received many letters book on the subject by Bershadskaya will Interaction with Kushnarev from Mongolia and China with come out detailing her objections to ombined combined with what he gave me and responses of thanks. All of this shows Holopov. In the words of Bershadskaya what I had absorbed from Tyulin gave how much the theory of Kushnarev is “we have our differences on this topic, rise to all of my later research and really quite valid. but Holopov is certainly one of the investigation and gave direction to all of These are the people whom T. brightest.” my observations and generalizations. I Bershadskaya places in the top row. It’s very difficult for me to answer was occupied with the general problems T. Bershadskaya says that there has questions outright about my colleagues. of the musical system, above all been much interesting work done by It’s always a bit dangerous that you problems of lads. Recently, I have been Julia Yevdokimovaya. The work was might forget someone or not name working more and more on lads. I was done during her school years and another. I would like to ask all of my interested in the problems of lads as a according to Bershadskaya; it is still colleagues to forgive me for any possible universally binding, language category hard to judge “because we are talking missteps. If I didn’t name someone, it’s of music, which is independent from the about a very young person who, not because I don’t recognize them or question of whether there is concrete unfortunately, left this world at a very don’t want to consider their point of tonic or not. I am becoming more and early age.” Yevdokimovaya has works view, it’s just because I name the people more convinced, and continue to insist, about polyphony that in the judgment of whose ideas I am constantly and directly that outside of lads, intelligent and Bershadskaya are very interesting, which connected with. comprehensible music cannot exist and compel us to look differently at many the system and organization of lads for What is the fundamental direction music is necessary in the same way that of your work? |3 © Санкт-Петербургский центр современной академической музыки www.remusik. or g reMusik Journal Saint-Petersburg Contemporary Music Center Monday, September 05, 2011 • Interview: № 2-110830 - 2011. | Organization | Publication | Recourse Center | Journal | News | grammatical subordinations are Chopin, we clearly hear a functionally evacuated to Tashkent around the 20th of necessary for verbal language. I would directed chord in each of these points. August. Only a small group of people also like to say that the structural I’m talking about something else: not stayed, and as scary as it is to say, similarities between verbal and musical about a principle of communication, but continued to study and teach. At this language happen to be one of the about the point as the bearer of function, time, I was a student in the second directions of my recent work. I have also which in mono-harmonic systems is course (to be more ex exact, I had just written an article on this idea. It’s carried out not by a chord but by a tone. passed from the first to the second exactly this conception of lads that took The chord can exist but it cannot express course). me to the idea of lads as a universal lad function. I consider this to be very During the first days of the war, language system in music; acting in important in this conception, which, in everybody was still here but we were many different forms from one-voice to summary, I came to hear from Tyulin quickly mobilized in locale air air-defense polyphonic textures. and Kushnarev and was revealed to me teams. I was on a team for management One of the most important points, in the reading of Asafiev, and finally, of and communication with firefighters. that I can consider a real find of my own, which I tried to bring together into one e In the famous picture of Shostakovich on is the concept of a carrier or informant of unified system. In the first place, I am a roof, somewhere it is possible, lad functions. I’m talking about a certain firmly convinced that the lad is a probably, to find me, in so far as I was structure, which is capable of informing universally effective category. Secondly, also there at the time. It was really a time us about the functional meaning of a we will never be able to establish a finite of anxiety but in an educational way. I given sound group. In the classical number of existing lad systems. I believe really remember well the taking of this major-minor system, a single tone cannot that there are as many lad systems as photo. be the informant of lad function; only a there are musical texts, that, along with chord has this capability. In monody, a stabilizing stereotypes, every text can I “I am f firmly convinced that tone is sovereign and chords are not create it’s own system (like the breaking the lad is a universally effective required to confirm the lad function. of laws in spoken language). On the category. Secondly, we will Oppositely, in music that develops on the other hand, I propose a scheme, through never be able to establish a basis of monophonic intonation, even which we can examine and classify the finite number of existing lad with multiple voices, a tone can system being used in every separate case. systems. I believe that there consonantly dictate the function. I divide I propose a series of separate and are as many lad systems as lad informants into three categories: a important indicators: the type of there are musical texts, that, tone, a chord, and finally, a tone, colored functionality, the type of sound material along with stabilizing by a chord, which by itself does not act and so on, all of which divides into many ereotypes, stereotypes, every text can as a definer of function. To me it seems of my subcategories, each of which can create it’s own system (like the that nobody has really mentioned this. continue into infinity, specified only by breaking of laws in spoken This is because conceptions of the role of the direction of their characteristics. language)”. language) melodic connections and organization of This would be the main direction of systems as melodically connected chords my thought, in which the problems of existed long ago. Reti, Persichetti and lads have formed into a stock of When most of the conservatory had many others speak about this, but not polyphony, melody, harmony and all the gone, we the remaining people continued one of these people asks questions about other forms of musical organization. to be a part of these war teams. We had a what, in these circumstances, acts as the headquarters for the air-defense. I have Tatiana Sergeevna, tell us please saved with me, printed on papyrus paper, expresser of function and then there about the wartime at the Tatiana identifications that state that I, Tat won’t be differences between, let’s say, conservatory? Sergeevna Bershadskaya was a fighter the harmony of Bartok and the harmony of Chopin in the case of ellipses, i.e., of on the conservatory command and Yes, I can really say quite a lot movement, for example, from the communications team. I have two about this. I spent all of the war and dominant of C major to the seventh papers: one signed by P. Serebyakov blockade in Leningrad and was closely chord built on the second scale degree of evacuation and the second before the evac connected to the conservatory during that F major or F minor. When we listen to signed by Tihomirovaya, who was the time. The key staff of the conservatory |4 © Санкт-Петербургский центр современной академической музыки www.remusik. or g reMusik Journal Saint-Petersburg Contemporary Music Center Monday, September 05, 2011 • Interview: № 2-110830 - 2011. | Organization | Publication | Recourse Center | Journal | News | headquarters commander after the Lyublinsky, who had just returned from evacuation. the front (where he had lost one eye). Tatiana Sergeevna BerBershadskaya was born on July 4th, 1921 in Petrograd We lived at the conservatory in So, we were able to have classes, (from 1924 – 1991 the city of Leningrad, barracks. They let us go home once but, if suddenly during the lesson the air from 1991 – present the city of Saint every few days. When the alarms raid sirens went off, all the classrooms Petersburg). She is a musicologist, professor, Doctor of art history, Honored sounded, we fled to the roof or to the were closed and we ran to our posts. We Russian Art Worker, and member of the attics. When the firebombs fell, we had suffered from hunger and cold, but we Union of Composers. to put them out. My duties were mostly continued to study. The conservatory T.Bershadskaya studied music T.Ber throughout her childhood. Having in the attics. To this day, I know by heart lived. finished secondary school, she entered all of the attics and their numbers at the In the spring of 1942, a great joy history/theory department of the music conservatory. For example, attic number awaited the remaining people in school N.A Rimsky Rimsky-Korsakov and graduated in 1940. The same year she one is located in the opera studio; Leningrad. A present was sent to the entered history/theory branch of numbers three and four are on the fifth conservatory from our friends in Leningrad Conservatory (now known as floor of the Small Hall, attic number Tashkent. I’m not speaking about this the St. Petersburg Conservatory). Since 1945 she has been working as eight is on the fifth floor of the academic from a material standpoint; for the a teacher of harmony and form at the building where the classes of the foreign starving Leningrad Conservatory, a gift Rimsky-Korsakov and music school N.A Rimsky department are. All of this, for me, is still of rice and dried fruit was something Conservatory. In 1960, since 1979, at the Conse she received the title of lecturer and in just “living material.” simply unbelievable. This was not the 1979 she was awarded with a professor Despite the fact that we were most important thing. More important title. members of a war team, we still studied were the feelings of camaraderie and of Since the 1960s, she has been involved in the study of theoretical at the same time. We had classrooms someone to lean on – “They didn’t forget problems of harmony and mode as where lessons were taking place. If I us!” – this was the most important thing. general categories of music. In 1978, her remember correctly, there were thirty- Somehow, after that, things became a bit “Lectures on Harmony” (second book “Lec edition – 1985, third edition – 2004), nine of us left. Recently, the easier. which brought together the results of conservatory put out a compilation called The day the blockade was lifted and many years of study and reflection, was “The Leningrad Conservatory During the the words of Levitan “Citizens of issued. In 1985, she defended her PhD thesis based on materials of this book. War Years” were they listed all of the Leningrad, the firing no longer threatens Quite a lot of her works over recent students that continued to study there at you!” are unforgettable. This day sticks years have been issued including her own collection of “Articles of different years” the time. I was a part of this group. in my memory even a bit more than the (2004) which contains articles of The classes we had were all run by 9th of May. absolutely new directions of thought such the use of oil lamps and the students all In the spring of 1944, everyone as “Analogies and parallels in musical and verbal languages” together with early wore fur coats and felt boots. The from the conservatory returned and works. Polemical article conservatory, like everyone else, was not slowly things began to return to normal. “Misunderstanding becoming a tradition yet finished. You can definitely imagine (dedicated to the problems of tonal and Thank you so much, Tatiana modal modes)”, concerning the problem how it must have been. The teachers Sergeevna, for the fascinating of classifying modal systems, was printed wore gloves with cutout fingers when in the magazine “Musical Academy” №1, interview. 2008. they played the grand pianos because without them it was impossible. The keys were very icy. History of music lectures were given by Mikhail Druskin, More about Tatiana Bershadskaya: instrumentation by Rudolf Mervolf and www.remusik.org/bershadskaya/ analysis by Vladimir Berf. All of these professors with the exception of Druskin died of hunger during these years. Ekaterina Dalgovet, one of the more famous pianists of her time, held a general piano course, and later, when she died, the course was taken up by the |5 © Санкт-Петербургский центр современной академической музыки www.remusik. or g