Sound and Video Documents from the Phonogrammarchiv

(Overview of recordings)

This online exhibition provides insights into the Phonogrammarchiv’s unique and manifold holdings chiefly from the areas of ethnomusicology, cultural anthropology and linguistics. The audio and video samples showcased are the result of over 100 years of worldwide field research. They range from the Historical Collections 1899–1950 (listed in the World Register of UNESCO’s “Memory of the World” Programme) to audiovisual documents from the 21st century.

N.B.: The samples differ in sound and picture quality, which is due, on the one hand, to the level of sophistication of the respective recording equipment and, on the other, to the varying conditions in the field.

Conceived and edited by Christian Liebl and Katharina Thenius-Wilscher
Technical realisation: Johannes Spitzbart, Franz Pavuza, Michael Risnyovszky
The editors are grateful to Christiane Fennesz-Juhasz, Bernhard Graf, Gerda Lechleitner and Ulla Remmer for their valuable advice.

“Kgokong makorwe” under the leadership of Seka Matsetse Matlapeng

Recorded by Jürgen Schöpf on 20/9/1997 in Tlôkweng, Botswana

The few remaining or recently resuscitated pipe ensembles “Ditlhaka” of the Tswana serve as the representational music of tribal chiefs for public enjoyment.

An enclosed circle of women that sing and clap along with the respective piece is missing from this performance. The composition “Kgokong makorwe” sings of the upturned and pointed horns of the wildebeest (Kgokong).



!Ai-khoë (Naro) speech sample; speaker: |Kχara

Recorded by Rudolf Pöch on 30/7/1908 in “Kχau (Kamelpan) , Britisch Betschuanaland Protektorat”; Ph 767

Between 1907 and 1909, Rudolf Pöch – controversial anthropologist, medical doctor and media pioneer – stayed with the indigenous population of the Kalahari in present-day Botswana and Namibia. Alongside film and photo documentation, also 67 Phonogramme were created in the course of this anthropological and ethnological expedition. They represent early audio recordings of polyphonic singing and Khoisan languages.

Excerpt from the protocol (transl. into English): ‘He [i.e. |Kχara] mentions that the Bushmen have to do so much for me (photography, measurements, phonographic recordings) and asks for a fire-box (lighter), apart from the tobacco.’

CD publication: Rudolf Pöch’s Kalahari Recordings (1908)

!Ai-khoë women with listening tubes (© Phonogrammarchiv)


Fairytale in Nama (Khoekhoegowab); speaker: Stefanos Isak

Recorded by Gerhard Kubik on 22/11/1991 in Windhoek, Namibia; B 33762

Gerhard Kubik has been undertaking research trips to Africa for more than fifty years. Though focusing primarily on ethnomusicological recordings, Kubik also documented impromptu conversations, stories and fairytales, all of which represent valuable sources for many African languages.

The Nama language (Khoekhoegowab), spoken in Namibia, Botswana and South Africa, belongs to the Khoisan languages, whose characteristic feature is the use of clicks.

Map of Namibia (source: Wikimedia Commons)

Song in Chitonga; performed by Andrew Mweemba

Recorded by Cornelia Pesendorfer on 9/8/2002 in Chikuni, Zambia; V 1072

In 1958, the building of the Kariba Dam on the Zambezi River forced 57,000 people to relocate. This traumatic event is still present in the memory of the local population and continues to be processed in many different ways – such as, in this example, in the form of a song. The singer accompanies himself on a nkobela (lamellophone).



“Olutalo olwe Nsinsi”; musicians: Albert Sempeke, Ismael Obaloker, N.N.

Recorded by Gerhard Kubik in November 1967 in Kampala, Uganda; B 12508

Gerhard Kubik’s ethnomusicological recordings from various regions of Africa – created in the course of more than 50 years – are among the most significant holdings of the Phonogrammarchiv.

Already as a young man in Uganda, Kubik himself learnt to play the amadinda. This instrument is a 12-bar xylophone, played by three players at the same time.

Amadinda (© Gerhard Kubik)

Word list (nouns) in Guaraní; speaker: Joachim Bento.

Recorded by Richard Wettstein on 7/7/1901 in São Paulo, Brazil; Ph 159

The 1901 botanical expedition of the Imperial Academy of Sciences to southern Brazil, conducted by Richard Wettstein, also resulted in 9 Phonogramme. They are not only considered to be the oldest audio recordings of the language of the indigenous Guaraní, but in fact constitute the oldest sound documents from Brazil. As can be seen in the protocol accompanying the recording, the list begins with the corresponding words for man, woman, child, boy, girl, parents, father, and mother. Today, Guaraní is the second official language of Paraguay with about five million speakers.

CD publication: The First Expeditions 1901 to Croatia, Brazil, and the Isle of Lesbos

Protocol (© Phonogrammarchiv)

Transcription (Friedl Grünberg, 1999):
che ru
che ru ai

Drum song of the Inuit; sung by Simion Jeremiassen, with drum accompaniment by Peder Uthesen

Recorded by Rudolf Trebitsch on 16/7/1906 in Illorsuit (Ubekendt Ejland), West Greenland; Ph 586

In the summer of 1906, Rudolf Trebitsch, a doctor of medicine (and later also of ethnography), along with zoologist Gustav Stiasny, conducted an expedition to West Greenland on behalf of the Phonogrammarchiv. Their goal was to record folksongs and legends, as well as collect ethnographic items and objects of natural science for the “k.k. Naturhistorische Hofmuseum”. The resulting 73 Phonogramme – chiefly songs, folktales and instrumental music – rank among the oldest sound documents of the Greenland Inuit and their language. This audio sample contains one of the traditional drum songs, which were demonized by the missionaries and even back then rarely mastered. The drum used in the recording can be found today in the Weltmuseum Wien (Vienna’s museum of ethnology).

CD publication: The Collections of Rudolf Trebitsch (1906–1913) – Recordings from Greenland (Kalaalit Nunaat) 1906

Simion Jeremiassen (© Phonogrammarchiv)

Transcription (Arnaq Grove, 2003):
Qajuuttakassak tammakassaqaaq,
H’ijaajjaa-a-a, avai, iijajjaa, ja-jaai
/: Qajuuttakassak ulileqaatit, ijaajjaa-a-a, -avai!
atali, atali toquleqaatit
H’ijaajjaa-a-a, avai, jaajajjai, -avani!:/

Sikuri ensemble “27 de enero”

Recorded by Bernd Brabec de Mori on 6/10/2002 in Puno, Peru; V 2248

Sikuri are large ensembles composed of various sizes of pan pipes (siku) and drums (bombo and/or redoblante). Sikuri ensembles play only during the dry season and are found throughout southern Peru and in the Bolivian highlands. The recording features the group “27 de enero” as participants of the “Concurso de Sikuri en la Universidad Nacional Andina”.



Teahouse music (tanbur, clarinet, transverse flute, zang, tabla, harmonium)

Recorded by Hermann M. Preßl on 8/8/1970 in Kabul, Afghanistan; B 14758

The Phonogrammarchiv houses valuable recordings from Afghanistan created between the 1950s and the 1970s (i.e. before the political unrest). These sound documents are important evidence of a once rich musical practice, which has since then largely vanished.

Musicians in the teahouse (© Max Klimburg)

Excerpt from the Kunqu drama “Baihua-ji”; performers: Bai Xiaojun (maid), Wang Zhenyi (young officer)

Recorded by Rudolf M. Brandl at Easter 2004 in Beijing; OM 86

Kunqu is the classical Chinese opera from the 16th to the 19th century.

The video shows an excerpt from the one-act play “The Gift of a Sword”, which is part of the Kunqu drama “Baihua-ji” (‘The Story of Princess Baihua’). In this scene, the maid discovers a supposed stranger in the Princess’s bed-chamber, who, however, turns out to be her brother.

The instrumental ensemble is not in an orchestra pit, but actually next to the stage.


To the RMB-Collection...

Menthoko Festival (excerpts)

Recorded by Christian Huber in September 2002 in Kanam (Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh), India; V 337-343

The Menthoko Festival is celebrated in September in Kinnaur, in the Shumcho region. The video shows excerpts from the second day of festivities. There is music, dancing and singing in the Santang, the temple square. The dancers are festively decorated and clothed as they walk around the temple square counterclockwise according to the rules of traditional Kinnauri dancing. Similarly, the sedan chair (i.e. the body) of the Davla, the main deity of the village of Kanam, is carried counterclockwise around the building in the middle of the temple square. One can also see the appearance of two trance mediums, whose task includes the expulsion of evil spirits.



Welcome speech in Sanskrit; speaker: Pt. Yajnesvara Dikshita

Recorded by Felix Exner on 19/1/1905 in Madras (Chennai), India; Ph 431

Between 1904 and 1905, Felix Exner (1876–1930) – son of the Phonogrammarchiv’s founder Sigmund Exner and later director of Vienna’s Central Institution for Meteorology and Geodynamics – led a primarily meteorological expedition to India. Equipped with an Archivphonograph, he also made over 60 sound recordings of recitations from almost all areas of Sanskrit literature. More than half of the Phonogramme were created through the mediation of Henry Steel Olcott, the co-founder and first president of the Theosophical Society, who also established the Adyar Library in Madras (today’s Chennai). During their visit to the library, the delegation was greeted by a “Senior Pandit of Adyar-Library” in Sanskrit.

Transcription (according to the protocol):

Recording in the Adyar Library of the Theosophical Society, Madras (Chennai)
(© Phonogrammarchiv)

Chorus song for dance

Recorded by Rudolf Pöch on 12/11/1905 in Cape Nelson, “Britisch-Neuguinea”; Ph 524

From 1904 to 1906, Rudolf Pöch – controversial anthropologist, medical doctor and media pioneer – visited present-day Papua New Guinea. In addition to photographs and film recordings, Pöch also made 94 Phonogramme, including a men’s group of mostly Baifa people, produced during a large dance event celebrating the birthday of King Edward VII. As described in the protocol, the men are decorated for the dance, holding hand drums of stretched lizard skin in their hands.

CD publication: Papua New Guinea (1904–1909): The collections of Rudolf Pöch, Wilhelm Schmidt, and Josef Winthuis

Recording at Cape Nelson, Papua New Guinea
(© Phonogrammarchiv)

Reflections on the Basque language; speaker: Pierre Broussain

Recorded by Rudolf Trebitsch on 25/7/1913 in Hasparren/Hazparne, Basque Country (France); Ph 2185

In the summer of 1913, Rudolf Trebitsch, a doctor of medicine and ethnology, was touring the Basque Country. With the support of Julio de Urquijo, a wealthy aristocrat and scholar of Basque, Trebitsch made 68 recordings that contain almost all of the important dialects as well as the voices of a number of prominent personalities. In this example, Pierre Broussain/Piarres Martin Broussain Salagoiti (1859–1920), member of the Basque Academy Euskaltzaindia, philosophises about the uncertain future of the Basque language in Low Navarrese dialect.

CD publication: The Collections of Rudolf Trebitsch (1906–1913) – Basque Recordings 1913

Transcription (Maria Jose Kerejeta, 2003):
Vienako jaun batek galdeinik, gootik erraiten tut zonbeit hitz Azparneko eskuara garbiz. Eskuara aiphatzen duanaz geoz enitake eon erran gaa galtzeko irrisküan dela, Espainiako Eskual-herrietan beeziki. Nafarroan eta Bizkaian lehen eskuaraz mintzo ziin herri anhitz oai españolez mintzo dia. Frantziako Eskualherrietan nahiz gue mintzaia zaharra oai artio aski azkar den halee zonbeit lekutan galtzen aai da, hala nola Endaian, Donibane-Ziburun, Donapaleun eta Maulen. Hiri horiitan badia haur frango, aitamak eskualdunak tiuztenak eta eskuara eztakitenak.

Pierre Broussain, (© Azkue Biblioteka, Euskaltzaindia, Bilbao)

“A España” (poem in Judeo-Spanish); speaker: Abraham A. Cappon

Recorded by Julius Subak on 12/10/1908 in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ph 1074

On behalf of the Balkans Commission of the Imperial Academy of Sciences, Julius Subak (1872–1936), an Austrian Romance scholar, travelled the Balkans between 1908 and 1909 in order to record Judeo-Spanish, both in writing and phonographically. His primarily linguistic research focused on the descendants of those Sephardic Jews who – after their expulsion from Spain in 1492 – had found refuge in the Balkans, then under Ottoman rule. The resulting 15 Phonogramme are today considered to be the oldest scientific recordings of this language, which is also known as Ladino. Subak’s first stop in the Balkans was Sarajevo, where he managed to record some prominent representatives of the Sephardic community – such as Abraham A. Cappon (1853–1930), who, in a self-written poem, expressed his love for his old country, Spain.

CD publication: Judeo-Spanish from the Balkans – The Recordings by Julius Subak (1908) and Max A. Luria (1927)

Transcription (Aldina Quintana Rodríguez, 2009):
Un salúdu kalorózu a Espáña ... de Avrahám Kapón, Sarayévo
A tí, Espáña, bienkirída, nozótros “mádre” te yamámos.
Miéntras tódas nuéstras vídas, tu dúlse léngua no dešámos.
Áunke tú noz desteráste kómo madrástra de tu séno,
no estankámuz di amárte kómo santízimo ter̄éno, [...]

Abraham A. Cappon (© Santo Cappon)

“Nationalitätenkapelle”, Vienna 1841 Private collection, Bavaria

Recorded by Helmut Kowar and Julia Ahamer on 18/1/2007; V 1666–1667

Since the 1980s, Helmut Kowar has been engaged in the systematic audio-visual capture of mechanical musical instruments chiefly of Austrian provenance.

The instrument shown is a “Melodeon”, a tongue organ combined with a band of moveable figures. It seems to have been the instrument of a wandering showman who would travel from country to country. The members of this band were thus made to represent people of different nations. Judging by the date on the pediment (“Wien Anno 1841”), this instrument represents an early and probably quite unique combination of musical and puppet automaton – a multimedia attraction at the fairs of the late Biedermeier period.



Free speech in Breton; speaker: Maturin Buléon

Recorded by Rudolf Trebitsch on 29/8/1908 in Vannes [Breton Gwened], Brittany; Ph 1025

In 1908, Rudolf Trebitsch, a doctor of medicine (and later also of ethnography), made phonographic recordings among the Celtic-speaking population of Brittany. The resulting 25 sound documents are not the oldest, but the first ever created in France in the course of dialectological field research. One of his informants was the chaplain Buléon; in this sound sample, he tells us of his excitement about the idea of a Phonogrammarchiv and the phonographic recordings of the Breton language.

CD publication: The Collections of Rudolf Trebitsch (1906–1913) – Celtic Recordings – Ireland, Wales, Brittany, Isle of Man, and Scotland (1907–1909)

Transcription (Gwendal Denez, 2003):
Klevet em eus lâret e raer, en ur vro pell doc’h ma hani un dra hag en deus graet da ma c’halon bleuñviñ: tolpiñ en ur mem ti, ha lakaat da gouezh tostik àr-un-dro lavar hag ur vouezh a bep rummad tud ag an douar. Hag e oa daet soñj din: Mechal, eme-me, mechal hag an dud-se en devo an aviz da zonet da glask bouezh ar Vretoned du-mañ. Sellit ’ta, daet int. “Komzit,” a lâr din un aotrou a vaez-bro, “komzit er menestín siminal-mañ, ha me’ gaso genin ho pouezh.”

Translation (Albert Bock, 2003):
I have heard that, in a country far from my own, they are doing something that made my heart blossom: to gather in one house and to put down almost at the same time, speech and a voice from every people in the world. And so I thought: Hopefully, I said, hopefully those people will plan to come to get the voice of the Bretons from here.
And look, they have come. “Speak,” tells me a foreign gentleman, “speak into this strange type of chimney, and I will take your voice with me.”

Protocol (© Phonogrammarchiv)

Old story in Manx; speaker: John Nelson

Recorded by Rudolf Trebitsch on 8/8/1909 in Douglas, Isle of Man; Ph 1093

The ten Phonogramme produced by Rudolf Trebitsch – a doctor of medicine (and later also of ethnography) – in 1909 in Douglas, the capital of the Isle of Man, possibly represent the oldest recordings of Manx, a Celtic language. Our example features John Nelson, the owner of the Albion Hotel; until his death in 1910 he was a tireless fighter against the decline of Manx.

CD publication: The Collections of Rudolf Trebitsch (1906–1913) – Celtic Recordings – Ireland, Wales, Brittany, Isle of Man, and Scotland (1907–1909)

Transkription (George Broderick, 2003):
Skeeal beg mysh scollag aeg Keayrt dy row va scollag dy ghuilley aeg mysh queig bleeaney jeig dy eash, as hie eh dy schoill dy ynsaghey yn ABC. Dooyrt yn mainshter rish, Cre shoh, Thobm? Cha saym ayns my chonshense cre ta shen.

Translation (George Broderick, 2003):
Short story about a young lad
Once there was a young lad about fifteen years of age, and he went to school to learn his ABC. The master said to him, “What is this, Tom?” – “I don’t know on my conscience what that is.”
What is this, Tom, said the master. I don´t know what that is, said Tom. That is a B, Tom. Aw, is that a B, said Tom. Dear me, how it just looks like the track of our big bull.

Protocol (© Phonogrammarchiv)

Folk tale in Romani; speaker: Jandro Đurđević

Recorded by Milan Rešetar on 30/5/1901 in Bjelovar, Croatia; Ph 205

In order to test the newly constructed Archivphonograph for the first time in the field, the Slavicist Milan Rešetar (1860–1942) travelled to Croatia and Slavonia with the aim of determining more precisely the boundaries between the major dialects of the Serbo-Croatian language. Despite various adversities, he succeeded in the production of at least some sound documents – including Austria’s (if not the world’s) oldest recording of Romani, the language of the Roma. As Rešetar tersely put it, “perhaps one can also use this in Vienna somehow”.

CD publication: The First Expeditions 1901 to Croatia, Brazil, and the Isle of Lesbos

Transcription (Mozes F. Heinschink & Dragan Jevremović, 1999):
Sas jek Prilica taj Pralica: Sas jek Prilica taj Pralica, kaj gēle po fōro. Apo kana gēle po fōro, aj, … pušlas: “[?Tuke] kaj žas?” – “Ake, žav po fōro!” – “Aj, keti love si?” – “Si ma dešuduj zlōci.” […]

Translation (Petra Cech & Mozes F. Heinschink, 2001):
Once upon a time Prilica and Pralica went to the market. As they were going to the market, he asked, “Where are you going?” – “I am going to the market!” – “Hey, how much money do we have?” – “I have twelve Zloty.” […]

Protocol (© Phonogrammarchiv)

Emperor Franz Joseph I (1830–1916)

Recorded by Fritz Hauser on 2/8/1903 in Ischl (Salzkammergut), Kaiservilla; Ph 3

In the course of an audience granted at the Kaiservilla in Ischl, Sigmund Exner – chairman of the Phonogrammarchivs-Kommission – along with the support of his engineer Fritz Hauser, succeeded in obtaining the longest of the three sound recordings of Emperor Franz Joseph (Ph 1–3). Apart from the last sentence, which was actually added ad hoc by the Emperor and can be heard here, the programmatic and visionary text essentially came from Exner himself. A week later, an illustration of this high-profile event appeared on the front page of the Oesterreichische Kronen-Zeitung.

CD publication: Stimmporträts
also published as Kaiser Franz Joseph, Stimmporträt 1903.

Emperor Franz Joseph in front of the phonograph, 1903
(source: Phonogrammarchiv)

Es hat mich sehr gefreut, auf Wunsch der Akademie der Wissenschaften meine Stimme in den Apparat hineinzusprechen und dieselbe dadurch der Sammlung einzuverleiben.

It has given me great pleasure to speak, at the request of the Academy of Sciences, my voice into the machine and thereby incorporate it into the collection.

“Mailüfterl”; musicians: Johannes Vogl (flugelhorn), Erik Schuster (clarinet), Bernd Kohlbacher (tenor horn) and Karl Würkner (tuba)

Recorded by Katharina Thenius-Wilscher and Bernhard Graf on 30/4/2009 in Ternitz/Lower Austria; V 2960

The “Mailüfterl-Blasen” in Ternitz, which traditionally takes place on the night of April 30 to May 1, is a May custom featuring smaller brass ensembles – in this case, members of the 1. Ternitzer Musikverein. They move from house to house always playing the same piece, namely the “Mailüfterl” (melody: J. Kreipel, lyrics: A. Freiherr v. Klesheim); after each performance, they are usually invited to eat and drink at the house.

Since the 1970s, the Phonogrammarchiv has been documenting music in Austrian everyday life, especially in the projects “Singen und Musizieren in Österreich” (1978–1986; ‘Singing and music-making in Austria’) and “Der musizierende Mensch im ländlichen Raum” (1986–1989; ‘Music-making in rural areas’). This example represents a comparative recording from a re-study currently being conducted.


“Jidn redn jidish”; Abraham Adler and the “Ensemble Scholem Alejchem”

Recorded by Helga Thiel on 13/9/2000 at the Bockkeller (Wiener Volksliedwerk), 1160 Vienna; D 10300

Since the mid-1980s, the Phonogrammarchiv has conducted several recording projects dedicated to the documentation of selected cultural events in Vienna and financially supported by the Municipal Department of Cultural Affairs.

In the course of the project on the documentation of the musical activities of the Jewish community in Vienna (1996–98), contact was established with Abraham Adler (1916–2003), who for many years served as chief cantor of the Vienna Synagogue. His musical oeuvre was subsequently documented by archiving his collection and carrying out interviews. This recording is one of Adler’s last public appearances; he is accompanied by Isaak Loberan (conductor, keyboard), Igor Pilyavsky (tambourine) and Tymur Melnyk (violin).

Abraham Adler (© Isaak Loberan)

Transcription (Abraham Adler):

Jidn redn jidish is dus den a chidesh,
a Jid hot lib zunemen a jidesh wort in mol.
Er sogt sholom aleichem un freigt sich ma shemeichem,
un bei hawdule sogt ehr hamawdil bein kodesh lechoil.
Reidn Jidn jidesh klingt dus doch negidesh.
Weil jidesh reidn is doch asoi shen.
Un wen a Jid macht kidush, macht er och doch oich of jidish.
„Wo den of goiesh?“ Wer wet im kenen dus farshtein?
Ref.: Jidish is doch asoi gring. Jidesh leigt sich of der zing.
Jidesh reidn tates mames seidens bobes,
ober ober prift of goiesh un sogt gitshabes.
Jidish red sich asoi shen …

Arthur Schnitzler (1862–1931)

Recorded by Fritz Hauser on 19/3/1907 in the Phonogrammarchiv, Vienna; Ph 536

As the topic of the first of the two voice portraits, Arthur Schnitzler chose a quotation from his one-act play Lebendige Stunden (‘Living Hours’). Presented in its original context as the justification of literary activity, it is here most likely to be seen as a tribute to the profession of phonographer.

CD publication: Stimmporträts
respectively Arthur Schnitzler und Schriftsteller seiner Zeit

Lebendige Stunden? Sie leben doch nicht länger als der Letzte, der sich ihrer erinnert. Es ist nicht der schlechteste Beruf, solchen Stunden Dauer zu verleihen, über ihre Zeit hinaus.

Translation (Christian Liebl, 2013):
Living hours? Still, they don’t live longer than the last person to remember them. It is not the worst of professions to make those hours last beyond their time.

Arthur Schnitzler, ca. 1912 (source: Wikimedia Commons)

Early German dialect recording, Vienna 1901

Hunting episode; speaker: Paul Angelis
Recorded by Fritz Hauser on 19/2/1901 in the Phonogrammarchiv, Vienna; Ph 105

The collection of Austrian dialects has always represented one of the major activities of the Phonogrammarchiv – thus, as early as 1901, the oldest scientific recording of a German dialect was created. It is the description of a deer hunt, recited in dialogue form in the Central Bavarian dialect of Unterach in Upper Austria (Attergau).

CD publication: „Dazähl’n“ – 100 Jahre Dialektaufnahme in Österreich

Transcription (Wilfried Schabus, 2003):

Street song of three “Lavender Women” from Old Ottakring
Singers: Marie Hulle (leading voice), Anna Pohler (soprano), Hermine Bleß (alto)

Recorded by Leo Hajek on 3/7/1933 in the Phonogrammarchiv, Vienna; G 2637

In earlier times, Vienna’s everyday cityscape featured the so-called “Lavender Women”, who offered their bunches of lavender for purchase by using polyphonic cries or songs.

CD publication: Österreichische Volksmusik (1902–1939) / Austrian Folk Music (1902–1939)


“Dural, dural me avilem” (‘I have come from afar’)

Performers: Ruzsa Nikolić-Lakatos (vocals), her husband Mišo (guitar) and visitors from Slovakia.
Recorded live by Mozes F. Heinschink on 30/3/1997 at the home of the Nikolić family, Vienna; D 4782 (excerpt)

Loki gjili (slow lyrical song) of the Lovara, the so-called ‘horse traders’, a Romani group living in many countries of Europe. The live recording during a get-together allows insights into a typical performance situation: to honour the occasion, the hostess adapts the traditional song lyrics, and the guests not only join in the singing, but also react with comments and wishing formulae. – In 2011, upon application by the singer Ruzsa Nikolić-Lakatos, the Austrian UNESCO Commission added the Songs of the Lovara to its National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Austria.

The Phonogrammarchiv houses one of the world’s most important sound collections on the culture, language and music of the European Roma. Apart from the field recordings by researchers such as Eva Davidová and Milena Hübschmannová (mainly in Slovakia and the Czech Republic), Ursula Hemetek (in Austria) and others, special mention must be made of the large audio and video collection compiled by Mozes F. Heinschink, the Viennese Romani expert. It includes oral traditions of Roma from numerous countries, recorded by Heinschink since 1960 chiefly in Central and South Eastern Europe as well as Turkey. – Further sound documents regarding Romani culture from the holdings of the Phonogrammarchiv are accessible in the online exhibition A Roma Journey.

Ruzsa Nikolić-Lakatos (© Mozes F. Heinschink)

Song of an Icterine Warbler (Hippolais icterina)

Recorded by Alfred Jilka on 26/5/1968 in Hugo-Wolf Park, 1190 Vienna; B 13602

A small portion of the Phonogrammarchiv’s holdings are field recordings from the areas of medicine and bio-acoustics.

From the 1960s to the 1980s, Alfred Jilka, musician and ornithologist, devoted himself to the documentation of bird calls mainly in eastern Austria. Due to the wide frequency spectrum, careful attention must be paid to the choice of microphone in ornithological recording.

Icterine Warbler (Hippolais icterina) (source: Wikimedia Commons)

Pauliteiros (stick dancers) in the “Festa da Nossa Senhora do Rosário” São Martinho de Angueira (Miranda do Douro) and Mourisqueiros (sword dancers) in the “Festa da Bugiada” in Sobrado (Valongo)

Recorded by Barbara Alge 2004 and 2005 in Portugal; V 990 and V 1613

Stick and sword dances go back to the Middle Ages and are spread throughout Europe. Originally, only men danced; today, however, women dance as well – in Spain and Portugal, for instance.

Since 2003, the ethnomusicologist Barbara Alge has been conducting field research in Lusophone countries (especially Portugal and Brazil), focusing on music and dance in the context of Catholic festivals.



Großpold after the emigration of the Landler; speakers: Samuel and Theresia Glatz

Recorded by Wilfried Schabus on 6/4/1992 in Großpold/Apoldu de Sus, Transylvania; B 40173

In his research as a scholar of German, Wilfried Schabus, a long-term member of staff of the Phonogrammarchiv, focuses on the study of the language and culture of German-speaking inhabitants of/emigrants from the lands of the former Habsburg monarchy. His dialectological fieldwork in language islands has so far led him to the Tyroleans in Pozuzo/Peru, the Hutterites in Canada and the Landler in Transylvania.

The Landler are the descendants of those Austrian Protestants who – originally hailing chiefly from the Salzkammergut and the Hausruckviertel – were deported to Transylvania about 270 years ago. After the political changes of 1989, there was a major wave of emigration from Romania of mainly young people hoping for a new life of happiness in the idealized German-speaking West. At the time of the 1992 conversation, Samuel and Theresia Glatz were among the last few Landler in Großpold who had not yet emigrated.

Samuel and Theresia Glatz (© Wilfried Schabus)