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Online Exhibition: HINeinSEHEN – HERausHÖREN

Online Exhibition


Sound and video documents from the Phonogrammarchiv

“Saving Our Heritage for the Next Generation” is this year’s motto of UNESCO’s “World Day for Audiovisual Heritage” on 27th October. On this occasion, the Phonogrammarchiv has, for the first time, set up an online exhibition to provide insights into its unique and manifold holdings.

English version available now!

Link to the exhibition

-- updated May 15, 2014 --

25 Years of the “Eternal Archive” – Audiovisual Archives Changing their Preservation Paradigm

AES Award for Dietrich Schüller

25 years ago, on the occasion of its 90th anniversary (on 27 April), the Phonogrammarchiv hosted the Second UNESCO Consultation of Users and Manufacturers of Technical Equipment for Audio, Film and Television Archives in Vienna (4–7 May 1989). This international group of archivists, technicians and representatives of the manufacturers of recording equipment and storage media was founded in 1987 under the umbrella of UNESCO to monitor the rapid development of digital recording systems. Its aim was to raise a voice for archival concerns, specifically the long-term accessibility of digital documents. Physically stable carriers were not in sight, and ever shorter commercial lifetimes of formats would have made the future availability of replay equipment unrealistic. In view of this scenario, the Vienna Meeting discussed for the first time the continuous digital lossless migration of contents to replace the old paradigm of preserving the original carrier and its replay equipment. For utmost efficiency, migration procedures should be automated.

Despite concerns of traditionally-minded archivists, this principle of “eternal” content migration was swiftly adopted, notably in Europe, where public broadcasters took the lead. The Phonogrammarchiv contributed to the standardisation of processes, specifically to the optimisation of signal extraction from original carriers, which is the scientific precondition for a methodologically impeccable migration principle.

On the occasion of this anniversary, Dietrich Schüller, former director of the Phonogrammarchiv and active supporter of the migration principle, was honoured with a Fellowship Award from the Audio Engineering Society (AES) at its 136th Convention in Berlin (26–29 April). He was also nominated Distinguished Richard C. Heyser Memorial Lecturer of the Berlin Convention, delivering a paper entitled Preserving our sound recordings — 25 years since everything changed

-- online since May 5, 2014 --

UVa Phonogrammarchiv Plakat

A look back at the presentation

"Collectors, Archivists and Technology: Indian Scenario!"

by Suresh Chandvankar, Society of Indian Record Collectors (SIRC), Mumbai, India

On 30th April Dr Suresh Chandvankar from Mumbai gave a lecture on “Collectors, Archivists and Technology: Indian Scenario!”. Following a short presentation of the history of India´s record industry, Dr Chandvankar spoke about the record collectors´ situation then and now, about the relationship between private shellac collectors and sound archives, and the “Society of Indian Record Collectors”, co-founded by him some 25 years ago. This event was jointly organised by the Phonogrammarchiv and the Department of South Asian, Tibetan and Buddhist Studies of the University of Vienna.

-- online since May 5, 2014 --

Online Exhibition: HINeinSEHEN – HERausHÖREN

Online Exhibition


Sound and video documents from the Phonogrammarchiv

“Saving Our Heritage for the Next Generation” is this year’s motto of UNESCO’s “World Day for Audiovisual Heritage” on 27th October. On this occasion, the Phonogrammarchiv has, for the first time, set up an online exhibition to provide insights into its unique and manifold holdings.

English version available now!

Link to the exhibition

-- updated May 15, 2014 --

A look back at the conference

"Negotiating Ethnicity: Politics and Display of Cultural Identitites in Northeast India"

„Negotiating Ethnicity: Politics and Display of Cultural Identitites in Northeast India“, July 4-6, 2013

“Negotiating Ethnicity: Politics and Display of Cultural Identities in Northeast India” was the theme of the conference which took place at the campus AAKH between 4th and 6th July. It was organised by the Institute for Social Anthropology and the Phonogrammarchiv, together with the Department of South Asian, Tibetan and Buddhist Studies of the University of Vienna. The predominantly international participants – mostly from India – discussed current issues from a number of scholarly disciplines relating to Northeast India. The 44 talks, a photo exhibition and two film screenings were appreciated by over 60 attendees. His Excellency, the Ambassador of India in Austria, R. Swaminathan, and Univ.-Doz. Dr. phil. Michael Alram, vice-president of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, addressed the audience at the opening.

-- online since August 21, 2013 --

European Acoustic Heritage DVD released

Grenoble (2013, by Jürgen Schöpf)Grenoble (2013, by Jürgen Schöpf)

Editor: Jürgen Schöpf
Graphic design: Roman Haynes, Jürgen Schöpf
Mastering: Johannes Spitzbart
Release date: April 30, 2013
© 2013, PhA-ÖAW, TAMK, ENSAG-CRESSON, escoitar

The EU-funded Project “European Acoustic Heritage” has come to a successful end with its last milestone: the double DVD “European Acoustic Heritage” (published by the Phonogrammarchiv, edited by Jürgen Schöpf and mastered by Johannes Spitzbart). This DVD is available for free directly at the Phonogrammarchiv as well as from the European project partners in Tampere, Grenoble and Santiago de Compostela (and can also be ordered for a handling fee). DVD 1 presents a static rendition of the current web page of the project http://europeanacousticheritage.eu, online at least until the end of 2014). Note that we recently added instructions for pedagogical work with sound that can be performed with groups of children as well as adults. This DVD also contains examples in surround sound format, e.g. a ride in a “Fiaker” (horse-drawn carriage) through Vienna’s inner city. DVD 2 contains interviews about sound and acoustic heritage from all European partners. We especially recommend it for teachers of music, history, geography, art, sociology, ... check it out!

-- online since June 10, 2013 --

New Publication within the Series "Mechanical Music":

Vol. 8:
Musik um 1600
Die Automaten in der Kunstkammer des Kunsthistorischen Museums

Vol. 8: Musik um 1600Order CD...

Editor: Helmut Kowar. Editorial Assistance: Gerda Lechleitner.
OEAW PHA CD 34, 2013.

The „Kunstkammer“ holds five automata (four table automata and one art cabinet) with inbuilt organ works: the trumpeter Automaton (1582), the imperial ship (1585), the Bacchus carriage (ca 1602-1606), the Walbaum cabinet (ca 1620/25) and the Minerva carriage (ca 1625-30). These objects have to be rated as one of the earliest musical automata and sounding sources existing. In the course of recent restoration works it was possible to recreate their musical output. Due to conservational reasons the music of the trumpeter automaton, the imperial ship and the Bacchus carriage had to be reconstructed. The realization took advantage of partly well-preserved musical information on the automata’s program carriers (discs and wheels) and of the still functioning pipes and drums of the automata. Thus the reconstructions give the true and authentic sound of the historical performance. The status of the organ works of the Walbaum cabinet and the Minerva carriage allowed repair of their mechanics and playback of their music. Every automaton presents its scenery together with an appropriate music. The music is surprisingly complex and displays unique examples of a performance practice showing improvised passages. The sound recordings are accompanied by transcriptions of all musical pieces.

-- online since May 24, 2013 --

The Phonogrammarchiv Experience

Visit from Börsegasse elementary school (2nd form), 8 November 2012

volksschule.jpgVisit from Börsegasse elementary school (2nd form), 8 November 2012

On the initiative of a parent, 23 curious kids and their teacher made their way to the Phonogrammarchiv on 8 November 2012.

What is a sound archive, since when has it been possible to preserve sound, what were recording conditions like 100 years ago? These were the kind of questions which were addressed, and exemplified by recordings of Emperor Franz Joseph as well as a sound-producing fish.

On a technical tour, the kids explored the “stone age” of audio recording, from Edison’s wax cylinders and Berliner’s gramophone to the “Wiener Archiv-Phonograph”. Our young visitors got to know how sound cut grooves into wax around 1900, how these recordings were listened to, and how they can today be restored and digitised. The example impressed parts of the audience so much that they kept singing the respective tunes while leaving.

In a third tour, we were able to explain what field work is: a group of children learnt a stone-passing game from Swaziland, quickly and with impressive ease. Taking turns, one at a time was allowed to film this scene with a video camera.

-- online since 13 November 2012 --

Madagascar’s Acoustic Heritage Repatriated

PhA_Madagascar.jpgMireille Rakotomalala and August Schmidhofer
(Antananarivo, September 26, 2012)

In time for UNESCO’s World Day for Audiovisual Heritage on 27 October the Phonogrammarchiv of the Austrian Academy of Sciences is proud to announce that more than 1,000 sound documents from Madagascar have returned to their country of origin.

The recordings were made between 1961 and 1992 in the course of field research conducted by Lotte Schomerus-Gernböck, Gerhard Kubik, August Schmidhofer and Michael Weber. On behalf of those scholars and the Phonogrammarchiv, August Schmidhofer (Department of Musicology, University of Vienna, and himself a member of the archive’s staff until 1989) handed over a virtual archive on a hard disk containing sound documents of traditional music, fairy tales and stories as well as the respective accompanying documentation. The repatriation ceremony last September, which took place at the Institut de Civilisations (Université d’Antananarivo) in the presence of Mireille Rakotomalala, ethnomusicologist and former minister of culture, was widely echoed in the local media. Other archives are expected to follow this example.

Since its foundation in 1899, the Phonogrammarchiv has been committed to the preservation of the intangible cultural heritage of mankind. This mission has long been accompanied by the responsibility to repatriate the unique recordings made by Austrian researchers in the field and safeguarded for decades by the Phonogrammarchiv (cf. also our ongoing editions, published by the Austrian Academy of Sciences Press).

The motto of this year’s UNESCO World Day for Audiovisual Heritage is “Audiovisual heritage memory – the clock is ticking”. This topic signals the urgent need for the digital long-term preservation of our audiovisual heritage, which is endangered by format obsolescence and proprietary replay equipment. It is particularly the long expertise in this field that has won the Phonogrammarchiv its high international standing.

-- online since 25 October 2012 --

Public presentation of the study "European Acoustic Heritage"

Poster "Discovering Soundscapes of Europe"

The 4th project meeting of the EU project "European Acoustic Heritage" took place in Tampere, Finland, on 19 and 20 September. Jürgen Schöpf, project manager for the Phonogrammarchiv, took an active part during this meeting. Accompanied by a sequence of events, the European travel exhibition "Discovering the Soundscapes of Europe" opened for the first time.

Susanna Ihanus, project manager of TAMK, and Horacio Gonzalez Dieguez for the Spanish artist group escoitar, together with the deputy major of the city of Tampere and representatives of the project partners in France and Austria, opened the travel exhibition at the Galeria Nottbeck. The next stops of the travel exhibition will be Grenoble and Brussels (in early 2013), followed by Santiago de Compostela in spring.

The sequence of events started in the afternoon with a press conference and public presentation of the study "European Acoustic Heritage", which includes several contributions of the Phonogrammarchiv. This study is also available for free download from the project web site (http://europeanacousticheritage.eu/2012/09/research-publication-european-acoustic-heritage/).

At the same press conference the winner of the "Soundscape Composition Contest" was announced. More than 50 compositions had been submitted to the contest jury, of which Jürgen Schöpf was a member. The ten finalists' compositions can be heard on the contest sub page of the project (see: http://europeanacousticheritage.eu/contest/).

On 20 September, the events continued with a public conference where project partners delivered key notes on "Acoustic Planning / Design in Cities" (Nicolas Remy, France), "Transphonic sounds, the media and the everyday sonic environment" (Heikki Uimonen, Finland), "Sound environment and tourism" (Noora Vikman, Finland), "Sound archives and re-studying soundscapes" (Jürgen Schöpf, Austria), and "Sound art and pedagogy" (Horacio González Diéguez, Spain).
In the afternoon students of Tampere University were invited to participate in four workshops related to soundscape work before the programme ended with a panel discussion on the workshop topics: places and spaces of acoustic heritage in Tampere city; recording soundscapes; possibilities of soundscape tourism in Tampere; and listening walk at the city centre.

-- online since 28 September 2012 --

UNESCO International Conference:

"The Memory of the World in the Digital Age: Digitization and Preservation"

An international conference on permanent access to digital documentary heritage,
26 to 28 September 2012, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

The Phonogrammarchivs’s chief audio technician, Nadja Wallaszkovits, will give an invited workshop with the title "Digitization of small sound collections: Problems and solutions". The paper discusses the digitization of small sound collections, focusing on the structural, technical and conceptual problems of practical implementation and realization, such as: assessment of the collection and its state of preservation; assessment of required and available equipment; development of a preservation plan; proposal of a prioritized sequence of actions based on different urgencies for different parts of the collection; definition of equipment needed (test, analogue, digital) and design of a business plan of investment; training of the local staff in digital audio archiving techniques and methodology; installation of equipment and initiation of work; subsequent technical and conceptual support. The discussion also includes the implementation of an open source-based database and server system, which can be individually adapted and expanded.

-- online since 24 September 2012 --

Hot from the press – Volume 3 of the Phonogrammarchiv’s Yearbook!

Jahrbuch 3 des Phonogrammarchivs

The contributions (this time all in German) focus on technical research and development, on the contextualisation of audiovisual recordings as well as on the documentation of endangered cultures. Two extensive fieldwork/conference reports, a review and, finally, a Progress Report for 2011 permit further insights into last year’s audiovisual research.

Publisher: Cuvillier Verlag, Göttingen

-- online since 16 July 2012 --

The Phonogrammarchiv and the ICLTT of the Austrian Academy of Sciences will host the Workshop

"Relationships of Speech Tone and Music"

Participants in the Workshop "Relationships of Speech Tone and Music" in discussion, July 6th, 2012Participants in the Workshop "Relationships of Speech Tone and Music" in discussion.
July 6th, 2012

The representation of speech tone in music in those languages that have phonological tone has – to date – rarely been directly addressed in ethnomusicological and linguistic studies, but  becomes increasingly studied in both disciplines in recent years. The origin of both modern disciplines, ethnomusicology and linguistics, in Western thought, i.e. in non-tonal languages, has effectively left this issue understudied between both disciplines until the most recent years.

The proposed workshop focussing on this hitherto marginalised question is highly transdisciplinary. Thus we intend to connect researchers from linguistics and ethnomusicology to explore this issue to an unprecedented depth in trying to bring together different research methods as well as results of how speech tone is represented in singing and/or music.

For more information: Email @ Jürgen Schöpf

Date: July 5 – 7, 2012
Venues: Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften
Wohllebengasse 12-14, 1040 Wien

-- online since 11 April 2012 --