Russian Musical Baroque: Tendencies and Perspectives of Research

State Institute for Art Studies, Moscow

International Scholarly Conference

Russian Musical Baroque: Tendencies and Perspectives of Research

24–26 October 2016

In contemporary Russian musicology, a special attention is paid to the processes of formation of Russian musical culture and of the native school of musical composition.  Regarded in that light, the Russian musical baroque of the second half of the 17th and the first half of the 18th century is a phenomenon of great importance. Its rise coincided with the period of major social and church reforms and with a change of cultural paradigm. During that period, the medieval monody in Russia coexisted with different forms of staffless polyphony, and the influences from Eastern and Western Europe gave rise to a new polyphonic style, which was termed partesnïy (of many parts). Throughout Russia, new musical centres were formed, dozens of composers were active, hundreds of chant books appeared, a new harmonic language was established, and new, previously unknown genres and forms were developed. The choral culture achieved unprecedented heights; the practice of polychoral singing flourished. The partesnïy style became one of the historical cornerstones of Russian professional music, and the Russian baroque gradually integrated into the context of the world musical culture.

The interest in Russian musical baroque is increasing today both in Russia and abroad; its further exploration requires a consolidation of the efforts of many scholars from different countries. The conference ‘Russian Musical Baroque: Tendencies and Perspectives of Research’ will provide an occasion to discuss a number of topical questions, related to the exploration of the manuscript legacy of that epoch, the history and theory of partesnïy polyphony, the peculiarities of the system of polyphonic genres (including non-liturgical and paraliturgical ones), the restoration of the biographies and the creative output of individual musicians, the evolution of music-theoretical thought; further, the conference will help to reveal parallels and intersections in the development of Russian, East-European, and West-European baroque, as well as in the development of music and other arts during the same period. New and important results can be expected in such fields as source studies, history and chronology of baroque in Russia, definition of the national specificity of Russian baroque, elaboration of an authentic analytical terminology. All these issues will be stated in the theses published for the conference. A number of leading Russian scholars and foreign specialists have expressed their readiness to take part in the conference. The prospective programme includes scholars from fourteen Russian institutes of higher education and research institutes.

It is for the first time that Russian musical baroque becomes a subject matter for fundamental international conference, whose task is to bring to light the most recent scholarly tendencies, to synthesize the contemporary achievements in the field, to give an impulse to further research, and to contribute to the creation of an entire and at the same time many-sided picture of the Russian culture of the 17th and 18th centuries.


The conference’s subject areas are:

  • Manuscript studies: critique of sources, palaeography, archives and other collections, separate documents, etc.
  • Russian choral singing centres of the 17th and 18th
  • Reconstruction of the biographies and the artistic heritage of composers, theorists, singers, etc.
  • Genre system of polyphonic singing: concertos, arrangements of church chants, paraliturgical and non-liturgical genres (kantï, psal’mï).
  • Church chants of the 17th and 18th Monody and polyphony.
  • Partesnoye and bezlineynoye (‘staveless’) polyphony: problems of their interaction.
  • Instrumental music.
  • Theatre music.
  • Theoretical problems of baroque music: harmony, polyphony, form, relation between music and words, musical rhetorics, notation, etc.
  • Russian music-theoretical thought in the 17th and 18th centuries: treatises, codes of rules, etc.
  • Parallels and intersections: Russian and European baroque; music and other arts.
  • Russian musical baroque as a particular stage in music history.
  • Choral culture of Russian baroque: aspects of performance.
  • 19th and 20th century scholars specializing in Russian baroque: scholarly conceptions, reminiscences.
  • Russian musical baroque in curricula.


The participants are expected to present papers that are maximum 20 minutes in length.

The papers presented at the conference will be published.

The papers presented in languages other than Russian will be translated into Russian.

The proposals are expected to contain the author’s name and surname, place of employment, position and scientific degree, as well as the paper’s abstract (up to 200 words). The deadline is 1 July 2016.

Please, send your proposals to: