This essay, a description of Cheremis music based largely on published sources and on a small collection of songs made by myself, was begun in 1953 at Indiana University. It has been supported by two grants from the Graduate School of Indiana University, which enabled me to devote my full time to the project for several months during 1953 and 1956, and I wish to express my gratitude for this help.
I am primarily indebted to Professor Thomas A. Sebeok, who introduced me to the subject of Cheremis music and guided the project in both its scholarly and its material aspects. Dr. Sebeok has been indispensable in pointing out bibliographic materials and providing microfilms and photostats where needed, in giving advice on the entire contents of the study, in providing translators for the literature and for the informant, as well as making available a native Cheremis, Ivan Jewskij, as an informant. Without Dr. Sebeok’s friendly and stimulating help, this project would not have been begun, let alone completed.
I am further indebted to Elaine R. Hagstrom for translations and for compiling the glossary of Cheremis instruments, and to Valdis J. Zeps for editing the manuscript. Professor B. Serebrennikov of Moscow supplied some important publications on Cheremis music. Finally, I am indebted to Dr. Lajos Vargyas of the Ethnographic Museum, Budapest, and Dr. Charles Seeger, Santa Barbara, Calif., for reading the manuscript and offering valuable criticisms and suggestions.
This study deals only with the musical styles of the Cheremis. The cultural background and function of the music is not discussed here, but will be included in a monograph on the Cheremis song texts, which is being prepared by Thomas A. Sebeok.
For the system of transliteration from Cyrillic employed here, cf. The Slavic and East European Journal (e.g., Vol. 17, p. 320 ).
The illustrations of Cheremis instruments are used by permission of the National Museum of Finland.
References to publications are made by the author’s surname. See the bibliography for complete entries.