Moscow: Gos. muzykal’noe izdatel’stvo, 1931. Item #1153
32 pp. 17x13 cm. In original constructivist wrappers. Uncut pages. Back cover slightly soiled, otherwise near fine.
First and only edition. One of 10 000 copies. Very rare.
Interesting manual on the establishment of ‘truly proletarian’ music for marches.
Musical culture in the Soviet Union was completely controlled by the communist party until the 1960s. A new type of mass song had been developed in the 1920s and became the only form of vocal art in the state. Meanwhile, old music and some foreign genres of contemporary music were considered underground and bypassed official events.
First of all, music was a powerful method of propaganda. Relevant children’s songs started to appear in 1925. Early Soviet collections of preschool melodies and texts prove that the Soviet Union raised a socialist man from childhood. It kept up with songs for different school grades, further education institutions and factory production as well.
All mass events could be accompanied by singing or music performing. Under the direction of a skillful manager, any event might be ended with collective vocal performance. It promoted revolutionary methods, shock-workers’ movement, socialist construction, etc. One of the key Soviet holidays was May Day when demonstrations were organized in all cities. According to this book, the 1920s marches were accompanied by spontaneous songs, in particular common music that soldiers used to perform. By the 1930s, this issue attracted the attention of party organizations. They revised lyrics, melodies and even ways to perform. New mass melodies and texts were widely broadcasted being a background of club activities and the working process. Numerous sheet music brochures were published and factories bought thousands of them.
The brochure opens with a quote: “Combative proletarian songs should sound during the demonstration”. It was a manual explaining what to study and how to organize it, but summarized the results of the earliest campaign as well. Comparing demonstrations held in October 1930 and May 1931, the author wrote that repertoire increased the number of revolutionary songs up to 30 percent while “pseudorevolutionary” music still existed and prevailed. Reports of some musical organizations listed their events and methods to teach people new songs. Interestingly, not all musical institutions were involved: one provincial college rejected a request to provide musicians for the campaign because local students were preparing to be performers, not mass entertainers. Yet, the transformation of Soviet music continued under the successful industrialization.
Only copy is located in University of Kansas.