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SPECIAL SECTION INTRODUCTION Light from an Extinct Star: Music and Technology in the Former Soviet Union j'ust as Columbus opened America to Europe, Leonardo has attempted to open as­ pects of die former Soviet Union to its readers. However, in this case, the new access is actually die transmission of a farewell, a message that reaches readers as the light of an extinct star reaches eardi. The last issue of Leonardo (Volume 27, Number 5) was devoted entirely to articles on art, science and technology from the former Soviet Union. Over years of preparation spanning the breakup of the Soviet Union, the volume of materials outgrew the limits of the special issue, and a decision was made to publish the articles on music separately in this special section. There are only four articles in this section, and they cannot provide a complete picture of the pro­ cesses tiiat new technologies introduced to the musical culture of the former Soviet Union. However, while the collection is incomplete, it does serve as striking evidence of a situation that has now been erased from our former country's musical landscape. It also records some of the contributions this country made to solving problems in the arts, sciences and technology. The section begins with an article on Lithuanian composer M.K. Ciurlionis, pioneer of "musical painting," who possessed a unique combination of musical and artistic talents. We believe him to be one of the predecessors—along with Scriabin and Kandinsky—of a new synthesis of music and the visual arts. Since the leading expert in Ciurlionis, Vitautas Landsbergis, entered politics and climbed to the presidency in the newly independent Lithuania, the relay-race baton in the field of research on Ciurlionis was taken over by Russian musicologist V. Fedotov, who lives in Petrozavodsk, the capi­ tal of the Republic of Karelia. The fact that Fedotov took over from Landsbergis illustrates one of the unquestionable achievements of the Soviet period—internationalism. The national situation in the Soviet Republics was once similar to the "melting pot" in the United States. It will be a pity if the breakup of the Union results in a loss of this achievement. S. Kreichi's article reports on experimentation in the field of electronic music. Kreichi is Czech by origin and lives in Moscow. He is educated in both technology and music. He has written extensively on Russian inventor Y. Murzin and has also developed uses for the synthesizer that Murzin invented: first as a tool for music composition, and later—with the advent of Kreichi's work at Moscow State University—as a technical aid for investigations in the field of experimental phonetics (speech syn­ thesizing, investigations of the language of dolphins, and so on). Both developmental directions are in decay now due to a lack of interest, and a unique instrument waits for its place in the museum of electronic music yet to be created. Ukrainian V. Ulianich is a composer who lives in Moscow and is involved in introducing the com­ puter into musical creativity. Experiments and investigations in computers and music began during the last years of the Soviet Union's existence. Laboratories and electronic music departments opened in conservatories in Leningrad, Kiev, Novosibirsk and Sverdlovsk. The Ail-Union Electronic Music Association was formed by composers using computers to create music. Ail-Union conferences were held many times in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. I was once again invited to take part in last year's conference, but did not attend: getting an Estonian visa turned out to be a more complicated proce­ dure than obtaining an American one. Musical psychology is presented in an article by lecturer L. Grigoryan, from Armenia (one of the Transcaucasian states), who was formerly a professor at the Conservatory of Yerevan (the capital of Armenia). He has been involved for many years in developing the use of color visualization as a method of musical instruction. Grigoryan sent me a short article in 1991, after which I lost every con­ nection with him due to the war. My letters were returned marked "no communication by mail is available." I later found him in Moscow, which was flooded by refugees from...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1530-9282
Print ISSN
0024-094X
Pages
pp. 51-52
Launched on MUSE
2017-01-04
Open Access
No
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