Printer Friendly

Music publication in Lithuania after 1990: a typological analysis.

The publication of music is not strategically coordinated in Lithuania, nor is it overseen at a national level. Currently, there is only one publishing house (Miela harmonija) that specialises in the publication of music. All of the other publishing houses in Lithuania tend to be universal, publishing books as well as music. Meanwhile, the music community, which comprises 2-3% of the Lithuanian population (2), has constant and changing needs. Therefore, the publishing houses have to be prepared to adapt to those needs. Relying on the typological approach, the article analyses the period of publication of Lithuanian music (in Lithuania and abroad) after the restoration of the independence of Lithuania in 1990. This is the period when publishing of music was fundamentally transformed in Lithuania due to radical changes in the economic situation. A few large-circulation publications were replaced by large numbers of small-circulation publications. Publication of music was freed from censorship, thus becoming more free and flexible. The number of small publishing houses grew, thus providing the stimulus for a greater variety in music genres and opening up the possibility to reflect global tendencies.

The first years of Lithuanian independence (1990-1992) could be referred to as the peak of publishing. In the territory of the former Soviet Union, it was not difficult at all to sell a publication with a circulation of 100,000. Such books were immediately sold out. The most important thing in the business of publishing at the time was preparing and publishing the book in the shortest period of time possible. The publications that had been censored and banned were published without any restrain. Music was not an exception. However, such a situation did not last for a long time. The conditions changed due to the rising inflation. In 1992, the unimaginable profit in publication became a thing of the past. The inflation prevailed. (3) Later on, when the inflation was brought down and a national currency was introduced, books became a luxury product. Due to high prices of books, buyers were lost and circulation of publications decreased. The business of publishing became unprofitable. It was no longer useful for the publishing houses to specialize. The costs escalated and the sales went down. Thus, the publishing houses had once again to adapt to the changing conditions. One of the ways was to be print books in a variety of genres, including music. Another solution was establishing new small publishing houses that could provide additional business services (one-third of them published barely one publication per year). In order to minimise losses, extensive market research and marketing tools were undertaken. One of the examples of a specialised publishing house that had to deal with such difficulties could be the publishing house called Muzika. It was established in 1989 in Vilnius (4). It published several music publications (by composers such as J. Gruodis, J. Naujalis, M. K. Ciurlionis, etc.) and promised to continue providing substantial publications of music to the community of musicians. However, it had to terminate its activity in 1994 due to financial difficulties. Nevertheless, there were cases of success. One of them is the unique Jonas Petronis publishing house. It produced its first music publication music in 1942. After the war it was closed but was re-established again in 1990 and remained open until 2005. There are also such organisations which publish Lithuanian music up till now, such as the Lietuvos muzikos informacijos ir leidybos centras [Lithuanian Music Information and Publishing Centre], Lietuvos muziku sajunga [Lithuanian Musicians Society], Lietuvos liaudies kulturos centras [Lithuanian Folk Culture Centre], and others; and educational institutions, such as the Lietuvos muzikos ir teatro akademija [Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre], Klaipedos universitetas [Klaipeda University], Lietuvos edukologijos universitetas [Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences], and others. Lithuanian music is also published abroad entirely at the initiative of Lithuanian emigrants fulfilling the needs of vocal and instrumental music groups or ensembles.

In 1990-2014, several significant moments could be distinguished in the publication of music in Lithuania. First of all, vocal music dominates among other forms of art performance. Enduring Lithuanian choral art traditions have determined the need to publish various types of music for choral literature. Song Celebrations, recognized by UNESCO as a masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity and in 2008 inscribed in the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, constitute a substantial part of choral music. It should be noted that in the same period of time choral music played an important role abroad as well. Another field of publications is music used in musical education. The widespread network of Lithuanian music schools creates the need for methodological music publications for students (various levels, solfeggio, exercises, etc.). Non-pedagogical instrumental music publications constitute a less significant part of publications produced in 1990-2014. However, they play a very important part in the community of musicians. The best pieces among them are music publications for keyboard instruments. Publications of sheets for other instruments (string, wind, percussion, folk instruments and ensembles of these instruments) constitute a several times smaller part. The research did not come across any music publications of exotic/ unusual instruments.

The current research analyses 2092 publications of Lithuanian music produced in Lithuania and abroad. The publications were registered relying on bibliographical publications, catalogues of the Martynas Mazvydas National Library of Lithuania, information systems of Lithuanian and foreign libraries, online databases, and catalogues of publishing houses. An assumption is made that the majority of music published in 1990-2015 has been registered. However, several publications might have not been registered in the Lithuanian library system and might have remained unknown. In the dynamics of music publication in 1990-2014, it can be observed that publishing mainly depended on the economic situation. For instance, in 1998, the publishing situation in Lithuania was significantly influenced by the economic crisis (GDP grew in 1998 to 7.3% and in 1999 fell to 1.7%). The publishing business was influenced accordingly: in 1999, the number of publications fell from 112 items published annually to 67 items, and in 2006 the number of publications grew again (106 music publications).

In 2008-2010, Lithuania was hit by another economic crisis, which influenced the publishing business again. In 2009, 85 sheet music publications were published and in 2010 the number fell to 42 annual publications. Only in 2012, was a slightly larger number of publications was produced (62 music publications). The dynamics of music publishing abroad was not subject to these same fluctuations.

Vocal and choral music

Singing culture in Lithuania is one of the music standards. Music publications were influenced by the needs of numerous choirs, large groups of singers of various ages, the traditions of Song Celebrations, and the deep roots of popular music. Choral and vocal (religious and secular) music constitutes the largest part, i.e., more than a half of all music publications produced in 1990-2014. The total number of registered publications of this kind is 1,190. An average number of Lithuanian vocal music publications produced in Lithuania and abroad annually is 40 and 10 respectively. Lithuanian music was able to develop naturally only after the restoration of Lithuanian independence, i.e., liberation from the Soviet system and the prevalence of communist symbols (especially in vocal and choral music). Now, music is published to meet the needs of the musicians, not to support a political ideology. Therefore, the data collected reflects the repertoire of Lithuanian musicians and soloists. Choral songs, children's songs, solo vocal chamber music, and folk songs are equally important in the publication of music. Popular music songs constitute about 3% (23 items) of music publications and includes several large choral music pieces as well as excerpts from operas and operettas. The Song Celebrations repertoires should be mentioned as separate relevant publications: a total number of 42 music publications of choral songs designated for the Song Celebrations were published in 1990-2014. The table reflects secular vocal and choral music genres exclusively. Religious music is discussed in the following section.

Religious music

Religious music occupies one of the most significant pages in the history of Lithuanian music. In addition to professional religious music, traditional folk hymns should also be mentioned. After the restoration of independence in Lithuania, religious music again became the centre of attention. Despite its historically determined isolation from modern theories and discussions, religious music reflects general tendencies in the development of religious music. It is obvious that the approach to the music of liturgical origin at the end of the twentieth and the beginning of the twenty-first centuries in Lithuania, like in other countries, is widely varied' (5). Religious music was published continually. It should be noted that a large number of religious music pieces were published outside Lithuania in 1990-2014 (160 items). Meanwhile, in Lithuania, 192 publications of music were produced in the same period of time. From the year 2000, music published abroad dominates.

From 1990, Lithuanian musicians were free to perform in foreign countries for the first time since 1945. The first groups to perform successfully abroad were Lithuanian choirs. Choirs, including Jauna muzika, Vilnius, Psalmos, Aidija, Virgo, and many others, constantly participated in various competitions abroad and won prizes, thus spreading around not only Lithuanian choral culture but also the religious and secular choral music written by Lithuanian composers. Due to such dissemination, publications of Lithuanian choral music were greatly intensified abroad. Individual enthusiasts got involved in the dissemination of Lithuanian music. Vance Wolverton, a musician from the USA, produced a series of choral music pieces written by Baltic composers, including religious pieces by Kristina Vasiliauskaite and Vytautas Miskinis. (6) The number of Vytautas Miskinis' religious choral music pieces published abroad is phenomenally high. Carus Verlag, Edition Ferrimontana, Coeur Joie and other publishing houses have produced about 30 of Miskinis' pieces in 1990-2014, most of which are religious choral music for mixed voices. Thus, due to such a unique dissemination, the music of Vytautas Miskinis constitutes about 23% of Lithuanian religious music published abroad. Other popular composers of modern religious and secular choral music published abroad are Vaclovas Augustinas, Jonas Tamulionis and Juozas Naujalis. It should be noted that after religious practices were restored in Lithuania in 1990, liturgical music genres were mainly published in Lithuania: ordinarium mass services and its parts as well as traditional hymnals sets (85 hymnals and several separate hymns published in Lithuania and 11 hymnals published abroad). Meanwhile, more original sacral Lithuanian music designed for extra-liturgical use flourished in the world.

Religious instrumental music was not a prominent genre for publication in 1990-2014. It mostly consists of pieces for organ (6 registered publications of music). The following music pieces for different instrumental ensembles should be mentioned as important ones: V. Bartulis' De profundis, A. Malcys' Vox clamantis in deserto, O. Narbutaite's Melodija alyvu sode, and A. Remesa's Septyni Kristaus zodziai. (7)

Meanwhile in Lithuania, hymnals have recently been published not only for the Catholic religion which is the largest in Lithuania but also for other religion. For instance, Septintosios dienos adventistu hymnal (Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal) was issued in 2011 by the publisher Amzinoji uola.

Instrumental music

The grand piano has been a compulsory instrument in all Lithuanian music schools for many years. In addition, many musicians and music lovers possess a piano at home. Therefore, it is no wonder that piano music dominates the field of Lithuanian music for instruments.

The following numbers of publications of music were produced in 1990-2014: grand piano (448 items), string instruments (199 items), wind instruments (147 items) and percussion (21 items). Instrumental music genres are correlated with the popularity of the instruments. The more popular the instrument, the more traditional genres dominate in the publishing. For instance, common genres of grand piano and accordion are Classical and Romantic sonatas, music pieces, music for beginners, etc. Similar genres dominate in the publications for string instruments. However, less-traditional genres and modern music pieces dominate publications for wind instruments and percussion. The pieces can be recognised either from original titles, such as J. Janulyte's work for solo flute Kas yra istyres Liepos nakties bedugne, kiek sieksniu reikia lekti gilyn i tustuma, kurioje nieko nebeivyksta? [Who has traced the abyss of a July night, how many miles does it take to dart downwards to the hollow, where nothing else happens?] from 2006 or from the musical language. An active performance of carillon-enthusiasts in Kaunas (established in 1937) and Klaipeda (established in 1987) should be mentioned as a separate phenomenon observed in the publication of instrumental music. Their increased activity and concerts became a tradition in their cities. Klaipeda University issued 6 publications of music for carillon.

Out of 880 sheet music publications of instrumental music, 209 publications are ensemble music. Almost all chamber instrumental music publications were produced by professional modern composers. 26% of these publications were published by the Lithuanian Music Information and Publishing Centre and 13% by the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre. Chamber music genres were naturally determined by the prevalence of institutions that promoted professional modern art in the publication of chamber music. As the mission of such publishers was to promote professional musical heritage, professional music was published along with popular ones.

This is where one can observe a strategic approach in the publishing of sheet music: not only pieces of popular authors and sheet music to meet the needs of modern music community are published but also care is taken to support musical heritage and dissemination.

Educational publications

About 32,600 pupils go to music schools or attend other musical educational institutions in Lithuania. Musical education in Lithuania is as popular as sports activities (about 33,000 pupils). Meanwhile in 2012, only 13,000 pupils chose non-formal education in the field of arts and 7,400 pupils in the field of choreography. (8) The total number of pupils and teachers in musical education institutions is 37,570 and there are 4,200 additional students and teachers in specialised art schools, conservatories, and higher education institutions. Altogether, more than 50% of the participants in musical education in Lithuania consist of members of the Lithuanian musician community. (9) Therefore, it is natural that an abundant genre in music publication consists of educational publications, such as music collections for pupils, textbooks, additional methodological material for teachers, etc. It should be noted that no publications from abroad were found in this field. However, it is known that expert instrumentalists (mostly pianists) teach in the USA, such as N. Bogutaite-Dediniene whose Pianino pamokos [Piano Lessons] were published in 2000 by the J. Petronis Publishing House and several other publishing houses as well. The total number of publications of music designed for educational purposes in 1990-2014 is 158 out of which the highest number of educational publications was concentrated in 1996-1998 (about 12 publications produced each year).

Stage music and symphonic music

V. Juozapaitis' and T Makacinas' symphonies were published Moscow in 1990 by the Soviet publishing house [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. In general, solid vocal and instrumental music genres were rarely published after 1990 because their publication requires larger human (competitive publishers) and financial resources. Stage music (only 21 publications registered) was not published in full score but only in piano-vocal editions (popular arias). Symphonic (and chamber symphonic) music (69 music publications registered) were mainly published by institutions that actively promoted music culture in general, such as the Lithuanian Music Information and Publishing Centre and Klaipeda University. Another instance of an attempt to preserve Lithuanian musical heritage and dissemination is the unique activities of Jonas Petronis. In order to disseminate the works of professional and recognised Lithuanian composers, he issued many publications of music including symphonies such as M. K. Ciurlionis' Jura and Miske, the overture Kestutis, the work for grand piano and orchestra Triptych, the cantata De Profundis for the choir and symphonic orchestra, a Polonaise for the wind orchestra, and similar large-scale works.


Publication of Lithuanian music is not and never was a priority area of culture policy. It has always depended on the geopolitical and economic situation in the country as well as on the attitude of prominent cultural figures towards the dissemination and promotion of Lithuanian music culture. The main priority for publishing houses in the country and abroad is meeting the needs of consumers. Therefore, in order to gain profit, they readily adapt to the expectations of musical communities. This is revealed in the statistics of the music publications registered in the research. The most popular traditional genres are the easiest to be published while professional works of famous composers are only published thanks to those publishers who are eager to promote Lithuanian music culture or who have the support of various funds. Thus, a rather marginal music publishing area has been created: publications of unpopular but artistic and historically significant works depend on such uncoordinated factors as a personality or an initiative of a publishing house or a cultural institution. An establishment of a state musical heritage publishing strategy would contribute to publishing not only traditional and popular genres but also relevant professional works of various genres. Currently, publication of music in Lithuania and abroad covers only a small part of Lithuanian musical heritage.

Asta Bielinskiene, Zivile Casaite, Julija Paliukenaite (1)

(1.) Asta Bielinskiene, Zivile Casaite and Julija Paliukenaite are librarians at Martynas Mazvydas National Library of Lithuania and researchers at Kaunas University of Technology, Lithuania. This article was prepared as part of a project funded by a grant (No. LIT-8-60/2014) from the Research Council of Lithuania.

(2.) D. Kucinskas, 'Natijleidyba Lietuvoje 1990-2013 metais', Knygotyra, T 62 (2014), p. 168-186.

(3.) R. Misiunas, 'Leidyba Lietuvoje', Daile, No. 1 (2002), p. 86-89.

(4.) A. Karaska, 'Muzika (leidykla),' Visuotine lietuviu enciklopedija; T. XV, (Vilnius: Mokslo ir enciklopediju leidybos institutes 2009), p. 639.

(5.) D. Kalavinskaite, 'Teoriniai siuolaikines lietuviu religines muzikos kontekstai ir perspektyvos', Menotyra, T. 16, No. 1-2 (2009), p. 50-61.

(6.) Published by Santa Barbara Publishing, Santa Barbara, CA, .php?Title=Baltic Series edited by Vance Wolverton.

(7.) V. Bartulis, De profundis (Vilnius: Lietuvos muzikos informacijos ir leidybos centras, 2000); A. Malcys, Vox clamantis in deserto (Vilnius: Lietuvos muzikos informacijos ir leidybos centras, 2001); O. Narbutaite, Melodija alyvtf sode (Vilnius: Lietuvos muzikos informacijos ir leidybos centras, 2006); A. Remesa, Septyni Kristaus zodziai (Klaipeda : Klaipedos universiteto leidykla, 2005).

(8.) 'Neformaliojo ugdymo aktualijos,' Svietimo Problemos Analize, gruodis Nr. 20 (84) (2012), http://www ugdymo aktualijos.pdf.

(9.) D. Kucinskas, 'Natu leidyba Lietuvoje 1990-2013 metais', Knygotyra, T. 62 (2014), p. 168-186.
TABLE 1 Vocal music genres in the publications of Lithuanian music
(except religious music) between 1990-2014.

Choral songs            26%
Excerpts of stage       1%
  pieces, arias,
Vocal chamber music.    25%
  Songs, ballads,
Folk songs              18%
Big choral pieces,      1%
  oratories, cantatas
Children's songs        27%
Popular songs           3%

Note: Table made from bar graph.
COPYRIGHT 2015 International Association of Music Libraries, Archives and Documentation Centres
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2015 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Bielinskiene, Asta; Casaite, Zivile; Paliukenaite, Julija
Publication:Fontes Artis Musicae
Article Type:Report
Date:Apr 1, 2015
Previous Article:MusicSG: a digital music archive of Singapore's music.
Next Article:Manually identifying the entities of work and expression based on music MARC data: towards automatic identification for FRBRizing OPACs.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2021 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters |