Music of Russia

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Music of Russia
Beer, Russian boy with balalaika.jpg
Specific forms
Religious music
Traditional music
Media and performance
Music awards
Music charts
Music festivals
Music media
Nationalistic and patriotic songs
National anthem Anthem of Russia
Regional music
Local forms
Related areas

Music of Russia denotes music produced from Russia and/or by Russians. Russia is a large and culturally diverse country, with many ethnic groups, each with their own locally developed music. Russian music also includes significant contributions from ethnic minorities, who populated the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union and modern-day Russia.

Russia transcontinental country in Eastern Europe and Northern Asia

Russia, or the Russian Federation, is a transcontinental country in Eastern Europe and North Asia. At 17,125,200 square kilometres (6,612,100 sq mi), Russia is, by a considerable margin, the largest country in the world by area, covering more than one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area, and the ninth most populous, with about 146.79 million people as of 2019, including Crimea. About 77% of the population live in the western, European part of the country. Russia's capital, Moscow, is one of the largest cities in the world and the second largest city in Europe; other major cities include Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg and Nizhny Novgorod. Extending across the entirety of Northern Asia and much of Eastern Europe, Russia spans eleven time zones and incorporates a wide range of environments and landforms. From northwest to southeast, Russia shares land borders with Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia and North Korea. It shares maritime borders with Japan by the Sea of Okhotsk and the U.S. state of Alaska across the Bering Strait. However, Russia recognises two more countries that border it, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, both of which are internationally recognized as parts of Georgia.

Russians are an East Slavic ethnic group and nation native to European Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe, the most numerous ethnic group in Europe. The majority of ethnic Russians live in the Russian Federation, notable minorities exist in other former Soviet states such as Belarus, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Ukraine and the Baltic states. A large Russian diaspora also exists all over the world, with notable numbers in the United States, Germany, Brazil, and Canada. The culture of the ethnic Russian people has a long tradition and it is a foundation for the modern culture of the whole of Russia. The Russian language originally was the language of ethnic Russians. They are historically Orthodox Christians by religion.

Culture Social behavior and norms found in society

Culture is the social behavior and norms found in human societies.


Russian music went through a long history, beginning from ritual folk songs and the sacred music of the Russian Orthodox Church. The 19th century saw the rise of highly acclaimed Russian classical music, and in the 20th century major contributions by various composers such as Igor Stravinsky as well as Soviet composers, while the modern styles of Russian popular music developed, including Russian rock, Russian hip hop and Russian pop.

Russian classical music

Russian classical music is a genre of classical music related to Russia's culture, people, or character. The 19th-century romantic period saw the largest development of this genre, with the emergence in particular of The Five, a group of composers associated with Mily Balakirev, and of the more German style of Pyotr Tchaikovsky.

Igor Stravinsky Russian-born composer

Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky was a Russian-born composer, pianist, and conductor. He is widely considered one of the most important and influential composers of the 20th century.

Russian hip hop

Russian hip hop refers to hip hop music recorded in Russia or in the Russian language in former Soviet states like Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. Some Russian rappers also perform in English and German languages. Hits by Russian rappers are included in the soundtracks of some PC-games and movies.


Early history

Medieval Gusli players (painting by Victor Vasnetsov) Gusliary.jpg
Medieval Gusli players (painting by Victor Vasnetsov)

Written documents exist that describe the musical culture of the Rus'. The most popular kind of instruments in medieval Russia were thought to have been string instruments, such as the gusli or gudok. Archeologists have uncovered examples of these instruments in the Novgorod region dating as early as 11th century. [1] (Novgorod republic had deep traditions in music; its most popular folk hero and the chief character of several epics was Sadko, a gusli player). Other instruments in common use include flutes (svirel), and percussive instruments such as the treshchotka and the buben. The most popular form of music, however was singing. Bylinas (epic ballads) about folk heroes such as Sadko, Ilya Muromets, and others were often sung, sometimes to instrumental accompaniment. The texts of some of these epics have been recorded.

Rus people ethnic group

The Rus' people are generally understood in English-language scholarship as ethnically or ancestrally Scandinavian people trading and raiding on the river-routes between the Baltic and the Black Seas from around the eighth to eleventh centuries AD. Thus they are often referred to in English-language research as "Viking Rus'". The scholarly consensus is that Rus' people originated in what is currently coastal Middle Sweden around the eighth century and that their name has the same origin as Roslagen in Sweden.

String instrument musical instrument that generates tones by one or more strings stretched between two points

String instruments, stringed instruments, or chordophones are musical instruments that produce sound from vibrating strings when the performer plays or sounds the strings in some manner.

Gusli Slavic multi-string plucked instrument

Gusli is the oldest East Slavic multi-string plucked instrument, belonging to the zither family, due to its strings being parallel to its resonance board. Its roots lie in Veliky Novgorod in Novgorodian Rus'. It may have a connection to the Byzantine form of the Greek kythare, which in turn derived from the ancient lyre, or might have been imported from Western and Central Europe during the Middle Ages, when the zither had immense popularity. It has its relatives in Europe and throughout the world: kantele in Finland, kannel in Estonia, kanklės in Lithuania, kokles in Latvia, Zitter in Germany, citera in Czechia, psalterium in France and so on... Furthermore, the kanun has been found in Arabic countries, and the autoharp, in the United States. It is also related to such ancient instruments as Chinese gu zheng, which has a thousand-year history, and its Japanese relative koto. A stringed musical instrument called guslim is listed as one of the Me in ancient Sumer.

In the period of Muscovy, two major genres formed Russian music: the sacred music of the Orthodox Church and secular music used for entertainment. The sacred music draws its tradition from the Byzantine Empire, with key elements being used in Russian Orthodox bell ringing, as well as choral singing. Neumes were developed for musical notation, and as a result several examples of medieval sacred music have survived to this day, among them two stichera composed by Tsar Ivan IV [2] in the 16th century.

Russian liturgical music

Russian Liturgical Music is the musical tradition of the Russian Orthodox Church. This tradition began with the importation of the Byzantine Empire's religious music when the Kievan Rus' converted to Orthodoxy in 988.

Byzantine Empire Roman Empire during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages

The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It survived the fragmentation and fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD and continued to exist for an additional thousand years until it fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. During most of its existence, the empire was the most powerful economic, cultural and military force in Europe. "Byzantine Empire" is a term created after the end of the realm; its citizens continued to refer to their empire simply as the Roman Empire, or Romania (Ῥωμανία), and to themselves as "Romans".

Russian Orthodox bell ringing

Russian Orthodox bell ringing has a history starting from the baptism of Rus in 988 and plays an important role in the traditions of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Secular music included the use of musical instruments such as fipple flutes and string instruments, and was usually played on holidays initially by skomorokhs — jesters and minstrels who entertained the nobility. During the reactionary period of the Great Russian Schism in the 17th century, skomorokhs along with their form of secular music were banned from plying their trade numerous times, their instruments were burned and those who disagree with Alexis of Russia's 1648 law "About the correction of morals and the destruction of superstitions" (Об исправлении нравов и уничтожении суеверий) were punished physically first and then were to be deported to Malorossia (modern Ukraine), but despite these restrictions, some of their traditions survived to the present day. [3] [4] [5]


A fipple is a constricted mouthpiece common to many end-blown flutes, such as the tin whistle and the recorder. These instruments are known variously as fipple flutes, duct flutes, or tubular-ducted flutes.


A skomorokh was a medieval East Slavic harlequin, or actor, who could also sing, dance, play musical instruments and compose for oral/musical and dramatic performances. The etymology of the word is not completely clear. There are hypotheses that the word is derived from the Greek σκώμμαρχος ; from the Italian scaramuccia ; from the Arabic masẋara; and many others.

Alexis of Russia Tsar of Russia

Aleksey Mikhailovich was the Tsar of Russia from 1645 until his death in 1676. His reign saw wars with Poland and Sweden, schism in the Russian Orthodox Church, and the major Cossack revolt of Stenka Razin. Nevertheless, at the time of his death Russia spanned almost 2,000,000,000 acres (8,100,000 km2).

18th and 19th century: Russian classical music

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, a famous Classical Russian composer Tchaikovsky.jpg
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, a famous Classical Russian composer
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, a prominent Russian composer of the 19th century (portrait by Valentin Serov) Walentin Alexandrowitsch Serow 004.jpg
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, a prominent Russian composer of the 19th century (portrait by Valentin Serov)

Russia was a late starter in developing a native tradition of classical music due to the proscription by the Orthodox Church against secular music. [6] Beginning in the reign of Ivan IV, the Imperial Court invited Western composers and musicians to fill this void. By the time of Peter I, these artists were a regular fixture at Court. [7] While not personally inclined toward music, Peter saw European music as a mark of civilization and a way of Westernizing the country; his establishment of the Western-style city of Saint Petersburg helped foster its spread to the rest of the upper classes. [8] A craze for Italian opera at Court during the reigns of Empresses Elisabeth and Catherine also helped spread interest in Western music among the aristocracy. [9] This craze became so pervasive that many were not even aware that Russian composers existed. [10]

Peter the Great Tsar and 1st Emperor, founder of the Russian Empire

Peter the Great, Peter I or Peter Alexeyevich ruled the Tsardom of Russia and later the Russian Empire from 7 May [O.S. 27 April] 1682 until his death in 1725, jointly ruling before 1696 with his elder half-brother, Ivan V. Through a number of successful wars, he expanded the Tsardom into a much larger empire that became a major European power and also laid the groundwork for the Russian navy after capturing ports at Azov and the Baltic Sea. He led a cultural revolution that replaced some of the traditionalist and medieval social and political systems with ones that were modern, scientific, Westernised and based on the Enlightenment. Peter's reforms made a lasting impact on Russia, and many institutions of the Russian government trace their origins to his reign. He is also known for founding and developing the city of Saint Petersburg, which remained the capital of Russia until 1917.

Saint Petersburg Federal city in the Northwestern federal district, Russia

Saint Petersburg is Russia's second-largest city after Moscow, with 5 million inhabitants in 2012, part of the Saint Petersburg agglomeration with a population of 6.2 million (2015). An important Russian port on the Baltic Sea, it has a status of a federal subject.

The focus on European music meant that Russian composers had to write in Western style if they wanted their compositions to be performed. Their success at this was variable due to a lack of familiarity with European rules of composition. Some composers were able to travel abroad for training, usually to Italy, and learned to compose vocal and instrumental works in the Italian Classical tradition popular in the day. These include ethnic Ukrainian composers Dmitri Bortniansky, Maksim Berezovsky and Artem Vedel. [11]

The first great Russian composer to exploit native Russian music traditions into the realm of secular music was Mikhail Glinka (1804–1857), who composed the early Russian language operas Ivan Susanin and Ruslan and Lyudmila . They were neither the first operas in the Russian language nor the first by a Russian, but they gained fame for relying on distinctively Russian tunes and themes and being in the vernacular.

Russian folk music became the primary source for the younger generation composers. A group that called itself "The Mighty Five", headed by Balakirev (1837–1910) and including Rimsky-Korsakov (1844–1908), Mussorgsky (1839–81), Borodin (1833–87) and César Cui (1835–1918), proclaimed its purpose to compose and popularize Russian national traditions in classical music. Among the Mighty Five's most notable compositions were the operas The Snow Maiden (Snegurochka), Sadko , Boris Godunov , Prince Igor , Khovanshchina , and symphonic suite Scheherazade . Many of the works by Glinka and the Mighty Five were based on Russian history, folk tales and literature, and are regarded as masterpieces of romantic nationalism in music.

This period also saw the foundation of the Russian Musical Society (RMS) in 1859, led by composer-pianists Anton (1829–94) and Nikolay Rubinstein (1835–81). The Mighty Five was often presented as the Russian Music Society's rival, with the Five embracing their Russian national identity and the RMS being musically more conservative. However the RMS founded Russia's first Conservatories in St Petersburg and in Moscow: the former trained the great Russian composer Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840–93), best known for ballets like Swan Lake , Sleeping Beauty , and The Nutcracker . He remains Russia's best-known composer outside Russia. Easily the most famous successor in his style is Sergey Rakhmaninov (1873–1943), who studied at the Moscow Conservatory (where Tchaikovsky himself taught).

The late 19th and early 20th century saw the third wave of Russian classics: Igor Stravinsky (1882–1971), Alexander Scriabin (1872–1915), Sergei Prokofiev (1891–1953) and Dmitri Shostakovich (1906–1975). They were experimental in style and musical language. Stravinsky was particularly influential on his contemporaries and subsequent generations of composers, both in Russia and across Europe and the United States. Stravinsky permanently emigrated after the Russian revolution. Although Prokofiev also left Russia in 1918, he eventually returned and contributed to Soviet music.

In the late 19th to early 20th centuries, the so-called "romance songs" became very popular. The greatest and most popular singers of the "romances" usually sang in operas at the same time. The most popular was Fyodor Shalyapin. Singers usually composed music and wrote the lyrics, as did Alexander Vertinsky, Konstantin Sokolsky, and Pyotr Leshchenko.

20th century: Soviet music

The Orchestra of Valentin Sporius, 1937, Kuybyshev Orchestra of Valentin Sporius.jpg
The Orchestra of Valentin Sporius, 1937, Kuybyshev

After the Russian Revolution, Russian music changed dramatically. The early 1920s were the era of avant-garde experiments, inspired by the "revolutionary spirit" of the era. New trends in music (like music based on synthetic chords) were proposed by enthusiastic clubs such as Association for Contemporary Music. [12] Arseny Avraamov pioneered the graphical sound, and Leon Theremin invented thereminvox, one of the early electronic instruments.

However, in the 1930s, under the regime of Joseph Stalin, music was forced to be contained within certain boundaries of content and innovation. Classicism was favoured, and experimentation discouraged. [13] (A notable example: Shostakovich's veristic opera Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District was denounced in Pravda newspaper as "formalism" and soon removed from theatres for years).

The musical patriarchs of the era were Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Aram Khachaturian and Alexander Alexandrov. The latter is best known for composing the Anthem of the Soviet Union and the song "The Sacred War". With time, a wave of younger Soviet composers, such as Georgy Sviridov, Alfred Schnittke, and Sofia Gubaidulina took the forefront due to the rigorous Soviet education system. [12] The Union of Soviet Composers was established in 1932 and became the major regulatory body for Soviet music.

Jazz was introduced to Soviet audiences by Valentin Parnakh in the 1920s. Singer Leonid Uteosov and film score composer Isaak Dunayevsky helped its popularity, especially with the popular comedy movie Jolly Fellows , which featured a jazz soundtrack. Eddie Rosner, Oleg Lundstrem and others contributed to Soviet jazz music.

Alla Pugachova, Soviet 1970-80s pop star Bundesarchiv Bild 183-R0428-0022, Berlin, Palast der Republik, Ala Pugatschowa.jpg
Alla Pugachova, Soviet 1970-80s pop star

Film soundtracks produced a significant part of popular Soviet/Russian songs of the time, as well as of orchestral and experimental music. The 1930s saw Prokofiev's scores for Sergei Eisenstein's epic movies, and also soundtracks by Isaak Dunayevsky that ranged from classical pieces to popular jazz. Notable film composers from the late Soviet era included Vladimir Dashkevich, Tikhon Khrennikov, Alexander Zatsepin, and Gennady Gladkov, among others.

Among the notable people of Soviet electronic music were Vyacheslav Mescherin, creator of Electronic Instruments Orchestra, and ambient composer Eduard Artemiev, best known for his scores for Tarkovsky's science fiction films.

The 1960s and 1970s saw the beginning of modern Russian pop and rock music. It started with the wave of VIAs (vocal-instrumental ensembles), a specific sort of music bands performing radio-friendly pop, rock and folk, composed by members of the Union of Composers and approved by censorship. This wave begun with Pojuschie Gitary and Pesnyary; popular VIA bands also included Tcvety, Zemlyane and Verasy. That period of music also saw individual pop stars such as Iosif Kobzon, Sofia Rotaru, Alla Pugacheva, Valery Leontiev, Yuri Antonov. Many of them remain popular to this day. They were the mainstream of Soviet music media, headliners of festivals such as Song of the Year, Sopot, and Golden Orpheus. The year 1977 saw also establishment of Moskovsky Komsomolets hit parade, the Russia's first music chart.

Kino, an iconic Soviet post-punk band Kino1986leningrad.jpg
Kino, an iconic Soviet post-punk band

Music publishing and promotion in the Soviet Union was a state monopoly. To earn money and fame from their talent, Soviet musicians had to assign to the state-owned label Melodiya. This meant accepting certain boundaries of experimentation, that is, the family-friendly performance and politically neutral lyrics favoured by censors. Meanwhile, with the arrival of new sound recording technologies, it became possible for common fans to record and exchange their music via magnetic tape recorders. This helped underground music subculture (such as bard and rock music) to flourish despite being ignored by the state-owned media. [14]

"Bardic" or "authors' song" (авторская песня) is an umbrella term for the singers-songwriters movement that arose at the early 1960s. It can be compared to the American folk revival movement of the 60s, with their simple single-guitar arrangements and poetical lyrics. Initially ignored by the state media, bards like Vladimir Vysotsky, Bulat Okudzhava, Alexander Galich gained so much popularity that they finished being distributed by the state owned Melodiya record company. The largest festival of bard music is Grushinsky festival, held annually since 1968.

Rock music came to the Soviet Union in the late 1960s with Beatlemania, and many rock bands arose during the late 1970s, such as Mashina Vremeni, Aquarium, and Autograph. Unlike the VIAs, these bands were not allowed to publish their music, and remained underground. The "golden age" of Russian rock is widely considered to have been the 1980s. Censorship was mitigated, rock clubs opened in Leningrad and Moscow, and soon rock became mainstream. [15] Popular bands of that time include Kino, Alisa, Aria, DDT, Nautilus Pompilius, and Grazhdanskaya Oborona. New wave and post-punk were the trend in 80s Russian rock. [14]

21st century: modern Russian music

Aria, Russia's most prominent heavy metal band Popov, Udalov i Kholstinin.jpg
Aria, Russia's most prominent heavy metal band
t.A.T.u., a Russian pop group that broke through to Western charts Gaudi arena.jpg
t.A.T.u., a Russian pop group that broke through to Western charts
Oxxxymiron, a popular Russian 2010s rapper Vystuplenie Oxxxymiron v Ledovom (171028) (8).jpg
Oxxxymiron, a popular Russian 2010s rapper

Russian pop music is well developed, and enjoys mainstream success via pop music media such as MTV Russia, Muz TV and various radio stations. Right after the fall of the Iron Wall, artists, like Christian Ray, took an active political stance, supporting the first president Boris Yeltsin. A number of pop artists have broken through in recent years. The Russian duet t.A.T.u. is the most successful Russian pop band of its time. They have reached number one in many countries around the world with several of their singles and albums. Other popular artists include the Eurovision 2008 winner Dima Bilan, as well as Valery Meladze, VIA Gra, Nyusha, Vintage, Philipp Kirkorov, Vitas and Alsou. Music producers like Igor Krutoy, Maxim Fadeev, Ivan Shapovalov, [16] Igor Matvienko, and Konstantin Meladze control a major share of Russia's pop music market, in some ways continuing the Soviet style of artist management. On the other side, some independent acts such as Neoclubber use new-era promo tools [17] to avoid these old-fashioned Soviet ways of reaching their fans. [18] Russian girl trio Serebro are one of the most popular Russian acts to dominate charts outside of the European market. The group's most known single "Mama Lover" placed in the US Billboard Charts, becoming the first Russian act to chart since t.A.T.u.'s single "All The Things She Said". [19]

Russian production companies, such as Hollywood World, [20] have collaborated with western music stars, creating a new, more globalized space for music.

The rock music scene has gradually evolved from the united movement into several different subgenres similar to those found in the West. There are youth pop rock and alternative rock (Mumiy Troll, Zemfira, Splean, Bi-2, Zveri). There are also punk rock, ska and grunge (Korol i Shut, Pilot, Leningrad, Distemper, Elisium). The heavy metal scene has grown substantially, with new bands playing power and progressive metal (Catharsis, Epidemia, Shadow Host, Mechanical Poet), and pagan metal (Arkona, Butterfly Temple, Temnozor). [21]

Rock music media has become prevalent in modern Russia. The most notable is Nashe Radio, which promotes classic rock and pop punk. Its Chart Dozen (Чартова дюжина) is the main rock chart in Russia, [22] and its Nashestvie rock festival attracts around 100,000 fans annually and was dubbed "Russian Woodstock" by the media. [23] Others include A-One TV channel, specializing in alternative music and hardcore. It has promoted bands like Amatory, Tracktor Bowling and Slot, and has awarded many of them with its Russian Alternative Music Prize. [24] Radio Maximum broadcasts both Russian and western modern pop and rock.

Other types of music include folk rock (Melnitsa), trip hop (Linda) and reggae (Jah Division). Hip hop/rap is represented by Bad Balance, Kasta, Ligalize and Mnogotochie. An experimental rapcore scene is headlined by Dolphin and Kirpichi.

A specific, exclusively Russian kind of music has emerged, which mixes criminal songs, bard and romance music. It is labelled "Russian chanson" (a neologism popularized by its main promoter, Radio Chanson). Its main artists include Mikhail Krug, Mikhail Shufutinsky, and Alexander Rosenbaum. With lyrics about daily life and society, and frequent romanticisation of the criminal underworld, chanson is especially popular among adult males of the lower social class. [25] [26]

Electronic music in modern Russia is underdeveloped in comparison to other genres. This is mostly due to a lack of promotion. [27] There are some independent underground acts performing IDM, downtempo, house, trance and dark psytrance (including tracker music scene), and broadcasting their work via internet radio. They include Parasense, Fungus Funk, Kindzadza, Lesnikov-16, Yolochnye Igrushki, Messer Für Frau Müller and Zedd (Russian-German artist). Of the few artists that have broken through to the mainstream media, there are PPK [28] and DJ Groove, [29] that exploit Soviet movie soundtracks for their dance remixes. In the 2000s the Darkwave and Industrial scene, closely related to Goth subculture, has become prevalent, with such artists as Dvar, Otto Dix, Stillife, Theodor Bastard, Roman Rain, Shmeli and Biopsychoz. Hardbass, an offshoot of UK Hard House originating in Russia in the late 90's, has spread internationally via the internet, with acts such as DJ Blyatman, Hard Bass School, & XS Project amassing significant followings.

The profile of classical or concert hall music has to a considerable degree been eclipsed by on one hand the rise of commercial popular music in Russia, and on the other its own lack of promotion since the collapse of the USSR. [30] Yet a number of composers born in the 1950s and later have made some impact, notably Leonid Desyatnikov, who became the first composer in decades to have a new opera commissioned by the Bolshoi Theatre ( The Children of Rosenthal , 2005), and whose music has been championed by Gidon Kremer and Roman Mints. Meanwhile, Gubaidulina, amongst several former-Soviet composers of her generation, continues to maintain a high profile outside Russia composing several prestigious and well-received works including "In tempus praesens" (2007) for the violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter.

The early 2000s saw a boom of musicals in Russia. Notre-Dame de Paris , Nord-Ost , Roméo et Juliette , and We Will Rock You were constantly performed in Moscow theatres at the time. The popularity of musicals was hampered by the 2002 Moscow theater hostage crisis and was only revived at the end of the decade.

2010s saw the rise of popularity of Russian hip hop, especially rap battles on the internet by artists like Oxxxymiron and Gnoyny, among others.

Ethnic roots music

Russia today is a multi-ethnic state with over 300 ethnicities living under one flag. Each of these ethnic groups has their own indigenous folk, sacred and in some cases art music, which can loosely be categorized together under the guise of ethnic roots music, or folk music. This category can further be broken down into folkloric (modern adaptations of folk material, and authentic presentations of ethnic music).


In recent years, Adygea has seen the formation of a number of new musical institutions. These include two orchestras, one of which (Russkaya Udal) uses folk instruments, and a chamber music theater.

Adygea's national anthem was written by Iskhak Shumafovich Mashbash with music by Umar Khatsitsovich Tkhabisimov.


Altay is a Central Asian region, known for traditional epics and a number of folk instruments.


The first major study of Bashkir music appeared in 1897, when ethnographer Rybakov S.G. wrote Music and Songs of the Ural's Muslims and Studies of Their Way of Life . Later, Lebedinskiy L.N. collected numerous folk songs in Bashkortostan beginning in 1930. The 1968 foundation of the Ufa State Institute of Arts sponsored research in the field.

The kurai is the most important instrument in the Bashkir ensemble.


The Buryats of the far east is known for distinctive folk music which uses the two-stringed horsehead fiddle, or morin khuur. The style has no polyphony and has little melodic innovation. Narrative structures are very common, many of them long epics which claim to be the last song of a famous hero, such as in the "Last Song of Rinchin Dorzhin". Modern Buryat musicians include the band Uragsha, which uniquely combines Siberian and Russian language lyrics with rock and Buryat folk songs, and Namgar, who is firmly rooted in the folk tradition but also explores connections to other musical cultures.


Alongside the Chechen rebellion of the 1990s came a resurgence in Chechen national identity, of which music is a major part. People like Said Khachukayev became prominent promoting Chechen music.

The Chechen national anthem is said to be "Death or Freedom", an ancient song of uncertain origin.


Dagestan's most famous composer may be Gotfrid Hasanov, who is said to be the first professional composer from Dagestan. He wrote the first Dagestani opera, Khochbar , in 1945 and recorded a great deal of folk music from all the peoples of Dagestan.


Karelians are Finnish, and so much of their music is the same as Finnish music. The Kalevala is a very important part of traditional music; it is a recitation of Finnish legends, and is considered an integral part of the Finnish folk identity.

The Karelian Folk Music Ensemble is a prominent folk group.


Ossetians are people of the Caucasian Region, and thus Ossetian music and dance [31] have similar themes to the music of Chechnya and the music of Dagestan.


Carnival in Petrograd in about 1919 Russianmusicians.jpg
Carnival in Petrograd in about 1919

Archeology and direct evidence show a variety of musical instruments in ancient Russia. Authentic folk instruments include the Livenka (accordion) and woodwinds like zhaleika, svirel and kugikli, as well as numerous percussion instruments: buben, bubenci, kokshnik, korobochka, lozhki, rubel, treschetka, vertushka and zvonchalka.

Chastushkas are a kind of Russian folk song with a long history. They are typically rapped, and are humorous or satiric.

During the 19th century, Count Uvarov led a campaign of nationalist revival which initiated the first professional orchestra with traditional instruments, beginning with Vasily Andreyev, who used the balalaika in an orchestra late in the century. Just after the dawn of the 20th century, Mitrofan Pyatnitsky founded the Pyatnitsky Choir, which used rural peasant singers and traditional sounds.


Shamanism remains an important cultural practice of the ethnic groups of Siberia and Sakhalin, where several dozen groups live. The Yakuts are the largest, and are known for their olonkho songs and the khomus, a jaw harp.


Tatar folk music has rhythmic peculiarities and pentatonic intonation in common with nations of the Volga area, who are ethnically Finno-Ugric and Turkic. Singing girls, renowned for their subtlety and grace, are a prominent component of Tatar folk music. Instruments include the kubyz (violin), quray (flute) and talianka (accordion).


Tuvan throat singing, or xoomii, is famous worldwide, primarily for its novelty. The style is highly unusual and foreign to most listeners, who typically find it inaccessible and amelodic. In throat singing, the natural harmonic resonances of the lips and mouth are tuned to select certain overtones. The style was first recorded by Ted Levin, who helped catalogue a number of different styles. These include borbannadir (which is compared to the sound of a flowing river), sygyt (similar to whistling), xoomii, chylandyk (likened to chirping crickets) and ezengileer (like a horse's trotting). Of particular international fame are the group Huun-Huur-Tu and master throat singer Kongar-ool Ondar.

Ukrainian music

Although Ukraine is an independent country since 1991, Ukrainians constitute the second-largest ethnic minority in Russia. The bandura is the most important and distinctive instrument of the Ukrainian folk tradition, and was utilized by court musicians in the various Tsarist courts. The kobzars, a kind of wandering performers who composed dumy, or folk epics. Many of the early classical composers of Russia such as Dmitry Bortniansky, Maksym Berezovsky, Artemy Vedel, and a significant number of others, were of Ukrainian descent.

See also

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The balalaika is a Russian stringed musical instrument with a characteristic triangular wooden, hollow body, fretted neck and three strings. Two strings are usually tuned to the same note and the third string is a perfect fourth higher. The higher-pitched balalaikas are used to play melodies and chords.The instrument generally has a short sustain, necessitating rapid strumming or plucking when it is used to play melodies. Balalaikas are often used for Russian folk music and dancing.

The music of the United States reflects the country's pluri-ethnic population through a diverse array of styles. It is a mixture of music influenced by West African, Irish, Scottish and mainland European cultures among others. The country's most internationally renowned genres are jazz, blues, country, bluegrass, rock, rhythm and blues, soul, ragtime, hip hop, doo wop, pop, techno, house, folk music, disco, boogaloo, reggaeton, and salsa. American music is heard around the world. Since the beginning of the 20th century, some forms of American popular music have gained a near-global audience.

A roots revival is a trend which includes young performers popularizing the traditional musical styles of their ancestors. Often, roots revivals include an addition of newly composed songs with socially and politically aware lyrics, as well as a general modernization of the folk sound.

The music of Finland can be roughly divided into categories of folk music, classical and contemporary art music, and contemporary popular music.

The music of Croatia, like the divisions of the country itself, has two major influences: Central European, present in central and northern parts of the country including Slavonia, and Mediterranean, present in coastal regions of Dalmatia and Istria.

The music of France reflects a diverse array of styles. In the field of classical music, France has produced several prominent romantic composers, while folk and popular music have seen the rise of the chanson and cabaret style. The earliest known sound recording device in the world, the phonautograph, was patented in France by Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville in 1857. France is also the 5th largest market by value in the world, and its music industry has produced many internationally renowned artists, especially in the nouvelle chanson and electronic music.

Germany claims some of the most renowned composers, singers, producers and performers of the world. Germany is the largest music market in Europe, and third largest in the world.

The content of Ukrainian music covers diverse and multiple component elements of the music that is found in the Western and Eastern musical civilization. It also has a very strong indigenous Slavic and Christian uniqueness whose elements were used among many neighboring nations.

Music of Kazakhstan refers to a wide range of musical styles and genres deriving from Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan is home to the Kazakh State Kurmangazy Orchestra of Folk Instruments, the Kazakh State Philharmonic Orchestra, the Kazakh National Opera and the Kazakh State Chamber Orchestra. The folk instrument orchestra was named after Kurmangazy Sagyrbayuly, a well-known composer and dombra player from the 19th century.

Music of Mongolia

Music is an integral part of Mongolian culture. Among the unique contributions of Mongolia to the world's musical culture are the long songs, overtone singing and morin khuur, the horse-headed fiddle. The music of Mongolia is also rich with varieties related to the various ethnic groups of the country: Oirats, Hotogoid, Tuvans, Darhad, Buryats, Tsaatan, Dariganga, Uzemchins, Barga, Kazakhs and Khalha.

Music of Thailand

The music of Thailand reflects its geographic position at the intersection of China and India, and reflects trade routes that have historically included Persia, Africa, Greece and Rome. Traditional Thai musical instruments are varied and reflect ancient influence from far afield - including the klong thap and khim, the jakhe, the klong jin, and the klong kaek . Though Thailand was never colonized by colonial powers, pop music and other forms of modern Asian, European and American music have become extremely influential. The two most popular styles of traditional Thai music are luk thung and mor lam; the latter in particular has close affinities with the music of Laos.

Music of Albania

The Music of Albania is associated with the country of Albania and Albanian communities. Music has a long tradition in the country and is known for its regional diversity, from the Ghegs in the North to the Tosks in the South. It is an integral part of the national identity, strongly influenced by the country's long and turbulent history, which forced Albanians to protect their culture from their overlords by living in rural and remote mountains.

Themusic of Italy has traditionally been one of the cultural markers of Italian national and ethnic identity and holds an important position in society and in politics. Italian music innovation – in musical scale, harmony, notation, and theatre – enabled the development of opera, in the late 16th century, and much of modern European classical music – such as the symphony and concerto – ranges across a broad spectrum of opera and instrumental classical music and popular music drawn from both native and imported sources.

Music of North Macedonia

The music of North Macedonia refers to all forms of music associated with the Republic of North Macedonia. It has much in common with the music of neighbouring Balkan countries, yet it remains overall distinctive in it's rhythm and sound.

Music of Serbia has a variety of traditional music, which is part of the wider Balkan tradition, with its own distinctive sound and characteristics.

The music of Armenia has its origins in the Armenian Highlands, where people traditionally sang popular folk songs. Armenia has a long musical tradition that was primarily collected and developed by Komitas, a prominent priest and musicologist, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Armenian music has been presented internationally by composers Aram Khachaturian, Alexander Arutiunian, Arno Babadjanian, Karen Kavaleryan as well as by pop musicians and performers such as duduk player Djivan Gasparyan, composer/instrumentalist Ara Gevorgyan, singers Sirusho, Eva Rivas and many others.

Music of Belarus overview of musical traditions in Belarus

Belarus is an Eastern European country with a rich tradition of folk and religious music. The country's folk music traditions can be traced back to the times of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The country's musical traditions spread with its people to countries like Russia, Canada, United States, Kazakhstan, Latvia and Ukraine. The people of Belarus were exposed mostly to Russian pop music during this period and also after independence in 1991. In 2002, however, Alexander Lukashenko has signed a decree requiring 50% of all FM broadcast music to be Belarusian in origin, and since January 1, 2005 the rule was made even stricter. However, it does not regulate the language of the songs, so most of the music which is broadcast is still in Russian.

Music in Tatarstan

Tatarstan is an autonomous republic within Russia, where the largest ethnic group are the Tatars. Their traditional music is a mixture of Turkic and Finno-Ugric elements, reportedly bridging Mongolian and Hungarian music. Nonetheless, the most distinguishing feature of Tatar music is the pentatonic scale, which aligns it with the Chinese and Vietnamese musical traditions. Instrumental dance music, secular song and sacred music are all a part of Tatar folk music. Instrumentation includes the kubyz, surnay, quray (flute) and garmon-talianka.

Russian traditional music

Russian traditional music specifically deals with the folk music traditions of the ethnic Russian people. It does not include the various forms of art music, which in Russia often contains folk melodies and folk elements or music of other ethnic groups living in Russia.

Ukrainian folk music includes a number of varieties of traditional, folkloric, folk-inspired popular and folk-inspired classical traditions.



  1. РУССКИЕ МУЗЫКАЛЬНЫЕ ИНСТРУМЕНТЫ [Russian Musical Instruments]. (in Russian).
  2. Marina Ritzarev. Eighteenth-century Russian music. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2006. ISBN   0-7546-3466-3, ISBN   978-0-7546-3466-9
  3. "Russian Music before Glinka".
  4. "Интерфакты. Часть 6. Балалайка" [Interfacts. Part 6. Balalaika] (in Russian). Tomsk Regional State Philarmony. Archived from the original on 9 May 2018. Retrieved 6 June 2019.
  5. "Почему Алексей Михайлович приказал сжечь все балалайки" [Why did Alexei Mikhailovich order to burn all the balalaikas] (in Russian). 7 December 2018. Retrieved 7 June 2019. Everyone knows about the witch hunt of Inquisition times, but only few people aware that in 17th century Russia there were burning balalaikas for the same purpose
  6. Holden, xxi; Maes, 14.
  7. Frolova-Walker, New Grove (2001), 21:925
  8. Maes, 14.
  9. Bergamini, 175; Kovnatskaya, New Grove (2001), 22:116; Maes, 14.
  10. Campbell, New Grove (2001), 10:3, Maes, 30.
  11. Maes, 16.
  12. 1 2 Amy Nelson. Music for the Revolution: Musicians and Power in Early Soviet Russia. Penn State University Press, 2004. 346 pages. ISBN   978-0-271-02369-4
  13. Soviet Music and Society under Lenin and Stalin: The Baton and Sickle. Edited by Neil Edmunds. Routledge, 2009. Pages: 264. ISBN   978-0-415-54620-1
  14. 1 2 "History of Rock Music in Russia :: Music :: Culture & Arts :: Russia-InfoCentre".
  15. Walter Gerald Moss. A History Of Russia: Since 1855, Volume 2. Anthem Series on Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies. Anthem Press, 2004. 643 pages.
  16. Berger, Arion (3 October 2002). "Album Reviews T.A.T.U.: 200 KM/H In The Wrong Lane". Rolling Stone . No. 906. Archived from the original on 2008-02-22.
  17. "Uncharted Territory: Pomplamoose Enters Top 10, Friendly Fires Debut". Billboard.
  18. "Billboard - Music Charts, Music News, Artist Photo Gallery & Free Video". Billboard.
  19. "Serebro".
  20. "[.m] masterhost - профессиональный хостинг сайта(none)". Archived from the original on 2018-03-29. Retrieved 2018-08-30.Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  21. Diverse Genres of Modern Music in Russia Archived 2012-07-07 at the Wayback Machine –
  22. The Moscow News – Chartova Dyuzhina [ permanent dead link ]
  23. "A Russian Woodstock: Rock and Roll and Revolution?; Not for This Generation". Questia Online Library.
  24. Russian alternative rock RAMPed up
  25. Modern Russian History in the Mirror of Criminal Song Archived 2008-06-12 at the Wayback Machine – An academic article
  26. Notes From a Russian Musical Underground – A New York Times article about modern Russian Chanson
  27. "44100hz ~ electronic music in Russia - Статья - Российская электронная музыка - общая ситуация".
  28. "Russmus: ППК/PPK".
  29. "DJ Groove". Far from Moscow.
  30. See Richard Taruskin "Where is Russia's New Music?", reprinted in On Russian Music. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009: p. 381
  31. Ossetian music and dance on YouTube


Further reading