The first issue of Res Musica, the yearbook of both the Estonian Musicological Society and the musicology department of the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre (EAMT), was published in 2009. In its foreword Urve Lippus (1950–2015), the then editor-in-chief, claimed that one of the goals of the journal is “to become the widest forum of Estonian musicology”. This function has been admirably fulfilled by Res Musica. The nine issues of the journal contain altogether 35 articles by Estonian authors. At the same time, it has been considered important also to combine these with current Anglo-American, German and Russian musicology traditions. Non-Estonian researchers have contributed 36 articles. The total, therefore, is 71 peer-reviewed articles, edited diligently and with care by Anu Schaper. Since the third issue the layout of the journal has been designed by Maite-Margit Kotta. The major areas of musicology that have been covered include music theory, music history, ethnomusicology and cognitive musicology. One issue dealt with different aspects of musical theatre, and one was dedicated to the memory of Urve Lippus. In each issue reviews of major musicology publications are published, and the issue ends with the chronicles of the activities of the Estonian Musicological Society. Since the seventh issue the editor-in-chief of Res Musica has been Toomas Siitan.
In the above-mentioned foreword to the first issue, developing Estonian language musicology discourse was deemed essential. Therefore it is vital that Estonian musicology is open to various disciplines and that new research fields are supported. In this, the tenth issue of Res Musica, the main themes are popular music and artistic research – all of which are topics that are discussed for the first time in the yearbook. Some authors also analyse aspects of gender through music and musicians.
The impetus for this choice came from the international graduate seminar Gender and sexualities in the (post)Soviet/ (post)Socialist music, theatre and visual arts, held at EAMT within the framework of the Graduate School of Culture Studies and Arts on 19th-20th April 2017. This was curated by gender and music sociologist Hannaliisa Uusma and music historian Kristel Pappel. The seminar brought together both students and researchers who in their academic work focus on describing and explaining via gender and arts wider social values, norms and phenomena in (post-)Soviet societies. The seminar witnessed presentations by Stephen Amico (Bergen) researching Russian popular music, Yngvar B. Steinholt (Tromsø) researching punk, Tiina Pursiainen Rosenberg, Professor of performativity and gender studies (Stockholm and Lund), art historian Harry Liivrand (Academic Library of Tallinn University), curator Rebeka Põldsam (Center for Contemporary Arts Estonia), and anthropologist and film director Terje Toomistu (University of Tartu). There were also presentations by the doctoral students.
We are grateful that the seminar inspired scholars to write on post-Soviet pop and folk music. Music blogs discuss how an ironic and normdefying artistic (and gender) image of a boy/girl with a post-Soviet apartment house aesthetic, which arose out of the Western underground-pop, has become a part of the mainstream. A good example of this trend is the Estonian Tommy Cash, whose art is intriguingly described by Berlin musicologist Matthias Pasdzierny. Triin Vallaste, an Estonian musicologist residing in the US, writes about Estonian hip-hop, focusing on the history of the subculture and its glocalised nature in Estonia. Folklorists Andreas Kalkun and Jaanika Oras open up the hinterland of songs on political themes by Seto singers during the Soviet period. Their unique approach concentrates on the political and gendered creative choices of Seto singers emerging from their social status. One of the contributors to the present issue is anthropologist and film maker Terje Toomistu, whose documentary Soviet hippies (2017) was highly acclaimed by critics and ordinary viewers alike. In her article in Res Musica Toomistu continues the theme of Soviet hippies, those psychedelic flower children, focusing on “strange vibrations” and the impact of rock music on the hippie movement and the creation of their sense of togetherness behind the iron curtain.
The decision to include artistic research in this issue emerged from the ever-increasing international interest in the field. Artistic research combines artistic practice with reflection on one’s artistic activities, which are articulated, analysed and recorded, and thus mediated to society. Here, too, it is necessary to elaborate on the theoretical context and a suitable research method, as well as on the distance between the scholar and the research subject. The specifi city of artistic research is its subject – namely the creative process with which the researcher is engaged in person. This brings in subjectivity, but this is acknowledged as an I-position, and the research may bring forth both individual and general results. Artistic research is closely connected with creative projects, so that experience and a thorough knowledge of the field are required. In EAMT the first artistic research PhD dissertation dates from 2004, and since then 34 PhDs in music and 2 PhDs in theatre have been defended. From those we have selected three theses whose authors have written articles based on their research for this issue of Res Musica. Composer and computer musician Christian M. Fischer discusses the crucial issue of live electronic music – how to adequately convey one’s musical ideas, both to musicians and to the audience, when performing them in the form of musical motion graphics (MMG). Mihhail Gerts analyses a conductor’s activities in preventing ensemble problems based on his work in opera, and presents supporting mental models for this. Pianist Kristi Kapten too reflects upon her experience by analysing her preparation for performing György Ligeti’s piano études, which are rhythmically extremely demanding.
The present issue of Res Musica is historic because for the first time in Estonia it contains academic articles on pop music identity in which gender aspects are touched upon. All the articles are in English, so that the truly unique knowledge of post-Soviet cultural space as well as the wider perspectives of artistic research might reach an international audience.
We are deeply grateful to the Res Musica editorial board, who recognized the need to present such hitherto marginal areas to a wider audience in order to promote a broader discussion of such important topics. Our sincere thanks go also to managing editor Anu Schaper, designer Maite-Margit Kotta, illustrator Kärt Hammer, and the diligent reviewers for their professional and smooth co-operation. The English language journal would not have been possible without Richard Carr’s translations and editing, for which we are very grateful.