Field and river

20th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies (ICES20)
Mekelle University, Ethiopia

"Regional and Global Ethiopia - Interconnections and Identities"
1-5 October, 2018

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TSEHAYE Hailemariam, Founder of Virtual Dance Museum
SZÉLINGER Balázs, Hungarian Embassy in Ethiopia

In this presentation, we introduce the classic Ethiopian dance and music film materials collected by Hungarian and Ethiopian scholars in the summer of 1965 in Ethiopia and are currently archived at the Institute of Musicology in Budapest, Hungary. From a historical point of view, the collection of these dance and music film materials were made possible following Emperor Haile Selassie’s three days state visit to Hungary in 1964. The diplomatic negotiation prior to the documentation took almost a year, and was finally realized largely due to a generous support from the Hungarian government, and other recording equipment of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences as well as international organization such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the International Folk Music Council (IFMC, today known as the International Council for Traditional Music) etc.Seen from a philosophical perspective, however, the need for the collection and documentation of dance and music traditions goes back to the early 1900s in Germany. Apart from the general influence that the German philosopher Johann Gottfried Herder exerted upon Eastern and Central European music collectors, experimental philosophers of music such as Carl Stumpf and his proponents appeal to the primacy of documentation prior to any act of interpretation or comparative study. Stumpf, who is a pioneer in Ethno/musicology and author of several works on music, including Sammelbände für vergleichende Musikwissenschaft, whose fourth volume contains the study on Romanian folk music (Volksmusik der Rumänen von Maramures) by Béla Bartók, is what was later used as a model in the aforementioned 1965 study of dance and music research conducted in Ethiopia. Our aim in this presentation is to offer these two perspectives as means of correcting some of the assumptions held in the area.