Digital critical edition of Čiurlionis’ piano music

Authors: Kučinskas, Darius / Janutėnaitė-Bogdanienė, Jūratė

Date: Wednesday, 6 September 2023, 2:15pm to 3:45pm

Location: Main Campus, L 2.202 <campus:measure>


Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis (1875-1911) is a pivotal figure in modern Lithuanian music. The process of editing and publishing his music has spanned over a hundred years, resulting in as many as five different cataloging systems and up to ten different editorial versions of the same piece. However, a critical text and a canonical version of the works that fulfill the needs of the modern music community are not yet available at both national and international levels.

In 2022, a project funded by the Lithuanian Research Council began to create a digital critical edition of Čiurlionis’s piano pieces. This includes approximately 200 piano pieces from 1894-1910, composed half in a romantic style and half using a proto-serial compositional technique. The main aim of this project is to establish a canonical text for each piano piece and develop a tool for further research—an integrated database with the ability to search and analyze various musical aspects of the scores, such as rhythmic, melodic, harmonic, and structural features.

The canonical text will have a direct comparison with all manuscripts at the bar level and all previous editions at the page level. For this reason, all scanned manuscripts have been divided into bars (about 14,000 bars) and linked with scores online.

An algorithm for analyzing the main musical aspects will be created. The primary purpose of this tool is to enable searches and analyses of the score within one separate piece as well as across the entire database (about 350,000 notes).

The digital critical text of piano scores will be accompanied by detailed annotations and comments, as well as links to other sources and literature.

The database will be presented as an integrated online catalog, providing the ability to search for music based on primary bibliographical aspects and conduct analytical research according to main musical criteria.


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About the authors

Darius Kučinskas (b. 1966) is an associate professor at Kaunas University of Technology (Lithuania). He graduated from the Lithuanian Music Academy as a pianist and defended his dissertation on Čiurlionis’ music in 2002. Over the last decade, Kučinskas has published A Complete Chronological Catalogue of Čiurlionis’s Music (2007) and several urtext editions. As an active musicologist, he presents his research in Europe (Athens, Helsinki, Krakow, Paris), East Asian countries (Tokyo, Nanjing), and the United States (Stanford, Chicago, New York). Kučinskas has received BAFF (2018) and Fulbright (2022) grants for research in the US, as well as several grants from the Lithuanian Research Council and Lithuanian Cultural Council for research on national music. Since 2010, Kučinskas has been investigating ethnic music for player pianos. His research has resulted in The Complete Catalogue of Lithuanian Piano Rolls (2014) and the edited monograph Ethnic Piano Rolls in the United States (2021). In parallel, Kučinskas is conducting research on the musical culture of the Lithuanian diaspora. He regularly works in archives abroad and edits unpublished scores of Lithuanian composers.

Jūratė Janutėnaitė-Bogdanienė (b. 1988) is an associate professor at Vilnius Gediminas Technical University (Lithuania). She received a bachelor’s degree in statistics in 2011, a Master of Informatics in 2014, and a PhD in mechanical engineering in 2019. She has work experience in IT system development in both the private sector and academia. Together with Darius Kučinskas, she prepared the first edition of the online Čiurlionis musical catalog. Her research areas include mathematical modeling, statistical data analysis, machine learning, and big data.

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