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Grants:PEG/WM UA/Kolessa recordings digitalisation

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This submission to the Project and Event Grants Program was funded in the fiscal year 2013-14. This is a grant to an organization.

IMPORTANT: Please do not make changes to this page without the explicit approval of Project and Event Grants Program staff. They will be reverted.

This grantee has requested a change to the project start or completion date submitted here, and this change has been approved by WMF and is now reflected on this submission page. Please see the discussion page for details, including reporting requirements that may have changed as a result of this change.

Basic information[edit]

Grant details[edit]

Project details[edit]

Official project name
Kolessa recordings digitization
Project start date (include month, day, and year)
1 September 2013
Project completion date (include month, day, and year)
1 December 2013 31 December 2013 31 January 2014 23 February 2014 31 March 2014 14 April 2014
Please describe the project in 1–2 sentences
We want to digitize a set of wax cylinder recordings of kobzars' and lirnyks' repertoire and publish them under a free license (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported) at the Wikimedia Commons website as well as on CD's and share them with high music schools.

Financial details[edit]

Currency requested
Amount requested in currency requested
3420 USD
Equivalent amount in US$ on the date of this submission
3420 USD
List the exchange rate used to calculate the amount listed in US$
UAH 799.3 per US$ 100.0 (quoted from bank.gov.ua on 19 August 2013)

Background and aims[edit]

The wax cylinder recordings were made in 1904-1910 by Filaret Kolessa from folk musicians called kobzars and lirnyks under financial and organizational support of Lesia Ukrainka, an important women in Ukrainian literature. It was more like a research initiative than a commercial one (the recordings weren't published as vinyl records for example). The type of music captured is folk music of special kind - Ukrainian dumas, they are a kind of sung poetry with accompaniment on kobza, bandura or lira. Later, in 1930-s, kobzari and lirnyky (the folk musicians who performed and passed along their repertoire) were persecuted and the tradition was broken.

The dumas were transcribed by Filaret Kolessa himself and published in 1912 as score, but as Lesia Ukrainka said, "This property [recordings] are of value because despite phonograph gives yet incomplete picture of the performance, it is clearly better than musical score in preserving the manner of the performance"[background 1].

Dumas are improvisational musical compositions, they contain much ornamentation and voice figures that are hardly compatible with western musical notation. Therefore it is important to preserve these recordings and make them available, first of all to be able to learn how this music was performed when the tradition was still existing.

The recordings themselves were used by Kolessa later and an attempt to transfer them to tape has been made in 1970-s. However the quality of the result was low because the reading method was simply playing them back on the phonograph itself and re-recording them on microphone. The digitizing method we want to use is different because they scan the cylinders in a non-realtime manner (20-30 times slower than realtime) and perform various noise-reduction techniques to extract the audio information as much as they can.


  1. «Власність ся не без вартості, бо все ж фонограф хоч дає і неповне, але повніше ніж ноти, поняття про манеру виконання виконання кобзарських дум», (Цит. за Довгалюк І. До історії експедиції Філарета Колесси на Наддніпрянську Україну).

Grantee details[edit]

See the eligibility requirements for more information.

Are you an organization, an individual, or an individual submitting on behalf of a group?
Are you a for-profit entity?
Answer YES or NO.
Are you able to provide local proof of nonprofit status within your country?
Answer YES or NO.
Does your organization currently employ any fulltime or part-time staff or contractors?
Answer YES or NO.
If you answered YES, please indicate how many. You may use fractions or percentages for part-time staff if appropriate.
EX: 4 fulltime staff and 2 part-time contractors (50% each).
If yes, please provide a list of their job functions, or a link to your organization's staff page, if it lists all employees and contractors employed or engaged by your organization.
EX: A complete list of staff and contractors is available at http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Staff_and_contractors.

Contact information[edit]

Primary contact name
Adnriy Bondarenko
Primary contact username or email
A1 bondareandre(_AT_)gmail.com
Primary contact title (position within the organization)
deputy chair of Wikimedia Ukraine

If this project will be executed by someone other than the primary contact for your organization, please list that person's details here:

Project lead name
Yuri Bulka
Project lead username or email
Yuri Bulka / yurkobb at gmail dot com
Project lead title (position), if any
member of WMUA, leader of the collaborative project with Lviv music academy

Goals and measures of success[edit]

Project goal[edit]

Please briefly describe what will be accomplished if the project is successful.

Project goal
The goal of the project is to digitize a set of wax cylinder recordings of w:en:kobzars' and w:en:lirnyks' repertoire from the beginning of 20th century and make them available under a free license at the Wikimedia Commons website as well as burn them on CD's and share these CD's with libraries of leading Ukrainian universities and conservatories.
The wax cylinder recordings were made by a prominent Ukrainian ethnologist Filaret Kolessa with help of Lesya Ukrainka, the most important woman in Ukrainian poetry and her husband, ethnologist Klyment Kvitka. The recordings are of a high historical and cultural value because the kobzar and lirnyk traditions were almost entirely liquidated by Soviet government in ninety-thirties.

Measures of success[edit]

Please provide a list of measurable criteria that will be used determine how successful the project is. You will need to report on the success of the project according to these measures after the project is completed.

Measures of success
Number and total duration of digitized audiofiles;
Number of publications in Ukrainian press about the project;
Number of publications referring to published recordings;

If such project will be successful, it will most likely gain a wide coverage in Ukrainian press and media and bring attention to the importance of preserving culture in the form of free knowledge and free multimedia materials, and to the mission of Wikimedia Foundation and their projects regarding preserving and popularizing culture in general.

Project scope and activities[edit]

This section describes what will happen if this project is funded. Who will do what, and when?

List of activities
  • Wikimedia Ukraine has already negotiated with the owners of the wax cylinder collection that they allow digitization. We also made sure that the recordings are in public domain already. Additionally we negotiated with the organization that performs wax cylinder recordings restoration that they will allow releasing the digitized recordings under a free license.
  • If funded, the cylinders will be transported first from L'viv to Kyiv where they can be digitized. Some of the cylinders are in museums in other cities so they will be borrowed from these museums under permission and transported to Kyiv.
  • The digitization process should take 1 to 2 months.
  • After the digitization the cylinders will be returned where they have been stored.
  • The recordings will be provided to an ethnomusicologist who is the primary expert on history of wax cylinder recordings in Ukraine and she will identify the recordings as precisely as possible.
  • The recordings will be uploaded to Wikimedia Commons under a free license (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported) with the identification information attached;
  • A selection of the recordings with highest quality will be burned to CD's which will be given to leading Ukrainian musical educational and ethnological institutions;
  • The recordings will be very likely to be included by Ukrainian Wikipedia volunteers in articles about kobzardom, Ukrainian duma, Lesia Ukrainka and other articles about important aspects of Ukrainian culture.

Budget and resources[edit]

Please provide a detailed breakdown of project expenses according to the instructions here.

Grantees are subject to line-item scrutiny of expenses. Changes to the approved budget beyond 10% in any category must be approved in advance.

Project budget table
Number Category Item description Unit Number of units Cost per unit Total cost Currency Notes
1 Digitizing Digitizing the wax cylinders by Institute of Problems of Information Registration cylinder 54 50.00 2,700 USD There are 62 cylinders in total, of which 8 are broken and can't be digitized, and other 8 are partially damaged. At this stage the exact number of cylinders that are in a condition that allows them to be digitized is unclear, but that will only be known when specialists in Kyiv will look at the collection.
2 Transport Transport cylinders from Lviv to Kyiv and return car fuel for 530km (route) 4 60 240 USD expenses will include the cost of transportation of the cylinders form L'viv (where they are currently located) to Kyiv, where the laser digitization device is present and back to L'viv after the digitization process.
3 Transport Transport one wax cylinder from Perejaslav-Khmelnytsky and return. Bus ticket Kyiv to/from Perejaslav-Khmelnytsky (one person). 4 5[1] 20 USD One additional cylinder is stored in a museum in Perejaslav-Khmeltynskyj.
4 Transport Transport two cylinders from Stryj and one from Khodovychi (near Stryj) to L'viv and return. Train ticket Lviv to/from Stryj (one person). 4 5 20 USD Two additional cylinders are stored in Stryj and one in Khodovychi (near Stryj)
5 Identification of recordings Each digitized recording should be studied and identified as precisely as possible by ethnomusicologist who is the primary expert in the area of history of wax cylinder recordings in Ukraine and this collection in particular. per project 1 150 150 USD Identification of the recordings based on available research of history of the recordings and making this information available is an important aspect of the project because it will make the recordings as transparent and useful to the general public as possible.
6 CDs with the recordings To manufacture 100 CDs with the recordings and give them to musical educational institutions in Ukraine. per project 1 250 250 USD In addition to the recordings and their identification information, CDs will include information about Wikimedia Movement, free licenses as well as information about the history of the recordings.
7 Bank fees and exchange gain/loss Exchange fees, Bank Account fees and exchange gain/loss Per project 1 40.00 40 USD
Total cost of project
3420 USD
Total amount requested from the WMF Grants Program
3420 USD
Additional sources of revenue that may fund part of this project, and amounts funded

Non-financial requirements[edit]

See a description of nonfinancial assistance available. Please inform Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) of any requirements for non-financial assistance now.

Requests for non-financial assistance
If the project will be successful, we would like to publish a blog post about our project on WMF's blog. We will need help reaching out to the communications team at WMF to coordinate this.


This section is optional. It may be used to highlight the potential grantee's potential for successfully executing this project.

Consider including the following information:

  • List of team members (names or usernames):
    1. Yuri Bulka (leader)
    2. A1

  • Special skills or qualifications this potential grantee or project lead brings to this project:
    Wikimedia Ukraine has already managed musical programs. Yuri Bulka graduated from Lviv Conservatory, this year he became an initiator and leader of collaborative project between Wikimedia Ukraine and Lviv Conservatory. A1 earlier organized such musical projects as publication of "Le Faucon" opera and Free vocal music concert.
  • Evidence of past success in executing similar projects:
    Although we have never published authentic folklore materials, we could expect that musical publication under Wikimedia label will be attractive. At least our publication of "Le faucon" opera lead a theatrical performance in Lviv, a set of presentations in high music schools and was successfully among libraries of musical academies and colleges.
The digitization is to be done in Kyiv in the Institute of Problems of Information Registration, where a machine which reads the wax cylinders in an optical manner is available; such reading method allows digitizing of the recordings without damage to the cylinders usually present with the traditional playback methods.


In the sections below, please describe how the project is related to the Wikimedia mission and Wikimedia's strategic priorities.

Fit to strategy[edit]

How will this project support the key organizational objectives of
  • increasing reach (more people will access or contribute to Wikipedia or our other projects),
  • participation (more people actually contributing),
  • quality (more content, more useful content, or higher-quality content),
  • credibility (more trust in our projects),
  • organizational maturity and effectiveness (how it will move you or the Wikimedia community forward),
  • or financial sustainability (how it will help you achieve more in the long run)?
This statement should address at least one of the strategic priorities listed here specifically. See WMF Grants Program criteria for decisionmaking.
  • The project will provide a significant amount of previously unavailable material. Kobzar tradition was almost totally destroyed by the Soviet state in 1930-s and virtually no extant recordings are available nowadays. The renovation of the Kobzar tradition in modern Ukraine resulted in an interest in materials that could provide insight into how did this music sound hundred years ago. And it is strongly desired that such materials would be free and available for learning in a suitable form. Only in this case a lot of musicians and ethnologists could access this materials.
  • The publication of the exclusive content with professional description will consolidate the trust to Wikimedia projects as those that could solve significant problems of culture and, particularly, ethnography and enthnomusicology. That could help us to involve more and more high-skilled professionals to Wikimedia projects in future. Besides that the published materials will be used in courses of musicologists and ethnologists studies and this could attract students and lecturers to participate in Wikimedia projects.


If the project will benefit a specific online community, please tell us.
This project will benefit Ukrainian Wikipedia in the field of articles on ethnomusicology and Ukrainian authentic culture in general. Additionally it will bring attention to the importance of preserving the musical and performance aspect of folklore in form of freely-licensed and/or public domain audio recordings uploaded to Wikimedia Commons. We also hope that if the project will be successful, it may help promote Wikipedia and related projects as not only open to amateur/hobby-like participation, but also as a very efficient tool to share knowledge between scientists and the society as well as to preserve valuable cultural heritage in digital form open to everyone.

Please provide a brief statement about how the project is related to other work in the Wikimedia movement. For example, does the project fit into a work area such as GLAM, education, organizational development, editor retention, or outreach?
The project falls into the GLAM program area since its direct aim is to make important historical materials available to the general public;
Partially this project also falls into education category since published materials will be used in educational processes in musicologists and ethnologists faculties.

If successful, will the project have the potential to be replicated successfully by other individuals, groups, or organizations? Please explain how in 1–2 sentences.
There are many other valuable audio recording collections in Ukrainian archives but most of them are hardly available and being preserved in analog storage medium are potentially under high risk of loss. It is believed this project could arise interest in digitization of valuable historical recordings and making them available to the general public.

Please list other benefits to the movement here.
Kobzar and Ukrainian duma (the main musical genre performed by kobzars) are both very important cultural symbols in Ukraine (good example of this is that the main book by Ukrainian national poet Taras Shevchenko was called Kobzar). Publishing the recordings as free culture will bring attention of the public to the importance of preserving culture in digital form under free licenses as a crucial element of protecting national identity and culture.
For grantees

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