Sound recordings and videos

Arkiston vanhimmat äänitteet on tallennettu fonogrammilieriöille. Kuva: Gary Wornell. SKS.
The oldest recordings in the archive have been saved on phonograph cylinders. Picture: Gary Wornell.
The traditions and modern culture collection has tens of thousands of hours of memory data as sound recordings, and more than a thousand hours of videos.

Content of the recordings

At first, the recordings contained mostly fixed-format tradition types, such as fairy-tales, stories, rune songs and other folk music. Since the 1960s, oral history has been increasingly recoded, and most of the recordings now reflect this. Most of the recordings have been made during the archive’s field expeditions in Finland and nearby areas. During the different eras, the archive has implemented several “municipal” projects, through which the traditional and oral knowledge of usually just one municipality has been recorded comprehensively. These projects include The field collections of Kauhajoki, Sysmä, Liperi, Pieksämäki, Ranua and Huittinen. In the 1990s, regional field work focused on regions east of Finland in Inkeri, Aunus and Viena.

The collections of traditional and contemporary culture also include more than 300 hours of Romani traditions, material conserved in connection with various competitions for collecting material, and many children’s traditions, such as school pupils’ jokes and games. Video recordings have been included in the collections since 1976. Initially, interviews and presentations of traditions were the most common video recordings. Videos are now also used for recording the tradition environment during fieldwork. Photography has also been an essential part of field research.

Recording devices and interviewers

The oldest recordings in the archives are on phonograph and parlograph cylinders. These were in use from 1905 until the 1950s. Phonogram recordings were made by SKS scholarship holders, for example Armas Launis, and folk music and linguistics researchers, such as A.O. Väisänen. Recording began to be used in tradition conservation in the folk poetry archive in 1937, and a recorder was first used at the beginning of the 1950s.

Recordings and video recordings have been made by the archive’s researchers, scholarship holders and folklore students and researchers. Additionally, private persons and institutes have donated their own recordings to the archive. The archive collections continue to grow by a few hundred hours a year.

Information search and using the material

The material content is managed through various catalogues, index files and archive information systems. The most important information to be searched for is the people, date, place and subject. A large number of the recordings have detailed tables of contents. Some of the sound recordings have also been transcribed. The recordings can be listened to in the research rooms. Additionally, the research room provides you with several manual catalogues and index files.