The Samuel Baud-Bovy collection

“I am not so naïve as to imagine that the chelidonisma taught by Cleoboulos of Lindos to the ancient peoples of Rhodes was the same in every respect as that which I have restored. I merely wished to show that a song may pass smoothly and without obstruction from the quantitative prosody based on the varying duration of syllables to the prosody based on stressed syllables, and that for anyone wishing to know more of ancient Greece it is worth studying the new form, in all its manifestations, and  especially in those regions, like the Dodecanese, where tradition has been so faithfully preserved.” (Samuel Baud-Bovy 1984)


The Samuel Baud-Bovy collection (1906-1986) is an exhaustive corpus of ethnomusicological documents collected in Greece during the second half of the 20th century by a leading researcher. The research carried out by Samuel Baud-Bovy, ethnomusicologist, neo-Hellenist and musician recognized worldwide for the erudition of his work, is part of an ethnographic approach unpublished in the middle of the 20th century. Indeed, Samuel Baud-Bovy carried out in 1954 the first systematic survey of the musical heritage of Crete. In the field of ethnography, and more particularly of ethnomusicology, this work is a milestone and marks an important stage in the development of the discipline.

When he died in 1986, Samuel Baud-Bovy’s archival documents comprised four collections: an ethnomusicology collection, the largest of all; another concerning Western classical music; one relating to modern Greek literature; and his correspondence together with other personal documents.

In 1987, all of these archives were donated to the Geneva Music Conservatory (CMG). Part of the correspondence and other personal documents were then given to the Geneva Library. The Western classical music fund was incorporated into the CMG library. The part related to modern Greek literature was transferred to the library of the Modern Greek Unit of the Faculty of Letters of the University of Geneva.

As for the ethnomusicology collection, it was entirely transferred to the MEG in March 2017.


Musée d’ethnographie, Genève

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