A photo report from the exclusive music-cultural project of the “Renaissance” Foundation

The foundation has collected, processed, and recorded the best and most popular songs, movie soundtracks, urban romances, and dance tunes of the last hundred years.

The best songs by the most famous Armenian composers and modern authors from 1920 to 2020 are featured on the website notes.armenianmusic.am. They are accessible to all musicians and performers. Araksya Musheghyan, the head of the project, stated that they decided to transcribe the songs and gather them in one place because, for years, they had been performing the most popular songs, passing already worn or illegible notes among each other. “We realized that there is a significant body of Armenian music that modern musicians and performers cannot utilize. The works created in the last hundred years were not even recorded.”

Araksya Musheghyan remembers that everything started with the idea of Khachatur Avetisyan’s son, conductor, and composer Mikael Avetisyan. He proposed to create a collection of famous authors’ works. “We discussed the idea with Artur Janibekyan, and he suggested including the works of all authors. Almost no one’s songs were digitized and recorded, it was very difficult to find them. We worked on this project for about a year. The anthology of Armenian songs can still be supplemented with more than a thousand songs. So, our initiative will be continuous.”

Mikael Avetisyan, the author of the idea of the project, says that for years the musicians passed the notes of the most famous songs to each other, and now it is all beautifully developed and published. “I want to thank the “Renaissance” Foundation and Artur Janibekyan for making this idea a reality. At the beginning of the twentieth century, a generation of professional composers was formed: Ashot Satyan, Artemi Ayvazyan, then Babajanyan, Avetisyan, Orbelyan, Amirkhanyan, and others. It was the golden age of Armenian song. I am slowly following this entire project so that no composer or song is forgotten so that we become a bridge with the next generations.”

Armenian pop, urban, lyrical songs, and romances which were created by professional composers, were preserved only in the form of performances, they did not even have notes. A LEAD SHEET was made for all the songs: the text, melody, and harmony were collected in one place. Musicians who want to perform any famous composition or song created in the last hundred years can already buy it from the website and download the original song or sheet music. All copyrights are reserved. Artak Aleksanyan, the project producer, says that the site also provides insurance against plagiarism. “Tomorrow, and in the days to come, no one can claim the copyright of our songs; they are already fully documented. This project is significant not only for the composers whose songs were developed and notated but also for future generations. It presents an opportunity for these notes to be utilized not only by Armenians but by everyone. They are openly accessible on the website.

Armen Martirosyan, the editor of the project, says that the compositions of the songs included in the project were recorded as the authors created them. “For example, Robert Amirkhanyan’s song “Yeraz im Erkir” is a genius song. The musician created it in ¾, but you don’t know why at some point it started playing 4/4 everywhere. I am close to the maestro, and I know that it makes him concerned because it is a song he created, it is his child.”

With this unique initiative, the best songs of nearly a hundred years will be preserved and passed on to the next generations of musicians. Before this project, the “Renaissance” Foundation had already digitized national, folk, and spiritual songs.