Nikolai Garbuzov

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Garbuzov, Nikolai Aleksandrovich


Born June 23 (July 5), 1880, in Moscow; died there May 3, 1955. Soviet musical acoustician and theoretician; doctor of the arts (1940).

Garbuzov graduated from the Mining Institute at St. Petersburg (1906) and from the music and drama school of the Moscow Philharmonic Society in the composition class of A. N. Koreshchenko (1916). From 1921 to 1931 he was the head of the State Institute of Musical Science (GIMN). Between 1923 and 1951 he was a professor of musical acoustics, from 1933 to 1948 he was the director of the acoustics laboratory and dean of the department of theory and history of music at the Moscow Conservatory, and in 1944 and 1945 he was the director of the musical division in the Institute of Art History of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. Garbuzov’s major research was devoted to problems of harmony and the nature of auditory perception. He proposed the so-called “zone” theory of hearing, which takes into account the mutual influence of varying physical factors (pitch, loudness, timbre, rhythmic and intonational relations) on aural perception. Such a mutual influence assures the preservation of the same “quality” (according to Garbuzov) of sound within defined limits of alteration of each of the factors, because of psycho-physiological features of aural perception. Thus, according to Garbuzov, the zone is formed. He developed a multi-base theory of modes and assonances, and was also concerned with questions of Russian folk-music polyphony and a scientific systemization of the terminology of elementary musical theory. He was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor.


Teoriia mnogoosnovnosti ladov i sozvuchii, parts 1-2. Moscow, 1928-32.
O mnogogolosii russkoi narodnoi pesni. Moscow-Leningrad, 1939.
Drevnerusskoe narodnoe mnogogolosie. Moscow-Leningrad, 1948.
Zonnaia priroda zvukovysotnogo slukha. Moscow-Leningrad, 1948.
Vnutrizonnyi intonatsionnyi slukh i metody ego razvitiia. Moscow-Leningrad, 1951. [6-348-3; updated]
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.