Main Article Content
Universally translated into English as "mode," the Russian term Ð»Ð°Ð´
("lād") first appeared in 1830 as a translation from German Tonart, which is usually
translated into English as "tonality." To Tchaikovsky a lād was, in fact, a tonality, but by
century's end lād had come to signify its pre-tonal cousin, mode. Boleslav Yavorsky's
work on the subject in the early twentieth century gave lād new post-modal and posttonal
meaning with respect to quasi-tonal and post-tonal music. In this article I delve
deeply into the history of this uniquely Russian concept, from its inception to its highly
modified mid-twentieth century form. Rather than trying to find an English equivalent, I
leave "lād" in its transliterated form, which disentangles it from inaccurate translations. I
examine a 1945 Chopin analysis by Yavorsky's student, Sergei Protopopov, which
outlines new interpretations for Russian lād. Sketches for this analysis, from the Russian
National Museum of Music, provide a backdrop for a reexamination of basic tonal
constructs such as cadence, phrase, form, harmonic function, and melodic diminution. I
look at a famous 1930 conference on Yavorsky's theories as an example of the high
stakes involved in creating a Marxist musical science, in which lād played a primary role.
I also briefly discuss Yavorsky's theories as a counterweight to Hugo Riemann's
encroaching functionality, which was brought to Russia by Gregori Catoire in the early
twentieth century. It is my hope that this work on lād will fill in many gaps for the
English-language reader, and possibly spur further studies into this uniquely Russian
Copyright © 2019 by the Society for Music Theory. All rights reserved.
 Copyrights for individual items published in Music Theory Online (MTO) are held by their authors. Items appearing in MTO may be saved and stored in electronic or paper form, and may be shared among individuals for purposes of scholarly research or discussion, but may not be republished in any form, electronic or print, without prior, written permission from the author(s), and advance notification of the editors of MTO.
 Any redistributed form of items published in MTO must include the following information in a form appropriate to the medium in which the items are to appear:
This item appeared in Music Theory Online in [VOLUME #, ISSUE #] on [DAY/MONTH/YEAR]. It was authored by [FULL NAME, EMAIL ADDRESS], with whose written permission it is reprinted here.
 Libraries may archive issues of MTO in electronic or paper form for public access so long as each issue is stored in its entirety, and no access fee is charged. Exceptions to these requirements must be approved in writing by the editors of MTO, who will act in accordance with the decisions of the Society for Music Theory.
This document and all portions thereof are protected by U.S. and international copyright laws. Material contained herein may be copied and/or distributed for research purposes only.