УДК 398.831
DOI: 10.22412/1993-7768-11-3-11

The practice of lulling in contemporary urban culture: parental folklore and children’s needs


Sofia O. Kupriyanova, PhD student at the Saint Petersburg State University Russian Literature History Department,
Saint Petersburg State University, Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation

This study describes the practice of lulling in contemporary urban culture and its accompanying speech forms and nonverbal components. The research material included interviews with parents, which were recorded in Saint Petersburg from 2008 to 2015. Thirty-seven such records (33 women and 4 men) were made during the gender study. In was interesting to find out which texts the parents used as lullabies and what they felt when lulling their children to sleep and how the children reacted to it. It was found that various texts and melodies, which the respondents were sung in their childhood, were used as lullabies; these texts and melodies came from different genres and times, including contemporary works. The repertoire is generally based on the personal experience of the performer. Adults sing to their children the things that they themselves learned during their childhood, folk lullabies, which they are familiar with after reading children’s books, popular hits and military songs that they learned while attending the school choir. The choice to use this or that text as a lullaby can be related to the state of emotional comfort and calmness of the performer. Thus, the lullaby is addressed equally to both participants of the process – the child and the performer. Through certain strategies (rocking, humming), parents also access their own feelings and gain the ability to control them. It is worth noting that the textual content of the lullaby is not as important for the child as it is for the adult. Children’s needs primarily come from the rhythm and melody of the performed work. Therefore, it is possible to conclude that the lullaby is a means that allows working with the internal state of the performer.

Key words: Lullabies, rocking, lulling, urban folklore, folklore of motherhood, children’s needs.
For citation: Kupriyanova S.O. The practice of lulling in contemporary urban culture: parental folklore and children’s needs. Servis plus, vol. 11, no. 3, 2017, pp. 94-99. DOI: 10.22412/1993-7768-11-3-11
Submitted: 2017/04/20
Accepted: 2017/06/26


1. Adon’eva S.B., Sound formulas in the ritual folklore. Fol’klor i postfol’klor: struktura, tipologiya, semiotika. (In Russ.) Available at: (Accessed on May 15, 2016).
2. Berne E., Games People Play (THE PSYCHOLOGY OF HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS). Moscow: Eksmo, 2016, 352 p. (In Russ.)
3. Bourdieu P., Practical Reason.St. Petersburg: Aleteiya; Moscow: In-t eksperimental’noi sotsiologii, 2001, 562 p. (In Russ.)
4. Vetukhov A., Folk lullabies. Etnograficheskoe obozrenie, vol. 12, 1892, pp. 131–154. (In Russ.)
5. Golovin V.V., Lullabies and techniques of lulling in the Russian North. «Mir detstva» v tradicionnoj kul’ture narodov SSSR, Leningrad, vol. 2,
1991, pp. 91–100. (In Russ.)
6. Golovin V.V., Russian lullaby in folklore and literature. Turku: Abo Academi Univversity Press, 2000, 445 p.
7. Golovin V.V., Lulling of Claudia Fominichna Petrova. Zhivaja starina, no. 1, 1999, pp. 16–18. (In Russ.)
8. Zarnitsyna I., Lullaby., 2011. (In Russ.) Available at: (Accessed on May 15, 2016).
9. Ivanov A.N., Lamentations over the cradle, recorded in South of Russia. Zhivaja starina, no. 4, 1994, pp. 40–43. (In Russ.)
10. Kapitsa O.I., Children’s folklore. Songs, nursery rhymes, teasers, stories, games. Research. Picking up. Overview. Leningrad: Priboi, 1928,
222 p. (In Russ.)
11. Koropnichenko A., Issue of genre attribution of lullaby tunes. Traditional art and man: proceedings of the XIX scientific conference of young folklorists
in memory of A. A. Gorkovenko. St. Petersburg: Belyi gorод, 1997, pp. 34–39. (In Russ.)
12. Lefrançois Guy, The theory of learning. The formation of human behavior. St. Petersburg: Praim-Evroznak, 2003, 287
p. (In Russ.)
13. Litvin E.S., Song genres of Russian children’s folklore. Sovetskaya etnografiya, no. 1, 1972, pp. 58–67. (In Russ.)
14. Martynova A.N., Experience of Russian lullaby lyrics classification. Sovetskaya etnografiya, no. 4, 1974, pp. 101–116. (In Russ.)
15. Mel’nikov M.N., Russian children’s folklore of Siberia. Novosibirsk: Zapadno-Sibirskoe knizhn. izd., 1970, 218 p. (In Russ.)
16. Muratova M.O., Spanish lullabies. St. Petersburg: Fol’klornyi arkhiv kabineta fol’klora SPbGU, 1998. (In Russ.)
17. Raikova I.N. «A spoon for dad…» (Childhood and children’s folklore in the eyes of modern students). Traditsionnaya kul’tura, no. 4 (32), 2008, pp.
108–117. (In Russ.)