Eighteenth-century Russia closed the socio-cultural gap between the isolated pre-Petrine Rus' and the remodelled strong Russian Empire that would successfully join European society at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Exploring the sources is an ongoing effort. Boris Volman has contributed with research into eighteenth-century Russian printed music, while an array of monographs on individual composers or genres, containing new sources, appeared in the 1970s and 1980s. The new revelation equally well suited both the traditional opera-centric conception of Russian music and the ideological limitations imposed by that critical period in Russian-Soviet historiography. Nineteenth-century studies are of little help, in that they mainly retell familiar legends in a nationalistic–romantic way. The forming of a national identity accompanied the process of centralizing feudal principalities and mutual defence against external enemies. Nationalism always cultivates a bitter nostalgia for some vague and bountiful past, firmly ignoring its cultural complexity and troubles.