REFLECTING ON HISTORICAL AND CURRENT MUSICAL AND ETHNO-MUSICOLOGICAL ENCOUNTERS AND THEIR CONSEQUENCES
University of Fort Hare
The cross-cultural transfer of musical or music related knowledge, concepts and/or elements over a long distance due to migration, contact or temporal exposure are no new phenomena, but rather seem to be characteristic features in the history of mankind until today. And there are plenty examples: We only have to think of the transatlantic slave trade and – to use Fernando Ortiz’ term – transculturality and its visible and audible consequences in the Caribbean and in Latin America, or the recent influx of immigrants in Europe, the ordinary international exchange of academics world-wide, the musical anthropologist in the field or a member of an NGO. Contacts between culturally diverse people may happen by coincidence, sometimes even almost unnoticed, on purpose and planned, unintentional, unwanted or even forced by an agenda, they leave a mark and may lead to some sort of consequences. In many cases they not only enable people to see differences but also affinities with the others. Besides that, they may further the transfer or development of concepts and new cultural forms and expressions.
The proposed panel aims at reflecting and exploring historical and current musical and ethno-/musicological encounters and their consequences from different angles and via different approaches. It welcomes presentations from the fields of institutional history (with focus on musical anthropology, ethnomusicology and related fields), migration studies, transcultural studies, reflective and applied musical anthropology and ethnomusicology, and performance studies among others.
Reports in the media on matters concerning foreigners may occasionally lead to a negative perception of the other, if we think of the current debate on xenophobia and violence in South Africa or the discussions after the influx of immigrants in 2015 in Europe. If comments by readers attached to online articles reflect public opinion, then some of the main concerns raised emerge from the question whether or not the others contribute to the welfare of the host country. But commentaries often reflect negative reactions to punctually published opinions or news, and one needs to keep in mind that contacts between culturally diverse people are in many cases not punctual, but continuous (there has been immigration to Europe and South Africa for a long time), and that they don’t have to be necessarily negative. Music is a good example in this regard, if we think in musical fusions, or the outcomes of collaborations between international musicians or academics, i.e. the results of punctual and long term contacts between two or more “others”.
Contacts may happen by coincidence, sometimes even almost unnoticed, on purpose and planned, unintentional, unwanted or even forced by an agenda. They can leave a mark and may lead to some sort of consequences or reactions. In many cases they not only enable people to see differences but also affinities with the others and they may also further the transfer or development of concepts and new cultural (including musical) forms and expressions which can be for the benefit of people. The proposed panel intends to stimulate discussions and reflections specifically on reactions and consequences after or in connection with historical and current musical and/or musicological encounters, as outlined in the following examples.
The encounter in the field may require personal adjustments, for instance, when the researcher is given a variety of roles and identities by those he/she is conducting research with (Onyango-Ouma 2006). And if we define fieldwork as a type of performance, it means that the researcher in the field necessarily has to react to a given situation and that he/she may be fulfilling expected roles (Barz and Cooley 2008; Kisliuk 2008). Yet the contact with others and the rethinking of this experience may even cause consequences beyond the personal presence in the field. It may have an impact on the institutional side of academia.
Kubik’s Angolan traits in Black music, games and dances of Brazil: a study of African cultural extensions overseas (Kubik 1979) not only explored transatlantic connections by exposing traits of African cultural elements in music, dance and games, but it also showed how cultures may merge and create something new. To a certain extent his writings influenced other scholars, like Oliveira Pinto (originally from Brazil), who in consequence developed own ways of approaching indigenous Brazilian music (Oliveira 1996; Oliveira & Adam-Schmidmeier 2012) and who later became the first head of the UNESCO Chair on Transcultural Music Studies in Weimar, an institution concerned with ICH (intangible cultural heritage). The chair follows Fernando Ortiz’ (Ortiz 1940) idea of transculturality according to which two cultures in contact influence and coin each other to an extent that they finally develop new cultural forms together. Transcultural studies draw and incorporate knowledge from the periphery and try to decentralise and to deconstruct the hegemony and ethnocentrism associated with ethnomusicology. Later other ethnomusicology departments in Germany followed and changed their departmental names from ethnomusicology to transcultural music studies. The case of Kubik and Oliveira is interesting for a number of reasons, for it shows how cultures in contact start developing new cultural expressions and forms, and how dealing with cultural contacts and their consequences not only changes the perspective of scholars but even academia and approaches.
In the field of institutional history in Catalonia the example of Higini Anglès is worth to be mentioned. Having studied in Germany with renown professors, such as Friedrich Ludwig and Johannes Wolf, and coined by the academic experience in his host country, he tried to attract international colleagues when building up the Instituto Español de Musicología, and specifically the section for Etnomusicología, within the CSIC in Barcelona. His attempt to bring Hans Spanke and Marius Schneider at his institute served two purposes. One the one hand, he tried to save scholars who, during a time of war, were in danger. One the other hand, he needed their contribution for his plans at the institute. Spanke participated in the publication of the Cantigas (published in 1954), and Schneider was to take care of the Cancionero Popular and traditional music in general, i.e. he was responsible for the anthropological side of the work at the institute. Trained in Berlin and coined by diffusionist models applied by German Anthropologists (e.g. by Heine-Geldern 1932) he not only had an impact on the work of the cancionero. His interest in Anthropology and Archaeology and his exposure to medieval Catalan monasteries resulted in a publication with the title El origen musical de los animals-símbolos (1946) which, in turn, influenced Juan-Eduardo Cirlot’s artistic and intellectual work, such as his La Dama de Vallcarca (1957) and Diccionario de Símbolos (1958), and other symbologists until today. Schneider’s case serves as an example how scientific models and approaches can be transferred and applied and cause consequences even out of academia (Bleibinger 2005).
Among the practice oriented subfields which require direct contact and exchange with the others and which go beyond academic contexts, one has to mention applied anthropology and applied ethnomusicology. Serving a specific purpose and being driven by social responsibility, they directly intervene in the life of people, attempting to achieve social change by empowering them. Applied ethnomusicology incorporated fundamental ideas and categories deriving from applied anthropology, such as advocacy, administrative, action and adjustment anthropology. Angela Impey’s project in KwaZulu Natal, for instance, which drew from anthropological ideas had a clear agenda, i.e. empowering others, and it helped locals to establish their own business (Impey 2002). The impact of applied anthropology via applied ethnomusicology can be seen in a variety of projects and publications (Pettan 2008; Harrison, Mackinlay & Pettan 2010; Pettan and Titon 2015; Harrison 2016; Bleibinger 2018), and the foundation of a number of study groups in recognised associations, such as the International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM) or the Society for Ethnomusicology (SEM).
As the above-mentioned examples show, the matter is more complicated and often agents are more interconnected than one might expect. The proposed panel therefore tries to provide a space for reflections on historical and current musical encounters and their consequences. Interested in multifocal reflections and approaches, it welcomes presentations from the fields of institutional history (with focus on musical anthropology, ethnomusicology, musicology and related fields), migration studies, transcultural studies, reflective and applied musical anthropology and ethnomusicology, and performance studies among others.
Bleibinger, Bernhard. 2005. Marius Schneider und der Simbolismo. Ensayo musicológico y etnológico sobre un buscador de símbolos, Alteritas, Münchner ethnologische Impressionen, vol. 2, Pondicherry-München.
Bleibinger, Bernhard. 2018. Making Music and Musical Instruments: Making Society? Thoughts Based on Personal Experiences in the Field, in: Josep Martí und Sara Revilla Gútiez (eds.), Making Music – Making Society, Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars, 239-274.
Cirlot, Juan-Eduardo. 1958. Diccionario de símbolos tradicionales, Barcelona.
Cirlot, Juan-Eduardo. 1957. La Dama de Vallcarca, in: Correo de los Artes, No. 4, 23 Abril 1957.
Cooley, Timothy J. and Barz, Gregory. 2008. Casting Shadows: Fieldwork Is Dead! Long Live Fieldwork! Introduction, in: Shadows in the Field. New Perspectives for Fieldwork in Ethnomusicology, edited by Gregrory Barz and Timothy J. Cooley, New York: Oxford University Press 3-24.
Harrison, Klisala (ed.). 2016. Applied Ethnomusicology in Institutional Policy and Practice (= Collegium, 21), Helsinki.
Harrison, Klisala, Elizabeth Mackinlay and Svanibor Pettan (eds.). 2010. Applied Ethnomusicology: Historical and Contemporary Approaches, Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars.
Heine-Geldern, Robert. 1932. Urheimat und früheste Wanderung der Austronesier, in: Anthropos, 27, pp. 543-619.
Impey, Angela 2002. Culture, Conservation and Community Reconstruction: Explorations in Advocacy Ethnomusicology and Participatory Action Research in Northern KwaZulu Natal, in: Yearbook for Traditional Music (34), 9-24.
Kisliuk, Michelle. 2008. (Un-)doing Fieldwork: Sharing Songs, Sharing Lives, in: Shadows in the Field. New Perspectives for Fieldwork in Ethnomusicology, edited by Gregrory Barz and Timothy J. Cooley, New York: Oxford University Press, 183-205.
Kubik, Gerhard. 1979. Angolan traits in Black music, games and dances of Brazil: a study of African cultural extensions overseas, Lisboa: Junta de Investigações Científicas do Ultramar.
Oliveira Pinto, Tiago de. 1996. The Discourse about others’ music: Reflecting on African-Brazilian Concepts, in: African Music, vol. 7, no. 3, 21-29.
Oliveira Pinto, Tiago de and Adam-Schmidmeier, Eva-Maria. 2012. Wo ist das Zentrum? Transkulturelle Musikpädagogik: Ein Dialog mit den Transcultural Music Studies, in: Musik und Unterricht 109, 56-61.
Onyango-Ouma, Washington 2006. Practising Anthropology at Home. Challenges and Ethical Dilemmas, in: Mwenda Ntarangwi, David Mills and Mustafa Babiker (eds.), African Anthropologies. History, Critique and Practice, London & New York: Zed Books, 250-266.
Ortiz, Fernando. 1940. Contrapunteo Cubano del Tabaco y el Azúcar, Havana: Jesús Montero.
Pettan, Svanibor. 2008. Applied Ethnomusicology and Empowerment Strategies: Views from across the Atlantic, in: Musicological Annual, XLIV (1), 85-99.
Pettan, Svanibor and Jeff Todd Titon (eds.). 2015. The Oxford Handbook of Applied Ethnomusicology, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Schneider, Marius. 1946. El origen musical de los animales-símbolos en la mitología y la escultura antiguas. Ensayo historic-etnográfico sobre la subestructura totemística y megalítica de las altas culturas y su supervivencia en el folklore español, Monografías I, Barcelona: CSIC.