This article explores the proposition that the performance of music has the potential to make an important contribution to philosophical inquiry relevant to music education. This proposition engages a number of different scholarly trajectories that emerge from a perceived need to redress an imbalance in the understanding of knowledge. It suggests that imbas or performed knowledge offers a quality of insight into human life. The nature of this insight is experiential and accessed through performed actions. What is happening at the Irish World Academy, the discussion argues, is the performance of a philosophy of music education, a philosophy that places performance at the heart of its pedagogical enterprise.
Musicals celebrate physical abilities—singing and dancing—that seem to represent aspects of the universally human but are denied in significant measure to many with disabilities. Yet musicals’ insistence on incorporating the marginalized into communities has yielded important instances of disabled individuals figuring in musicals’ plots; moreover, musicals have often enough become part of the lives of disabled populations. This essay first considers a handful of shows that deal directly with disability, including Porgy and Bess, The Music Man, The Who’s Tommy, Wicked, and Next to Normal. It then discusses a number of revelatory instances of musical performance figuring in lives of the deaf and hearing impaired, focusing particularly on the recent Broadway revival of Big River as reconfigured by Deaf West Theatre, with its transformative integration of an expressive choreography based on signing into an existing musical.
Alon Ilsar and Charles Fairchild
“We Are, The Colors” was an experimental music project designed to create an ideal collaborative space as an expressly utopian challenge to dominant commercial models of music making. Drawing on the ideals of a range of composers and theorists, this project centered around a noncommercial website designed to employ collaborative devices often used by fans (such as fiction blogs, social networking, wiki software) with those often used by musicians (open-source software, real-time collective composition, collaborative music production). The goal was to create a forum to enable forms of collaboration between fans and musicians that would merge and challenge users’ notions of ownership and power over their creative work and intellectual property. It was also designed to open paths toward a reframing of the relationship between production and consumption of music in order to highlight the flourishing potential for new models of making music.
“We Should Not Sing of Heaven and Angels”: Performing Western Sacred Music in Soviet Russia, 1917–1964
This chapter examines the changing ways in which Western sacred music was performed in concerts at major cultural centers in Russia during the period 1917–1964. It first considers early Soviet policy on Western sacred works including the repertoire of the Leningrad State Academic Capella, led by Mikhail Klimov who served as conductor and director from 1918 through 1935. The chapter goes on to assess the impact of both the Russian Association of Proletarian Musicians in the late 1920s and the effect of Stalinism in the 1930s and 40s. Finally, it comments on the preservation of part of Johann Sebastian Bach’s a capella legacy by setting the music to Soviet texts.
Susan Hallam, Andrea Creech, and Maria Varvarigou
Music constitutes a leisure activity for many people, either through listening or making music. For some, singing or playing constitutes a “serious” leisure activity while for others it is recreational. Similarly, listening for some is a hobby to which they devote considerable time and energy; for others it constitutes casual engagement. Despite these differences in forms and levels of engagement, music can have a considerable impact on subjective well-being. Well-being can be enhanced through listening while undertaking other tasks or through using music to change moods and emotions. However, music can cause distress when it is not to the liking of a listener and out of their control. Music can also play a role in the development and maintenance of identity through the kind of music listened to. Attending live music requires a greater level of interest but leads to similar benefits as active music making.
Ivor Novello represents the stylistic bridge between Edwardian operetta and post-Second World War British musical comedy. This essay charts the development of British operetta, which was dominated by Novello, in the context of changing public attitudes, artistic influences, and world events. Consideration will be given to how Novello and his contemporaries were obliged to adapt their style to compete with the changes in British musical theatre in the late 1940s, what kind of legacy their works have left, why the pieces are seldom performed today, and why much of British musical theatre of this period has been forgotten. Whilst some of the contemporary neglect of English operetta may be attributed to the loss of some of the original material (such as libretti, sheet music, and orchestrations) and the lack of adequate recordings, the question will be considered whether the work of Novello and his fellow writers is actually worth reviving.
Social justice is a contested term in education. It is an old concept under renewed attack in many sectors of society, and schools have not been spared. Music education has been subject to the same repercussions of a broader shift in education reform that wants to see teaching and learning as a technocratic means to increasingly myopic education reform goals. At the same time, growing opposition to these trends can draw particular inspiration from the arts. Music education, therefore, is, perhaps, as threatening as some neoliberal reformers perceive it to be. Indeed, music education holds the possibility for a powerful partnership with all those educators who view education as a profoundly human and liberatory endeavor.
This chapter argues for a pedagogy of recognition and against a simplistic, didactic educative stance of “preparing students for social justice.” The question this chapter pursues is not how to best prepare or produce a student to be socially just, but rather how educators can facilitate moments of freedom, or “acting out with others” (Arendt, 1958, p. 198). Pedagogical engagements that disconnect individuals from acts of humanity and grace and the development of self-fueled ideological aims ensure competition, domination, and superiority. This suggests an interrogation of those engagements that have been, as Arendt (1998) suggests, “uncritically and slavishly accepted” (p. 179). The chapter examines concepts and constructs that are taken for granted—furthering individual pride, creating and posting class rules, and building upon “what is known”—revealing that social justice or socially just actions are neither the reproduction of an existing discourse nor preparation for future goal-oriented behaviors.
“What do Women Want, My God, What do they Want?”: Mimesis, Fantasy, and Female Sexuality in Ann Liv Young’s
Krista K. Miranda
By creating a recognizable domestic environment, Ann Liv Young’s experimental dance-theater piece Michael elicits the possibility for identification between the audience and the performers through a doubling of “real life.” Young then cranks up the volume, literally and figuratively, and exoticizes the familiar through hyperbolization. From a performance studies perspective, this chapter discusses how, by skewing the “real” into the “hyper-real,” Michael provides the conditions for experiencing the uneasy sensation of the uncanny. Working with and against psychoanalysis, this analysis examines Michael’s chaotic presentation of the primal scene as both home and catalyst for the development of female sexuality. The chapter then elaborates on Michel Foucault’s analysis of the sexualization of the family cell to expose how the mutual implications of race, gender, and sexuality are intrinsic to the formation of an intelligible, embodied (and in this case, female) subject.
This article discusses Hugo Riemann's notion of a tonal or harmonic function, which he first introduced into musical-theoretical discourse, Vereinfachte Harmonielehre in 1893. Riemann's notion of a tonal function refers to either the chords or properties of chords, classified as: tonic, dominant, and subdominant. In this article, the focus is on the equation of “function” with “meaning”, because it is in this connection that the term “function” occurs for the first time, and because the equation forms the core of the later references to the idea. What follows is a critical appraisal rather than history of the concept. The aim in this article is to consider within broad but specific historical boundaries, the discursive potential of the term in Riemann's theoretical writings.