This chapter examines the issue of censorship in the British Broadcasting Corporation’s controversial decision to ban the final track, “A Day in the Life,” from the Beatles’ album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in 1967 due to its oblique reference to drug use. More specifically, it analyzes the factors underlying the BBC ban within the context of the cultural environment in which company executives interpreted the recording. The chapter also discusses the BBC mission and its “Green Book,” the BBC Variety Programmes Policy Guide for Writers and Producers, which establishes Britain’s standards for taste in broadcasting.
Participant-activist engagement with marginal music brings the ethnomusicologist face to face with choice of subjects, self-reflexivity, and musical value, played out in local power politics. Using phenomenological methods and dialogical processes from two case studies of Tamil Dalit (former outcaste or untouchable) folk music from her fieldwork and filmmaking in India, the author argues that engagement with the meaning and value of marginalized South Asian music forces ethnomusicologists to deconstruct local hegemonies of musical style and ethnomusicology’s contributions to their perpetuation, in fieldwork, teaching content, and academic/community programming. The chapter examines methods (including filmmaking and participant activism) to approach contexts where the oppressed use music to assert identity and cultural politics of revaluation against local hierarchies of musical value that contribute to Dalit Action Theory: that is, politicized agency of the oppressed asserted through the arts, necessitating an activist ethnographic methodology focused on collaboration, dialogue, and reciprocity.
Advocacy and the Ethnomusicologist: Assessing Capacity, Developing Initiatives, Setting Limits, and Making Sustainable Contributions
Jeffrey A. Summit
What happens when ethnomusicologists’ experiences in the field conjoin with ethical, moral, and religious imperatives to pursue social justice and give back to the people with whom they work? This chapter addresses a set of issues and offers a project framework that ethnomusicologists might consider when moved to partner with the people whose music they study, who so generously help them and sometimes become teachers and friends. When deciding how, and if, to become involved in an advocacy initiative, it is important for the ethnomusicologist to ask a series of questions: How does one assess motivation and personal capacity when deciding if, and how, to engage in advocacy? How can one ensure that advocacy makes a real contribution? With limited time and resources—and often unlimited need—how does one determine the personal, financial, and psychological limits to advocacy? How does one evaluate if, and how, advocacy projects are sustainable?
The afterlife of an archive determines what that archive was in the first place. In other words, the way an archive preserves, processes, analyzes, and circulates its holdings—or fails to do so—plays a central role in constituting not just the what of the archive (its ontology) but also its when (the temporalities it contains and allows). In the 1930s, Milman Parry, a scholar of Homeric epic, traveled to the former Yugoslavia to collect oral poetry from the area, hoping to use this contemporary tradition to think about the feasibility of epic song—and specifically the Iliad and Odyssey—as an oral tradition more broadly. Parry’s student, Albert Lord, published their findings on the topic, creating a massive rethinking of poetry and literature more generally. But the archive they created through their audio recordings in Yugoslavia, recorded on aluminum discs, wire spools, and reel-to-reel tape, served for decades as a kind of necessary proof of their findings, but not an archive that allowed for significant new research. In the past decade, however, a number of family members of the singers who had recorded for Parry have begun to contact the archive seeking information about recordings in the archive. This contact has led not only to meaningful encounters between these families and the archive but also to small but significant expansions in the archive’s holdings through a kind of genealogical ethnography of the archive itself and its multiple, simultaneous (and often divergent) histories.
Philip V. Bohlman
This chapter frames world Christianities as a continuous dialogue within, across, and between worlds: the human world of the everyday and the divine (utopian) world of God. To mediate this contradiction inherent to Christianity—and perhaps to the human experience more generally—Christian soteriological and eschatological doctrines takes the shape of continuous journeys aimed at transcending the boundaries of both the sacred and the secular, producing an (altered) return that re-creates the everyday world, where difference is ever-present. Christian musics come into being at specific sites of origin—in early church history, at colonial encounter in the Americas, along the boundaries crossed by 21st-century immigrants in Chicago—forming sacred journeys articulated through worship and song. Connecting these sites is the path of return, realized musically through the centrality of revival. The intertextuality of music maps the trajectories of these journeys, embodying the multiple encounters generating the continuous re-creation.
“An Interesting Experiment in Eugenics”: Ted Shawn, American Dance, and the Discourses of Sex, Race, and Ethnicity
Paul A. Scolieri
The “ethnic dance” movement in the United States is closely associated with Ted Shawn, the “Father of American Dance” (1891–1972). Shawn and his wife and dancing partner, Ruth St. Denis, founded a dance company called Denishawn, whose repertory incorporated Native American, “Negro,” and Spanish folk dances. By the mid-1920s, Shawn viewed American dance in terms of moral and physical purity—a philosophy he based on the discourse of eugenics. This article explores how the eugenics movement informed Shawn’s vision of American dance in the 1920s, particularly with respect to two of his related writings, The American Ballet and “An American Ballet.” It explains how Shawn’s personal and professional relationship with Havelock Ellis, a British physician who was a leading proponent of the eugenics movement in Europe and whom he considered his idol, influenced his views about eugenics. It also examines how Shawn’s anxiety about his own sexual “unfitness” (his homosexuality) shaped his racist, nativist, and xenophobic “experiment” with eugenics in American dance.
The history of the black diaspora is full with examples of the ways music has enabled various black cultural communities to cope with racial oppression. This article explains how sound-producing technology, in the form of vinyl records and turntables, functions within communities that endow these devices with cultural value. Hip-hop is used to center the discussion on ways in which turntables and vinyl records are attributed a racial authenticity not seen in other music communities where DJs exist. It begins with the premise that the hip-hop culture, similar to other music cultures, is a deeply technological way of life. Furthermore, it explores hip-hop and the emergence of digital vinyl systems and discusses hip-hop and race in the digital age. Finally, it suggests that the intersections of hip-hop, technology, and sound could help understand the ways the materiality of sound is embedded and circulated within society.
“And I Make My Own”: Class Performance, Black Urban Identity, and Depression-Era Harlem’s Physical Culture
Christopher J. Wells
This chapter applies spatial practice theory to the intersections of power relations, social spaces, and embodied performance in the dance culture of Great Depression-era Harlem. Tracing the movement in black communities away from signifiers of ethnicity toward social-class-based hierarchies, it shows how ethnicized tropes have been used to exoticize and commodify black identity and to create the American black/white racial binary. This strategy has its roots in the marketing labels of the slave trade and the performative tropes of minstrel shows, and it continued in the floor shows of the Cotton Club and other “jungle alley” nightclubs in Harlem. The chapter charts the trajectory of the Savoy Ballroom’s drift from an upscale, dignified dance palace to an incubator for the lindy hop and Harlem’s other popular dance innovations. It argues that considering dance demands a model of ethnicity that creates more space for individual agency and processes of self-definition.
Andes to Amazon on the River Q’eros: Indigenous Voice in Grassroots Tourism, Safeguarding, and Ownership Projects of the Q’eros and Wachiperi Peoples
This chapter advocates that micro-scale applied ethnomusicology projects based in shared experience, co-collaboration, and equal status, executed in small groups, are as valid and often more effective than large-scale organizational projects. Two case studies show how grassroots approaches support the effectiveness of indigenous voice and representation regarding use of traditional music in tourism, safeguarding, and music ownership via CD production. The first case charts indigenous tourism and musical representation with the Quechua Q’eros of the southern Peruvian Andes; the second outlines safeguarding conflicts with Peru’s Ministry of Culture regarding UNESCO’s nomination of esuwa, healing songs, and song ownership with the near-extinct Wachiperi Amazonian group. The measurement of effectiveness is premised on the concept of reciprocity, the driving social mechanism in both the Q’eros and the Wachiperi communities. These case studies show tourism and safeguarding projects that are successful precisely because they are small scale and founded on mutually beneficial relationships.
Matthew J. Jones
This essay focuses on English-language popular songs about HIV/AIDS and offers a five-part typology based not on sonic markers of musical genre but instead on lyric content. Its central argument is that song lyrics carry important political messages and constitute a significant and under-studied contribution to the broader culture of arts-based HIV/AIDS activism. In AIDS-themed elegies, protest songs, pedagogical songs, confessional songs, and a small category of songs in bad taste, songwriters and performers translate the official scientific, medical, and political discourses of HIV/AIDS into vernacular speech idioms. In doing so, ideas and ideologies about HIV/AIDS transcend generic boundaries to effectively reach broad and diverse groups of listeners with varying beliefs, attitudes, and stakes in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
This article has been commissioned as part of the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Music Revival edited by Caroline Bithell and Juniper Hill. This essay explores modern performances of medieval music as a phenomenon of musical revival. The revival of early music in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries can be traced back to an early modern musical antiquarianism that saw medieval and folk music traditions as intimately related. In the revivals of medieval and folk music in Europe, antiquarians obsessed about the idea of restoring traditions to a hypothetical original and pure state. Both revivals underwent a remarkable institutionalization in the nineteenth century that was indispensable to their becoming bona fide academic disciplines. In comparing approaches to early music and folk music, key central concerns arise in both cases: their origins in the activities of early modern academic societies; nostalgia for the past and, nostalgia’s corollary, dissatisfaction with contemporary culture; an obsession with written sources paired with an academic validation of oral performances; and a specifically nineteenth-century trend toward institutionalization in the wake of industrialization.
Ethnomusicology and music therapy are modern-day disciplines with roots that reach into the far past and share themes common to music and healing. This article seeks to link systematically ethnomusicology and music therapy by using ethnomusicological research methods to describe music therapy as practiced at a residential institution for persons with developmental disabilities located in the northeastern United States. It presents fourteen constructs derived from observations of moment-to-moment events that occurred during music therapy sessions. The fourteen constructs are based on Ki Mantle Hood's “Nine Levels of Group Improvisation,” principles that govern Javanese gamelan performance: tuning, mode, colotomy, balungan, fixed melody, instrumental/vocal idioms, local style, group empathy, and personal style. The use of these nine levels serves to describe the improvisational nature of music therapy at this institution, and identifies determinants of moment-to-moment events, whether musical or extramusical, including culturally derived musical expression.
The Applied Ethnomusicologist as Public Folklorist: Ethnomusicological Practice in the Context of a Government Agency in the United States
Clifford R. Murphy
Since the early twentieth century, government agencies (local, county, state, and federal) in the United States have supported public folklore programs whose primary purpose is to identify, promote, celebrate, analyze, and archive the expressive culture (“folklife” or “intangible cultural heritage”) of its residents through ethnographic fieldwork and public programs, and to connect key individuals (“folklife practitioners,” or “tradition bearers”) to agency resources. This chapter chronicles the work of the ethnomusicologist as public folklorist in the United States, explores disciplinary connections between applied ethnomusicology and public folklore, and asks the question “How can an applied ethnomusicologist work meaningfully within the institutional and intellectual framework of public folklore?”
Applied Ethnomusicology and Intangible Cultural Heritage: Understanding “Ecosystems of Music” as a Tool for Sustainability
Within its broad range of possible identities, one of the most potent incarnations of applied ethnomusicology lies in its potential to understand and support the sustainability of the intangible cultural heritage it examines. It can do this in many ways, including the now common practice of returning recordings and research findings to communities. However, over the past few years, thinking has refined on gearing material and actions in a more targeted way to the specific needs and wishes of musicians, communities, and other stakeholders. Placing these into a wider understanding of what constitutes sustainability in music, this chapter explores some key issues and views relevant to this approach. It proposes a framework for understanding music cultures as ecosystems in a way that does justice to the complex realities of twenty-first century contexts. In doing so, it aims to provide communities with tools to address sustainability issues on their own terms.
Applied Ethnomusicology as an Intercultural Tool: Some Experiences from the Last 25 years of Minority Research in Austria
This chapter argues that there is considerable potential in ethnomusicology, and especially in minority studies, for intercultural communication. Ethnomusicology is suited to working in this way, because music has proven itself to be a powerful instrument of constructing and conveying identities and of “relocation.” This potential can be used in applied ethnomusicology. After a theoretical introduction, three case studies from Austria are presented, covering a time span of 25 years, involving different minority groups: Roma, Bosnian refugees, and immigrants from Turkey. The varied sociopolitical background in each of the cases is taken into account, as well as the different methodological approaches due to changing discourses in ethnomusicology.
Applied ethnomusicology has attracted little attention among Chinese ethnomusicologists, many of whom do not understand exactly what it is. However, the practice of ethnomusicology is far from uncommon. Properly balancing the inheritance, protection, development, and utilization of Chinese traditional music has been the subject of discussion among Chinese scholars for a long period of time. This has led to increased attention and effort from government at all levels, a development that reflects the distinctive nature of applied ethnomusicology. This chapter addresses the application of ethnomusicology in China from the perspective of ethnomusicology’s social practices (the macro level) and personal practices (the micro level), as well as tackling the implications of these practices.
This chapter attempts to discuss music collecting and archival work as applied ethnomusicology. Collections are always the result of selection, conscious or unconscious, in which certain phenomena or objects are considered more worthy of preservation than others. Collecting and archiving can be described as a cultural heritage process, in which functions and meanings of the collected material change. Archives and collection work not only reflect and preserve music traditions, they also serve as re-creator of the traditions they preserve. The chapter describes the starting point for the early collecting work from the late 1700s, with emphasis on the Swedish Folk Music Commission’s work during the 1900s. Through the collections the national archives display and define the citizens’ cultural identity. Archives can be seen as statements that point out “our” music and culture, and indirectly, what is not.
For decades, ethnomusicologists, folklorists, anthropologists, and a variety of cultural institutions such as audiovisual archives and museums have been returning parts of their collections to the communities from which they were originally obtained. Starting with a definition of repatriation, this chapter describes some of the attributes of successful repatriation projects. They usually require a highly motivated individual or group within the community, an intermediary to help locate and obtain the recordings, and a funding agency for the effective return of the music to circulation within the community. Different kinds of repatriation are described using examples from the author’s research in Brazil and projects in Australia, India, and the United States. Projects to return music to local circulation have been greatly facilitated by changes in communications technologies and digital recording, and by profound changes in research ethics and the relations between researchers and documentarians and the communities in which they work. Despite these improvements, challenges remain.
Christopher Dicran Hale
This chapter contrasts the contextualization of the Hindu bhajan in Christian churches in North India with its recontextualization as a medium of worship in North America. The author discusses his engagement with “Yeshu bhakti,” a North Indian Hindu modality of devotion (bhakti) focused on Jesus Christ (Yeshu) as the “God of choice.” The band Aradhna, composed of the children of missionaries to India and Nepal, draws on its members’ multiple musical backgrounds to present a “third” religious domain, derived from Hinduism and Christianity. The chapter shows how Aradhna’s music tries to draw together different religious traditions, focusing on their points of conversion. Addressing possible problems of cultural and religious ownership in the band’s practice, the author notes that Aradhna aims to create a new religious space, a meeting place of musics and religions that is something new—and an alternative to Eurocentric Christianity.