Empirical Approaches to Determining Affect Displayed by Caribbean People for the Works of Caribbean Musicians

Article excerpt

Abstract

For the works of three English-speaking Caribbean musicians, people in six English-speaking East Caribbean islands provided indicators of their liking for five technical aspects of the works, indicators of their inclination to select the works for inclusion among their favorites if the works are considered as

elements in three arenas, and an indicator of their general liking for the works. For the works of each musician, the set of indicators of liking for technical aspects and the set of indicators of the inclination to select were each internally consistent and there were large, positive, significant correlations among one composite indicator of liking for the technical aspects, one composite indicator of the inclination to select, and the indicator of general liking. The study developed, and established the reliability of, empirical methods of measuring the affect that Caribbean people display for Caribbean music. It realizes a call by Nettleford for the use of the methods of the social sciences in the study of the culture of the Caribbean.

The affect that Caribbean audiences display for works by Caribbean musicians has been the subject of a number of critical essays but not many empirical investigations. That may be because much of the discussion of the music has had a descriptive, explanatory, or interpretive focus but not a predictive focus. But two empirical studies of the predictors of this affect (Cuthbert, 1985; Regis, 1990) and a call for researchers that study the Caribbean to apply the methods of the social sciences in the study of the culture of the region (Nettleford, 1989) draw attention to the need to apply empirical approaches in the study of this affect. This includes the need to develop empirical approaches to measuring it.

The study sought to develop and test empirical methods of measuring the affect Caribbean audiences display toward the works of Caribbean musicians. It assumed one aspect of this affect is the liking the audiences display for the technical aspects of the works and developed a set of variables and related scales for measuring the liking. It assumed a second aspect of this affect is the inclination of the audiences to select the works for inclusion among the their favorites and developed a group of variables and related scales for measuring this inclination. It assumed a third, general aspect of this affect is the degree to which the audiences indicate they generally like the works and developed a variable and a related scale for measuring this liking. It also determined the internal consistency among the variables in each of the groups of indicators. It then measured the strength and significance of the relationships among the two groups of indicators and the general indicator.

The value of the study lies in the potential usefulness of the measures. In many countries, one objective of development is the cultivation of an awareness, understanding, appreciation, liking, or preference for the output of local culture (White, 1982). The output may serve as an embodiment of a development objective or an instrument for the achievement of it. Because of this importance of the output, the prediction of the awareness, understanding, appreciation, liking, or preference becomes important. But, the ability to make this prediction is contingent upon the development and utilization of appropriate methods of measuring the awareness, understanding, appreciation, liking, or preference. This study sought to develop and evaluate such methods of measurement.

Liking for Technical Aspects

The selection of the technical aspects of the works to be considered as a group may be based on a consideration of the philosophical rationale for the origination and performance of much Caribbean popular music. The rationale probably is founded on the African foundations of much of the overall culture, and most of the folk and popular music culture, of the region. …