Western Music and Its Others: Difference, Representation, and Appropriation in Music

Western Music and Its Others: Difference, Representation, and Appropriation in Music

Western Music and Its Others: Difference, Representation, and Appropriation in Music

Western Music and Its Others: Difference, Representation, and Appropriation in Music


"["Western Music and Its Others] will be taken as an important book signalling a new turn within the field. It takes the best features of traditional, rigorous scholarship and brings these to bear upon contemporary, more speculative questions. The level of theoretical sophistication is high. The studies within it are polemical and timely and of lasting scholarly value."--Will Straw, co-editor of "Theory Rules: Art as Theory/ Theory and Art

"The great value of this collection lies in the wealth of questions that it raises--questions that together crystallize the recent concerns of musicology with force and clarity. But it also lies in the authors' resistance to the easy 'postmodernist' answers that threaten to turn new musicology prematurely grey. The editors' comprehensive, intellectually adventurous introduction exemplifies the sort of eager yet properly skeptical receptivity to scholarly innovation that fosters lasting disciplinary reform. It alone is worth the price of the book." --Richard Taruskin, author of "Stravinsky and the Russian Traditions: A Biography of the Works Through" Mavra"

"When cultural-studies methods first appeared in musicology 15 years ago, they triggered a storm of polemics that sometimes overshadowed the important issues being raised. As the canon wars recede, however, scholars are finding it possible to focus on the concerns that led them to cultural criticism in the first place: the study of music and its political meanings. "Western Music and Its Others brings together leading musicologists, ethnomusicologists, and specialists in film and popular music to explore the ways European and North American musicians have drawn on or identified themselves intension with the musical practices of Others. In a series of essays ranging from examination of the Orientalist tropes of early 20th-century Modernists to the tangled claims for ownership in today's World Music, the authors i


The music of Asia and India is to be admired because it has reached a stage of perfection , and it is this stage of perfection that interests me. But otherwise the music is dead.


The least interesting form of influence, to my mind, is that of imitating the sound of some non-Western music…. Instead of imitation, the influences of non-Western musical structures on the thinking of a Western composer is likely to produce something genuinely new.


I got interested in world music as a failed drummer; I was able to look for fresher rhythms. It just seemed fresh, wonderful, more live and spiritual than most pop.


The study of world musics moved out of what would nowadays be called an Orientalist stance only in the 1960s. Till then, few people seriously questioned the notion that beyond the Western classical tradition there were three kinds of music to be studied : Oriental, folk, and primitive…. “Oriental” of course referred to those Asian “high cultures” that had long-term, accessible internal histories and that could be “compared” with similar European systems. “Primitive” encompassed all the “preliterate ” peoples of the world, who had to rely on oral tradition for transmission and who had no highly professionalized “art musicians” in their midst. The “folk” were the internal primitives of Euro-America.


How should we conceive of difference in music? The kind of difference invoked when music, that quintessentially nonrepresentational medium, is employed (paradoxically) so as to represent, through musical figures, another music, another culture, an other? What is implied by attending to the boundaries of musical-aesthetic discourses inherent in this notion of representing or appropriating another music or culture in music? Or in the notion that a music's construction of its own identity may involve the exclusion or repudiation of another music? Or in the concept of hybridity as . . .

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