Analytical Studies in World Music

Analytical Studies in World Music

Analytical Studies in World Music

Analytical Studies in World Music

Synopsis

Combining the approaches of ethnomusicology and music theory,Analytical Studies in World Musicoffers fresh perspectives for thinking about how musical sounds are shaped, arranged, and composed by their diverse makers worldwide. Eleven inspired, insightful, and in-depth explanations of Iranian sung poetry, Javanese and Balinesegamelanmusic, Afro-Cuban drumming, flamenco, modern American chamber music, and a wealth of other genres create a border-erasing compendium of ingenious music analyses.
Through description of contexts of performance and creation, and especially compositional and formal construction, each chapter proposes stimulating ways to hear, conceive, and imagine these repertoires. Selections on the companion CD are carefully matched with extensive transcriptions and illuminating diagrams in every chapter. Opening rich cross-cultural perspectives on music, this volume addresses the practical needs of students and scholars in the contemporary world of fusions, contact, borrowing, and curiosity about music everywhere.

Excerpt

A symphony is a musical epic… a journey leading through the boundless reaches of the external world,” says the narrator in The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, Milan Kundera's fantasia-like novel of Czechoslovakia in the throes of mid-twentieth-century communism, but “the journey of the variation form leads to that second infinity, the infinity of internal variety concealed in all things.” He is recalling what his father tenderly taught him as a child: that symphonies progress through a limitless musical field, whereas variations descend deep into a paradoxical space that is both bounded and infinite; and that the two archetypes encompass the eternal questions music poses.

In life we aspire to both kinds of journeys, accepting that we cannot literally travel as far as we might wish, but grateful that music evokes them. Music-knowledge is wisdom, and we require it in both of its contrasting manifestations. Kundera longs especially for the inner passage: “That the external infinity escapes us we accept with equanimity; the guilt over letting the second infinity escape follows us to the grave. While pondering the infinity of the stars, we ignore the infinity of our father.”

Kundera's exemplars for these complementary sorts of musical explorations were Ludwig van Beethoven and other great European composers, whose compositions he contrasted with the Czech pop music “idiocy” of the era, mocked as “music minus memory.” in his time and place this apparent choice, politically charged, was between art and mass-market music, and Kundera makes a clear claim of superiority for the former. But he and his father, thoughtful contemplators, also invoke spiritual qualities by comparing musical space and time . . .

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