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

By Georgina Born; David Hesmondhalgh | Go to book overview

way answers back to Western dominance. 125 While the present book does not contribute much to that project, this does not imply a view on our part that only the stories told here matter. We accept that writing even a self-critical account focused on the West might tend to reproduce the very hegemony, the very binary oppositions, it sets out to deconstruct. But we believe that developing greater critical acuity about the techniques and forms through which power is deployed in Western music contributes in a complementary way to the larger project of questioning and unsettling those modes of power. The limits remain; this volume indubitably raises questions for further research . It is a call awaiting a response.


NOTES

The epigraphs to this introduction are to be found in Pierre Boulez, “Oriental Music: A Lost Paradise?” in Orientations (London: Faber, 1986), 421; Steve Reich, Writings about Music (Halifax, Nova Scotia: Nove Scotia College of Art and Design, 1974), 40; Peter Gabriel, quoted in Timothy D. Taylor, Global Pop: World Music, World Markets (New York: Routledge, 1997), 50; Mark Slobin, Subcultural Sounds: Micromusics of the West (Hanover, N.H.: Wesleyan University Press, 1993), 4.

1
We want to signal our difficulties with the terms “Western” and “other” while arguing for their retention. We use “Western” to denote Europe and North America . Many people now prefer the divisions “North” and “South” as a means of referring to the division between relatively rich and poor areas of the world. But, given that this is a book about music, we need to refer to the longstanding concept of “Western music” while distancing ourselves from those traditions of analysis which have taken such a category for granted, or which have privileged it, or both. This means also using the even more unfortunate but still widely used term “non-Western, ” which makes it sound as though the rest of the world is a kind of residue of the West. As we have worked on this book, “Euro-American” has emerged as a more accurate term for the geographical area that has dominated so much of the world's politics and culture . The term “other, ” meanwhile, has been widely used in a number of critical fields, especially feminism and postcolonial studies, to denote those groups of people that white Western heterosexual men have usually defined themselves against, and whose selfhood they have tended to deny. Unlike many writers, however, we have chosen not to capitalize the word “other.” Given that our critical intentions are hopefully evident , scare quotation marks have not been used after the initial appearance of “Western ” and “other” in each chapter.
2
By denotative media we refer to Barthes's distinction between denotation and connotation as two forms of signification comprising the “imitative” arts. See Roland Barthes, “The Photographic Message” and “Rhetoric of the Image, ” in Image-MusicText , trans. Stephen Heath (London: Fontana, 1977). Music, in its immanent abstraction , is different from these arts in lacking a level of denotation, or literal, analogical representation.
3
See Ralph P. Locke, “Constructing the Oriental 'Other': Saint-Saëns's Samson et Dalila,Cambridge Opera Journal 3, no. 3 (1991): 261–302; Ralph P. Locke, “Reflections

-47-

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Western Music and Its Others: Difference, Representation, and Appropriation in Music
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction - On Difference, Representation, and Appropriation in Music 1
  • Notes 47
  • Musical Belongings - Western Music and Its Low-Other 59
  • Notes 78
  • Race, Orientalism, and Distinction in the Wake of the “yellow Peril” 86
  • Notes 110
  • Bartók, the Gypsies, and Hybridity in Music 119
  • Notes 137
  • Modernism, Deception, and Musical Others: Los Angeles Circa 1940 143
  • Notes 160
  • Experimental Oriental - New Music and Other Others 163
  • Notes 183
  • Composing the Cantorate - Westernizing Europe's Other Within 187
  • Notes 207
  • East, West, and Arabesk 213
  • Notes 229
  • Scoring the Indian - Music in the Liberal Western 234
  • Notes 251
  • The Poetics and Politics of Pygmy Pop 254
  • Discography 275
  • Notes 276
  • International Times - Fusions, Exoticism, and Antiracism in Electronic Dance Music 280
  • Notes 301
  • The Discourse of World Music 305
  • Notes 320
  • Contributors 323
  • Index 327
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