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

By Georgina Born; David Hesmondhalgh | Go to book overview

different ways, draws upon and recasts the same critique. As with many Gramscian intellectuals who are currently attempting to rethink popular culture, she sees arabesk in dichotomous and interventionist terms framed around somewhat sharply defined questions: political acceptance or rejection? artistic success or failure? So while these two discursive invasions of the musical text are in many ways irreconcilable, in others they reproduce many of the features of the more general critical discourse.

In this more general discourse, both critique and co-option of have been driven by a kind of reverse essentialism. Critics initially saw arabesk as a kind of unacceptable Orient lurking on the peripheries of a Turkey whose modernity and Westernity were inseparable aspects of the state's self-definition. The Özal government sought to reintegrate arabesk into cultural and political life as an aspect of an East that had been excluded by an over-powerful and undemocratic state apparatus. Arabesk music and arabesk musicians have consequently been woven into the endlessly elaborated and contradictory themes of Middle Eastern modernity by those who appropriate it: West versus East, the need to shed the past versus the need to remember; the imperative of adaptation and change versus the dangers of imitation. As Rabinow suggests, reverse essentialism does not transcend the basic dichotomies posed by essentialism, and the dominant means of representing arabesk leave most of its basic terms in place.

This chapter has attempted to illustrate some of the more critical counterdiscourses in arabesk thinking, represented in particular by the voices of articulate musicians such as Gencebay reflecting on his own music and writers such as Özbek identifying a plurality and hybridity at the heart of the music—approaches which transcend some of the sterile representational binarisms that, at first sight, arabesk appears to encode. These more questioning and, in some sense, less conclusive representations emerge in a space shaped by the music's rich and often dissonant multitextuality, and the play of power that has taken place between the Turkish state, the intelligentsia, the musicians, and the music industry. This is a music which has never merely “spoken for itself.”


NOTES

This chapter has greatly benefited from readings in various forms at the Department of Sociology, University College Cork, the School of Music, The Queen's University of Belfast, the Middle East Centre, St. Anthony's College, Oxford, and discussions with Meral Özbek and Orhan Gencebay.

1
Edward Said's Orientalism (New York: Pantheon Books, 1978) has by now generated an enormous secondary literature of its own. James Clifford and George Marcus 's Writing Culture: The Politics and Poetics of Ethnography (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986) focused an already well-established sense of unease on the part

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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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