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

By Georgina Born; David Hesmondhalgh | Go to book overview

The Poetics and Politics of Pygmy Pop
Steven Feld

Stories begin when a beginning is chosen…

Colin Turnbull's death, on July 28, 1994, 1 hurtled me back into lengthy daydreams about the classes in anthropology I took with him from 1969–71 as a college junior and senior, classes that featured patiently detailed story after story drawn from his years of living with the Mbuti pygmies in the Ituri forest of Congo. Colin was a humanist who came into anthropology from studies in philosophy and religion, and from a substantial background as a skilled keyboardist as well. He was my first model of an anthropologist whose understanding of sociability was nurtured by a deep musical engagement.

Although the anthropology Colin learned at Oxford in the 1950s was largely functionalist and oriented toward the understanding of social institutions and organizations, the anthropology he taught was principally focused on issues of morality and conflict. He was deeply moved by the need to chronicle the experiential ravages of change in a world of rapidly escalating inequalities. What his critics called the romanticism in books like The Forest People (1961), The Lonely African (1962), or The Mountain People (1972) came through somewhat differently in Colin's teaching, as a passionate discussion of why neither Western nor African societies had morally superior claims to the most humane ways of imagining and treating others. 2 As a way of promoting debate on these issues Colin began each of our classes with a reading and critique of the ideas about exchange and reciprocity in Marcel Mauss's The Gift.3

My story begins with wanting to read and critique The Gift yet again, for and with Colin, from the standpoint of the schizophonic mimesis of pygmy music. My reading is about the turbulent morality of today's increasingly blurred and contested lines between forms of musical invasion and forms of cultural exchange. I want to critique Mauss by indicating how acts of schizophonic

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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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