SEM Niagara Chapter Program Abstracts 2006
Held at the School of the Arts, SUNY Geneseo,
1: Diasporic Communities in the
Wah-Chiu Lai (
Chaozhou daluogu is a unique Chuida/large ensemble musical genre in Guangdong Province of
China. Since the eighteenth century, the
workers and immigrants from Chaozhou (now mainly the Chaoshan District) in
Fiddling in the
Carl Rahkonen (Indiana University of Pennsylvania)
fiddlers in the
“center” of Scandinavian fiddle music comes from
Musical Changes in the Antiochian Orthodox Liturgy as
Performed in the
Jenine Lawson (
am interested in discovering the effects of immigration on musical changes that
have occurred within the Orthodox Christian church in the
Display and Power Point
Presentation on Hammered Dulcimers in
Mitzie Collins (
Session 2: Continuity and Change in Musical Traditions:
“The most remarkable feature of culture is non-change.” (Blacking 1977:17):
"Non Change" In The
Traditional Georgian Polyphonic Songs of
Since the disintegration of the Soviet block, contemporary research on traditional musics from the region has focused on change, which was either a product of the Soviet regime or as a counter culture to it (Sugarman 1999, Buchanan 1995, Slobin 1966, Rice 1996.) In comparison to these other musics, there has been little change in traditional Georgian polyphonic songs. Although many may describe the current performance context within the practice of an ensemble as artificial, the genres of songs performed today and their musical (harmonic and rhythmic) structure are comparable to archived recordings and historical descriptions of the early 1900s. Moreover, this performance and its context is not a recent revival. It is a continuation of an ensemble practice which both urban and village folk owned as early as the turn of the 20th century.
Such a continuity in a music begs many questions: Was it reflective of authentic practice? How was it maintained? Can this century old music still be part of a current expressive traditional culture? What does this “non-change” music say about the people and the culture?
paper is based on ongoing research and analysis of the Georgian ensemble
tradition for a Masters Thesis at
in the Guise of Tradition: Music Among The Chin Population of
Chin are an indigenous group whose territories
“The Chin are a people whose culture and accomplishments are changing rapidly with little strain, precisely because the culture was traditionally oriented around trying by every means to achieve the attainments of civilization whenever the opportunity arose. The prestige of anything from the outside is great, though not necessarily of any sort of institutionalized behavior. Novelties are readily accepted, even new concepts, if they are attached to concrete things and practical procedures…”(Lehman 1963:207).
March of 2005, I was privileged to visit the Haka
Chin expatriate community located in
embracing of change can be seen most clearly in the Chin’s adoption of the
musical elements of Western music – such as the Western guitar, hymn structure
and four-part tonal harmony, and the sliding between pitches so characteristic
of country singers. In
Musicians in the
Ian Gendreau (SUNY Geneseo)
With the decline in interest in
salsa and the rise in popularity of reggaeton, which
is primarily electronic, there are fewer opportunities for musicians to play.
This paper will look at whether or not these younger musicians are able to
support themselves as working musicians without moving to other areas of the
country. Lastly, I will examine the inter-connectedness of the musicians.
Again, with so few performance opportunities available, the musicians in
Information for this paper has been derived mainly from
personal interviews with younger Puerto Rican musicians in
Session 3: Ethnomusicology as Self-Awareness
"Music, Trance, and "Truth:" Perspectives and Questions
Amy Unruh (
My interest in the study of music and trance suddenly intensified one day as I was teaching a class as a graduate assistant while working on my Masters degree. Unexpectedly, I had a first-hand (and thankfully brief) experience while demonstrating a Santerian verse which praised the deity Yemaya and accompanying myself with a bell pattern. From that moment I found myself searching for an explanation of what happened, a "truth" that would put my mind at ease. Instead, I only found more questions. I am aware that competent scholars have already produced extensive research on the possible psychological, social, and physiological components of trance. It is not my intention to compete with their lifelong contributions to the field. Rather, I hope that sharing the questions I have faced will perhaps suggest additional insights. Trance is by nature often a spiritual experience, yet "spiritual" explanations for a phenomena can fall outside the boundaries of what is considered respectable scholarship. Researchers have looked for consistencies in the phenomenon of music and trance, thereby hoping to find a variety of possible "truths" as well as the possibility of one singular "Truth" as an explanation. My unexpected experience forced me to approach the subject of music and trance, and the way I learned in new ways.
“Concert or Communitas: Jazz and Ritual Space from Nightclub to Concert Hall”
Barry Long (
The jazz idiom faced a crucial moment in its development and life cycle during the tumultuous period following the birth of bebop. Bebop innovators had reached a new level of social consciousness in establishing African-American improvised music as an art form that moved beyond its minstrel roots, creating a cultural identity for young black intellectuals.
The small footprint of the nightclub spaces in which they gathered as well as the absence of a permanent stage resulted in an intimacy among participants that enhanced their mutual catharsis and approached a ritual communitas. The physical confines as well as competition in the marketplace would inspire many venues to leave open their doors to passerby, thus creating a larger space symbolic of a broader welcome; the ritual was not limited to a select few but open to all who chose to enter.
The departure of jazz from the consciousness of popular culture by the mid-1960s led to an increased reliance on its rich heritage and a canonization that would allow greater accessibility within the educational curriculum and eventually the concert hall. Despite such earlier landmark moments as Duke Ellington’s Carnegie Hall premiere in 1943, the growing consideration of jazz as concert music caused significant concern. This paper will examine the manners in which the accompanying shift in performance space would impact areas of music, culture, and race in signaling a transformation of function and thereby altering the essence of an art and its ritual.
Can artistic survival and cultural maintenance be mutually exclusive?
A Summer with Pansori: Lessons in Singing and Cultural Difference
and cross-cultural communication and influence have made defining one’s own
culture an increasingly difficult thing to do.
I came upon this realization after a personal attempt to learn more
about what I had previously thought was the music of “my own culture.” In the summer of 2005, I spent six weeks in
Though I have lived in the States at various points of my life for a combined period exceeding ten years, I am Korean by birth and have always thought of myself as being heavily immersed in Korean culture. Naturally, the degree to which I struggled in learning pansori startled me. Because of my background as a student and performer of Western literate music, the oral tradition of pansori challenged me to rethink how I had previously perceived aesthetic and academic authority as well as the importance of timbre and the hierarchy of musical elements imposed by Western notation. The experience taught me how to perform some of the most expressive music I have ever encountered, while also teaching me to think about various kinds of music and commentary of music in new ways. As I share my experience with fellow musicians and scholars, I hope to encourage them to do the same.
4: Music and Politics in
Contemporizing Traditional Arts : A Safer Form of Engagement?
Nur Intan Murtadza (York University)
This paper examines the relationship between the Malay traditional performing arts and the political posture adopted by the Malaysian government in creating a national culture. In particular, it will look at the role governmental policies have, such as the National Cultural Policy of 1971, in reshaping and commodifying traditional arts like bangsawan (a popular urban Malay opera theatre), and gamelan Melayu.
This research is relevant to the current body of literature in Southeast Asian scholarship, which locates the role and meaning of scholarship in relation to issues such as social justice, heritage politics, environment and spiritual values. By examining the study of local music-cultures (bangsawan and gamelan melayu) within these contexts, the implications of my study have significance that go beyond description and analysis and provides a fresh perspective on the complexities of knowing the music of the Other.
Inside the Piphat Ensemble: Interpretations of Clientship and Class Structure in Thai Society Regarding Thai Classical Music
Priwan Nanongkham (
Piphat music is one of the highest Thai traditional musical arts. The entire system of its performance practice: musical structures, (repertoires), idioms (variations), instrumentations, performance customs, and musician’s respect rituals, contains components of the Thai social structure. This paper presents and interprets the Thai social system as it influences the Piphat ensemble.
Before the impact of westernization and
modernization, Thai society was based on a clientship
system involving dyadic social contract between patrons and clients. The former, princes and nobles, were clearly
superior to the latter, ordinary peasants.
Clientship is an instrumental relationship in
which people endeavor for access, whether to natural or social resources. In the Thai way, there is a significant
dichotomy: sung “high” and tam “low” presents the basic structure of clientship-social relations. As a result,
Terry Miller (
As with Canada and the United States, to
the outsider Laos and Thailand have much in common, sharing related languages
and, at least in part, culture. Before
the French colonial masters of
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