SEM Niagara Chapter Meeting
Friday March 28 - Sunday March 30, 2008
SATURDAY, MARCH 29TH
9:00-10:30 SESSION 1A (Rm 241): PERFORMING THE COMMUNITY
Transcriptions, One Community, and a Multitude of Heritages: An Analysis of the
Adhān at the Islamic
In this paper, I discuss
the place of the adhān (the call
to worship) at the Islamic Center of Rochester (ICR), a community whose stated
objectives are “to promote, propagate, and facilitate the practice of Islam in
It in the Woods: Community Experience and Performance in Patria Production Sites
Since 2005 I have been involved in the performance and workshopping of R. Murray Schafer’s outdoor Patria compositions. During the weeks preceding the performance, the creative team, production crew and artists work in an isolated and insular locale, often camping in unpalatable conditions and working odd hours of the day and night. At the same time, they are trying to realize an intricate theatrical performance to a professional standard. For many Patria works, Schafer draws on the local amateur and professional communities for his performance forces because of their geographical and personal association with his works. Similarly, a mutually cooperative community also forms onsite among the crew and performers. In the case of recent Patria performances, the social and geographical location of these communities has impacted their formation, interaction, and existence. An ethnographic study of the communities that form around theatre performance and the ways in which communities function is an undertheorized area in both musicological and ethnomusicological discourse.
Based on fieldwork from 2007, this paper examines both how Schafer draws upon amateur and professional performance communities to realize his extensive works and also how communities form onsite in a symbiotic partnership directed towards a shared goal. This presentation focuses on the types of bonds that are formed between community members, the impact of space upon the community, the community’s goals, communal music making practices, and the types of interaction that occur based on spoken and unspoken expectations of the members of the performance community.
Afro-Trinidadian Steelband: Musical Ensemble, Community Group or Street Gang? (Chris
The steelband’s roots can be traced through three overlapping and interconnected narratives: as musical ensemble, community group and organized fighting unit or street gang. I will explore each of these aspects of the steelband historically, yet it is my contention that all three are foundational and played a crucial role in the steelband’s evolution.
remains a popular perception that the Trinidadian Carnival is somehow descended
from European Catholic Carnival. Recent scholarship, however, strongly supports
the notion that modern Carnival is descended from emancipation celebrations the
former slaves in Trinidad celebrated called
I will allude to some of steelbands’ later developments throughout my description of the early bands and their activities, showing how each of my title’s characteristics of early steel bands changed over time. While some aspects of modern steelbands have remained unchanged since the beginning, other changes have crucially affected how modern steelbands function and are constituted.
(9:00-10:30) SESSION 1B (Rm 237): TECHNOLOGY, INSTITUTIONS AND MUSICAL EXPERIENCE
Records: A Case Study of Gospel Music-making in
The rise in academic
publications on African American gospel music in recent decades has increased
awareness and understanding of this neglected yet important art form; however,
gospel music-making in
Reality of Illusion: On the Value of Technological Processes in the Making of
Popular Music (Sheena Hyndman,
In his study of the producer’s ever-expanding role in music making, Virgil Moorefield states that one of the most influential changes to result from technological improvements in the recording studio is the shift from presenting “the illusion of reality” to “the reality of illusion” (2005). No truer is this idea than within the realm of performance practices that are primarily defined by mediation, specifically where disc jockeys (DJs) and producers of various electronic musics are concerned. Once limited to the realm of traditional musical instruments, the idea of performance has expanded to include so-called “non-musicians” who perform “non-instruments” such as turntables and laptops. Further, with the proliferation of mash-ups and remixes, the DJ/producer is also in a position to lay claim to musical authorship, albeit of a more social and collaborative nature.
This paper marks the beginning of an examination of the remix as a form of collaborative authorship in popular music. In considering how the reception of mediated performance and composition informs value judgments regarding the validity and acceptability of technological processes in music making, we can begin to understand the extent to which the “reality” of technology informs the “illusion” of music making within the context of technological mediation.
as Entertainment (Lauren Acton,
One of the underlying motives for making, purchasing, and/or listening to music has always been to entertain. From Verdi's operas to children's playground songs to West Side Story to a U2 stadium concert, various musical forms attempt to engage the audience by entertaining. Many types of popular music, in fact, are dismissed as "only entertainment"; they are disdained for not aspiring to the loftier ideals of "art." The art/entertainment dichotomy (or continuum?) has often been obliquely referred to in studies addressing the commercial nature of music, yet entertainment as a term has avoided definition in musicological studies. In contrast to the term "popular," "entertainment" is seldom defined in musicology, instead it is often used as a synonym for popular (or sometimes media or culture) but it is clear if you consider the phrases "popular entertainment" and "entertainment media" that entertainment needs its own working definition for musicologists.
This paper will address the under-examined field of entertainment theory as it applies to music. Exploring issues of pleasure, play, Mikhail Bakhtin's concept of the "carnivalesque," and Roland Barthes' separation of the plaisir of order from the jouissance of abandon, this study of music as entertainment will also question the aesthetic value judgements we make about music when labeling it "art" or "entertainment."
10:45-12:15 SESSION 2A (Rm 241): RE-DEFINING THE “TRADITIONAL”
What is traditional
Picking, Ethnic Spinning: Defining the ‘Folk’ at the
“What is folk music?” This question may scream “cliché!” to many music scholars, who have struggled for decades to define the “folk” (Cherbuliez et al. 1955, Keil 1978, Spalding et al. 1988). Some have examined its complicated relationship with popular music (Blacking 1981, Middleton 1981, Redhead and Street 1989), while others have referred to its collisions with “world” music (Frith 2000, Gruning 2006, Guilbault 2006). The blurred generic lines implied by these studies highlight a timeworn theme in folk music scholarship, namely that of folk music as a “process.”
The study of Canadian folk festivals, however, provides a new lens through which to view the “what is folk music” question. The relationship between folk and popular music displays a fresh face at these events, particularly as it reflects the economic considerations of festival programming. The collision of folk with world music takes on a distinctly “Canadian” character, as the growing plurality of musical traditions presented at folk festivals is often linked to a national preoccupation with cultural diversity. Meanwhile, the notion of “process” is heightened to extravagant dimensions at folk festivals, where music exists not only on the concert stage, but also as a temporary way of life.
This paper will trace the usage of the term “folk music” in thirty-four years of discourse generated by the Winnipeg Folk Festival. Using media coverage and ethnography, this discussion will examine early definitions of the term, followed by its re-conceptualization with regards to popular music, world music, and the notion of “process.”
3. Tradition vs.
Dynamism: Assimilation and the Reinterpretation of Ideology within the Drum
& Bugle Corps Community (Dennis Cole,
Historically, drum and bugle corps have existed for nearly a century, developing their distinctive identity by being defined not by their instrumentation, but rather through their ideology – as musical ensembles centered on youth education and self-discipline. During the second half of the twentieth century, the activity transformed from local, community-based ensembles into large-scale, corporate-endorsed non-profit organizations. Over the years, this metamorphosis has contributed to the drastic decline of actively competing corps, specifically within the junior drum corps activity.
Cultural anthropologist Melville Herskovits coined the term reinterpretation after recognizing how, over time, cultures inevitably exhibit this unique process, in which old meanings are ascribed to new elements or by which new values change the cultural significance of old forms. How has the assimilation of people, competition, technology and business opened the drum and bugle corps activity to reinterpretation?
This study is a comprehensive analysis of the factors contributing to the ongoing cultural dynamism within the musical community. Several issues to be explored include:1) Cultural shifts: a) from traditional militaristic roots to innovative artistic endeavors, and b) from grass-roots participation to multi-national corporate sponsorship – both which reflect recent transferences in social capital within the United States; and 2) Technological advancements: resulting in the current modifications of musical instruments and the subsequent changes in participant behavioral patterns.
As a result, this study will investigate the reinterpretation of ideology, specifically the very concept of “community,” in light of the activity’s evolution.
(10:45-12:15) SESSION 2B (Rm 237): MUSIC AS LOCAL AND TRANSNATIONAL PRACTICE
1. The Embodiment of Parallax: Ritual and Site in the
Kawano states that, rather than being self evident analytical categories,
belief and action in
By comparing traditional
Shinto music and ritual with the various activities of the free improvisation
2. Latin Jazz, Improvisation, and Transnational Flow: Hal
Crook’s Performance of “
The flow of musical styles and texts between cultural
groups has long been one of the defining features of the
The particularly strong musical affect found in Ary Barroso’s “Aquarela do Brasil” has made it attractive not only to Brazilian performers of samba, but also to musicians throughout the world working in a wide variety of other genres ranging from light classical to alternative rock, and from easy listening to jazz. Perhaps one of the most striking features of Barroso’s composition lies in the fact that, despite being originally conceived as a union of words and music, “Aquarela do Brasil” retains its emotional affect in instrumental versions in which the lyrics are absent. An examination of Hal Crook’s jazz recording of this work will show that the spatial, rhythmic, and ludic elements of Barroso’s original composition not only survive the change in genre, but inform Crook’s spontaneous improvisation on the tune’s structure.
3. Música de Gaita in Bogotá, Colombia: Integration and Cultural Exchange (Ruben Esguerra, York University)
This work is a study of musica de gaita and its manifestations
1:30-3:00 SESSION 3A (Rm 241): ETHNOGRAPHY AND ETHNOMUSICOLOGY AS INTERVENTION
1. "Oh Lord, Why
Me?" Religious Discourse in HIV/AIDS Outreach by the TASO, Mulago
Performance Group (Rachel Muehrer,
Can musical performance
effectively destabilize dominant discourses of health, healing and morality
that mediate local and international understandings of HIV and AIDS in
Because HIV and AIDS evoke concepts of death, sexuality, and moral impropriety, they are readily linked to the purview of religion in the public imagination. Additionally problematic are Western constructions of African sexuality that have doubled back onto African consciousness, contributing to moral and religious causation models that tend to advance a discourse of culpable agency and social stigma. HIV-positive members of the performance group must frame their own personal message within these moral limitations while struggling to share their experience. My goal in this paper is to examine these performance contexts, strategies, and messages of HIV/AIDS NGOs’ performing groups and the manifestation of the converging religious discourses found in these performances.
Teaching Music Composition in a Multicultural Setting (Nicole Marchesseau,
How does one teach music composition to children in a multicultural, multi-vocal setting? In an ever changing, complex web of culture found in urban environments, each child brings to the music classroom an individual and ever changing perception of what is defined as music. It is this web which informs and is informed by the child, influencing decisions made, influencing of the child’s compositional voice, also ever changing.
While each student brings with them a different cultural fingerprint, should the goal of learning music composition be to extend this fingerprint through music or to learn a specific craft? Joyce Eastland Gromko, one of the authors in Why and How to Teach Music Composition: A New Horizon for Music Education, values diversity in learning. Gromko also realizes that teaching the music of non-western traditions can pull music from its cultural context and disenfranchise the student from the learning environment. A method which is aimed at having the student express their own voice is preferable in the case of the multicultural classroom because it allows for diverse influences to be introduced into the compositional curriculum and does not favor a specific voice. No one voice is privileged. However, it is still the role of the instructor to guide the student in discovering that voice. This paper will draw from experiences in the classroom and from the theories of authors such as Gromko to both explore the challenges of the composition instructor and recommend improvements to face those challenges.
Best of Both Worlds: The Unification of Ethnomusicology and Music Education in
a Middle School Music Program (Mary Jane Jones,
All too often, music education and ethnomusicology operate as separate disciplines with little regard for each other’s potential contributions to musical knowledge and understanding. At best, the practitioners of these disciplines may fail to communicate or keep abreast of each other’s research and findings. At worst, rifts may develop between these areas of study within university music departments and elsewhere, giving rise to discord and disrespect.
Although the basic
philosophies of these disciplines may differ, elements of both can be combined
to increase knowledge of the world’s cultures through the study of music. This presentation will examine the inherent
differences between the two approaches, and will illustrate how ethnomusicology
and music education can be successfully combined as illustrated by an
The goals of this presentation are to examine the philosophies underlying ethnomusicology and music education, to increase mutual understanding and appreciation of each discipline’s value, and to demonstrate ways that both approaches can be utilized together to teach children about world cultures through music.
(1:30-3:00) SESSION 3B (Rm 237): LOCAL PERSPECTIVES ON POPULAR MUSIC
1. A Brief
Introduction to Popular Music in
recording Western popular music in
2. Caught in a Lift: Festival of Megrelian Song and Contextualizing
Georgian Popular Music (Andrea Kuzmich,
The popular music of
This paper will examine the dynamic between these two musical streams through a review of the activities surrounding the 2007 annual Festival of Megrelian Song, which featured both popular and traditional Georgian music. Stage presence, performance, and repertoire, as well the many social and musical activities that surrounded the event, will be discussed in order to contextualize the two streams within the country’s musical culture and lead to a better understanding of how Georgian’s popular music is caught in a lift.
3. Voicing Alternatives: Nelly Furtado, Divine Brown and
Canadian Popular Music (Jennifer Taylor,
While musicological research has explored the relationships between hegemony and Canadian music, especially as they relate to the “local” and “regional”, the cultural production of Canadian female popular musicians has typically been overlooked as an important site of identity construction in discussions of “Canadian” music. Canadian women may be recognized in studies of particular compositional practices or regions, but these pockets of research do not deal with larger issues of female Canadian popular musicians. As a result, Canadian women are relegated to more general discussions of gender and popular music that ignore how the politics of gender, race and sexuality vary across space. Moreover, when the repeated and sustained positioning of white, male, heterosexual rock as a signifier of “Canadian” popular music is considered, as played out in recent nationally televised benefit concerts such as Live 8: Barrie, the image of “nationhood” Canada is projecting outwardly, and where “minority” musicians are being positioned, is called into question. Thus, when that which signifies “Canadianness” in popular music is white, male and rock, how do Canadian women in popular music carve a space for themselves? This paper will explore how female Canadian popular musicians navigate these politics through an examination of Nelly Furtado and Divine Brown. In particular, investing the narrative of Canadian popular music with new female voices through the medium of cover songs, and negotiating the “whiteness” of this narrative through the articulation of more pluralistic identities will be addressed.
3:15-5:00 SESSION 4 PLENARY (Rm 235): RESEARCH IN ACTION: ETHNOMUSICOLOGY BEYOND THE ACADEMY
SUNDAY, MARCH 30TH
10:00-11:30 SESSION 5A (Rm 241): REVISITING THE DANCE
1. Hog-Rassle: Impromptu Fun At Old-Time Square Dances (James Kimball, SUNY Geneseo)
“Hog-Rassle” is a term used by some old timers in rural areas to describe a kind of square dance evening where the participants behave in a disorderly or rough manner. The term seems generally to be used by those who disapprove of dancers who don’t go by the rules. The participants, on the other hand, see themselves as interjecting fun into an otherwise repetitive, predictable tradition. By doing the unexpected, adding one’s own moves or pranks, going the wrong direction, or just dancing in an extra exuberant manner, a dancer can bring laughter to the whole set. Such behavior is strongly discouraged in carefully regulated versions of square dance, as found in organized club and school settings; but in the rural dances, watching and experiencing the unexpected is not only tolerated, it is enjoyed by most as part of the fun. Moreover the rural caller and musicians often add their own version of fun: a call which will deliberately mix everyone up or a humorous little musical reference which will make the dancers smile.
The author will discuss
and illustrate this aspect of rural entertainment based on thirty years of
observing traditional dances in rural
Tango is it Anyway? The Non-Traditional Constituents of Current Tango (Alberto
Over the course of the
last decade, tango has shown an impetuous resurgence. Beyond its native
Focusing primarily on the music as the central text, this paper attempts to understand how these works, syntheses of varied styles, influences and aesthetic conceptions, may still be understood as tangos. More that ever before, composers have exploited the style’s remarkable malleability; however, despite the highly diverse elements that these compositions have set into harmonious coexistence, tango’s characteristic nature remains seemingly unperturbed. Beyond the notes, the rhythms and composer’s intentions, this paper will study the contexts surrounding the production of these tangos in order to understand what socio-cultural elements influence our current interpretation of what is tango.
3. Swingin' Out Into
Society: An Examination of Swing Music and Dance and the Social Impact of their
Evolution (Alcina Chiu,
"The toe-tapping rhythms of swing music and exuberant movements of swing dancing provided just the right social restorative for Americans in need of escape from the miseries of the depression and World War II."
--Cynthia R. Millman, Frankie Manning: Ambassador of Lindy Hop
The first half of the twentieth century
was socio-economically a time of drastic change and turmoil. This period
of transformation is reflected in the development of new musical styles and
popular tastes. With the proliferation of jazz music in the musical
mainstream, swing dances such as the Lindy Hop emerged through the efforts of
characters such as Herbert "Whitey" White and Frankie Manning.
These exhilarating dancers from
Through personal interviews and my own dance experiences, I will explore the world of swing: the evolution of the musical style and the reactive invention of a dance form; the growth in popularity of Lindy Hop and the impact of African American entertainment on social boundaries; the desire for an escape from the hardships of the 1930s and 40s; and the rebirth of swing in the new millennium.
(10:00-11:30) SESSION 5B (Rm 237): INTERROGATING SCHOLARSHIP
1. Guru Trouble: Hagiography, History, and Historiography in
North India (Mark Laver,
and musicologists have long railed against uncritical music histories and
biographies and the role that they play in the mythologization of great
musicians and the reification of historical canons. This problem is
particularly acute in
The terminology operative in this system – the guru-shishya parampara - is drawn directly and deliberately from the Hindu religion. I therefore contend that this religious subtext works in the biographical literature to transform biography into hagiography and transmogrify men into demigods. In this paper, I first explore the foundation of the guru-shishya parampara – the chain of teachers (gurus)and students (shishyas) that is the basis of Indian notions of musical pedigree – in the Hindu religion. Secondly, I contend that the hagiographical nature of most autochthonous musical biographies and histories is a consequence of the perceived godhead of the guru. Thirdly, I explore the occasionally problematic impact of the guru-shishya relationship on the work of Western scholars.
2. Old Lao Musicians Never Die; They Just Fade Away (Terry
This paper combines an
assessment of the state of research on music in
3. “Shall We Talk?” Dialogue, Power, and Representation (Nan
The question of how to represent the Other in writing has troubled many ethnomusicologists such as Beverley Diamond. In the past, positivistic methods to transcribe field experience into writing created a number of difficulties, the most problematic being “asymmetrical power relationships” (James et al. 1) between subject and object, since the ethnographer assumed the position of observer, interpreter, and the one who represents the culture under study. Ethnography of First Nations communities has been especially problematized by histories of colonisation and appropriation, which tended to ignore the needs and rights of the Other, a relationship which has further often been replicated in scholarly writing on First Nations communities. Finding methods of music ethnography that present a more equal power distribution thus becomes imperative.
This paper will examine the ways that dialogue can break through dualities and empower the Other. Elvira Pulitano’s Toward a Native American Critical Theory explores how “dialogue within and between people [can] expose boundaries that shape and constitute different cultural and personal worlds ...[and can read] across lines of cultural identity, overcoming rigid binary oppositions between Western and Native perspectives.” Although Pulitano is explaining how dialogue is employed in literature, this statement also provides a framework for examining music ethnography’s use of dialogue. As well, it can be applied to how within contemporary First Nations music, elements of traditional and contemporary can engage in a meaningful dialogue.
11:45-1:15 SESSION 6A (Rm 241): GENDER, POLITICS AND MEDIA IN CONTEMPORARY COUNTRY MUSIC
Country music scholarship has traditionally lagged behind popular music studies and ethnomusicology at large for a variety of reasons. Among these reasons may be an unwillingness to examine music that appears to be simplistic and unworthy of concerted attention on the surface; more likely it may be the fact that until recently, anthropological trends have directed research away from one’s own culture and toward less familiar musics. However, North American scholarship is beginning to embrace the study of country music, finding within it fascinating and revealing aspects of western culture, and recognizing the connections it fosters between popular culture, media theories, gender studies, and geographical studies.
This panel will begin to examine some of these approaches, providing a variety of perspectives on both mainstream and independent country music. While all papers in the panel are linked by a common thread of country music video (or film) and recording analysis, they differ greatly in terms of analytic approaches and subject matter. Issues of gender representation, politics, place imagery, and visual techniques will be discussed, alongside the influence that production aesthetics and media portrayal have on music and video reception. It is hoped that by drawing connections between these varying methods that a continued conversation on country video production can emerge.
1. (Re)Constructing Gender: Taking the Long Way with the Dixie Chicks (Monique
In 2006, the Dixie Chicks released their fifth album entitled Taking the Long Way. The release of this album followed almost three years of harassment, hate-mail, and threats against their lives—all the result of an off-hand political statement made by their lead singer, Natalie Maines, in 2003. Despite the hatred that the statement garnered the group, their latest release has been phenomenally successful. In addition to winning Grammy Awards for Album of the Year, Song of the Year, and Record of the Year, the Dixie Chicks have also made a substantial mark on the Canadian market, winning a Juno for international album of the year and achieving the number one spot of 2006 on Country Music Television (CMT) Canada for their music video “Not Ready To Make Nice.” Because of this widespread success, the images and themes presented on this album have reached (and are reaching) a large number of people. Although atypical of the genre, the ideals presented by the Dixie Chicks point to an exciting possibility for change in the Country idiom that would ultimately provide women artists and fans with a positive and realistic view of womanhood. This paper will therefore explore how the album Taking the Long Way, through the use of sound, image, and word, mediates issues of gender, including age, power, and representation. This case study will thus illustrate ways in which music and music videos can contribute to a (re)gendering of culture.
2. “Land of the In Between”: Independent Film in Alternative
Country (Gillian Turnbull,
It is common practice
for popular music artists to produce videos as a promotional tool for singles
and albums. In an age of do-it-yourself
recording and marketing, even independent artists have found ways to create
music videos that have a promotional function as well as serving an additional
creative outlet to recording. In the
realm of alternative country music, where few videos are seen on national
broadcasters such as CMT, videos are relegated to the realm of specialized DVDs
or internet broadcast on websites such as YouTube. With limited opportunities for airplay,
alt-country artists have pushed the traditional boundaries of video production,
creating short films and concept videos that are connected by visual
leitmotifs. This paper will explore the
DVD release of Albertan artist Steve Coffey, whose collection of short films to
accompany his CD, SameBoy (2007) was
broadcast on the national Bravo network in
3. Navigating Backlash: The
Dixie Chicks and the Politics of the Entertainment Media (Kirsten Dyck,
The all-female country music group The Dixie Chicks incurred a costly right-wing backlash when, on the eve of the second Iraq War in early 2003, lead singer Natalie Maines told a British audience that she was ashamed that President Bush was from Texas. This paper will explore a number of potential reasons for this backlash, including media politics, country music fan culture, and gender constructs within country music. It will also discuss the Dixie Chicks' reaction to the backlash, focusing on their 2006 album Taking The Long Way. Ultimately, it will raise questions about the role of the media industry in contemporary society.
(11:45-1:15) SESSION 6B (Rm 237): MUSIC AS THE SITE OF TRANCE, RITUAL AND MEMORY
1. Lullabies, Crackpots, and Woody Allen: Music and
Hypnotherapy as Trance in the West (Lauren E. Sweetman,
As Judith Becker
concisely asserts, we in the West have historically “written off trance”
(2004:13). It is not surprising, then, that our scholarship has followed suit,
viewing Western trance practices like hypnotherapy as somehow less valid,
involved, or important to ethnomusicology. Framed historically, socially, and
academically as ‘psychobabble’ at best, ‘new age’ at worst, hypnotherapy and
consequently its music have long fallen outside of our academic purview. To
move towards a more holistic view of music and trance, we must first debunk the
myths of our perceptions. Our experience of music in a Western healing context
is usually based on a Western, clinical experience, and consequently taken as
superficial, purely aesthetic, simplistic, and trivial; far from the
deliberately functional place of hypnotherapeutic music. As such,
hypnotherapy’s alternative methods are often subject to inquiry only when
larger issues of its validity arise. This ‘efficacy-based’ research thus leaves
hypnotherapy, as a cultural practice, largely ignored. This paper, stemming
from research in
Ritual Anamnesis: Music and Memory in Orisha
Possession Trance (David Font,
the Lucumi religious tradition which traveled from West Africa to
Visualizing Music in the Tibetan Buddhist Tantric Chöd Ritual Meditation Practice (Jeff
Tibet’s most renowned female ascetic, Machig Labdrön (1055-1153), is revered for having developed the radical meditation method called “Chöd” (Tib. gcod, “cutting”) and associated ritual practices as a means of eliminating the “demon” of “self-grasping” which is defined as the mistaken instinct of believing in the intrinsic independent existence of one’s Self. Her chöd ritual meditation practice operationalises the heightened emotions roused from the experience of fear in order to “cut off” the instinctual grasping to the Self. Performed in frightening places, the ritual that effects this mental transformation is liturgically based upon poetic texts drawn from the Tibetan mgur tradition of “songs of meditative experience,” which is in turn drawn from the Indian doha of meditative poetry. The ritualised meditation experience of chöd is inhabited musically by a series of mgur styled song-poem melodies that are performed in accordance with the liturgy over an underlying and potentially trance-inducing rhythmic theme. With the ritual instruments and melodies, and even the body of the practitioner having layers of symbolic meaning, performing the chöd ritual becomes a “test” of the practitioner’s altruistic intentionality or bodhicitta and wisdom realization of emptiness. Drawing upon my ethnographic research, musical analysis and textual translation in my presentation I will show evidence that the music has been composed in specific ways to complement the liturgical text and enhance the meditative experience of the chöd adept. The implications of this finding are significant since music-text concordances in the chöd or mgur have not yet been researched.
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