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the world of music 41, 1999-1

Hearing and Listening in Cultural Contexts

ISSN 0043-8774
ISBN 3-86135-712-7

 

Content

 

Articles

From the Editors
Preface

Leslie C. Gay, Jr.
Hearing is Seeing: Listening for New York Rock Musicians 

Ben Brinner 
Cognitive and Interpersonal Dimensions of Listening in Javanese Gamelan Performance

Gage Averill
Bell Tones and Ringing Chords: Sense and Sensation in Barbershop Harmony

Raúl R. Romero
Aesthetics of Sound and Listening in the Andes: The Case of the Mantaro Valley

Tim Becker & Raphael Woebs
"Back to the Future": Hearing, Rituality and Techno

Peter Cooke
Was Ssempeke Just Being Kind? Listening to Instrumental Music in Africa South of the Sahara

Rafael José de Menezes Bastos
Apùap World Hearing: On the Kamayurá Phono-Auditory System and the Anthropological Concept of Culture

Max Peter Baumann
Listening to Nature, Noise and Music


Book Reviews (Jonathan Stock, ed.) 

From the Book Review Editor

Frank Tirro
Ingrid Monson. Saying Something: Jazz Improvisation and Interaction

Jonathan Stock
Virginia Danielson. The Voice of Egypt: Umm Kulthûm, Arabic Song, and Egyptian Society in the Twentieth Century

Yu Hui
Colin Mackeras. Peking Opera 

Rainer Polak
Andreas Meyer. Afrikanische Trommeln. West- und Zentralafrika  

Books Briefly Mentioned


CD Reviews (Janet Sturman, ed.) 

Cynthia Tse Kimberlin
Ethiopia-Love Songs / Ethiopie-Chants D'Amour, INEDIT 

Sandrine Loncke
Niger-Peuls Wodaabe / Wodaabe Fulani / Chants du Worso / Worso Songs, INEDIT 

CDs Briefly Mentioned

Linda Fujie
Series: World Network, vols. 43-49, Network Medien GmbH


Institutions

Janet Sturman
The School of Music and Dance at the University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona


About the Authors

 

Abstracts

Hearing is Seeing: Listening for New York Rock Musicians
Leslie C. Gay, Jr.

This study shows that listening for local rock musicians in New York City depends upon more than just sound. It emerges as a rudimentary and paramount feature of their interactions with fellow musicians that draws broadly upon a shared repertoire of communication modes, patterns, and referents. Among these components, various sensorimotor activities associated with performance, especially guitar performance, appear significant. Within the context of rehearsals, musicians listen in part to compose and refine their music. Here the guitar serves as a principal medium for communicating and developing musical ideas, dependent on both visual and aural modes. In this way, these rock musicians draw upon multiple modalities in listening to give meaning to the experience of musical sound.
 

Cognitive and Interpersonal Dimensions of Listening in Javanese Gamelan Performance
Ben Brinner

Taking the specific case of Central Javanese gamelan, this article considers how musicians listen in performance with emphasis on the highly context-dependent and socially situated nature of seemingly individual cognitive processes. Beginning with the conditions of performance and some of the more pervasive conventions evident in Javanese gamelan performance, the discussion turns to aural filtering and the differing experiences that musicians may have depending on the parts that they play, concluding with a demonstration of the integrated nature of interpersonal and cognitive aspects. The article draws on fieldwork conducted by the author in Central Java in 1982–83 and 1993 under the auspices of Fulbright fellowships as well as on other scholars’ writings.
 

Bell Tones and Ringing Chords: Sense and Sensation in Barbershop Harmony
Gage Averill

One of the principal goals of barbershop style harmony is the production of "ringing" chords ("bell tones," "expanded sound"), a harmonic phenomenon resulting from just intonation, a preference for dominant seventh chords, closely voiced chords ("close harmony"), and finely honed hearing/listening faculties, among other factors. This article explores the aesthetics of barbershop singing and aspects of the listening experience, especially expanded sound, and relates them to ideology and worldview, gender relations, class and racial identities, and nostalgia in an attempt to understand how tones and acoustic sensation function at a symbolic level (the connection between sensation and sense).
 

Aesthetics of Sound and Listening in the Andes: The Case of the Mantaro Valley
Raúl R. Romero

Peoples and cultures ascribe to the same acoustic sounds different social-related qualities, sentimental references and aesthetic values. In the central Peruvian Andes, for example, people perceive and value the sounds of the saxophone and clarinet in a different way from those living in other parts of the Andes. This article briefly describes how both instruments became popularized in the region during the present century and displaced older pre-Hispanic and colonial instruments. It also attempts to explain the social conditions which make possible the acceptance of "new" over "older" and local sounds.
 

"Back to the Future": Hearing, Rituality and Techno
Tim Becker and Raphael Woebs

Techno, one of the latest phenomena of western youth culture involving music, has in the meantime found a place in sociological discussions within Germany. This article addresses the debate within these discussions on an immanently ritual dimension of this music and its theatrical setting in reference to techno as a culturally defined listening event.
 

Was Ssempeke Just Being Kind? Listening to Instrumental Music in Africa South of the Sahara
Peter Cooke

This brief poses, but does not attempt to answer, the question of how Africans listen to the performance of instrumental music. Several statements from African musicians stress the importance of verbal texts in the content of the instrumental patterns and suggest that they may well listen in a different way from the way Europeans do. Two recorded musical performances of Baganda and Basoga villagers are cited to show how readily a participating audience reacts to changes in musical patterning by changing the texts they sing. A short discussion of the music of hocketing trumpet ensembles further underlines the conceptual importance of verbal texts that form the kernel of such performances.
   

Apùap World Hearing: On the Kamayurá Phono-Auditory System and the Anthropological Concept of Culture
Rafael José de Menezes Bastos

The Kamayurá are Tupian-Guarani and inhabit the Xingu Indian Park in Brazil. Living in two villages, they total 450 persons. This paper studies their phono-auditory system, showing its ecological and socio-cultural importance. The system is characterized by high potency, economy and agility, its categories having a basically monolexemical constitution, directly related to the relevance of the sound domain for the Kamayurá. Their verbs "anup" (‘hear’) and "cak" (‘see’) are ordered accordingly to a pattern called ‘axionomy’, being degrees of a scale of values. This ‘world hearing’—extremely widespread in lowland South America—is contrasted with our visual gnosiology (world view), both being understood in terms of Mauss’ notion of ‘body technique’. Reflexion is made on the current debate on nature and culture in the lowlands and on theory of culture.
 

Listening to Nature, Noise and Music
Max Peter Baumann

Creative listening is based on mental processes in the context of cultural differentiation. In terms of the synaesthetic relationship of the senses, human beings hear the background sounds of life in an corrective way, interpreting the sounds of nature and noises of technology based on their listening habits and traditions and placing them on a continuum between being like music and being a nuisance. With their culturally delimited habits, humans project themselves into soundws: from the cosmic breath and harmony of the spheres to the Big Bang, from noises in the uterus and music of the artificial world to the music of motorcycles. Listening structures, orders, creates, forms, compares, understands and misunderstands, interprets. It is not the world that makes our auditory contents but rather our experiential knowledge that creates the world and how we hear noise, nature and music.

 

 

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