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the world of music 43, 2001-3

Ethnomusicology and the Individual

Guest Editor: Jonathan P. J. Stock

ISSN 0043-8774
ISBN 3-86135-726-7

 

Content

Articles

Jonathan P. J. Stock
Toward an Ethnomusicology of the Individual, Or Biographical Writing in Ethnomusicology

David Harnish 
A Hermeneutical Arc in the Life of Balinese Musician, I Made Lebah.

Helen Rees
He Yi’an’s Ninety Musical Years: Biography, History, and Experience in Southwest China

Joseph S. C. Lam
Writing Music Biographies of Historical East Asian Musicians: The Case of Jiang Kui (A.D. 1155-1221)

Regula Burckhardt Qureshi
In Search of Begum Akhtar: Patriarchy, Poetry, and Twentieth-Century Indian Music

Amelia Maciszewski
Stories About Selves: Selected North Indian Women’s Musical (Auto)biographies


Book Reviews (Jonathan Stock, ed.)

Katharina Lobeck
In Griot Time: An American Guitarist in Mali. Banning Eyre


CD Reviews (Janet Sturman, ed.)

Max Peter Baumann
“Röslein auf der Haiden” — Goethe und das Volkslied. Deutsches Volksliedarchiv

Volksmusik in Jeans: Folkmusic Revival (Musik in Deutschland 1950-2000). Deutscher Musikrat

 

About the Authors

 

Abstracts

Toward an Ethnomusicology of the Individual, Or Biographical Writing in Ethnomusicology
Jonathan P. J. Stock

Ethnomusicologists have turned to biography as a result of three trends within the discipline. First, in our fieldwork we encounter and observe musical individuals, sometimes (but not always) in environments where musical individuality is a marked characteristic of the musical culture as a whole. Second, reappraisal of the politics of representation in ethnographic writing has encouraged us to document more closely the interactions of specific individuals. Finally, new notions of culture themselves place greater emphasis on individual role and agency, thus stimulating us to look at more length at the individual choices made by musicians and others. The writing of biography, nonetheless, has emphases that mark it as partially distinct from ethnographic research, most clearly in its reliance on historical data not observed first-hand by the ethnomusicologist. There may be less space in someone else’s life for the participatory and experiential models proposed in recent discussions of fieldwork.

A Hermeneutical Arc in the Life of Balinese Musician, I Made Lebah
David Harnish

This study employs hermeneutics to illuminate a musical life history. I Made Lebah was a unique individual who lived during a violent and creative time of Bali’s history. This paper explores his life through the lens of hermeneutics and identifies music stages through segmented, progressive hermeneutical arcs within his lifelong arc of experience. A consciousness of historical situatedness and an enabling appropriation allowed him to master a number of Balinese music styles and assume the title, “great teacher.” The people he worked with, including composers Lotring and Colin McPhee and his lifelong friend, Agung Mandra, all affected him and helped him to acquire a self-awareness, a rapid learning and internalization process, and a sensitivity to reflective hermeneutics.

He Yi’an’s Ninety Musical Years: Biography, History, and Experience in Southwest China
Helen Rees

He Yi’an (1908-93) was a major figure in the Dongjing music tradition of Lijiang, a remote, mountainous county in southwest China’s Yunnan Province. This amateur ritual music tradition flourished before the Communist victory of 1949, continuing for several years thereafter as a purely secular instrumental genre. Revived in its secular format in the late 1970s, since 1988 the music has been spectacularly popular in concerts to entertain foreign and domestic tourists. He Yi’an was a leading light in the maintenance and transmission of the ritual music tradition before 1949, and a prominent player in its commercial transformation forty years later. His negotiation of the complex and conflicting meanings attached to these different contexts speaks to an intricate intertwining of personal experience with social history; and his life story illustrates the importance of outstanding individuals in the maintenance and development of regional music traditions.

Writing Music Biographies of Historical East Asian Musicians: The Case of Jiang Kui (A.D. 1155-1221)
Joseph S. C. Lam

Ethnomusicologists are now paying attention to music biographies as a means to understand musicians, their music, and their cultural environment. Among numerous Chinese biographies, those of Jiang Kui (A.D. 1155-1221), the famed poet-composer-calligrapher-scholar of the Southern Song dynasty of China (1127-1279) are particularly significant. They not only tell the creative life of a unique Chinese musician who played a seminal role in Chinese music history and culture, but also provide data and questions for the writing of music biographies and histories. In this paper, I present biographical data of Jiang Kui and samples of his known biographies—autobiographical, socialist, literary, and musical—to describe a unique Chinese musician and his creative works, pinpoint distinctive features of traditional Chinese music culture, demonstrate the need for biographical understandings of historical East Asian musicians, and illustrate the issues in writing contemporary music biographies.

In Search of Begum Akhtar: Patriarchy, Poetry, and Twentieth-Century Indian Music
Regula Burckhardt Qureshi

Begum Akhtar is best known for her sophisticated mastery of Urdu poetry and light classical music in the ghazal of North India and Pakistan. Her musical legacy emerges from a set of relationships defined by the elasticity and rigidity of gendered identities in patriarchal, post-colonial Indian society. Situating her artistry in relation to the backdrop of historical forces that framed the course of her career, this paper foregrounds the dynamic changes that confronted a hereditary musical tradition in a fading system of feudal patronage. It also reflexively engages the myriad voices and encounters that have contributed to the evolving discourse that continues to mold Begum Akhtar's remarkable life history.

Stories About Selves: Selected North Indian Women’s Musical (Auto)biographies
Amelia Maciszewski

This article highlights the lives and music of six professional women musicians whose training and performance practice reflect the Hindustani music idiom of North India. I examine numerous issues faced by these women in the context of their personal histories. These include limitations imposed on the women; choices available to them; the ongoing crafting of their respective identities through each one’s positioning, as well as negotiation of her self, body, and emotions through discourse, an essential part of which is music. I locate my work in the movement away from Western-centered ethnography, in which a scholar omnisciently reports “objective” information. I choose instead, through my effort to build a dialogic relationship, to highlight individuals’ narratives as vividly as possible, allowing their voices to articulate their own agency, creativity, and difference. My analysis of how musicians, particularly women, have used this space to construct and, when they feel necessary, reinvent their subjectivity clearly relates to the role of the expressive arts as a practice of the reproduction of (gendered) consciousness. By providing a conduit for these women to tell their stories through words, music, and visual images, thereby transmitting their cultural knowledge, I demonstrate my belief that documenting women’s oral narratives of their own realities is an act of advocacy.

 

 

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