to the world of music archive

the world of music 48, 2006-2

Echoes of Our Forgotten Ancestors

Editor: Max-Peter Baumann
Co-Editor: Jonathan P. J. Stock
Guest Editor: Victor A. Grauer

ISSN 0043-8774
ISBN-978-3-86135-748-3

Articles

Victor A. Grauer
Echoes of Our Forgotten Ancestors

Bruno Nettl
Response to Victor Grauer: On the Concept of Evolution in the History of Ethnomusicology

Jonathan P. J. Stock
Clues from Our Present Peers?: A Response to Victor Grauer

Peter Cooke
Response to “Echoes of Our Forgotten Ancestors”

Victor A. Grauer
“Echoes of Our Forgotten Ancestors”—Author’s Reply

Miscellanea

Jeanne Zaidel-Rudolph
Musical Symbiosis in Jeanne Zaidel-Rudolph’s Lifecycle and Martin Watt

Marin Marian-Bălaşa
Ghizela/Gisela Suliţeanu: An Indicative Bio-Bibliography

 

Book Reviews (Helena B. Simonett, ed.)

Karen A. Peters
Donna A. Buchanan, Performing Democracy: Bulgarian Music and Musicians in Transition

Giovanni Giuriati
Deborah Wong, Sounding the Center: History and Aesthetics in Thai Buddhist Performance

Carol Fisher Mathieson
Liz Garnett, The British Barbershopper: A Study in Socio-Musical Values

Kim Kattari
Cheryl L. Keyes, Rap Music and Street Consciousness; Joseph G. Schloss, Making Beats: The Art of Sample-Based Hip-Hop

Tess J. Popper
Dalia Cohen and Ruth Katz, Palestinian Arab Music: A Maqām Tradition in Practice

William P. Malm
Henry Johnson, The Koto: A Traditional Instrument in Contemporary Japan

Mark Slobin
Anna Shternshis, Soviet and Kosher: Jewish Popular Culture in the Soviet Union, 1923-1939

Mariano Muñoz-Hidalgo
Kimberly DaCosta Holton, Performing Folklore: Ranchos Folclóricos from Lisbon to Newark

 

Recording Reviews (Kevin Dawe, ed.)

John Baily
Homayun Sakhi: The Art of the Afghan Rubâb, Smithsonian Folkways; Khaled Arman: Rubâb Raga, Arion, and Kabul Workshop Trigana, Tinder Records

Ruth Hellier-Tinoco
El ave de mi soñar: Los Camperos de Valles—Mexican Sones Huastecos, Smithsonian Folkways and Mexique/Mexico: Sones Huastecos—Los Caimanes de Tampico, Archives Internationales de Musique Populaire

 

Abstracts

Echoes of Our Forgotten Ancestors
Victor A. Grauer

Recent developments in the field of genetic anthropology suggest that our earliest fully “modern” ancestors originated in Africa between 150,000 and 200,000 years ago, and that a single band of their descendents migrated from that continent to Asia between 60,000 and 90,000 years ago, destined to populate the rest of the world. The so-called “Out-of-Africa,” paradigm has opened the door to all sorts of new possibilities regarding our understanding of human history and culture. Drawing on experience gained during my years of involvement, with Alan Lomax, on the Cantometrics project, supplemented by extensive independent research, I attempt to demonstrate how the new genetic findings could lead to a general re-evaluation of the history, development, and significance of mankind’s earliest music.

Response to Victor Grauer: On the Concept of Evolution in the History of Ethnomusicology
Bruno Nettl

This short essay responds to Grauer in the first instance by voicing agreement with his interest in reviving cantometrics and moving further along the lines sketched by Lomax. It reflects surprise at the relative neglect, by ethnomusicologists, of the issues raised by cantometrics after c. 1970, and goes on to associate cantometrics with its historical antecedents, the well-known work of Curt Sachs and of adherents of the American “culture area” approach to the interpretation of geographic distributions. Most of the essay is devoted to comments on a movement that has become known as “evolutionary musicology” which are directly or indirectly raised by Grauer. These involve the origins of music, the (sometimes incorrectly labeled) evolutionary approach to universal music history, and the interpretation of music as a biological adaptation. It is in evolutionary musicology that the influence of Lomax and cantometrics is most evident.

Clues from Our Present Peers?: A Response to Victor Grauer
Jonathan P. J. Stock

This response to Victor A. Grauer’s “Echoes of Our Forgotten Ancestors” draws on present-day musical data, including the singing of Pygmies from Gabon, women from the Solomon Islands, carollers from Sheffield and Pennsylvania, and the music-related interactions of mother-baby couples. Initially, I note that generalisation and comparison is prevalent as a context in contemporary ethnomusicology, and distinguish the kind of demands a general account places on its individual pieces of evidence as compared to a more ethnographically focused analysis. Four further conditions are then identified, all of which need to be met for Grauer’s account to be persuasive.
First, Grauer needs to make a fully convincing case for what he calls the “Pygmy-Bushman style”: I argue that he misses essential differences in musical practice between these peoples and misidentifies a single cluster of traits concomitant with hocketing as an unusual series of selections. Second, I suggest that Grauer has selected some examples to fit his theory, rather than vice versa, a problem that leads him to see signs of migration in what may rather be routine outcomes of the normative structure and performance practice of the panpipes. The third condition is concerned with the matter of musical change, which Grauer’s account essentially omits: examples are given of styles that changed radically in a short period, all of which show that the acoustic surface of the music appears to be its most changeable element, and that present-day recordings may not be a reliable guide to the musical style of prehistory. The fourth condition Grauer’s hypothesis demands is that hocketing was invented just once in human history; this requirement too is problematic, the same technique occurring in many mother-infant musical interactions. In sum, while the account of early human migrations presented by the “out-of-Africa” scientists may be plausible, evidence of musical transmission 70,000 years ago has yet to be located. The search for that evidence will need to look at performance practice, not just acoustics.

Response to “Echoes of Our Forgotten Ancestors”
Peter Cooke

From Victor Grauer’s introductory essay it is apparent that he is embarking on an interesting and challenging research task in musical history—or perhaps one might call it musical archaeology. Archaeologists are often forced to speculate (with very little hard evidence) and only later do chance discoveries or systematic excavations produce the necessary evidence that confounds or validates their speculations. The new evidence for Grauer exists already, in the form of the massive addition to the documentation of the world’s musical traditions that ethnomusicologists have contributed since he was working with Lomax on the Cantometrics project in the 1960s. There may now be few new “sites” to excavate—but there is now so much more social and cultural information on the many varied musical traditions of the world with which to help one validate the initial work of style analysis and comparison.

“Echoes of our Forgotten Ancestors”: Author’s Reply
Victor Grauer

This paper selects comments from the preceding three invited responses by Bruno Nettl, Peter Cooke, and Jonathan Stock and replies to them one by one. The first part proposes a workable definition of music and discusses the issue of origins. This leads to a further discussion of Cantometrics as a means of general hypothesis and thoughts on evolutionary musicology and universals. Generalization is also an issue in the second part of the paper, where it is followed with comments on “emics” and “etics” and on the role of context. Materials proposed by Stock as counter-examples to my initial essay are then discussed in more detail. Turning next to Cooke’s responses, I focus particularly on aspects related to the bagpipes and to what I called the “breathless” style of singing. Finally, the paper concludes by arguing that the “Out-of-Africa” theory provides the simplest explanation by far of the widespread distribution of music among virtually all peoples today.

Miscellenea

Musical Symbiosis in Jeanne Zaidel-Rudolph’s Lifecycle
Jeanne Zaidel-Rudolph and Martin Watt

This article engages with the various modalities applied in the “juxtaposed” genre of written composition in a South African art music context. It explores the aesthetic and socio-cultural implications of music embodying an oral-written synergy. Examples are cited as precedents of musical “symbiosis” which seek to integrate and enrich music from diverse cultures. This study traces the germination and realisation of the intercultural work, Lifecycle, by Jeanne Zaidel-Rudolph, which grew out of an investigative field study into the indigenous music of the amaXhosa women, as performed by the Ngqoko singers. It outlines the challenges of the transcription process and scrutinises how the unique mode of “overtone” singing employed by the women was to inspire a new soundscape concept and a new symbiotic compositional vocabulary. The paper gives an overview of the original Xhosa songs and demonstrates how the composer of Lifecycle created a tapestry of interdependent musical genres within a fresh symbiotic whole.

Ghizela/Gisela Suliţeanu: An Indicative Bio-Bibliography
Marin Marian-Bălaşa

This is a brief introduction to the vast and complex ethnomusicological work of Ghizela/Gisela Suliţeanu. Extraordinary fieldworker, meticulous transcriber, pioneer in cognitive ethnomusicology, expert in several ethnic musics, Suliţeanu left behind an immense archive of tapes, transcriptions, manuscripts, and essays. She published primarily in Romanian and that work is accessible to Romanian researchers; the scale of her work in English, French, and German is less well recognized, and so this account listed these latter items to give a wider sense of her work as an ethnomusicologist.

 

 

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