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Lecture 2

MUS200H1 Lecture 2: Music Identity

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University of Toronto St. George
James Kippen

MUS200—Week 2: Music Identity • Globalization: the world becomes more interconnect and music moves in different ways • Agency: you have the ability to act, challenge, to do things that are of your own desire making o Act and challenge social norms • This new focus enabled researchers to conceptualize different kinds of identity o social identity o cultural o ethnic identity • Identity is self-conception o how we represent ourselves o this self that we present to others • The identity we had as a child is not the same as we have now • our identity is impacted by social and cultural experiences • How much these experience we have is debatable • National or regional heritage, language group, political affiliation etc.  identity • Ethnicity o a way we construct identity o ethnicity allows us in some ways define identity through difference o difference implies a power relationship ▪ difference often used to exploit others ▪ ex. colonialism • Martin Stoke: “ethnicities are to be understood of negotiation of boundaries, not on social “essences” • Music and Identity o in most societies music co-exist, yet not all represent the mainstream or national identity o Benedict Anderson (1983)—imagined communities ▪ societies are not fixed but are symbolic construct ▪ way society are held together is through an argument: social construct o music is an important part of this national construct but also for subversive minorities ▪ although we agree what Canada is [share norms], we do have counter-culture and for this part, music is vital for reflection and how things change/evolve o Music embodies diverse identity [race, class, gender] o sometimes individuals in groups can carry multiple identities o text, melody, instrumentation, vocal style, body motion, dance all transmit multiple meanings within the same musical event o musical choices serve a guide to who we think we are and who we think we should be ▪ e.g., iPod we can change our musical soundscape and who we are • Canadian Musical Identities o vague shared assumptions about what Canadian music is or sound like o use of non-dominant music forms to represent a Canadian identity ▪ indigenous music ▪ French-Canadian ▪ East Coast o Tokenism –the policy or practice of making in symbolic effort • Case Study: Ceremony for PM o Military string quartet o 12 year old Cree drummer o 11 year old loud girls using throat • Several important contrasts between performers and what they represent in the ceremonial context • Military quartet o classical music represents a link to the past o style of music that is associated with elite culture o associations to European high culture o music of the colonial power ▪ Canada has a very strong colonial history ▪ the use of classical music, military band express a connection to this colonial past and demonstrates that this is still a association/link between military power strengthening Canada o played by professional musicians, adults • Contrast o The indigenous musicians are young o experienced amateur performers from the region o traditional clothing, clothed in symbolism o drumming—welcome song that reflects the culture of the indigenous people and rights to traditional lands where the ceremony takes place ▪ sign of respect between new government and indigenous peoples ▪ Inuit throat singing –playing a game, giggling • breaking up the tension • using children to make reconciliation easier • showing new generation coming up with new ideas • Inuit Throat Singing o Listening Example: “Katajjaq on “Ulu-haa-hamma” o called Katajjaq (vocal game) o Baffin Land, recorded in 1970s o sun in a playful manner by two Inuit women ▪ meant to be a game o competition to see which singer can last longer o eventually when one runs out of air, the other laughs o contains rapid breathing in and out, which is called “voiced” and “voiceless” ▪ examples doesn’t sound like 2 girls, but an interplay ▪ 2 part polyphony: two separate but similar vocal interweaves • not meant to be on display • in traditional Inuit culture, it’s not considered to be music • Why was in included in the Inuit throat ceremony? Why is it called music? • Implications for several broad identities being represented o Canadian national identity ▪ World stage, media, international interest o PM public identity o Aboriginal identities • What impact does the musical style, genres selections at the ceremony have on the expression of such identities? • Canadian ideology are reinforced o multiculturalism o significance of indigenous rights and culture o links to European heritage o create a symbolic construct of Canadian identity o emphasis on difference between Canada and US • PM public identity o Minister of Youth o Concern and engagement with Aboriginal rights and culture o contrast with previous PM ▪ who didn’t seem to have much interest in Aboriginal culture • Aboriginal identities o Young people are empowered through musical representation o value placed on Aboriginal music and culture o associated with the mainstream in this context, but the emphasis on difference is significant o Tokenism or recognition of Aboriginal peoples and their significant to Canadian identity? • National Anthems o Phenomenon from 19 -20 century o developed in the context of increasing nationalism o Patriotic songs ▪ mention history, values and aspirations o Sound of anthems reflect colonial legacies ▪ not based on indigenous music ▪ Desire to be part of global sounds
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