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Lecture 9

MUS200H1 Lecture 9: Creating Traditional Music

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James Kippen

MUS200 Lecture 8 Creating Traditional Music • Traditional music is used to describe or quality a certain kind of music alongside adjectives like “classical”, “art”, “folk”, “world”, and “popular” • we don’t know the boundaries of these terms of about how they became commonly understand • Aren’t precise, or helpful or useful, yet they have currency and impact the ways we approach, listen to or understand certain music • “Traditional” often implies a dichotomy o music is either modern or traditional [past] o past, urban and rural spaces • Traditional music seems to be music stuck in time o in the past, particular cultural moment, time before the symbols of modernity invaded o traditional music is dying off • part of a not too distant past o often imagined to be better, simpler, lacking the complications of today • often associated with community elders, rural locations • traditional is interchangeable with folk music th o Folk music—used since 19 century by scholars to refer to music transmitted through oral tradition by nonprofessional musicians • traditional/folk music were created as a genre in opposition to the supposed refinement of art music during the 18 century and onward • Folk music (music of the people) is actually the older scholarly terms here, and switch to traditional is one that has associations with the development of national musics later o emergence of European nationhood in the 18 century o various forms of national music as high art music and low/folk/traditional music • Recognition and interest in traditional music reflected the popularity of Enlightenment ideas o Noble savages –romanticized indigenous people Case Study #1: Scotland th th • Romanticism in 18 -19 century Britain took several forms o search for noble savage o turn to Scotland highland culture, songs, music and dress as reflecting this ancient bardic/oral poetry o trying to find ancient bardic/oral poetry –Ossian myths o creation of tartan myth—associating certain tartan kilt patterns with highland clans ▪ wearing tartan became extremely popular in London, method of stereotyping Scots ▪ developed by 18 century English industrialist o discovering ancient Scottish music, publishing traditional song in books for the rich in London ▪ the printing press • Several printed music collections emerged during this period which will constitute our first case study • Important to think about London as social, business, class culture o Scotland, Ireland, Wales = the periphery o books of music with selections from these periphery appealed to this vague understanding • in contrast to the noble savage version of Scottish culture emerging in London at the same time, Scotland developing as a centre for the Enlightenment • Scottish Enlightenment o mid-18 century, 75% literacy rate o philosophers: France Hutcheson, David Hume • Significant advances in medicine, law, physics, chemistry and geology • Engineering o James Watt, steam engine o inventors and engineers –industrial revolution • Wasn’t a lot of access and ability to refute what was going on—London was not in the centre of UK Traditional Scottish Music • Piobaireachd (piping) o hereditary pipers to Highland chiefs o dates to Middle Ages o orally transmitted through vocables (use sounds to mimic piping) and songs th o notated in late 18 C • Fiddle music • Thriving song traditions o Gaelic—Scottish Highlands o English—City o Scots –Lowlands • Composers drew on this traditional culture to cater for fascination with Scottish culture in London • Symbols associated with power that the English is its own power • Using these different musical practices as things that could be brought into society culture • Songs were both poems and song • Scotch songs were popular from 1680s London • preeminent composers of the era brought in to translate oral tradition into books of Scottish songs o European composers Josef Haydn and Beethoven were part of this process of translated from folk to art song • Acknowledging the dual nature of songs as both song and poetry, the books were written in 2 ways o lyrics and notated versions of the air (melody)—assumption that the performer has no familiarity with the tradition o books with only lyrics and title of the air ▪ Lyrics written down, and phrase that says “play to the air…” ▪ implies to traditional era of the song o Why is it significant ▪ conversation and Scottish periphery • Davis (2004) o power and control are exerted through the process of translating songs from oral tradition into printed notated version o songs are removed from situated performing bodies and modified in specific ways to not only cater to the interests of those in London, but also to modify/the sound/me
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