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Resonant Pasts in the Toba Batak Musical Present
Positioned on a major trade route, the Toba Batak people of Sumatra have long witnessed the ebb and flow of cultural influence from India, the Middle East, and the West. Living as ethnic and religious minorities within modern Indonesia, Tobas have recast this history of difference through interpretations meant to strengthen or efface the identities it has shaped. Antiphonal Histories examines Toba musical performance as a legacy of global history, and a vital expression of local experience. This intriguingly constructed ethnography searches the palm liquor stand and the sanctuary to show how Toba performance manifests its many histories through its “local music”—Lutheran brass band hymns, gong-chime music sacred to Shiva, and Jimmie Rodgers yodeling. Combining vivid narrative, wide-ranging historical research, and personal reflections, Antiphonal Histories traces the musical trajectories of the past to show us how the global is manifest in the performative moment.
A Life in Music
The first modern biography in English of Russian composer-pianist Anton Rubinstein, this book places Rubinstein within the context of Russian and western European musical culture during the late 19th century, exploring his rise to international fame from humble origins in Bessarabia, as well as his subsequent rapid decline and marginalization in later musical culture. Taylor provides a balanced account of Rubinstein's life and his career as a piano virtuoso, conductor, composer, and as the founder of Russia's first conservatory. Widely considered the virtuosic heir to Liszt, and recognized internationally as an equivalent cultural icon, he performed with most leading musicians of the day, including Liszt himself, Joachim, Clara Schumann, Vieuxtemps, Wieniawski, Saint-Saens, and Ysaÿe.
The Splintered World of Contemporary Christian Music
Apostles of Rock is the first objective, comprehensive examination of the contemporary Christian music phenomenon. Some see CCM performers as ministers or musical missionaries, while others define them as entertainers or artists. This popular musical movement clearly evokes a variety of responses concerning the relationship between Christ and culture. The resulting tensions have splintered the genre and given rise to misunderstanding, conflict, and an obsessive focus on self-examination. As Christian stars Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, DC Talk, and Sixpence None the Richer climb the mainstream charts, Jay Howard and John Streck talk about CCM as an important movement and show how this musical genre relates to a larger popular culture. They map the world of CCM by bringing together the perspectives of the people who perform, study, market, and listen to this music. By examining CCM lyrics, interviews, performances, web sites, and chat rooms, Howard and Streck uncover the religious and aesthetic tensions within the CCM community. Ultimately, the conflict centered around Christian music reflects the modern religious community's understanding of evangelicalism and the community's complex relationship with American popular culture.
Approaches to Meaning in Music presents a survey of the problems and issues inherent in pursuing meaning and signification in music, and attempts to rectify the conundrums that have plagued philosophers, artists, and theorists since the time of Pythagoras. This collection brings together essays that reflect a variety of diverse perspectives on approaches to musical meaning. Established music theorists and musicologists cover topics including musical aspect and temporality, collage, borrowing and association, musical symbols and creative mythopoesis, the articulation of silence, the mutual interaction of cultural and music-artistic phenomena, and the analysis of gesture.
Contributors are Byron Almén, J. Peter Burkholder, Nicholas Cook, Robert S. Hatten, Patrick McCreless, Jann Pasler, and Edward Pearsall.
Music, Politics, Modernity
From jazz trumpeters drawing on the noises of warfare in Beirut to female heavy metallers in Alexandria, the Arab culture offers a wealth of exciting, challenging, and diverse musics. The essays in this collection investigate the plethora of compositional and improvisational techniques, performance styles, political motivations, professional trainings, and inter-continental collaborations that claim the mantle of "innovation" within Arab and Arab diaspora music. While most books on Middle Eastern music-making focus on notions of tradition and regionally specific genres, The Arab Avant Garde presents a radically hybrid and globally dialectic set of practices. Engaging the "avant-garde"--a term with Eurocentric resonances--this anthology disturbs that presumed exclusivity, drawing on and challenging a growing body of literature about alternative modernities.
Chapters delve into genres and modes as diverse as jazz, musical theatre, improvisation, hip hop, and heavy metal as performed in countries like Iraq, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, and the United States. Focusing on multiple ways in which the "Arab avant-garde" becomes manifest, this anthology brings together international writers with eclectic disciplinary trainings--practicing musicians, area studies specialists, ethnomusicologists, and scholars of popular culture and media. Contributors include Sami W. Asmar, Michael Khoury, Saed Muhssin, Marina Peterson, Kamran Rastegar, Caroline Rooney, and Shayna Silverstein, as well as the editors.
Modern Pop at the Turn of the 1980s
“Are We Not New Wave? is destined to become the definitive study of new wave music.” —Mark Spicer, coeditor of Sounding Out Pop New wave emerged at the turn of the 1980s as a pop music movement cast in the image of punk rock’s sneering demeanor, yet rendered more accessible and sophisticated. Artists such as the Cars, Devo, the Talking Heads, and the Human League leapt into the Top 40 with a novel sound that broke with the staid rock clichés of the 1970s and pointed the way to a more modern pop style. In Are We Not New Wave? Theo Cateforis provides the first musical and cultural history of the new wave movement, charting its rise out of mid-1970s punk to its ubiquitous early 1980s MTV presence and downfall in the mid-1980s. The book also explores the meanings behind the music’s distinctive traits—its characteristic whiteness and nervousness; its playful irony, electronic melodies, and crossover experimentations. Cateforis traces new wave’s modern sensibilities back to the space-age consumer culture of the late 1950s/early 1960s. Three decades after its rise and fall, new wave’s influence looms large over the contemporary pop scene, recycled and celebrated not only in reunion tours, VH1 nostalgia specials, and “80s night” dance clubs but in the music of artists as diverse as Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, and the Killers.
Joy H. Calico examines the cultural history of postwar Europe through the lens of the performance and reception of Arnold Schoenberg's A Survivor from Warsaw—a short but powerful work, she argues, capable of irritating every exposed nerve in postwar Europe. A twelve-tone piece in three languages about the Holocaust, it was written for an American audience by a Jewish composer whose oeuvre had been one of the Nazis’ prime exemplars of entartete (degenerate) music. Both admired and reviled as a pioneer of dodecaphony, Schoenberg had immigrated to the United States and become an American citizen. This book investigates the meanings attached to the work as it circulated through Europe during the early Cold War in a kind of symbolic musical remigration, focusing on six case studies: West Germany, Austria, Norway, East Germany, Poland, and Czechoslovakia. Each case is unique, informed by individual geopolitical concerns, but this analysis also reveals common themes in anxieties about musical modernism, Holocaust memory and culpability, the coexistence of Jews and former Nazis, anti-Semitism, dislocation, and the presence of occupying forces on both sides of the Cold War divide.
Fela and His Rebel Art and Politics
"Olaniyan has given us a profound and beautifully integrated book which culminates in a persuasive interpretation of the relationship between Fela's apparently incompatible presentational selves.... The book's accessible and evocative prose is in itself a kind of homage to Fela's continual ability to seduce and astonish.... This is such an attractive book you feel like... ransacking your collection for Fela tapes." -- Karin Barber
"... an indispensable companion to Fela's music and a rich source of information for studies in modern African popular music." -- Akin Euba
Arrest the Music! is a lively musical study of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, one of Africa's most recognizable, popular, and controversial musicians. The flamboyant originator of the "Afrobeat" sound and self-proclaimed voice of the voiceless, Fela used music, sharp-tongued lyrics, and derisive humor to challenge the shortcomings of Nigerian and postcolonial African states. Looking at the social context, instrumentation, lyrics, visual art, people, and organizations through which Fela produced his music, Tejumola Olaniyan offers a wider, more suggestive perspective on Fela and his impact on listeners in all parts of the world.
Placing Fela front and center, Olaniyan underscores important social issues such as authenticity, racial and cultural identity, the relationship of popular culture to radical politics, and the meaning of postcolonialism, nationalism, and globalism in contemporary Africa. Readers interested in music, culture, society, and politics, whether or not they know Fela and his music, will find this work invaluable for understanding the career of an African superstar and the politics of popular culture in contemporary Africa.
African Expressive Cultures -- Patrick McNaughton, general editor
Ars musice, composed in Paris in the late thirteenth century, reflects Johannes de Grocheio's awareness of the complexity of the task of describing music. . . . Grocheio is aware of the enormous range of types of music performed in different ways in different places. How can he impose order on this enormous subject matter. He decided to resolve this question by structuring his discussion around the practice of music that he observed in the city of Paris, organized into three main "branches": music of the people (musica vulgalis), composite or regular, "which they call measured music" (musica mensurata), and ecclesiastical music (musica ecclesiastica), which he claims derives from the other two. The originality of Grocheio's treatise has attracted considerable scholarly interest. It has long been recognized as a unique source of information about musical life in Paris. Through his treatise, Grocheio enables a modern reader to become aware of the complex auditory environment of that city in the late thirteenth century as well as of its intellectual vitality at a particularly vibrant moment in its history.