One of the challenges is increasing awareness of the power of music to shape our emotions, thoughts, and actions, that is, to create a greater understanding of music as more than entertainment.
So – awareness and concepts of how these fit together from Tim and then this idea that militaristic language is a negative. I like these ideas.
So, maybe this gets us back to the concept of empathy – creating a greater understanding of music’s ability to connect.
I’ll be interested in seeing what you find out, Olivier.
At the same time as avoiding the stereotype of music as more than mere entertainment, I imagine that one of the challenges is avoiding the problem of elitism that can plague all artforms. For example, how can we explain music to an audience that doesn’t have the technical vocabulary to discuss it?
I’m extremely interested in what can and can’t be called a musical “universal” or semi-universal. I’m convinced that there are some perceptual constants for those who haven “normal” hearing range, and that these nudge musicians toward certain structural tendencies. But none of this changes the fact that the musical biographies people bring to an experience of music are quite different, and that both culture and individual life events shape these things. This convinces me that use is crucial.
Is it also about control and power balance? John Blacking already in 1973 proposed the idea of a more “soundly organized humanity.” Perhaps one of the problems is that governance is hard, and trying to govern people when they have awakened to their musicality, the power of their language, their creativity and autonomy is almost impossible. Is this why authorities worldwide do not promote music education and musical awareness as much as they promote math, science and data processing?
That sounds plausible to me.
I know Halina is not here right now, but her work on issues of control seem relevant here. Nancy’s too. That’s an interesting thought of music, control and power balances
One idea: explain the music by singing it together without explanations!
Perhaps the question can be asked in both directions - in addition to translating music into context, how can we as artists allow ourselves to be changed by our world so that our music becomes more meaningful?
I agree. Elitist measures don’t win hearts and minds, but experiences of enjoying musicking together do.
The “universal” aspect can be reduced to: 1) all cultures have music; 2) music is used expressively.
But – how it is used is pretty non-universal even though our bodies may respond to drumming in similar ways – but as you say, Kathleen “both culture and individual life events shape these things”
Yes, this is how I think too. The researcher at Keio university is focusing on melodies, how melodies have emerged worldwide, and the structural similarities that can be tracked. I will go there with a critical mind and promise to share a full report!
This seems akin to a structural interpretation of literature versus a reader-response method. Neither approach is complete. And it’s interesting to me that secondary schools still gravitate towards a focus on just structure. I wonder if a similar thing happens in music education.
Profound differences will always exist between us, even though we use the same fundamental ‘human’ traits. The tension between those lead to the art.
Regarding elitism and “high art,” music is an aspect of everyday life as well as popular entertainment. People can and do use music to coordinate activities and to create connections without formal training.
Is there any reference to R. Murray Schafer’s “soundscaping” ideas in that research?
That of course is not “musicking” --it is environmental.
I know it is getting late in our conversation, but I wanted to raise something that Jerry White wrote about in one of the articles. That is that his success in his Nobel-winning work was attributable, in part he thought, but finding a way to bring a more conservative activism to (in his case) landmine removal. “Peace” can have a liberal connotation though peace surely is a universal thing. But to make a movement, he offered that we need to think of the melodies and experiences that might relate to a more conservative audience . As someone who grew up in a rural, musical, conservative environment, this really struck home to me