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Archiving for the Future: Heritage Seeds and Heritage Culture for an Uncertain Future Public Lecture by Anthony Seeger Sir Zelman Cowan School of Music.

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Presentation on theme: "Archiving for the Future: Heritage Seeds and Heritage Culture for an Uncertain Future Public Lecture by Anthony Seeger Sir Zelman Cowan School of Music."— Presentation transcript:

1 Archiving for the Future: Heritage Seeds and Heritage Culture for an Uncertain Future Public Lecture by Anthony Seeger Sir Zelman Cowan School of Music Monash University 1

2 2

3 This evening event Focuses on a song that I hope you will sing the chorus to Describes the context of ecomusicology and cultural diversity Considers three words/phrases in my title and one that’s not: – Archiving – Heritage – Uncertain future – Ecomusicology 3

4 The Song: “Lost, Lost Forever!” (chorus) Chorus: Lost, lost forever, no more music and dance No one can do them ‘cause no one has learned them And so we have lost them for good! 4

5 “Lost, Lost Forever!” (V. 1) (BSE—before safeguarding era) Homo sapiens appeared a long time ago And traveling the world we quickly did go We talked and we sang and we danced as we went But nothing remains, there were no archives then Chorus: Lost, lost forever, no more music and dance No one can do them ‘cause no one has learned them And so we have lost them for good 5

6 Lost, Lost Forever (v. 2) There once was a forest that stood on this ground Feeding insects and animals and a few people around Then came company and cut it all down And all those there earlier can scarcely be found Lost, lost forever, no more music and dance No one can do them ‘cause no one has learned them And so we have lost them for good 6

7 Xingu Indigenous Park 2010 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FU2O9RNNTx8 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FU2O9RNNTx8

8 Ecomusicology/(musical)ecocriticism..”the study of music, culture, and nature in all the complexities of those terms. Ecomusicology considers music and sonic issues, both textual and performative, related to ecology and the natural environment. (Aaron S. Allen, Ecocriticism Study Group of the American Musicological Society: Ecomusicology has various roots and approaches 8

9 Ecomusicology and Soundscapes R. Murray Schafer founded the field with “The World Soundscape Project” since 1982 known as the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology Acoustic ecology Soundscape artists Both have activist aspects as well as scholarly and creative ones: sound pollution, hearing loss, and the acoustics of urban life 9

10 Biomusic or Zoomusic The study of non-human sound worlds – Birds – Whales – Frogs This is a rapidly expanding area of research, partly due to advances in technology of recording, studies of the brain, and recognition of the significance of sound beyond the human audible spectrum 10

11 Ecomusicology and humans The use by humans of ecological sounds in their music – Steven Feld’s study of the Kaluli – certain birds and waterfalls provide – The Suyá Indians think that all sounds come from the natural world—but that the “natural world” in its essence is very like the human world—all animals and some things believe themselves to be humans, have speech and music, and see others as foreign species: What you hear in the forest is not the songs of the animals “Perspectivism” and multi-naturalism – Music and sonically identified places 11

12 Music and its ecosystems How music is shaped by and also influences other aspects of its “environment” This takes an ecological systems approach and looks at music within its larger context – IF the definition of music is taken to be “the sounds considered to be music” then those sounds should be seen as part of a larger system constantly in flux that might include social, economic, technological, legal, ecological, and other factors. – Ethnomusicology is the study of music in its various social and cultural contexts—or “ecosystem” The next verse is an example of one of those ecological factors 12

13 Lost, Lost Forever – verse 3 We all wonder about whose music is this We fret and we fuss and we make ourselves sick Is this music public domain, or will I be sued? Maybe it’s safer if I no longer use Lost, lost forever, no more music and dance When copyright confused them they ceased to perform them And so we have lost them for good 13

14 Music and Diversity There is some evidence that genetic diversity is good; is there any evidence that musical diversity is good? – Genetic and species diversity are important parts of Darwin’s writings on evolution Alan Lomax wrote passionately about the world’s “cultural gray-out – Smaller traditions were disappearing in the face of commercially supported popular ones Many nations around the world began to fear the loss of “treasured” oral traditions. 14

15 Disappearing or Disappeared? 15 Many traditions don’t simply disappear, they are “disappeared” as a result of actions in other domains (the “ecosystem”) of which they are part.

16 Sources of “endangerment” mentioned in 59 Nomination Summaries for 2005 nominations as Masterpieces of Intangible Cultural Heritage Rapid social change & urbanization 15 Loss of knowledge bearers/aged performers 11 Damage by tourism 8 Competition with commercial media 8 Church & missionary influence (Christianity & Islam) 8 Political projects to modify musical form 7 Lack of financial support 6 Discrimination against group by ethnicity, race, or class, but not specifically religion: 5 Hegemony of national school system 2 Lack of raw materials 2 Not indicated 3; other 3 16

17 UNESCO’s response 17 UNESCO’s efforts to help countries reduce the loss of local traditions has taken several forms over years and has decidedly mixed results. Reversing musical changes, or “safeguarding” is extremely difficult to do--but not impossible. – In this way it is different from global warming—musical traditions can survive in vastly different ecosystems. But is diversity “good”? I don’t see the evidence for music, which has always changed in the past, though others do. 155 states—not including the USA or Australia--have signed the Convention on the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage and begun to implement its provisions.

18 “Lost, Lost Forever!” (V. 4) Faced with big changes in their music and dance Some nations asked UNESCO to give them a chance First Masterpieces, a convention, and then diversity too Gave ethnomusicologists frustration and rue Chorus: Lost, lost forever, no more music and dance UNESCO proclaimed them, then our government claimed them And now we have lost them for good 18

19 Lost, Lost, Forever Verse 5. UNESCO proclaimed traditions to be Worthy of safeguarding for the future, you see. Then governments claimed them as national goods And local artists were forgotten or not understood. Chorus: Lost, lost forever, no forest or music or dance No one can do them because no one has learned them And so we have lost them for good! 19

20 UNESCO programs Proclamation of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity 2003 Convention on the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage – Signers of the convention are required to begin huge projects of documentation and “safeguarding” of something called “intangible cultural heritage” of which music and dance are a part. – This is extremely difficult and can be confusing for all parties. (Anthony Seeger, “Lessons Learned from the ICTM (NGO) Evaluation of Nominations for the UNESCO Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, ” In Laurajane Smith and Natusko Akagawa, Intangible Heritage. London: Routledge. Pp Convention on Cultural Diversity 20

21 Definition “Safeguarding” (http://www.unesco.org/culture/ich/index.php?lg=en&pg=00006)http://www.unesco.org/culture/ich/index.php?lg=en&pg= “Safeguarding” means measures aimed at ensuring the viability of the intangible cultural heritage, including the identification, documentation, research, preservation, protection, promotion, enhancement, transmission, particularly through formal and non-formal education, as well as the revitalization of the various aspects of such heritage. – This does not mean “freezing” traditions – Nor does it mean stifling innovation

22 Archives as part of musical ecosystems Music has never developed unidirectionally--it keeps changing but often loops back on itself with revivals. Earlier recordings and related documents can become the basis for revivals, or for new creations. Oral traditions are fragile—if one generation fails to pass it on, it’s “lost, lost forever.” But archives can provide some of what has been lost for those who seek it. -- the similarity with heritage seed banks. But it is important for researchers and archivists not to become part of the problem: 22

23 “Lost, Lost Forever!” – DON’T be part of the problem! Verse 6 There once was a scholar who recorded some tapes But when she was done she needed some space And so she did box them and carefully went And stored them way down in her wet basement Chorus: Lost, lost forever, no more music and dance No one can do them ‘cause the collector abused them And so we have lost them for good 23

24 The end? I’ve come to the end of my talk for tonight Discussing ecomusicology, heritage and the like It’s time for some questions and criticisms too Then we can adjourn and eat drink too Not Lost, not lost forever! We can have music and dance As some perform them, others will learn them And the world will gain diversity too 24

25 Thank you! 25


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