Taking a trip to the outback is more than just going to grab a beer and steak at some chain restaurant, beneath the Americanized food chain there is a rich musical culture in Australia.
Brief History- Australia land of the Aborigines that are said to be one of the oldest cultures in existence. The Aboriginal people were the original inhabitants of Australia until 1788 when European settlers came and started to colonize the continent.
Aboriginal Religion- The Aboriginal people have a strong belief in what they call “Dreamtime.” This dreamtime belief is much like that of native Americans and most of the earlier civilizations that have a strong ties to the spirit world and have a belief in totems or totemism.
This is the song that i chose for my cultural insider vs cultural outsider. I think that what best connects me to this song is the lyrics and the way that the melody kind of carries you along with the story of the song. The instruments from the melodic drum beats to the way that the synthesizers go off at just the rite time to give it an airy feeling of acceptance is what I think connects me too it. The instruments in this piece are all of course made on a computer and by the whim of the producer who made them. Culturally I can not say if I know that it is significant to anyone else but me, but I guess that would be one of the things that makes this piece even more special to me.
What I have chosen for my other piece is the Burmese harp, like what the ehtnomusicologist from our readings was talking about. I can see why this would make some one from the west a little uncomfortable. The harp its self just kind of sounds link an out of tune guitar that has a strange kind of twang to it. Though with the cymbals in the background it kind of provides a sense of familiarity to the piece. The structure of the song though is a bit familiar in a way, though there are parts that just sound like they are off beat a little to me I can not think of any other way to describe it I guess. Listening to the song again though i still get this strange feeling of unease from the sound of the actual harp and I just can not seem to move past that.
This week for review i have chosen to do Pakistan as my area of study. The topics that i will discuss this week in my blog will be on the geographic location of Pakistan, how the geographic boarders plays a part in modern life, the way that their borders affected the music that is known as cultural music in Pakistan, and also a brief description on some of the instruments that they use in their music.
So this is the country of Pakistan. The northernmost city is Islamabad the capitol of the country with a population of 700,000 people, though this city is dwarfed in comparison by their largest city Karachi which has around 14 million people living their. Pakistan as a country is set between India and Afghanistan in what we now call the middle east, or Southeast Asia. The constant struggle on the Pakistani boarders is still a constant struggle in Pakistan. With war torn neighbors to north and India to the south, Pakistan could be called a powder keg just waiting to erupt.
Though Pakistan may be crazy and chaotic place to go travel due to their geographical location this kind of cultural tension has played a great part in the musical identity that is known as Pakistani cultural music. Though there are many kinds of different cultural music that can be found in villages around the country the main music that Pakistan tried to make their own was the sounds of Qawwali.
Though sung by Muslims in Pakistan qawalli is not from the traditional Sunni, Shia practices of Islam, it is actually from a sub sect of Islam known as the Sufi sects. In reading the chapter on Pakistan from our book qawwali ” progresses from calm to agitation and exclamation” and a listener can ” experience heightened spirituality to the point of achieving a trance like state.”
The instrument above is the Harmonium, also known as a pump organ. This instrument was originally brought to India by the French in the mid nineteenth century. This instrument took off like a wild fire across the country due to its reliability, portability and the fact that it was just so easy to learn. If you look at the video that I posted earlier in this blog you will see that the main singers in the group both have one of these Harmoniums and use them to play the rhythm of the song and, that these pump organs set the tone for what they are about to sing and it also helps with making that kind of trance like sound to help you along your journey for what they are singing.
Miller, Terry E., and Andrew C. Shahriari. World Music: A Global Journey. New York: Routledge, 2006. Print.
Blog Post 1- Idiophones
Idiophones are instruments that create sound by being vibrated, they are instruments that do not use strings or membranes to create the sound.
List of instruments
Nail Violin- Designed by the German violinist Johann Wilde in 1740. The nail violin in a semi circle that is made out of wood with either brass or iron nails. This kind of idiophone uses a bow to strike across the heads of the nails, at different heights, to create the different sounds.
Castanets- can be heard in many styles of music most commonly heard in ancient Roman, Portuguese, Italian, and Spanish music. Made from two pieces of wood tied together at the bottom. During research from orsymphony.org castanets can “some times be mounted to blocks of wood, and the percussionist can play them with his/her hands”.
Gong- The gong is a Eastern or South East asian instrument. After being spread through Asia it made its way into western orchestras as well. The gong is a large metal plate that can not be tuned and is struck with a mallet at different strengths to produce different sounds.
Instruments how they sound and differences
I chose all of these for different reasons, mainly I just wanted to get a wide variety of instruments from different parts of the world. All of these instruments are of the idiophone family but all have way different kinds of sounds and ways to be played. The nail violin for instance has as you can probably guess the sound almost like that of a violin in that it can hit the different kind of notes and how you can tell the different kind of keys. The castanet that is also in this family sounds very different in the kind of music that it can be played in. The castanet is generally used in Latin music and has that kind of clapping and wooden vibration sound, from striking the two blocks of wood together. The last and final instrument, the gong, is used in Eastern music and can be used with many gongs to make an actual orchestra out of gongs. Striking the gongs at different speeds and different strengths creates sounds that can be loud like a crash, or soft and delicate and make barely any sound what so ever. All of these instruments may be in the same family, but they all are played differently and have different tonal qualities and have different meanings when they are played.