How Musical Is Man? (Jessie & John Danz Lectures) by John Blacking

By John Blacking

This significant learn in ethnomusicology is an try out by means of the writer -- a musician who has develop into a social anthropologist -- to check his reports of music-making in several cultures. he's the following offering new details caused by his examine into African tune, particularly one of the Venda. Venda song, he came across is in its manner no much less advanced in constitution than eu track. Literacy and the discovery of state may well generate prolonged musical buildings, yet they show alterations of measure, and never the variation in sort that's implied via the excellence among ‘art’ and ‘folk’ track. Many, if now not all, of music’s crucial strategies could be present in the structure of the human physique and in styles of interplay of human our bodies in society. hence all tune is structurally, in addition to functionally, ‘folk’ tune within the experience that tune can't be transmitted of have that means with out institutions among people.

If John Blacking’s bet in regards to the organic and social origins of song is right, or perhaps simply partially right, it's going to generate new principles in regards to the nature of musicality, the position of tune in schooling and its common position in societies which (like the Venda within the context in their conventional economic system) may have extra rest time as automation raises.

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Extra info for How Musical Is Man? (Jessie & John Danz Lectures)

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A s m y e x a m p l e s h a v e s h o w n , m u c h V e n d a music i s merely 50 HOW MUSICAL IS MAN? a signal or sign of social events and no less utilitarian than c o m m e r c i a l j i n g l e s , radio station identifications, s o m e incidental m u s i c , and the h y m n s or s o n g s that are essentially the " b a d g e s " o f different social groups. M a n y s o n g s o f initiation are m o r e i m p o r t a n t as m a r k e r s of stages in ritual or as reinf o r c e m e n t s o r m n e m o n i c s o f lessons t h a n a s m u s i c a l experie n c e s ; w o r k s o n g s coordinate and ease l a b o r ; and a special group o f b e e r songs can b e used t o voice complaints and m a k e requests w h e n parties o f w o m e n t a k e gifts o f b e e r t o the h o m e s o f their in-laws.

T h e r e h a s b e e n n o real c o n t a c t w i t h the original o f the unfamiliar i d i o m ; n o n e o f t h e E u r o p e a n s w h o h a v e passed o n the tradition h a v e been accomplished musicians, and so b o t h they and the A f r i c a n s t h e y h a v e trained h a v e often b e e n a s unsure about the c o r r e c t reading o f the scores a s t h o s e t h e y h a v e taught. W h i t e " e x p e r t s " h a v e assured t h e m that sentiment and e x pression ( w h i c h often a m o u n t to w e a r i n g b r i g h t u n i f o r m s at i n t e r s c h o o l singing c o m p e t i t i o n s ) are m o r e i m p o r t a n t than a c c u r a c y .

T h e first p r o b l e m in assessing h u m a n musicality is also the central issue in m u s i c o l o g y and e t h n o m u s i c o l o g y . It is the HOW 24 4. Vha ka e - n d a pT? MUSICAL Vho l i - m a IS MAN? da-vha la kho - mbe. problem of describing w h a t happens in a piece of music. We cannot yet explain what we already k n o w intuitively as a result of experience in culture, namely, the essential differences between the music of H a y d n and M o z a r t , or of the Flathead and the Sioux Indians.

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