Alan Lomax and multiculturalism

jesseajohnston:

HBD Alan Lomax… the Bibliolore post:

Originally posted on Bibliolore:

lomax radio 1940

When Alan Lomax accepted a position as the Assistant in Charge of the Archive of American Folk Song at the Library of Congress in 1936 he became a gatekeeper to the largest repository of recorded traditional music in the country.

He subsequently worked to infuse traditional music into mainstream culture and, in so doing, to publicize his interpretation of American culture and society—an interpretation that placed the American people, a category that included racial and ethnic minorities as well as the economically dispossessed and politically disenfranchised, at the center of the nation’s identity.

During the 1930s and 1940s he pursued this goal by developing radio programs that highlighted the music of American traditional communities. These included shows designed for children, including Folk Music of America, which aired weekly on CBS radio’s American School of the Air.

Lomax used this program as a forum to teach children about American cultural…

View original 142 more words

Umm Kulṯūm, voice of the people

jesseajohnston:

Umm Kulthum’s birthday…

Originally posted on Bibliolore:

Umm Kulthum

The virtuoso Egyptian singer Umm Kulṯūm (أم كلثوم) has been acclaimed as representing the voices of the people throughout the Arab world.

Following a long historical tradition of well-known, respectable female singers, Umm Kulṯūm’s repertoire revolved around Arabic poems with historic themes and colloquial Egyptian Arabic songs. Performed during a time of rejection of all things colonial in favor of all things Egyptian, her songs, both textually and melodically, reflected this emphasis.

The role of listeners is crucial in constructing the identity of her voice and their usage of live and recorded performances for their own purposes. Songs from Umm Kulṯūm’s repertory illustrate how social identity may be embedded in music using specific musical cues understood by the performer and her audience.

This according to “Voices of the people: Umm Kulthūm” by Virginia Danielson, an essay included in Women’s voices across musical worlds (Boston: Northeastern University…

View original 23 more words

Songs in the key of Los Angeles

jesseajohnston:

New edition edited by a cool commentator!

Originally posted on Bibliolore:

songs in the key of l.a.

Songs in the key of Los Angeles: Sheet music from the collection of the Los Angeles Public Library (Santa Monica: Angel City, 2013) presents historical popular songs, including facsimiles of sheet music covers and original manuscripts, in hardcover and e-book form.

The book is an outgrowth of Songs in the key of Los Angeles, a multi-platform collaboration between the Library Foundation of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Public Library, and USC professor Josh Kun that brings to life the Library’s extraordinary Southern California Sheet Music Collection.

Comprising sheet music pieces that range from the 1840s through the 1950s, the Collection offers a singular portrait of Los Angeles history and culture rendered in music and visual art.

Below, Lupe Vélez performs Chiapanecas, one of the songs included in the collection.

View original

Mayan instrument iconography

jesseajohnston:

Cool post about an article on trumpet iconography in Mayan paintings, courtesy of Bibliolore. Check out the video!

Originally posted on Bibliolore:

mayan jaguar drum

Provided mostly by vase paintings and murals, pictorial evidence of the musical practices of the Mayan Classic (ca. 250–900 C.E.) and especially of the Late Classic (ca. 600–800 C.E.) is abundant.

These depictions allow the identification of instrument types—many of them not found as artifacts in archaeological contexts—and their association with specific musical occasions.

What is not always as clear as it may appear is the past musical combination practice of the instruments (and vocal forms) represented in a given picture. Many representations of groups of musicians and musical instruments arouse doubts about their band-like organization or, put positively, give rise to questions about the possible devices used by their painters to indicate musical and social differentiations of such groups.

This according to “Trumpets in Classic Maya vase painting: The iconographic identification of instrumental ensembles” by Matthias Stöckli (Music in art: International journal for music iconography XXXVI/1–2 [spring–fall…

View original 27 more words

Happy birthday to Hornbostel– Sachs!

jesseajohnston:

Apropos to my own blog’s “classification system” of categories and tags! (Take a look at right if you haven’t…) Shall we call this a “Sachs-ophone”?

Originally posted on Bibliolore:

hornbostel-sachs3

Systematik der Musikinstrumente: Ein Versuch is 100 years old this year! This system of musical instrument classification, devised by Erich Moritz von Hornbostel and Curt Sachs, is still the most widely used by ethnomusicologists and organologists. It was issued in Zeitschrift für Ethnologie XLVI/4–5 [1914] pp. 553–590; the first pages of the system are shown above (click to enlarge).

The system is based on one devised in the late 19th century by Victor-Charles Mahillon, the curator of musical instruments at the Conservatoire Royal de Bruxelles/Koninklijk Conservatorium Brussel. Mahillon divided instruments into four broad categories according to the sound-producing material—air column, string, membrane, or the instrument’s body. For the most part, Mahillon’s system was limited to instruments used in Western classical music; Hornbostel and Sachs expanded Mahillon’s system to make it applicable to any instrument from any culture.

The Hornbostel– Sachs system is formally modeled…

View original 54 more words

“The star-spangled banner” turns 200

Originally posted on Bibliolore:

star spangled banner

Around 1775 John Stafford Smith wrote a melody for verses celebrating the Anacreontic Society, a London amateur musicians’ supper club. With its stirring tune, The Anacreontic song soon escaped the confines of club ritual, appearing in popular song collections and inspiring parodies in London’s many theaters.

By 1790 the melody had become part of the core of the active U.S. broadside tradition; by 1820 Anacreon, as the tune was then known, was the vehicle for more than 85 sets of American lyrics.

A number of these songs were nationalistic, praising early presidents and articulating partisan conflicts. The tune became widely associated with U.S. patriotism, making it a natural choice for Francis Scott Key for his commemoration of the nation’s surprise victory in the Battle of Baltimore in 1814. Originally titled Defense of Fort McHenry, the song quickly became a U.S. patriotic favorite as The star-spangled banner.

View original 74 more words