Sunday, February 26, 2012

review for Turino

The abstract of this paper seemed confusing to me at first because I didn't quite get the meaning of "internalized" and "externalized" disposition from Turino's long sentences. Then it became clear to me that he was explaining how musical activities relate to human behaviors, values and forms in other activities(social or cultural). And I was soon drawing to his notion "circular interaction" which means internalized dispositions influence each other and forms as unified vision/value system, just like Conima is an iconicrrsrnttion of actual octal character of Conima. Such is called "natural".
Then the author started to introduce the social patterns in this community: such as "solitary/factionalism paradox" which means all the local group are relatively solitary and they each put collective over the individual, as a result the distinctiveness of each small entity is very important. Musicians don't like to be singled out. Religious and political matters are solved without debates. And such customs are much reflected in their music tradition: binary organization around a marked center unit for music group organizing. Major aesthetic criterion for good performance is the idea of playing as one and no individual instrument should stand out. Dense sound , unified texture, skillful improvisation to add flavor. Plus, no large contrasts and no mix timbres. To conclude, "sounding as one" in the music realm is " acting together" in social terms.
The role of "Guia" interested me. A figure as Guia needs to be well respected and skillful himself as well as tactful, patient. Yet On top of that he can not publicly stress or emphasize his superior abilities. He must take care of everyone's self esteem. This draws parallel to a virtue of modesty, which is often underrated by American society to my point of view, and I cant help comparing the musics/social customs of the two cultures using Turino's method. For examples, jazz music, which is widely considered as "American music" distinctively, exhibit a strong sense of individuality since almost each of the players in a jazz jam is supposed to or encouraged to take a solo and the rich mix of timbre is appreciated. This also apparently reflect American values of democracy and individuality.
In the end, my question is, are musical behaviors only the reflections of social or other behaviors of a culture, or does they actually exert influences on the way people live or behave as well?

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