[Date Prev][Date Next]   [Thread Prev][Thread Next]   [Date Index][Thread Index][Author Index]

Re: Asian culture (was: OT DID YOU KNOW?)

> Sjaak asked:
> "Let me ask you another question: do Asians create some kind of
> experimental music? Ambient, Avant-Garde? Or do we consider these as
> strictly "Western" because of the culturale differences?"

I got totally caught up trying to answer that one :-)

here's a flavour,
please disregard if it all seems somewhat nonsensical.
...but seems a shame to just press delete

(although I did edit out the bits about different parts of Asia,
.....there's so many, and it all got out of hand)

I think to answer that you first need to look at the Western notion
of experimental music. The idea of new music that is difficult for
the mainstream enjoy is rather recent, I'd guess it started around
the turn of the previous century. 

In Asia, for 1000's of years we often had the situation that music
was funded by people who appreciated the new styles of the time,
with a healthy respect for the local folk musics. The courts employed
musicians to keep them supplied with the latest sounds, and there
was an exchange of ideas between the court musicians and folk musicians.
Although this situation is changed, much of the music seems to be 

Compare the current state in UK, where music funding is by 
pen pushers who quite likely aren't going to listen to the 
music that they authorise. We don't have the history of the wealthy
patronising a music related to the local folk music, perhaps
due to the Norman conquest, ( 1066). The imported aristocracy
preferred European music. Listening to what is presented as
folk music here today I don't hear all the delicate tuning
and rhythm subtleties that I hear in Asian music, rather it
sounds like it has been scored out, then interpreted with
trite harmony and the emphasis on the down beat.   

Before Western influence, and still surviving in some places 
Asian music incorporates innovation in a natural way. There's
no need to react against a tradition that isn't hidebound.

For most of the innovations of the West, I think it's possible to
find examples of Asian music that did it first, and did it better.
Ambient, Minimalism, pure sound, rhythmic complication, microtones,
drone, and just plain "that's not music".

..and plenty of Asian music that Western theory just doesn't understand. 


andy butler