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World Music Authencity Score

Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 10 months ago

Introduction

There are four categories to use to indicate how much trust we have that an arrangement reflects and respects the culture to which a piece refers. The scoring system is adapted from the one developed by the noted music educator and word music specialist, Dr. Terese Volk. (Volk. Terese. Music, Education, and Multiculturalism: Foundations and Principles. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.)

 

The Categories

 

CATEGORY 4: OF A CULTURE (OR AN APPROXIMATION THEREOF)

These pieces are “either original compositions by composers from the culture or are arrangements that are a close approximation of the original music of the culture” (Volk, 178). El Relicario by Padilla, arranged by Isaac, is in this category. We should also place the “orchestral standards” and contemporary compositions for orchestra in this category. After all, Mozart is of his culture and time, as is Philip Glass. Additionally, works composed for symphonic orchestra arranged for string (or younger) orchestras fall into this category.

 

CATEGORY 3: CULTURAL BORROWING BEYOND THEMATIC MATERIAL

These pieces are arrangements of folk materials (songs or dance music) that attempt to reflect the material’s culture of origin by including traditional instruments (percussion and accurate timbral substitutions), or even by reflecting the culture’s harmonic, formal, or rhythmic structures. Arrangements of folk songs in this category include lyrics in the original language as a way of respecting the culture from which the material comes.

 

CATEGORY 2: EURO-AMERICAN ARTISTIC PROCESSES

These pieces may be well-crafted compositions with names like Theme and Variations or Rhapsody or Fantasia on a Folk Song of [insert name of country or culture]. Although the thematic material used may be from another culture, the harmonic, formal, and stylistic qualities are decidedly Euro-American. Some publishers include an English translation of the original folk lyrics, but not lyrics in the native language. One would have to include Brahms’s Hungarian Dances, Tchaikovsky’s Capriccio Italien, and Benjamin Britten’s An American Overture in this category and, for younger orchestras, Merle Isaac’s arrangement of Two South American Tangos and Donald Brubaker’s El Toro.

 

CATEGORY 1: IN TITLE ONLY

Pieces in this category include skillfully composed simulations of another culture, like Richard Meyer’s Kabuki Dance with its only connection to non-Western culture being the title itself. The composer/arranger may not even chose to include a folk song or melody from the culture suggested by the title. Despite what is suggested by titles like Mt. Fuji Rising, Storms over the Andes, Norwegian Wedding Dance, or The Mexican Sundae Polka, the pieces at best only emulate cultural stereotypes.

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