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Ethnomusicologists believe that all humans, not just those we call musicians, are musical, and that musicality is one of the essential touchstones of the human experience. This insight raises big questions about the nature of music and the nature of humankind, and ethnomusicologists argue that to properly address these questions, we must study music in all its geographical and historical diversity.
In this Very Short Introduction, one of the foremost ethnomusicologists, Timothy Rice, offers a compact and illuminating account of this growing discipline, showing how modern researchers go about studying music from around the world, looking for insights into both music and humanity. The reader discovers that ethnomusicologists today not only examine traditional forms of music-such as Japanese gagaku, Bulgarian folk music, Javanese gamelan, or Native American drumming and singing-but also explore more contemporary musical forms, from rap and reggae to Tex-Mex, Serbian turbofolk, and even the piped-in music at the Mall of America. To investigate these diverse musical forms, Rice shows, ethnomusicologists typically live in a community, participate in and observe and record musical events, interview the musicians, their patrons, and the audience, and learn to sing, play, and dance. It's important to establish rapport with musicians and community members, and obtain the permission of those they will work with closely over the course of many months and years. We see how the researcher analyzes the data to understand how a particular musical tradition works, what is distinctive about it, and how it bears the personal, social, and cultural meanings attributed to it. Rice also discusses how researchers may apply theories from anthropology and other social sciences, to shed further light on the nature of music as a human behavior and cultural practice.
About the Series:
Oxford's Very Short Introductions series offers concise and original introductions to a wide range of subjects--from Islam to Sociology, Politics to Classics, Literary Theory to History, and Archaeology to the Bible. Not simply a textbook of definitions, each volume in this series provides trenchant and provocative--yet always balanced and complete--discussions of the central issues in a given discipline or field. EveryVery Short Introduction gives a readable evolution of the subject in question, demonstrating how the subject has developed and how it has influenced society. Eventually, the series will encompass every major academic discipline, offering all students an accessible and abundant reference library. Whatever the area of study that one deems important or appealing, whatever the topic that fascinates the general reader, theVery Short Introductions series has a handy and affordable guide that will likely prove indispensable.
Life In A Japanese Women's College
One third of the Japanese female workforce are 'office ladies' and their training takes place in the many women's junior colleges. Office ladies are low-wage, low-status secretaries who have little or no job security.
Brian J. McVeigh draws on his experience as a teacher at one such institution to explore the cultural and social processes used to promote 'femininity' in Japanese women. His detailed and ethnographically-informed study considers how the students of these institutions are socialized to fit their future dual roles of employees and mothers, and illuminates the sociopolitical role that the colleges play in Japanese society as a whole.
Purity In Music
An excerpt from the beginning of the first chapter: It was probably never so universally admitted as in the present day that the foundation of all true knowledge is, and must be, the study and acquaintance with the great classics which have been handed down to us by our ancestors. Only thus can such assured progress be made, when we so profit by the teachings of others as to gather new strength for the advancement of knowledge. The study of the works of the old masters has also this negative advantage - it convinces empty pretenders of their emptiness, and turns their attention to the calm enjoyment for themselves and the spreading a knowledge amongst other of the grand models we have inherited from bygone times. Real geniuses, such as Plato, Raphael, and Shakespeare, appear but seldom; but they have influenced many generations, and their power has been felt through the ages. Therefore is it a most sorry conceit for any man, through confidence in himself, to neglect the study of the great spirits of former days, and thus to say in effect that he is able to produce what they produced. Amongst the younger race of educated men it is a point of honour to study the classics; and an aspiring painter would no more dare to deride the study of Raphael, Michael Angelo, Van Eyck, and Durer, than would a young poet give to the world a new Iliad, or King Lear, without first studying the undying works of Homer and Shakespeare. Thus it is that in poetry, in painting, and in architecture, we see a freshness and vigour pleasant to behold, though frequently enough a want of power prevents the mightiest efforts of the will from achieving full success.
It is only in matters musical that pride, haughtily disdaining the Past, is the order of the day, although all the great masters who formed that Past set us a far better example. Handel, Hasse, and Graun ardently sought the opportunity of studying music in Italy. They did not do what most of our modern professors do, and by prodigious labour master a few show pieces under the miserable delusion that good taste is to be found, as a rule, in the concert room; but while they composed grand works and offered them to the world for approval, they themselves were diligent students of all the good music within their reach, and lost no opportunity of knowing what others had composed before them. Even John Sebastian Bach, who was hindered from going abroad for that purpose, was a most devout student of the works of others - the immortal Venetian, Caldara, attracting his particular attention. And Mozart, although his genius was of such a character as to make him well-nigh independent of extraneous aid, still regarded the celebrated works of the old masters, particularly those of Handel and J. S. Bach, with feelings akin to reverence; and we owe it chiefly to his edition of the " Messiah " that Handel's name has lived through an age of musical shallowness. But now all this has changed. There is almost a universal confidence in our own strength, an unlimited number of original manufactures, and for the most part a sneering disregard for so-called antiquated music. Masters like Antonio Lotti and Alessandro Scarlatti, at whose shrine Handel and Hasse were devout worshippers, are to- day to most people unknown, even by name; and even the incomparable Handel himself is not, if we except a few places, regarded with the reverence due to his inexhaustible genius, which was in many ways unique. And this ignorance of the musical past, and still worse indifference, are not confined alone to what we call Church and Oratorio music; for in operatic matters general knowledge does not go far behind to-day. Handel's operas are no longer heard; and to speak well of those of Caldara and Lotti is to ensure certain laughter....
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