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Performing Gender, Place, and Emotion in Music

Performing Gender, Place, and Emotion in Music: Global Perspectives

Fiona Magowan
Louise Wrazen
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 206
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  • Book Info
    Performing Gender, Place, and Emotion in Music
    Book Description:

    While ethnomusicologists and anthropologists have long recognized the theoretical connections between gender, place, and emotion in musical performance, these concepts are seldom analyzed together. Performing Gender, Place, and Emotion in Music is the first book-length study to examine the interweaving of these three concepts from a cross-cultural perspective. Contributors show how a theoretical focus on one dimension implicates the others, creating a complex nexus of performative engagement. This process is examined across different regions around the globe, through two key questions: How are aesthetic, emotional, and imagined relations between performers and places embodied musically? And in what ways is this performance of emotion gendered across quotidian, ritual, and staged events? Through ethnographic case studies, the volume explores issues of emplacement, embodiment, and emotion in three parts: landscape and emotion; memory and attachment; and nationalism and indigeneity. Part I focuses on emplaced sentiments in Australasia through Vietnamese spirit possession, Balinese dance, and land rights in Aboriginal performance. Part II addresses memories of Aboriginal choral singing, belonging in Bavarian music-making, and gender-performativity in Polish song. Part III evaluates emotion and fandom around a Korean singer in Japan, and Sámi interconnectivities in traditional and modern musical practices. Fiona Magowan is Professor of Anthropology at Queen's University, Belfast. Louise Wrazen is Associate Professor of Music at York University.

    eISBN: 978-1-58046-818-3
    Subjects: Music

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction: Musical Intersections, Embodiments, and Emplacements
    (pp. 1-14)
    Fiona Magowan and Louise Wrazen

    The following ethnographic accounts of music and dance from Europe, Southeast Asia, and Australasia examine how performances of gender, place, and emotion intersect. Ethnomusicology and anthropology have long recognized the connections between these aspects of performance, yet they are seldom analyzed together. Most recent studies have examined music in relation to either gender, place, or emotion. Instead of addressing each field of inquiry as an individual lens through which to understand musical practices, our aim is to explore the ways in which the three elements overlap. Our volume proposes that the intersections of gender, place, and emotion generate an interplay...

  5. Part One: Landscape and Emotion

    • Chapter One Engendering Emotion and the Environment in Vietnamese Music and Ritual
      (pp. 17-37)
      Barley Norton

      This chapter examines how musical performance is bound up with displays and exchanges of sentiment in Vietnamese spirit possession rituals, known as len dong. It aims to show how the expression of emotion is culturally mediated through ritual practice and musical performance by exploring the affective modalities of mediumship from new perspectives.¹ I also consider the ways in which emotional expressions in ritual practices are inflected by gender relations to the environment and discuss how the exchange of sentimental relations (tinh cam) among musicians and between musicians and their audience is a highly prized ideal during mediumship rituals and many...

    • Chapter Two Gendering Emotional Connections to the Balinese Landscape: Exploring Children’s Roles in a Barong Performance
      (pp. 38-62)
      Jonathan McIntosh

      In Bali the spiritual world is mapped onto the physical landscape of the island, connecting specific emotional reactions to places based on spiritual understandings about them that begin at a very early age. One of the ways in which children learn about their world and how to perceive and react to their island is through theatrical performance. In this chapter I describe how children express this connection to the landscape through the performance of Barong (a traditional dance performance that depicts a mythical, masked creature). The performance embodies a complex interrelationship among emotions associated with the Balinese spirit world, their...

    • Chapter Three Performing Emotion, Embodying Country in Australian Aboriginal Ritual
      (pp. 63-82)
      Fiona Magowan

      After a rough drive along the dirt road leading away from the township of Galiwin’ku, in northeast Arnhem Land, we came into an outstation on the coast (see map 3.1). Some family members were sitting on their raised verandas in the shade. One of the three Yolngu women traveling in the car gestured that they should go to a thick mangrove cluster close to the sea to gather shellfish and mud crabs.¹ As they departed, I, along with another non-Aboriginal friend who also knew the family and had a long history in the region, took the opportunity to meet with...

  6. Part Two: Memory and Attachment

    • Chapter Four Christian Choral Singing in Aboriginal Australia: Gendered Absence, Emotion, and Place
      (pp. 85-108)
      Muriel Swijghuisen Reigersberg

      This chapter examines the relationships between choral singing, gender, and emotion in the Lutheran Australian Aboriginal community of Hopevale, northern Queensland (map 4.1). It is based on applied ethnomusicological research undertaken in collaboration with the Hopevale community between 2004 and 2005. During this period I worked as a choral music facilitator, conducting the Hopevale Community Choir (see fig. 4.1) and occasionally teaching music at the Hopevale state primary school. I developed an ethnographically informed approach to choral facilitation that incorporated Hopevalian understandings of musical preferences and performance aesthetics and what it means to “sing in a choir.”¹ Through conducting, singing,...

    • Chapter Five Transforming the Singing Body: Exploring Musical Narratives of Gender and Place in East Bavaria
      (pp. 109-126)
      Sara R. Walmsley-Pledl

      This chapter examines how issues of place and gender, specific to German East Bavaria, are mediated through song imagery. Taking the arena of choral music as a locus of social and musical production, I also analyze how singers’ musical narratives and memories of music making embody and reflect their emotional relationships with this region. The physical and emotional effects of singing raise questions about differences between male and female German choral singers as they narrate their bodily experiences of music making. I ask, how do gender roles determine male and female experiences of singing in a choir and to what...

    • Chapter Six A Place of Her Own: Gendered Singing in Poland’s Tatras
      (pp. 127-144)
      Louise Wrazen

      In this song from southern Poland, the women singing engage in a first-person narrative in which they position themselves discursively within a surrounding mountain landscape of the Tatra Mountains by sending their voices into this land (see fig. 6.1).¹ At the same time, depending on where they are singing, they may or may not actually be placing themselves—through their singing voices—physically into the hills and valleys that this text describes. What is the significance of this song and this singing within the experience of place? What is the relationship between singer, landscape, and song? How is this affected...

  7. Part Three: Nationalism and Indigeneity

    • Chapter Seven Singing the Contentions of Place: Korean Singers of the Heart and Soul of Japan
      (pp. 147-161)
      Christine R. Yano

      Performing emotions holds a particular niche in the field of intimate cultural production. Inasmuch as emotions occupy both private encounters and public disclosure, their performance on the commercial stage mixes these encounters and disclosures within processes of imaging and commodification. Performing emotions in particular ways can be a form of branding—and thus selling—a singer or a genre in East Asia, as elsewhere. Whole swaths of song may be noted for their sentimentality; within particular popular music genres in East Asia individual singers may be noted for their tears. Linking tears to women follows gendered expectations in East Asia...

    • Chapter Eight “In Our Foremothers’ Arms”: Goddesses, Feminism, and the Politics of Emotion in Sámi Songs
      (pp. 162-184)
      Tina K. Ramnarine

      This chapter discusses how Sámi vocal genres can be interpreted in relation to traditional cosmologies, in particular to the goddesses. The Sámi are recognized as an indigenous people living in four countries (Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia). Such recognition is a result of the indigenous movement of the 1960s onward in which the revival of joik (a traditional Sámi vocal genre) was crucial in fostering a pan-Sámi indigenous sensibility. Although joik continues to play a defining role in representing a pan-Sámi political identity, it is not widespread across the region now known as Sápmi, the land of the Sámi (map...

  8. Afterword
    (pp. 185-194)
    Beverley Diamond

    The triple themes of Performing Gender, Place, and Emotion in Music demonstrate how important it is to see the connectedness of different concepts of embodiment. These culturally variable terms of physicality and spirituality reach both inwardly toward the most intimate of human sensations or emotion and outwardly to larger environments of place and space. These studies demonstrate how social mediation occurs in relation to each of the three concepts, shaping behaviors and expectations of how music, among other things, both represents and constitutes the ways that we are embodied, emplaced, and “emotioned.”

    These chapters evoked memories and stories from my...

  9. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 195-200)
  10. List of Contributors
    (pp. 201-202)
  11. Index
    (pp. 203-208)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 209-209)