I came across this book today at the University of Stellenbosch book store and found it interesting for those of us who give more to music than just the ears.
Here's an extract from the intro:
Because of radio, television, and internet we are all – at various levels and in extremely varied contexts – exposed to several musics from the moment we are born. And no two people are exposed in the same way, as studies in music psychology and music sociology have shown. Just as the methodology of case studies and sampling can seem only provisional and exploratory “[i]n a world of some six-billion people and possibly just as many compositions”, as Nishlyn Ramanna puts it in his study of South African jazz and identity (2005, p. 71), so musical identity globally can be said to have been constructed in at least 6 billion ways, of which only a handful are presented in this book.
One of the major things this book does, then, is to examine a few very specific circumstances under which musical identities in certain areas of the world at certain times have been constructed; it does not attempt to draw wider conclusions. The book also scrutinises the meanings such constructions hold for individuals and the societies in which they live. Another thing the book shows is how identities are manipulated: what happened in Ghana, for example, when an inherent multiculturalism encountered “colonial legacies like external music examinations, the playing of Western musical instruments, ballroom dance, choirs and bands … resulting in the creation of vibrant music genres and cultures to service the musical identities of people in both countries”? (Akrofi and Flolu in this volume). What happens when a school music curriculum that favours one kind of music culture over another, is imposed upon such vibrancy? The imposed music is an imposed identity, and is bound to be rejected to some extent and in various ways, unless (as with organ transplants), the operation proceeds with the greatest possible caution and the environment is sufficiently antiseptic – which rarely happens in the mayhem of most schools.
The project behind this book brought together music educationists, musicologists, and ethnomusicologists (although some of us are not quite sure where to place ourselves in this triad). At the surface level of content it is fairly easy to see which is which, and the way people’s interests have overlapped is reflected in the way chapters are loosely
grouped under the headings “concepts of identity”, “music and discourse”, and “musical encounters”; but these headings don’t tell us what is going on at a deeper level.