Welcome to Soundscapes - Second Edition

World Music Quiz

JukeBox Index

Chapter Outline
Chapter Quiz
Resource Links

Introduction: What is a Soundscape
Print This Page  
    • Case Study: The Throat Singers of Tuva
      1. Distinctive vocal method called khoomii
      2. Musics from around the globe surround most of us where we live.
        • Accessible for an evening or through the media
          • Do not have to seek out new musical experiences
          • Casually enter our perception
        • The presence of multiple musics in familiar places is a reality of life worldwide in the 21st century.
      3. Ethnomusicology unites the study of music with the methods of anthropology.
        • Depends on observation of and participation in musical events
        • Important moments in ethnomusicology
    • The different aspects of the musical environment, ranging from a single musical tradition to all sounds heard in a particular place
      1. A sonic environment that could be compared to a seascape
        • Flexible; music's ability to both stay in place and move
          • Musical traditions can be anchored to one place for a long time.
          • May move beyond the horizon
        • A flexible approach is need to think about a soundscape's setting and aspects of sound and performance.
    • Sound
      1. Individual voices and instruments are distinguished by differences in sound properties.
        • Studied through the field of acoustics
          • Each voice or instrument produces a blend of the fundamental tone and a series of tones above it.
          • Acoustical phenomenon of the harmonic series
            • Tone quality called timbre
            • Each instrument and voice has a unique timbre.
        • The presence of multiple musics in familiar places is a reality of life worldwide in the 21st century.
      2. Khoomii singers produce two tones at the same time.
        • Singer causes one additional partial to be heard above the fundamental.
        • Some singers can produce a third partial as well.
        • In other traditions, upper partials are audible.
      3. There are many styles with contrasting sound characteristics in different regions of the country.
        • Kargyraa
          • Has a lower-pitched fundamental and a husky voice quality
          • May have a text
        • Sygyt
          • Has a higher-pitched fundamental
          • Clear harmonics that sound like whistling
        • There are many personal styles.
          • Nose khoomii
          • Chest khoomii
    • Setting
      1. Includes everything from the venue to the behavior of those present
        • Reveals much about a musical event
        • Determines, to a great extent, what we hear and see
          • Every musical event is influenced by others that came before it.
          • Musicmakers must be creative in adapting their traditions to the situation.
        • The setting of each performance conveys meanings for both performers and listeners.
          • Traditional venues can be dramatically different from venues faced by musicians performing abroad.
          • Throat singing was a largely a solitary pursuit.
            • Particular settings shaped the musical sound.
            • Ezengileer is a notable example.
    • Significance
      1. Music means, or signifies, different things to performers and listeners from different backgrounds.
        • Certain musical events can come to symbolize meaningful moments.
        • In other cases, music carries meanings that are hidden.
      2. Khoomii provides an example of a tradition with multiple meanings for performers and listeners.
        • By imitating natural sounds, singers reinforce their connection to the physical environment of Tuva.
          • Anchored in traditional Tuvan spiritual practices
          • Some Tuvans trace the origins of khoomii to lullabies.
        • Khoomii may signify deep-seated associations with the homeland as well as ties to the family.
          • Outsiders may be so surprised by audible harmonics that they do not consider the sounds' significance.
          • Repeated exposure can help outsiders become more sensitive to the range meanings available to insiders.
    • Case Study: David Hykes and Harmonic Chant
      1. In the early 1970s, the young American musician David Hykes heard a recording of khoomii from Mongolia.
        • Hykes learned through experimentation how to sing khoomii.
        • He also encountered the vocal techniques used by some orders of Tibetan monks to produces multiple harmonics.
      2. Hykes formed the Harmonic Choir in 1975.
        • Ensemble of men and women who performed his compositions
          • Choir sounded similar harmonics to those used in Tibetan chant.
          • Hykes would sing a khoomii solo.
        • Performed in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City
          • Setting enhanced the sound and lent added significance.
          • Most of Hykes's performances were in resonant churches.
          • Hykes believed music should be more than entertainment and should be a spiritual experience.
            • Conveyed universalist ideas shared by many New Age musicians
            • Presented concerts on days of universal significance
      3. In 1987 Hykes moved to France.
        • Incorporated more styles into his solo khoomii-based compositions
        • Draws on improvisation during live performance
          • Cultivates a spiritual atmosphere while formulating, "new traditional or sacred art"
          • Based on historical traditions, and at the same time constitutes a new beginning