Resounding ritual

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Discussion about this topic

Just as a note for people who haven't found it yet, we have a mini discussion about some of the videos from this topic started HERE Enjoy! --Kristen 16:06, 8 March 2006 (MST)

Source(s): Resounding ritual

Assigned viewings, listenings

(some we will do in class; most will be on Music Library reserve afterwards)

Video: Altar of Fire Music Library BL 1226.82 A33 G37 1976

Audio: Ga ritual music

Source(s): Resounding ritual

Assigned readings

The Sounds of Silence- Cross-World Communication and the Auditory Arts in African Societies

Music and Ritual Symbolism in the Ga Funeral

Liturgy, Ambiguity and Silence- The Ritual Management of Real Absence

Source(s): Resounding ritual

Your selected readings

The Meaninglessness of Ritual by Frits Staal This article is interesting for this class (even though it doesn't really deal with the sound aspect of ritual) because it is about the Vedic Ritual we saw last week in the film “Altar of Fire” by one of the scholars – Frits Staal – responsible for documenting that performance. Staal’s main contention in this article, as its title suggests, is that ritual is meaninglessness. He says that ritual is not so much about something outside of the ritual than about the activity of the ritual itself. He says that ritual activity is a kind of “perfect activity.” It is different from ordinary activity in that its outcomes are assured and what is most important is how it is done (in ordinary activity, by contrast, it does not matter so much how things are done as the results of what is done). In ritual activity the results may not be at all useful; Staal gives several examples of the stated purpose of activities in the Vedic fire ritual being undermined and rendered meaningless by other activities within the ritual. Staal is looking for a universal theory of ritual, and it is in this pursuit that I feel he “jumps the shark." It's almost as if he feels that a theory of ritual might contain the meaning of life: “Once we abandon generalities and start working, a first adequate theory will unhdoubtedly emerge, sooner or later. Such a theory will not only elucidate ritual; it will throw light on the origins of language, religion, and perhaps man.”

Book: Spencer, J.M. Protest & Praise: Sacred Music of Black Religion. Chapter 6, The Drum Deferred: Rhythm in Black Religion of the African Diaspora. Spencer argues that while the drum is a principal instrument of ritual in many African societies, it is not essential to the religious experience of spiritual possession. For the African slave diaspora, where the drum was forbidden there emerged the cathartic and aesthetically creative practise of the ring-shout, which maintained the two essential elements of ritual: body-percussion and dance. --Kelly Thomas

Sound and Ritual by Anthony Jackson This is my link to an article in response to the 'Resounding ritual' articles we have already read. The article provides a rather general overview of how sound (or lack thereof) influences the interpretation of ritualistic performances. The article is sourced through popular religious theorists Levi-Strauss and Eliade. Primary examples include musical influences from Christianity and African tribal rituals. This relates primarily to the first two of the three articles.

--Khaver 20:39, 14 January 2006 (MST)

Kamayura flute music: a study of music as metacommunication

Here is my article link for the "Resounding Ritual" readings. This article is on the dance and music (specifically flute music) as a form of communication among the Kamayura of Brazil, their rituals, and relationships between the "mythical and social organization through music." -StellaM

Patterns of Social Organization in the Sabbath and Holy Day Services of the Karaite Community in Isreal, by Rachel Kollender

This article deals with the role of music in the worship services of the Karaite communit, as both a religious institution and a means of preserving the community's culture.--Meghanbowen 12:00, 16 January 2006 (MST)

Healing Rituals Involving Music in Cotabato, Philippines, by Jose Maceda

This article is written by leading Filipino native ethnographer Jose Maceda (recently deceased), and reports on variations of a healing ritual practiced by indigenous Filipino mediums in non-enmical co-existence with the Muslim religion, which predominates the island province of Mindanao. Details of the ritual(s) including offerings, dress, trance, dance and musical instruments are provided. Words, translation and musical transcription are included in the final pages. --Kreisha Oro

The Symbolization Process of the Shamanic Drums Used by the Manchus and Other Peoples in North Asia

This article looks at the shamanic drum from an ethnomusicological point of view. It describes the physical aspects of the drum and its use, but also discusses how it operates as a symbol. In the article Lisha Li uses this focus and perspective to create a framework describing the process of symbolization of ritual musical instruments. An important part of this symbolization process seems to take place in rituals where the shaman and drum mediate between our world and the other world. --Cari 21:23, 17 January 2006 (MST)

Origins of the Musical and Spiritual Syncretism of Nomai in Northern Japan

This article takes an indepth look at the origins and religious influences which are predominant in the performance art of Nomai. The article is based on field work done by Susan Asai (an ethnomusicologist) in the city of Hirosaki. It provides historical and religious background,pictoral references, and explanations of the instrumentation, costuming, vocal techniques, and song styles used in the ritual. --KellyM 11:21, 18 January 2006 (MST)

Sound and Ritual

This article, though old (1967 I think), attempts to explain some of the significance of sound in ritual, especially in terms of psychological stimulation and involvement in a society. It also touches on the psychological effects of rhythm on people both in ritual and non-ritual circumstances. --Megfow 15:00, 18 January 2006 (MST)

Ritual and Music in South India: Syrian Christian Liturgical Music in Kerala

This article provides a study of the ritual and music of the Syrian Christian church of Kerala. It dates from 1979 and as such the article is dated. It gives some background on Kerala of 1979, briefly discusses its history and investigates the ritual and music of the Syrian Church in some detail. Though old this is one of very few studies focused on the group's music and, for that matter, on the group itself. Very recently J. Palackel has done significant work on the subject. Some of his research can be found in the Garland. --CBiel 15:20, 18 January 2006 (MST)

Religious Chant: A Pan-asiatic conception of music

This short article relates to a subject involved in our discussion of the video and in last week Thursday's class. The author posits that the religious chants of ethnic groups all over Asia have much more in common (especially in their simplicity) than the other "folk" music of the same groups. This has implications for studying the origin of religion and of religious music, and also how or whether religious groups consider their chants to be "music" or not. Certainly open to discussion is this article as "reference" and "source", as we discussed with the video of Tuesday's class. Note that it's from 1961. --Jordanv 15:49, 18 January 2006 (MST)

The Duality of the Sacred and the Secular in Chinese Buddhist Music: An Introduction

This article defines Chinese sacred (yue) and secular (suyue) music and the roles that they play within the Buddhist context. It shows how music is supposed to be integrated into everyday life but also shows how the roles are changing in the modern world. --Bkey 19:19, 18 January 2006 (MST)

Community Ritual and Social Structure in Korea by Ch'oe Kil-Song

Kil-Song examines two village festivals from Korea--the tongje and pyolshin kut (or tang kut)--to investigate their relation to "social function, or dysfunction, of religion in the life of village people" (39). These two rituals are examined in a household setting as well as a community setting. Kil-Song concludes that the villagers use ritual to maintain their solidarity with each other. It's a neat article, but doesn't really make any fascinating conclusions.--Lpauls 22:14, 18 January 2006 (MST)

Pilgrim Circulation in Gujarat

This article studies the Gujarati ritual of pilgrimage through spatial traffic (particularly through analysis of the geographical regions and the human populations that are involved), which provides unique insights on the nature of the ritual(s), its importance to the people who participate in it, and how this ritual is attempting to maintain tradition while adapting to modernity. --Niyati 02:01, 19 January 2006 (MST)

Divination and its Social Contexts by Park

This article is along the lines of the 'Sound and Silence' reading. Although there isn't as much about music as I would've liked, the first few pages especially outline a lot of purposes and contexts of ritual that I think apply closely to our topic (for example, response to crisis, decision making, representation of 'invisible beings', confession and pardon by a higher power). I would also like to recommend the chapter 'Dance and the Hindu Woman: Bharatanatyam Re-ritualized' in the book 'Roles and Rituals for Hindu Women' (especially to Cari...). I found it revealing of some of the roles and goals for musical ritual, especially in identity formation and maintaining tradition. Apparently we can't access it at the UofA, but you can find it through the library catalogue at another library. --Gloria 10:17, 19 January 2006 (MST)

Technoprophecy: A response to Tagg

This article is a review of another article about Dance culture in the UK. The author denies the assertion that Dance music reflects a reorientation of values in youth culture towards collectivism. He also criticizes the comparison of Rock to Dance music as a fundamental basis for misunderstanding the genre (using a term he calls "Rockology). In general, this article highlights the importance of objectivity in ethnomusicology. --Andre