Welcome to Soundscapes - Second Edition

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Chapter 4: Music and Migration
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    • Music is important to the migration process for several reasons.
      1. Music is portable.
      2. The presence of numerous transplanted musical traditions in a single place can have a variety of outcomes.
    1. Voluntary migration is the movement of people into a new region by choice, motivated by an attraction to the new locale
    2. Each wave of migration to North America has had its musical impact.
      • British immigrants, beginning in the seventeenth century, carried ballads with them.
      • They settled in the mountains of what is now Virginia and Kentucky.
    3. Two important transmission processes for music
      • oral transmission: music is passed along from person to person through performance
      • written transmission: music is passed along from person to person in the form of written sources
    • Case Study: The Chinese Migration
      1. Chinese immigration, which began around 1850, was largely voluntary—motivated in part by the attraction that the United States held for many.
        • Some Chinese immigrants called the United States Jinshan, meaning "gold mountain."
          • First immigrants were attracted by the California gold rush.
          • Later immigrants came to work on the transcontinental railroad.
        • Episodic immigration history
        • Many considered themselves temporary residents in the United States.
          • Hoped to make money and return home
          • Since 1960, most Chinese immigrants have come to settle permanently.
      2. The song Ng Bok Lai Jinshan (Uncle Ng Comes to the Gold Mountain) traces and recounts details of the Chinese immigration process through music.
        • Traditional southeastern genre called muk'yu (muyu).
          • Muyu are both transmitted orally and written down in songbooks.
          • Muyu can be sung by men or women and are performed on a variety of occasions, both public and private.
          • Muyu texts tell of the concerns of everyday life.
          • Written muyu have a fixed form.
            • Singer adds vocables in performance.
      3. Chinese operas
        • Since 1990, the performance of Chinese opera has experienced a renaissance in New York City.
        • Chinese operas are now more regularly performed in New York City than anywhere in China.
      4. The performance of music across boundaries of homeland and diaspora can at times become the source of controversy.
        • The Peony Pavilion, a classical Chinese opera, was composed by Tang Xianzu in 1598.
        • The US performance was blocked by Chinese authorities.
    • Case Study: Arab Migration from the Middle East
      1. Waves of immigration
        • 1870s, "entrepreneurial Eden"
        • Migration after dislocation by the Arab-Israeli conflict
          • Chain migration
          • Constant flow of new immigrants kept connections to the homeland alive.
            • Hanan Harouni, a Lebanese singer who settled in New York City.
            • Sings mawwal, a traditional Arabic form that alternates sections in free and regular rhythms.
            • The form is set in a contemporary Arab musical mode called huzam.
      2. A variety of musical styles—including music popular in Middle Eastern nightclubs—have been innovated by Arab Americans.
      3. Arab Americans maintain close ties to their homelands, and many of these connections are reaffirmed and symbolized through song.
        • Lebanese singer Fairuz (Nuhad Haddad) in Las Vegas
          • Used traditional instruments such as the ud
          • Combined traditional Lebanese instruments with Western instruments such as the violin
    • Case Study: African Forced Migrations
      1. Two causes of forced migration—conquest and slavery—continue to reverberate in the background of American life and musical styles.
        • Conquest, the westward expansion across North America, is celebrated in US popular culture.
          • Forced movement of millions of Africans through the slave trade
          • Native American populations severely reduced through warfare and disease
      2. Many important musical repertories show traces of the painful experiences of African Americans during the slave era that followed their forced movement to the US.
        • Among the most influential of these repertories is the black spiritual.
          • Musical expression of slaves converted to Christianity
          • The first collection of spirituals was published under the title Slave Songs of the United States.
            • From oral tradition; originally sung in unison
            • Later sung in call and response form.
          • Fisk University Jubilee Singers traveled internationally and included spirituals in their public performances.
          • Folk singers learned spirituals through oral transmission as well as from early recordings.
    • Case Study: The Vietnamese Migration
      1. The history of the present-day Vietnamese diaspora had its roots long ago.
        • French missionaries and French colonial control
          • Ho Chi Minh and the Communist North
          • Division into North and South in 1954
        • American presence and the Vietnam War
          • Many Vietnamese forced to immigrate with the fall of Saigon
          • Later waves of Vietnamese refugees fled mainly in small boats and makeshift rafts.
          • Seventy percent immigrated to the United States, particularly the Gulf Coast and Texas.
      2. Vietnamese diaspora communities in large urban centers have also hosted large popular musical events called da vu meaning "night dance."
        • These growing Vietnamese communities actively cultivate their music traditions.
        • Occasional visiting troupes of musicians from Vietnam also travel to diaspora communities.
      3. The sound of Vietnamese instruments is often intended to elicit a strong emotional response as well.
        • Dan nguyet lute
        • The dan bau, a monochord instrument
          • Consists of a single string, a resonating chamber, and a small bamboo shaft
          • Can render a wide variety of sounds, even an imitation of the human voice.
      4. Pham Duy remains the best-known Vietnamese composer in the diaspora.
    • Pham Duy's Con Duong Cai Quan (The National Road: A Voyage through Vietnam) is a song cycle incorporating several different streams of musical influence.
      1. Tells of a traveler's journey through Vietnam from North to South.
      2. Texts celebrate the cultural diversity and regional differences in the country and trace aspects of its history.
        • Hybrid musical language with both Vietnamese and Western elements
        • Called tan nhac, this style combined Western instruments and Vietnamese lyrics.
        • Nineteen songs divided into three sections
          • North
          • Central Vietnam
          • South Vietnam
    • Sound
      1. Song Come to Hue for solo female voice
        • Pentatonic scale
        • The harmony supports the pentatonic sound.
      2. Song Who is Walking on the Endless Road for chorus and soloist
        • In pentatonic scale, in three sections
        • Combination of the word ho (pronounced "haw"), which means "to raise the voice," joined with vocables
        • Call and response
    • Setting
      1. Pham Duy's compositions, like most Vietnamese musics, provide a basis for reinterpretation, easily adapting to different performance contexts.
        • Come to Hue
          • Amateur singer and pianist
          • Popular dance music presented by a local family combo with electric guitars, keyboards, drums, and singer
        • Who is Walking on the Endless Road
          • Arranged for synthesizer and performed in a symphonic version
          • Bridges the gap between Vietnamese immigrants and their children born in the diaspora
    • Significance
      1. The National Road has a powerful significance for the composer and evoked a deep response from Vietnamese of the diaspora.
      2. Intended as a musical realization of a unified, independent Vietnam, survives only abroad as an important musical symbol of the continuing divide between Vietnamese in their home country and those in the diaspora.