5TH MEETING OF THE “MUSIC AND MINORITIES” STUDY GROUP

Zuzana Jurková

Prague, Czech Republic,

May 24 – July 1, 2008.

Organizers: Faculty of Humanities

of Charles University, Prague,

Ethnological Institute of the

Academy of Science of the Czech

Republic, Slovo 21.


The International Council for Traditional

Music (ICTM, originally the International

Folk Music Council) was founded in 1947

as the first major international ethnomusicological

organization. In contrast to

the Society for Ethnomusicology, which

was founded eight years later and combines

mainly American ethnomusicology

with relatively closely-related scientific

paradigms, ICTM is extremely diversified

not only regarding scientific paradigms,

but also in other directions. Its biennial

world conferences are comprised of

hundreds of participants who present in

many parallel sessions (e.g., last year in

Vienna there were usually six). They represent

an exemplary fair of field resources

rather than what the word itself refers to,

i.e., discussions or exchange of knowledge

of scholars in the same field.

The real bases for scientific cooperation

in ICTM are the so-called Study

Groups. One of the newest (and today

the second most numerous) – “Music

and Minorities” – held its fifth meeting

in May in Prague. Sixty scholars from 23

lands actively participated.

The conference topics, which had

been chosen at last year’s world conference,

were Music and Dance of the Roma;

Cultural Policy, Representation of Minority

Music. The first of these, which had

been requested by the local organizers

(the conference took place in the context

of the Khamoro World Festival of Romani

Music) was represented by the greatest

number of participants. In this group,

the strong tradition of Romani music

research was clear from the beginning:

among its founders were three scholars

in the field (Pettan, Hemetek, and Jurková).

During its ten-year existence, there

has clearly been a thematic shift of papers

from traditional “ethnographic” and historical

research of European Romani

groups, in part toward less known Romani

groups (Ankica Petrović: Music Practices

of Machwaya Gypsies in America)

and in part toward new topics ( Katalin

Kovalcsik: A Hungarian Romani Star

Singer as “Antimusician”) or new points

of view (Adriane Helbig: Sonic Aesthetic

of Poverty Among Romani Musicians in

Transcarpathia, Ukraine ).

The two other themes of the conference

are closely related and thus it was

not always easy for the program committee

to place them in appropriate groups.

Both themes shared a broad methodological,

theoretical and paradigmatic spectrum.

Besides a few “ethnographic reports,”

usually concerning little known minorities

(Olya Kolomyets: Little Armenia in

Western Ukraine, Piotr Dahlig: The Czech

Brothers in Poland – The Community

of Zelov and its Contemporary Musical

Image, Nona Lomidze: The Georgian Jewish

Community – Their Life and Integration

in Vienna) the papers were usually

concerned with the self-representation of

majorities (Essica Marks: Representation

of Arab Music in Israel´s Popular Culture

Arena), and with how this representation

is influenced by (majority) cultural

politics (Dorit Klebe: From “Gastarbeitersendung”

to “Radiomultikulti” – Music

of Minorities in Radio Pragrams under

Public Law in Germany, Gerda Lechleitner:

The Phonogrammarchiv, cultural policy,

and the safeguarding of the audiovisual

heritage: past and present case studies).

As for minority problematics, the

involvement of researchers’ empathy or

sympathy is not at all surprising (characteristically,

many members of this group

are also active in the newest study group

– “Applied Ethnomusicology,” and that

application entails great involvement).

Expression of these emotions that is

too strong and without solid theoretical

anchorage (and clarity of this anchorage)

tends to weaken the scientific character

of the work.

Alongside classical format, some

contributions were presented as panels,

which are usually recommended for

world conferences. From my own experience,

I know that preparation for a panel

is demanding – and useful for the participants.

With the growing number of

participants, however, there is a growing

risk of chaos, which is of little use to

the audience. The Prague panelists succeeded

in avoiding that risk. Each of the

panels made brilliant use of some of the

possibilities for this sort of presentation,

from the “Southeast Asia” panel,

Listening to the Unheard: Music, Minorities

and the State in Southeast Asia (Org.

Jan Mrázek), which presented three case

studies in a theoretical-philosophical

framework, to an open-dialogue form

National Heritage and the Norwegian

Romanies, to the enlightening and colorful

Cultural Policies and Minority Musics

in Kosovo and Sri Lanka: What Can We

Learn from a Comparative Study?

Compared to the previous meeting,

the Prague conference was atypical in

several ways. For the first time speakers

were chosen on the basis of anonymous

evaluations of the program committee.

(The same process will also be followed

for publication of the papers.). For the

first time, a keynote speaker (Pragueborn

Bruno Nettl, one of the world’s leading

ethnomusicologists) was invited.

Although he had to cancel his participation

at the last minute because of ill

health, he sent not only his provocative

keynote speech Minorities in the History

of Ethnomusicology: A Meditation

on a Half-Century of Experience, but also

a short confession in Czech.

Not only from the program of the

Prague conference, but also from the

composition of the whole “Music and

Minorities” group (some hundred scholars

from four continents) it is clear that

the subject of minorities is, in ethnomusicology

as in other social sciences, very

topical not only because, as Nettl said,

everybody is in one or several minorities...

there are only minorities. At the same

time a running paradigmatic schism was

confirmed in Prague: while many participants

from the East and mainly from

Southeast Europe spoke about “music

itself,” to anthropologically orientated

ethnomusicologists, such terminology

(of course, along with related concepts

and methods) was quite incomprehensible

and/or some sort of antedeluvial echo.

The question is to what degree we should

accept such multiparadigmaticism and

resign ourselves to the advantages of

a wide view and greater possibilities of

generalizations. Conferences are, at the

least, opportunities to reflect on this

paradigmatic fractionalism. In the best

case, it is possible to take advantage of

(not only) paradigmatic convergence. At

the next “Music and Minorities” meeting,

a round table about methodologies is

planned and, on this occasion, basic concepts

will undoubtedly be discussed.


Zuzana Jurková



Poslední změna: 25. červenec 2018 11:35 
Sdílet na:  
Vydavatel

Fakulta humanitních studií Univerzity Karlovy


Kontakty

Časopis "Lidé města"

Fakulta humanitních studií Univerzity Karlovy

U Kříže 8

158 00 Praha – Jinonice

e-mail:



Jak k nám