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Marin Marian-Balasa. Studii si materiale de antropologie muzicala. Editura Muzicala, 2003.

Abstract: Studii si materiale de antropologie muzicala [Academic Essays and Fieldwork Materials of (or pertaining to) Musical Anthropology].
This is a volume first evaluated, reviewed and referred by prominent members of the leading board of the musicology department of "Uniunea Compozitorilor si Muzicologilor din Romania" (UCMR, which is the national association of professional composers and musicologists); then acquisitioned as manuscript by the same organization; and eventually published by the means of a governmental sponsorship. It introduces the discipline of musical anthropology - yet unknown, untaught, and unprofessed in Romania - not by explaining it or by recommending it under the templates developed in the West, but rather abruptly, by illustrating its current performance, practice, and applied dimension. In the general context of Romanian anthropology, which is ethnography dominated, this contribution illustrates the theoretical shift toward the postmodern dimension of cultural anthropology. The first section (titles in Romanian will be translated henceforth for the English reader), From Musical Folkloristics to Musical Anthropology, comprises a short introduction (p.5-8) which demonstrates that musical anthropology is The Ethnomusicology of the 3rd millennium. Then, as Romanian Ethnomusicology: Brief Scanning of some Local Constructions and Deconstructions (p.9-42) the entire history of Romanian folk music studies is revisited, from a contemporary, critical perspective. On The Festivals - Ways to Expanding the Artistic Sensitivity and Paths for the Modern Public Celebration (43-56), both national and international issues are discussed. The Folklore Representation and the Folklorism's Spectacle (57-72) analyses primarily the political dimension of folk music staging in communist and post-communist Romania. In chapter Street Arts and the Reevaluation of the Urban Space (73-110) the marginal world of the informal subcultures performed in public spaces is discussed, and a theory on the unpredicted refunctionalization of urbanscape is being drafted. In Musics and Musicologies that Inspire the Brains (Finish Diary) (111-126), the reader meets with an unconventional anthropology in action: it is the eye of an anthropologically formatted musicologist that stories and analyses what he sees. Thus, it serves as an example of turning touristic strolling, building watching, statues, and many other artifacts which carry musical references, into a both informing and speculative discourse. The issue of musical references on banknotes begins here, but it is developed and achieved further on, as a scholarly research topic, in Money and Music, State Power and Representation (127-148), which discusses financial iconography under uncommon angles.
The second section of the book, Traps of the Political and Apolitical begins with the article Political Reflections on the Musicological Activism (149-172). This discusses the development and exercise of musicology, and especially ethnomusicology, as political gestures, as the performance of absolutely non-neutral disciplines. Romanian Ethnomusicology in the World: Perceptions and Representations (173-202) analyses the complex of minor cultures and academe when facing international dialogue, globalization, and various types of academic handicaps. Under the title of Musical Transylvania and the Competition of Nationalisms (203-220) the author takes on the ways Transylvanian folk musics were and still are used to reflect the Hungarian and the Romanian opposite nationalisms. The issue is upgraded in the sense that even the most recent trends and elements of the nationalist policies, ideologies, imaginary fears and representations, are discussed. The Manea as an Output of Romanian Cultural Policies (221-254) shows the history of the Oriental influence over the traditional music in Romania, and the survival of the Gypsy/Roma genres and styles that preserved Oriental features. Critical points - such as the Gypsies' and Romanians' shared identity, racism as expressed through cultural struggles and tastes, the reasons of the great success of contemporary Gypsy musics among Romanians, the contribution of Romanian folklorism (together with folklorism-oriented cultural policies) to the failure of folk culture revivalist movements - are overtly discussed here (for the first time in the Romanian musicological literature).
The third section, Samples and Rough Matters, presents first the commented fieldwork report of a folklore festival organized in a town, and followed by interviews with folk representatives in their own environment (The Field, Today, 255-294). Then, An Introduction to the Folklore of the Criminal World: Prison's Music (295-346), renders several recording and interviewing sessions (on music and music-making inside prisons). And, finally, A Bibliography of Romanian Ethnomusicological Literatures in Languages of International Circulation (347-395), provides a long, commented listing of scholarly works published in English, French, and German.

Keywords: antropology, musicology, cultural studies, history of epistemological ideas

Posted by Marin Marian Balasa

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