Friday, January 27, 2012

Preserving Musical Traditions

Are North Indian/Pakistani classical music or qavvali in danger of dying out? Should we try to preserve either one?

Many musical types and traditions around the world are drifting towards oblivion. A recent article in the Chronicle Review discussed this issue.

"No venues, no audience, no radio play, and few if any recordings. "The music has died, not because it is boring but because the support structure has dropped away," says Schippers."

Can anything be done to save such musics? Huib Schippers, director of the Queensland Conservatorium at Griffith University, in Australia, has started a project to do exactly that.

"Now a $5-million project he leads on "sustainable cultures for music futures" is using nine case studies, including Western opera, Balinese gamelan music, aboriginal songs in Australia's Northern Territory, Ewe music of West Africa, and Mexican mariachi to find strategies that can keep musical traditions alive.
He and his collaborators sought out a range of genres, from some that seem to have a strong chance of survival, such as opera, to others that are on the verge of extinction, such as ca trù. Schippers is conducting one of the case studies himself, looking at classical music in northern India."
The Chronicle Review article is available here  A subscription is required to read it. However much information is available from the homepage of the Sustainable Futures for Music Cultures project.

Schippers talks about the project in this video:



One question comes to mind. Should traditions that are dying because the general public doesn't care enough to support them, be allowed to die out?




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