Session/Séance 6b: CSTM Panel 1. Friday/vendredi 26 May 2017. 3:30 – 5:00 pm, EJB 120.
Mediated Belonging in Musical Cultures
Chair: CAROLYN RAMZY (Carleton University)
1. Attachment and Inspiration in Open Source Music Communities
Jacob Danson Faraday, Memorial University of Newfoundland
Open source technologies are an increasingly important feature of contemporary computerized living. I examine the user communities of open source composition software (OSCS), such as PureData, SuperCollider, and ChucK, which encourage supportive user contributions, irrespective of their musical preferences, through the exchange of information, ideas, problem solving techniques, and design features. By situating themselves within these user communities, isolated computer musicians develop close associations, a sense of belonging, and even responsibility, which inspire further musical and technological advancements. Because OSCS is free to use, configure, and distribute, musicians often adopt it as part of a larger political agenda that challenges established forms of ownership. However, some OSCS can actually reinforce institutional power relations. In these cases, distribution, use, and community contributions rely heavily on a private, institutional setting, which will naturally limit the number of affiliated users.
2. Soirée canadienne: Modernity, Kitsch, and Folklore on Television in Quebec, 1960-1983
Laura Risk, McGill University
From 1960 to 1983, the television show Soirée canadienne showcased amateur folk singers, dancers, and instrumental musicians from across the province of Quebec. The program was the meeting place of two visions of rural Quebec: an intensely local and practical vision of a modernizing countryside, and a broad and historically rooted vision of rural folk and lifeways as carriers of national identity. I argue that Soirée canadienne bent both of these visions in the service of popular entertainment and, in the process, narrowed the musical definition of folk, or traditional, music. I also use Soirée canadienne as a means of interrogating the longtime association between folklore and kitsch in Quebec. I argue that the notion of folklore carries with it a presumption of authenticity, and the question of whether or not a folklore performance is kitsch hinges on the viewer’s determination of the locus of that authenticity.
3. The Heavenly Voice of a Nation: Iranians’ Nostalgia of Shajarian’s Ramadan Chant as the Embodiment of National Identity
Nasim Ahmadian, University of Alberta
Since the Islamic revolution of Iran in 1979 and the political changes on national radio/television, the Islamic rituals of Ramadan have been integrated with Rabbanaa, an Islamic chant comprised of Rumi’s poetry and Qur’anic texts performed by maestro Mohammad-Reza Shajarian. Embraced by Iranians for thirty years, Rabbanaa was banned on media in 2010 due to Shajarian’s criticism against the government. Religious or not, Iranians shared the recording electronically with nostalgia and objection. This paper studies the roots of this religious-musical phenomenon and its diversion into emotional, political, and symbolic directions, by looking at newspaper articles, interviews of and about Shajarian, and public comments. Based on Thomas Turino’s applications of Peircean semiotics, I suggest that although it began within a religious context, characterized by Shajarian’s individuality and political views, Iranians’ nostalgic emotions over Rabbanaa after thirty years of national broadcasting is linked to a musical index that creates an imagined national identity.