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(P16) Hunter-gatherer musics: an exploratory discussion

Convenors: Alice Rudge, University College London; Jerome Lewis, University College London

Abstract: This panel seeks to foster discussion on music in hunter-gatherer societies, through presentations on groups across geographical locations and situations, and across disciplinary specialisms.

Keywords: music, skill, egalitarianism, linguistics, dance

Format: roundtable (10 minutes per speaker) and general discussion

Precirculated papers: papers and/or notes

 

Though there has been valuable work done on music in individual hunter-gatherer societies, discussion that bridges group/geographical divides is lacking. This panel seeks to foster such discussion, through presentations on groups across geographical locations and situations, and across disciplinary specialisms. Papers need not necessarily span these divides in themselves, but this comparative element will be discussed during the round table.

As many hunter gatherer societies have different conceptualisations of music that may include play, dance, ritual, or sound, presenters are encouraged to pay attention to emic definitions of what might be referred to as “music” in the society in question. “Music” will be defined broadly.

Presenters are asked to reflect on broader issues such as: do musical practices reveal or construct deeper structures that are reflected in other domains of life? How do hunter-gatherers conceptualise what might be described as “musical”? How is musical knowledge and skill transmitted and embodied? What does an awareness of the similarities and differences between musical practices across groups and continents contribute to the discussion of those groups? How are musical practices changing? How does the study of music reveal insights into broader anthropological issues in hunter-gatherer studies such as sharing, egalitarianism, ecological relationships, gender relationships or linguistics?

Papers may be exploratory and need not present a completed argument, as discussion will form an important part of the session. Audio and video examples will be welcomed.

 

 

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