Contextual Analysis of Musical Behaviours

Starting on the next research/book analyzing music and people’s actions, talking and thinking. This is from a wonderful ethnomusicological study of Sufi music called Qawwali. As for any cultural activities (=virtual realities) the audience is all important as she recognizes here. She also brilliantly analyses the economic context of musician and listeners throughout the book.

“…Here the most prominent and complex among the contextually significant features of the Qawwali code, its variable structure, is controlled ultimately not by the musician but by the listener, although indirectly…

Has it then, in fact, been a fallacious Western premise of this analysis to focus on the artist as the agent of musical creativity and to consider him (sic) the catalyst of the musical event, since at the surface he does generate the stimulus or dynamic for the audience to respond? After all, in Qawwali it becomes clear, once the interaction between them is analysed from the perspective of the socio-economic structure, that the artist’s musical choices are largely predicated on what he perceives to be the audience’s will… Social dependence thus means musical dependence.”

Regula Burckhardt Quereshi (1986): “Sufi music of India and Pakistan: Sound, context and meaning in Qawwali


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