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Thread: Non-western 'world music'

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    Default Non-western 'world music'

    The is thread is open to allow discussion of non-western music as many (most?) of Harbeth's users are more familair with 'world music' than western music.

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    I'm not familiar with these terms. What do they mean, especially in a world of culture's globalization? Could you clearly state what are the differences between "western" music and "non-western" music please?

    Thanks,

    Sébastien

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    To my ear, Western music includes much of South America, Europe, some parts of Africa and depending on where in Commonwealth countries you live in Indo-Pakistani music is also heard. What we do not hear much of is Arabic music, Hebrew music, and very little oriental music, which has a very different tonal quality to that which we are used to. I would also suggest that as North America and the UK are the largest English speaking block on the planet, and got a jump on the rest of the world economically and thus exported its ideals and values, the rest of the world has accepted and encouraged this sound. In order to hear anything "not" English on radio requires one to seek out alternative radio stations - internet based - and then one is hampered by not knowing if that is a truer indication of "not" western music. The only commonality across the whole spectrum will be easily identifying the human voice, even if we don't know what it is saying.
    Jazz , blues, rock and roll, orchestral, chamber, classical, baroque, are western musical forms; add to that reggae, latin jazz, and ethnic folk songs...
    I have had the oportunity to live and work in some places around the world and have found some profound differences in musical composition, and found that it took great effort to get used to the notes and compositions, and to listen to it for any length of time. While I can listen to African music, I an only listen to Arabic Music for short periods. YMMV.
    For an interesting listen, seek out Denge Fever (the music group) , as they mix western and cambodian music together!

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    Default World Music - developing without Western influence

    World Music tends to refer to traditional music of a no-Western origin that uses a different musical scale from Western Classical music (Bach, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Elgar etc.). I know that Japanese traditional music uses a completely different scale to Western classical music, as does Indian music for the Sitar. That is to say the pitch of the notes on the scale are different from Western music.

    World music often refers to music of the indiginous peoples of remote places like the music of the Pacific Islands (eg. Samoa/Fiji) and the Amazon tribes or Papua New Guinea. This music has developed without the influence of Western music over the centuries and so has an unfamiliar feel to it (for a Westerner!)

    The world may be more interconnected than ever before, but musical styles did develop independently of each other and have their own unique traditions. World music is an umbrella term for all these other styles of music that have no more in common with each other than they do with Western Music. It is just a convenient term.

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    http://www.putumayo.com/en/

    you dont get any better :)

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    I guess the question is, does the fact (or assumption) that a large percentage of Harbeth listeners may be unfamiliar with, or may not listen to, "Western" music have any implications for how Harbeth designs, develops and/or markets loudspeakers?

    It's difficult for me to see why.

    First, to question the assumption. I'm far from personally familiar with all non-Western cultures, but I did live in one (Japan) for three years, and it was my observation that, if anything, the Japanese were generally more knowledgeable and passionate about so-called Western music than most westerners are. Whether jazz, classical, blues, rock - each genre had a devoted and informed following. Traditional Japanese music may have been listened to by some, but it was definitely a minority taste.

    About other cultures, I'm less sure. But at least as far as pop music goes, most pop music I've heard from Southeast Asia, China, Japan, India and Africa seems to me to be a hybrid of Western and indigenous tonalities. I doubt that in these cultures the purely traditional, indigenous music has more than a minority following, at least in terms of recreational listening. But I'm not sure - I could be wrong.

    Second, does it have any implication for speaker design? I don't see why it would. As someone pointed out, the voice is universal. Perhaps we can say the same about the acoustic space in which a recording is made - that is, each will be different, but one job of the loudspeaker surely is to reproduce that space accurately (whether real or synthesized). The tones that occur within that space may differ, but why would the ultimate goal of fidelity be any different?

    The only thing I can think of is that perhaps in doing listening tests during the design phase of a new model, it may make sense to consciously incorporate a wider range of instrumentation. On the other hand, if the listener/designer is not familiar with how these instruments are "supposed" to sound, will that really help?

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    Default Speaker design and traditional music

    I am shocked to see how little is known about traditional music of non western classical music. This thread originated because some readers (for now it appears I am the only person ) unable to follow Alan's examples of coloration in piano notes simply because we do not know what is the real piano sound without coloration.

    Traditional music is not pop music of non English speaking band as wrongly referred in some posts mentioned above. Dengue fever band is not traditional music of Cambodians. Slummdog Millionaire's musical score or his song definitely not traditional music. I did post YouTube of a typical Indian traditional music but somehow the counter remains at 1511. Sigh..

    ST

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    Quote Originally Posted by STHLS5 View Post
    I am shocked to see how little is known about traditional music of non western classical music. This thread originated because some readers (for now it appears I am the only person ) unable to follow Alan's examples of coloration in piano notes simply because we do not know what is the real piano sound without coloration.

    Traditional music is not pop music of non English speaking band as wrongly referred in some posts mentioned above. Dengue fever band is not traditional music of Cambodians. Slummdog Millionaire's musical score or his song definitely not traditional music. I did post YouTube of a typical Indian traditional music but somehow the counter remains at 1511. Sigh..

    ST
    Don't be offended, the chance of getting to hear real music from non-western musicians is very difficult in North America. Unless I have a knowledgeable individual who can teach me what the difference is between real non-western music and pop influenced non-western music, I will be unable to appreciate the differences. While I was in the Middle East, what I heard on the radio was usually not traditional Arab (Egyptian/Jordanian) music, but usually Egypt pop music. There was no one that I worked with who was interested in more traditional sounds, so finding anything traditional was near impossible for me. I will listen/watch the youtube you have linked to. I look to all threads on HUG as a fantastic opportunity to learn and greatly expand my horizons!

    George

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    Fascinating and thought provoking statement (and thread).

    Available choice of non western music in the Western world, I believe, is influenced heavily by commercial decisions. Too “traditional” a recording and it may lose mass market appeal. Arguably much of the available non western music (that’s world music) today really isn’t traditional, with traditional instruments. They have mostly been tempered for the western market. Imo, we’ll have to look for the base instrument eg. sitar, angklung, erhu etc. to find non western music.

    Chinese instruments might be a good place to start as they are classified by material of manufacture, each having its distinct sound.

    Native Australian and Indigenous music is also fascinating with sticks (sounds incredible on SHL5’s), the didgeridoo and voice eg. Geoffrey Gurrumul (on Dramatico) and Yothu Yindi (arguably mostly westernised as well).

    As a purely technical exercise (sound) its secondary but if your speakers makes you curious about music, like what it has done for me (increasing traditional music from zero before Harbeth to 1% of collection now) your speakers are great. If it makes you learn and as a lens on the world, that’s even more fantastic eg, I didn’t know that Arnhem Land aborigines’ word for father is “bapa” which is the exact word used in Malaysia and Indonesia. What a world!

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    Default Cultural barrier

    Quote Originally Posted by Macjager View Post
    ....the chance of getting to hear real music from non-western musicians is very difficult in North America. Unless I have a knowledgeable individual who can teach me what the difference is between real non-western music and pop influenced non-western music, I will be unable to appreciate the differences.
    Sorry, George. I was just explaining that Dengue Fever should not be considered as traditional music. Greg provided a nice summary of what should be considered as traditional music. However, most popular music that you hear over BBC service is a fusion of modern music with a little bit of traditional flavour. Those kind of music had a big impact in my and rest of the world population's musical inclination. Even in US or UK, there are more people who grew up listening to Beetles, Elvis Presley, Louis Armstrong than listening to classical music of Mozart or Beethovan, except maybe the disco version of Beethovan 5th in Saturday Night Fever.

    Here are some clips for of different different traditional music and the fusion version of east and west:-

    Koto & Shakuhachi - Japanese Traditional Music

    Ravi Shankar Yehudi Menuhin two different musical styles

    Hava Nagila a Hebrew traditional folk songs performed by western orchestra.

    John Mclaughlin SHAKTI which is a fusion of two world apart.


    I didn’t know that Arnhem Land aborigines’ word for father is “bapa” which is the exact word used in Malaysia and Indonesia
    bapa -bappa - papa- baba is a rather universal word for father. Bapa/bappa can also be found in old scriptures.

    ST

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    Hi ST, taking into account what has been said above - do you listen to much of what you would consider to be music specific to your region, and if so, what?

    Almost a question that should come before that I guess is that, from a musical point of view, which cultures or traditions do you feel a part of?

    Sorry to be so direct, but sitting here in England yours strikes me as the area which is perhaps most distinct form ours and one I am therefore particularly curious about.

    (That said the pre amp that I am listening through right now came from Malaysia!)

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    Hi Weaver, Right now I am listening to John Denver :)

    I listen to almost everything except for heavy metals or hard rock. Started with Neil Diamond, Tom Jones but the Grand Blue See Orchestra was the turning point in my life when I started wanting high fidelity in music. It is not what I am listening that matters but how the cultural influence affect our perception of sound. Over here, no one has heard clean sound in acoustically correct environment like a concert hall. Our music, often performed in places where reverbs are rather overwhelming. So colouration or the so called correct texture is secondary.

    About your preamp - Promitheus?

    ST

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    Thanks ST.

    Maybe the definition of 'world music' is back to front - it does actually seem to suggest music that people all over the world listen to.

    The current definition of world music could more accurately be localised music couldn't it?

    I had Promitheus before, this one is Eva (LDR passive from diyparadise)

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    Weaver, I think this thread was started by HAL in response to another thread where it was said that for non western member it might be difficult to appreciate western musical samples.

    Anyway, I think we all listen to modern music and made them part of our contemporary music. If you get to tune to any radio station from China to India you will hear piano, violin, sax, trumpet drums and every other instruments along with some traditional instruments. In fact, western musical style is strong in the last 10 or 15 years that sometimes I wonder if I am listening to a western pop song. Here is an example, I am sure a non English speaking listener would think this a western song.

    Regarding the preamp, pls my PM to you.

    ST

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    Why does World Music need to be aligned to each countries classical music. World music has become a marketing label but it is useful for people to get an idea what is being offered.

    World music is that produced by other countries than Europe and the US . Within the World music umbrella we then have the subcatagories such as

    African , Latin , Cuban , Indian .

    Fela Kuit has a much right and validity to be termed World music as any Indian classical artist such as Ravi Shankhar . What the labelling and marketing of world music has done is amde much of the other world markets msuic either popular or otherwise accessable to a European or UK music buying audience. Years ago if you wanted recordings by Ali Farka Toure , Salif Ketia , Baba Maal , King Sunny Ade , Cheik Lo and others then you either went to France and bought them or knew someone who was visiting Africa. Now with the internet and Amazon and it ilk we can all connect to the music we want in whatever country we are based . So if I like Ojo De Brujo but my spanish friend happens to like Mouth Music then we can each buy the other with ease.

    What this can lead to is an oepening up of individuals minds to what other countries produce as music and it should amke all of our listening wider not narrower.

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