Event Title

Musicking and Empathic Connections

Start Date

30-5-2011 10:30 AM

End Date

30-5-2011 12:30 PM

Description

"African Madonna" is a choral work composed by the presenter for children's choir and adult soloists, in which issues of empathy and solidarity between peoples is addressed. In the course of the piece, a view of Africa and its people is expressed and demanded in such texts as "Africa, beautiful Africa, you can give us a new picture of ourselves...." Drawing upon Christopher Small's account of musicking, and conceptual resonances between this and theories of empathy, this paper will explore the potential of this kind of musical work to kindle and express consciousness of issues of social justice, taking in this case a recent historical perspective within a South African context. Paraphrasing Christopher Small's own deceptively simple question in his investigation of the nature of musical meanings, I will ask what might have been "really going on" in two performances of this piece separated by time and circumstances, and will also examine from this theoretical view the attendant pitfalls that occur when too much trust is given to music's (assumed) agency - the 'power of music' -to effect sustained and sustainable positive transformation at individual and collective levels.

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May 30th, 10:30 AM May 30th, 12:30 PM

Musicking and Empathic Connections

"African Madonna" is a choral work composed by the presenter for children's choir and adult soloists, in which issues of empathy and solidarity between peoples is addressed. In the course of the piece, a view of Africa and its people is expressed and demanded in such texts as "Africa, beautiful Africa, you can give us a new picture of ourselves...." Drawing upon Christopher Small's account of musicking, and conceptual resonances between this and theories of empathy, this paper will explore the potential of this kind of musical work to kindle and express consciousness of issues of social justice, taking in this case a recent historical perspective within a South African context. Paraphrasing Christopher Small's own deceptively simple question in his investigation of the nature of musical meanings, I will ask what might have been "really going on" in two performances of this piece separated by time and circumstances, and will also examine from this theoretical view the attendant pitfalls that occur when too much trust is given to music's (assumed) agency - the 'power of music' -to effect sustained and sustainable positive transformation at individual and collective levels.