Copenhagen ADI Conference 2016
8th annual international ADI conference
Asian Dynamics Initiative
University of Copenhagen 20-22 June 2016

Musical Modernity in Asia

Conveners: Margaret Mehl, Dept. of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies, University of Copenhagen, David Hebert, Bergen University College, Jonathan Service, University of Oxford

The premise of this panel is that music provides a distinct and even privileged way into examining many facets of global modernity, including transnational flows, whether within Asia, between Europe and Asia or elsewhere. Modernity is here understood as “a condition, historically produced over three centuries around the globe in processes of change that have not ended yet” (Carol Gluck, 2011). Musical modernity is characterized by the rise to dominance of European art music coupled with a Western understanding of the nature of music and the influence of both on musics worldwide, reflecting the dominating role of Europe in general in the earlier part of the period in question. The “Western impact on world music“ (Bruno Nettl, 1985) left hardly any local music unchanged, but the effects on local musics and their adaptation to the new conditions of modernity varied considerably from place to place. In Japan, European art music, adopted by the government as part of the modernization package, became indigenized while indigenous musics were marginalized even as they adapted to changing times. But modernity brought not only encounters between Japan and the West. Cultural interaction between Japan and Asia also played a significant role in the story of musical modernity. This panel will bring together scholars of different regions, especially, but not necessarily limited to, East Asia, who work, broadly, within the cultural history of music, with a view to comparing and contrasting different cases and exploring the potential of investigations into music for broadening and deepening our understanding of history in general.