International Council for Traditional Music

A Non-Governmental Organization in Formal Consultative Relations with UNESCO

MIcromusic - Macromusic, report of the IICMS Seminar in Venice (by Claudio Rizzoni)

On January 29-31, 2016, the Intercultural Institute for Comparative Music Studies (Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Venice) organized the first edition of the yearly IICMS Seminars: Music (and Musicologies) in the 21th Century, conceived by its coordinator – and director of IICMS – Giovanni Giuriati as a prosecution of the International Seminars in Ethnomusicology, coordinated by Francesco Giannattasio from 1995 to 2015. The three days program was introduced by Giovanni Giuriati and included five lectures by authoritative invited speakers, attended by scholars, PHD and master  students form several Italian universities.

Coherently with the chosen theme, “Micromusics and Macromusics”, the Seminar was opened by Mark Slobin, whose lecture was focused on his basic concept of micromusics, displayed for the first time in his monograph Subultural Suonds: Micromusics of the West (1993). Slobin recurred to the analysis of three case studies to illustrate how the concepts of micromusic and macromusic are still fit to describe the interaction between local communities and global musical phenomena in the 21st century societies. Another interesting case was presented by Serena Facci, Vanna Crupi and Alessandro Cosentino, who compared different micro liturgical musical practices enacted by several diasporic Christian communities during the Holy Week in Rome. 

American composer Wayne Vitale reconstructed his experience as co-founder and member of Gamelan Sekar Jaya, a U.S. based gamelan orchestra which played a part in the development of new Balinese “experimental” genres based on the gamelan tradition. Thomas Porcello proposed an analysis of technical standards in the elaboration of recorded music, identifying it as a major causal factor in the formation of a transcultural aesthetic of sound.

The last lecture, by Maurizio Agamennone and Giovanni De Zorzi, illustrated the transformation of the Armenian flute duduk into a widely recognizable icon of “exoticism” and “antiquity”, through its use in recent American movie soundtracks. In conclusion of the Seminar Giorgio Adamo chaired an articulated final discussion on the various issues arisen during the lectures.   

 Claudio Rizzoni

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