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British Forum for Ethnomusicology

Review: [untitled]
Author(s): Mark Slobin
Reviewed work(s):
Mongolian Music, Dance, and Oral Narrative: Performing Diverse Identities by Carole Pegg
Source: British Journal of Ethnomusicology, Vol. 10, No. 2 (2001), pp. 123-124
Published by: British Forum for Ethnomusicology
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3060665
Accessed: 06/01/2009 19:48
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R e v i e w s
Books
CAR OLE PEGG
Mongoli an mus i c, dance ,
and oral narrati v e :
pe rformi ng
di v e rs e
i de nti ti e s . Se attle and London: Uni -
v e rs i ty
of
Was hi ngton Pre s s , 2001.
xv i i + 376
pp.,
21 b&w
plate s ,
maps , fi gure s ,
mus i cal e xx., note s ,
glos s ary, i nte rv i e w s , bi bli ography,
s e le cte d
di s cography
and fi lmo-
graphy,
othe r s ource s , i nde x. ISBN
0-295-98030-3 (hb. ?54),
ISBN 0-
295-98112-1
(pb. ?24.95).
Wi th CD.
In an
unpre ce de nte d
fas hi on the w orld
me di a hav e turne d the i r v oraci ous
gaze
tow ards Inne r As i a. Wi th i ncre as e d tur-
bule nce , s hi fti ng
alli ance s and
grow i ng
corporate
i nv e s tme nt
e me rgi ng,
i t i s more
i mportant
than e v e r for
re s pons i ble
s chol-
ars hi p
to offe r
de e p cov e rage
of the local
culture s and s oci e ti e s . Ye t the li te rature
on mus i c re mai ns
pi ti fully
thi n.
Only
Te d Le v i n's The hundre d thous and
fools
of
God has offe re d a
monograph-le ngth
account of the re ce nt radi cal trans forma-
ti on of the mus i cs of thi s v as t
te rri tory.
Jus t on ti me , Carole
Pe gg
has
produce d
the
type
of
compre he ns i v e , flue nt, author-
i tati v e and
w e ll-organi ze d
w ork w e ne e d
as an
e xample
for the ne xt
phas e
of Inne r
As i an
e thnomus i cology.
The book i s i n four
parts .
In the fi rs t,
Pe gg li te rally lays
out the te rrai n of
Mongo-
li an mus i c, s tre s s i ng
the ne e d to unde r-
s tand the e xtre me locali zati on of i ns tru-
me nts , ge nre s
and be li e fs . Thi s turns out to
be a
ke y
i s s ue for a
s oci e ty
that i s
only
now
e me rgi ng
from unde r the
homoge ni z-
i ng
"nati onal" blanke t that the s oci ali s t
e ra thre w ov e r the i mme ns e
s pace s
of
Mongoli a. Ne xt, s he mov e s to the
s pi ri -
tual mus i c and
pe rformance tradi ti ons ,
i ncludi ng folk, s hamani s t and Buddhi s t
practi ce . Thi rd, s he cov e rs the ti e s of
mus i c to
e v e ryday
tradi ti ons of dome s ti c
li fe , s port, play, he rdi ng
and
hunti ng.
In
the las t s e cti on, Pe gg
turns to a cons i de ra-
ti on of the trans formati on of
Mongoli an
mus i c's
poli ti cs
and
i de ology
unde r
s oci ali s m and i n i ts afte rmath. The accom-
panyi ng CD, glos s ary, photographs
and
di agrams
offe r a s oli d
s cholarly apparatus
to
s upport
the te xt.
Only
one
thi ng
i s
mi s s i ng:
a
page
numbe r re fe re nce li s t to
accompany
the CD
de s cri pti on.
I had to
w ri te i n w he re the s e le cti ons are re fe rre d
to i n the te xt to mov e from the di s cus s i on
of a
pi e ce
to i ts re corde d
e xample ,
a tas k
that could hav e be e n ci rcumv e nte d.
I am not a
s pe ci ali s t
i n
Mongoli an
mus i c, s o cannot comme nt on the accu-
racy
of the mas s of de tai ls
Pe gg pre s e nts .
But i t i s cle ar from he r cons tant ci tati on
of
place s ,
date s and i nformant comme n-
tary
that s he has a
de e p e xpe ri e nce
and
unde rs tandi ng
of the
te rri tory.
Whe ne v e r
accounts are
v ague
or
confli cti ng,
s he
le ts the re ade r know . Si nce the v ari ous
topi cs
of the s e cti ons
ov e rlap,
s he
re me mbe rs to cros s -re fe re nce
s ubje cts
and
pe rs pe cti v e s .
I w as
parti cularly
i nte re s te d i n he r
tre atme nt of the s oci al trans formati on of
mus i c i n
pos t-s oci ali s t
ti me s be caus e I
had
s urv e ye d
the i s s ue s i nv olv e d i n ce n-
tral and e as te rn
Europe
for an
anthology
i n the
e arly phas e
of
change (Slobi n
BR ITISH JOUR NAL OF ETHNOMUSICOLOGY VOL. 10/i i 2001
pp.
123-140
124 BR ITISH JOUR NAL OF ETHNOMUSICOLOGY VOL.10/i i 2001 124 BR ITISH JOUR NAL OF ETHNOMUSICOLOGY VOL.10/i i 2001
1996).
It s e e me d
s urpri s i ng Pe gg
di d not
ci te
comparati v e
w ork e i the r for that
are a, for the forme r Sov i e t Uni on (i n
Le v i n's
w ri ti ngs )
or for Chi na. She als o
doe s not re fe re nce the re ce nt fi ne
We s te rn
e thnographi e s
of Si be ri an
pe o-
ple s
that hav e s ome re le v ance to he r
conte xt. Als o, he r di s cus s i on of the
de v e lopme nt
of
popular
and w orld mus i c
tre nds
mi ght
hav e be ne fi te d from the
e me rgi ng
s tudi e s of thos e
phe nome na.
Gi v e n the
comple xi ty
of the
Mongo-
li an cas e , i t
mi ght
be
as ki ng
too much
to
e xpe ct
the
comparati v e
di me ns i on to
s urface . The
laye ri ng
of
e xtre me ly
local
be li e fs and ae s the ti cs w i th the trans -
nati onal
s ys te m
of Buddhi s m, and the
i nte rv e nti on of outs i de
pow e rs ,
ov e rlai d
by
communi s t
i de ology
and s oci ali s t
control, offe rs an
e xtraordi nari ly
ri ch s e t
of i s s ue s that
Pe gg
handle s w i th
gre at
s ki ll and
fe e li ng
for i ns i de r s e nti me nt.
Thi s i s a land w he re e ach s tre am and
mountai n re s onate s w i th mus i cal me an-
i ng,
w he re the
ti ghtly organi ze d
i nte rnal
s pace
of
Mongoli an li v i ng quarte rs
fol-
low s a mus i cal
logi c
and the conne cti ons
be tw e e n
pas t
and
pre s e nt,
v i s i ble and
i nv i s i ble li fe , v i brate i n
w ays
that not
jus t
s pe ci ali s ts
but
s e e mi ngly e v e ryone par-
ti ci pate s
i n. The i nte ns e
s uppre s s i on
of
s uch a de ns e mus i c culture , and the
w ay
i t has
s prung
back li ke the
trample d
gras s e s
of the
s te ppe
afte r the
pas s i ng
of
the he rds , cre ate a
compe lli ng
narrati v e
that has
i mpli cati ons
not
jus t
for
re gi onal
s tudi e s but als o for the bas i c
argume nt
of
our
di s ci pli ne :
that mus i c can be ce ntral
to
pe rs onal
and s oci al
i de nti ty,
and that
i ts
pe rformance goe s
far
be yond
e nte r-
tai nme nt, be i ng
an e mbodi me nt of the
de e pe s t
be li e fs and
urge s . Pe gg
has
ce rtai nly
made thi s
poi nt
for
Mongoli a.
I
hope
that the book
-
s e e mi ngly
an
account of a re mote
populati on's
mus i c
-
w i ll
he lp
to
s hape
thi s
v e ry i mportant
phas e
of how the We s t unde rs tands and
i nte rv e ne s i n Inne r As i a.
1996).
It s e e me d
s urpri s i ng Pe gg
di d not
ci te
comparati v e
w ork e i the r for that
are a, for the forme r Sov i e t Uni on (i n
Le v i n's
w ri ti ngs )
or for Chi na. She als o
doe s not re fe re nce the re ce nt fi ne
We s te rn
e thnographi e s
of Si be ri an
pe o-
ple s
that hav e s ome re le v ance to he r
conte xt. Als o, he r di s cus s i on of the
de v e lopme nt
of
popular
and w orld mus i c
tre nds
mi ght
hav e be ne fi te d from the
e me rgi ng
s tudi e s of thos e
phe nome na.
Gi v e n the
comple xi ty
of the
Mongo-
li an cas e , i t
mi ght
be
as ki ng
too much
to
e xpe ct
the
comparati v e
di me ns i on to
s urface . The
laye ri ng
of
e xtre me ly
local
be li e fs and ae s the ti cs w i th the trans -
nati onal
s ys te m
of Buddhi s m, and the
i nte rv e nti on of outs i de
pow e rs ,
ov e rlai d
by
communi s t
i de ology
and s oci ali s t
control, offe rs an
e xtraordi nari ly
ri ch s e t
of i s s ue s that
Pe gg
handle s w i th
gre at
s ki ll and
fe e li ng
for i ns i de r s e nti me nt.
Thi s i s a land w he re e ach s tre am and
mountai n re s onate s w i th mus i cal me an-
i ng,
w he re the
ti ghtly organi ze d
i nte rnal
s pace
of
Mongoli an li v i ng quarte rs
fol-
low s a mus i cal
logi c
and the conne cti ons
be tw e e n
pas t
and
pre s e nt,
v i s i ble and
i nv i s i ble li fe , v i brate i n
w ays
that not
jus t
s pe ci ali s ts
but
s e e mi ngly e v e ryone par-
ti ci pate s
i n. The i nte ns e
s uppre s s i on
of
s uch a de ns e mus i c culture , and the
w ay
i t has
s prung
back li ke the
trample d
gras s e s
of the
s te ppe
afte r the
pas s i ng
of
the he rds , cre ate a
compe lli ng
narrati v e
that has
i mpli cati ons
not
jus t
for
re gi onal
s tudi e s but als o for the bas i c
argume nt
of
our
di s ci pli ne :
that mus i c can be ce ntral
to
pe rs onal
and s oci al
i de nti ty,
and that
i ts
pe rformance goe s
far
be yond
e nte r-
tai nme nt, be i ng
an e mbodi me nt of the
de e pe s t
be li e fs and
urge s . Pe gg
has
ce rtai nly
made thi s
poi nt
for
Mongoli a.
I
hope
that the book
-
s e e mi ngly
an
account of a re mote
populati on's
mus i c
-
w i ll
he lp
to
s hape
thi s
v e ry i mportant
phas e
of how the We s t unde rs tands and
i nte rv e ne s i n Inne r As i a.
R e fe re nce s
Le v i n, The odore . The hundre d thous and
fools of god:
mus i cal trav e ls i n
Ce ntral As i a
(and Que e ns ,
Ne w York).
Indi ana
Uni v e rs i ty Pre s s , 1994.
Slobi n, Mark, e d.
R e tuni ng
culture :
mus i cal
change s
i n Ce ntral and
Eas te rn
Europe .
Duke
Uni v e rs i ty
Pre s s , 1996.
MAR K SLOBIN,
We s le yan Uni v e rs i ty,
USA
ms lobi n @ mai l.
w e s lyan.
e du
R e fe re nce s
Le v i n, The odore . The hundre d thous and
fools of god:
mus i cal trav e ls i n
Ce ntral As i a
(and Que e ns ,
Ne w York).
Indi ana
Uni v e rs i ty Pre s s , 1994.
Slobi n, Mark, e d.
R e tuni ng
culture :
mus i cal
change s
i n Ce ntral and
Eas te rn
Europe .
Duke
Uni v e rs i ty
Pre s s , 1996.
MAR K SLOBIN,
We s le yan Uni v e rs i ty,
USA
ms lobi n @ mai l.
w e s lyan.
e du
BAR BAR A MITTLER
Dange rous
tune s :
the
poli ti cs of
Chi ne s e mus i c i n
Hong Kong, Tai w an, and the
Pe ople 's R e publi c of
Chi na s i nce
1949.
Ope ra Si nologi ca
3. Harras o-
w i tz
Ve rlag: Wi e s bade n, 1997. 516
pp.,
mus i c e xx., bi bli ography, glos -
s ary,
i nde x. ISBN 3-447-03920-5
(hb.
148 DM).
In
Dange rous tune s , Barbara Mi ttle r, a
s i nologi s t
from
He i de lbe rg (Ge rmany),
has
prov i de d
the fi rs t offi ci al
book-le ngth
s tudy
i n
any
We s te rn
language
on ne w
mus i c i n Chi na. She i nte rv i e w e d s ome
60
conte mporary compos e rs
from
Hong
Kong,
mai nland Chi na and Tai w an, rang-
i ng
from
young
arti s ts at the s tart of the i r
care e rs to w e ll-know n
compos e rs
of
v ocal, chambe r and
s ymphoni c
mus i c
s uch as Tan Dun, Guo
We nji ng
and Che n
Qi gang.
Mi ttle r e xami ne d an
i mpre s s i v e
amount of data, notably
s core s and mus i -
cal and
poli ti cal w ri ti ngs
i n
Chi ne s e ,
and cons ulte d nume rous s ound archi v e s .
The re s ult i s an
i mpre s s i v e 500-page
s tudy
that
atte mpts
to de al w i th the
i mpact
of
poli ti cs
on Chi ne s e
conte mpo-
rary
mus i c as w e ll as
offe ri ng
a de tai le d
and e xte ns i v e ov e rv i e w of tw e nti e th-
ce ntury
Chi ne s e
compos i ti on.
BAR BAR A MITTLER
Dange rous
tune s :
the
poli ti cs of
Chi ne s e mus i c i n
Hong Kong, Tai w an, and the
Pe ople 's R e publi c of
Chi na s i nce
1949.
Ope ra Si nologi ca
3. Harras o-
w i tz
Ve rlag: Wi e s bade n, 1997. 516
pp.,
mus i c e xx., bi bli ography, glos -
s ary,
i nde x. ISBN 3-447-03920-5
(hb.
148 DM).
In
Dange rous tune s , Barbara Mi ttle r, a
s i nologi s t
from
He i de lbe rg (Ge rmany),
has
prov i de d
the fi rs t offi ci al
book-le ngth
s tudy
i n
any
We s te rn
language
on ne w
mus i c i n Chi na. She i nte rv i e w e d s ome
60
conte mporary compos e rs
from
Hong
Kong,
mai nland Chi na and Tai w an, rang-
i ng
from
young
arti s ts at the s tart of the i r
care e rs to w e ll-know n
compos e rs
of
v ocal, chambe r and
s ymphoni c
mus i c
s uch as Tan Dun, Guo
We nji ng
and Che n
Qi gang.
Mi ttle r e xami ne d an
i mpre s s i v e
amount of data, notably
s core s and mus i -
cal and
poli ti cal w ri ti ngs
i n
Chi ne s e ,
and cons ulte d nume rous s ound archi v e s .
The re s ult i s an
i mpre s s i v e 500-page
s tudy
that
atte mpts
to de al w i th the
i mpact
of
poli ti cs
on Chi ne s e
conte mpo-
rary
mus i c as w e ll as
offe ri ng
a de tai le d
and e xte ns i v e ov e rv i e w of tw e nti e th-
ce ntury
Chi ne s e
compos i ti on.