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Landscape, Spirit, and Music Essay

Anne Boyd’s “Landscape, Spirit, and Music: An Australian Story” is a substantive view on the integration of the landscape of a distinct culture represented by aboriginal beliefs and traditions to Australia’s inimitable non-Indigenous music industry. Boyd said, “it is possible to see something of the significance of music in constructing an ‘inspirited’ relationship with landscape as part of a possible process of ‘aboriginalization’ which is slowly affecting all of Australia’s non-indigenous inhabitants.

” Boyd sought to prove her assumptions by presenting various evidences in the works of famous Australian composers such as Ross Edwards, Peter Sculthorpe, and David Lumsdaine, including the artistry of Tommy Barrtjap as a musician. The landscape that Boyd was referring to with regards to the influences of some non-Indigenous Australian composers encompasses the history of Australia, the culture of its indigenous people, as well as the physical landscape or environment that makes the country matchless in beauty and whereiwthal.

The history of Australia serves as the backdrop or milieu from which the composers were able to structure their unique, meaningful, and poignant music. Furthermore, the culture of Australia’s indigenous peoples becomes the inspiration for musicians or composers to create something exclusive and distinctive. Thus, the musicians and composers that Boyd mentioned in her discussions were able to create a kind of music that channels mysticism, spirituality, and the metaphysical, representative of Australia’s indigenous culture.

Boyd said that “All three composers [Ross, Edwards & Schulthorpe] have drawn upon birdsong, not literally, but in a mythical and ritual sense; birds thus become spiritual messengers linking human music and landscape. ” The great influence of Australia’s history and the indigenous culture of its native inhabitants is expected, as argued by Schultz .

Schultz said that the emergence of a unique and distinctive music is most likely, particularly in Australia because “the existence of diverse immigrant population, a sense of real or imagined isolation, insecurity about the presence of a national character… unique natural features such as climate, geography and flora and fauna, a pre-existing and extant culture with a strong and individual civilization, high standards of education with concomitant levels of artistic self-awareness, and substantial government subsidization of artistic activity” are dynamic and influential factors that would encourage such devotion and revolution in making and producing music for the sake of art. Furthermore, Lim believes that the growing interest of non-Indigenous Australian musicians to the history of Australia and culture of its Indigenous peoples as landscapes to developing music has something to do with the stipulation of these composers to develop a unique kind of music and a personal identity as a musician or composer. Lim said “Aboriginal cultures continue to be used by artists as a marker of authenticity in the construction of an Australian identity of sense of nationality.

” By and large, Boyd’s discussions as supported by the narratives and arguments presented by Schultz and Lim explicate the great weight or importance of Indigenous culture in Australia as well as its history in helping musicians and composers create music that represents nationalism and establish a unique and inimitable identity. Works Cited Boyd, Anne. 2007. “Landscape, Spirit and Music,” in The Soundscapes of Australia: Music, Place and Spiritually. Richards, Fiona (Burlington, VT: Ashgate), pp. 11-18. Lim, Liza. “Crossing Cultural Boundaries and Ecstatic Transformation,” Sounds Australian 26 (2006), 10-11. Schultz, Andrew. “Other Places, Whose Music? : Some Introductory Comments on Appropriation and Tradition,” Sounds Australian 20 (1991): 8-9.


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