What Harm is Being Done to World Musical Culture by the Wars between the West and Muslim Peoples?

 

A recent documentary discussed yesterday, on National Public Radio, reminds us of the US instigated and supported slaughter in Indonesia—in cooperation with Indonesian military forces—of somewhere between 600,000 to one million Indonesians. 

 

(You can hear one version of this story, here:

 

http://www.wbur.org/npr/150149910/exposing-indonesias-cold-war-communist-purge  )

 

If one begins to trace simply the number of direct and indirect US military interventions in the Muslim countries since that time, or since the beginning of the last century, the quantity of them would appall the average American, and perhaps compel US citizens to take stock of the sheer masses of people killed by such US action over the years in what we call "the Islamic World."

 

In the Muslim areas of the Philippines alone, many hundreds of thousands were killed, as part of the US occupation of that region during and after the Spanish American War (1898).   Mark Twain, in 1906, wrote in disgust, with much cynicism and sarcasm, about the US slaughters in just one of the battles:

 

The next heading blazes with American and Christian glory like to the sun in the zenith:

 

"Death List is Now 900."

 

I was never so enthusiastically proud of the flag till now!

 

http://www.is.wayne.edu/MNISSANI/cr/Moro.htm.

Comments on the Moro Massacre by Mark Twain (March 12, 1906)

 

 

One could list about 35 US military interventions in Muslim countries from that time until today, during which significant numbers of Muslims were killed.

 

Add to that all the colonial activity of France and UK, the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the subsequent betrayal of the Arabs via the Sykes-Picot Agreement (according to which, Arabs were promised their freedom during the period 1920-1922, as Turkish Ottoman rule was being overthrown, only to discover when the Turks were defeated, the Arab peoples were now part of the British and French Empires respectively). 

 

People in the West have to wonder why there is no love lost between the Arab and Muslim peoples, and their former colonial masters; and Muslims and the US government—the current (neo-colonial) master of much of the Arab World and many parts of Africa, both Muslim and Christian. 

 

So what effect does this have on Culture in general, and World Musical Culture in particular?

 

My own view is that a sort of "Berlin Wall" has been built in the minds of many Westerners, between "Western Music," and Eastern Music (especially Muslim, or Arab, Turkish and Persian Music).   This is partly evidenced simply by a careful examination of computer composer software, which is not yet even designed to allow for any sophisticated use of Arab tunings.  (Logic X has, out of scores and scores of possible tunings, only one Arabic tuning, called "Arab empirical."  I am grateful, actually to have even that).

 

I think the hostility of the US, the condescension and marginalization of Arab and Muslim culture, by the West as a whole, is obvious, palpable, and deleterious in the extreme.  There are too many examples to cite, and I dare to suggest that those who have not visited the Middle East, or lived in the region, may not even notice that there is such a thing as Middle Eastern culture, other than that which is caricatured and distortedly presented by the mainstream US and Western news and media outlets.

 

What effect do composers think this may have on the ability of Western musical culture, or World musical culture, to create, in an open and tolerant environment, a new musical synthesis of cultural import—one that may sooth and uplift the world, bring it together, and allow the dissolution of false boundaries that keep human beings apart from one another?

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Replies

  • Richard said,

     

    "I'm done here. It really is quite a burden being in the arts and not being a Leftist twit."

     

    So your way of responding to reasoned argument is simply to reduce the discussion to a false dichotomy between so-called "leftist-twittery" and "rightist-twittery?"

     

    Rather than put forward even one example of a composer who might effectively illustrate your point,

     

    Rather than put forward any statement regarding your position on the continued war being waged by the West upon Muslim people, and the effect that might have upon culture,

     

    you believe a sound and logical procedure is to talk about the "burden" you carry (within the artistic community), for having whatever political, social or aesthetic views you have, without even hinting at what they might be.

     

    That seems like an evasion to me.  If you are genuinely some kind of martyr (resembling in even the slightest way the thousands of Middle Eastern people who have died under US and UK bombs, through no choice of their own), then you might explain how or why.  Better still to consider this, perhaps:  It doesn't take very much time to write a few coherent sentences expressing your view on one or more of these more significant issues, without complaining about your own alleged victimhood, and making vague generalizations about "leftists." 

  • "OMG The xenophobia!  The evil colonialists!"

    Or, you know, maybe people just prefer predictable, familiar, music(as evidenced by any pop chart).  Occam's razor and all that.

    It seems you may just want to discuss politics and are stretching to make musical connections to justify posting here.  If that is the case, feel free to message me.  I can direct you to a forum where we discuss politics all day.  

  • Yeah, whatever. 1400 years of islamic aggression. Fuck off.

  • FUSION OR CONFUSION ? PART 1

    Hi Ondib.

    Dividing this into two parts I think is better.

    Why is that?  Not because it's so difficult to know or to become reasonably familiar with different modes, different ways of constructing a scale, or different tunings.  Harry Partch, John Cage, Giacinto Scelsi, and Olivier Messiaen, etc, etc,

     

    Please don’t refer me to western composer's efforts to write eastern music. We all know about that, it still remains western music (not bad music, really beautiful in Debussy's or Bartok's case but still western music in my opinion and no easterner would recognized it as anything else).

    If you still feel strong about it then the least you can do is to refer me to specific passages in their published works by using scores and if you want also sound, where you think eastern elements exist and  the "fusion" is successful and equally balanced (preferably with your comments included) and then we can talk again about it.

    re: "Arabian Empire"

    I recall that, and remember some of the discussion, though I came to it late.  I would say, at least that's a start.

     

    I would say that's a very bad start. Simple difference of opinion.

    re: Arabic World:

    I can understand your reluctance, but the Arabic World is rather small, comparatively, including only 21-22 countries in the Middle East and Northern Africa (A total population of about 350,000,000—whereas there about a billion and half Muslims in the World).

     

    I meant "Arabic World" as a term preferable to "Islamic" in the same sense that "Hellenistic" or later "Byzantine" worlds were very big multi-national and multi-cultural societies But the main cultural backbone of these societies was still recognizable as Greek, having the methodology and terminology as well as the big defining outlook of said culture. In a similar way the music of Morocco or Turkey cannot contain the whole concept of Arabian musical culture but it is possible to be contained  within it.

    In the case of Morocco the Civilization (Arabia) conquers Barbarity in a political sense and a cultural sense.

    In the case of Ottoman Turkey the Civilization (Arabia) conquers Barbarity only in a cultural sense at the same time as being conquered in a political sense. (Same thing that happened when Rome conquered Greece really).

    Your statement about the adoption in Arab culture of the "western musical equal temperament," I don't think is entirely born out, as witnessed simply turning on the radio in any Arab country, (not to mention in a great many of the countries I mentioned above), and listening to the popular music of the region (though, of course, Western tuning has "penetrated" to some extent.)

     

    We may be listening to very different radio stations, but I am sure I currently listen to plenty of them as they are very local when I am in Crete. The music is not very different in tuning pitch definition (if at all) to any US radio station. Please give a better example of pitch deference between East and West. They do exist if you know how/where to look.

    I don't think we can consistently argue that fusion is impossible, but that we already have it.

     

    I am not arguing that. Fusion is possible from a position of Knowledge, not ignorance, this is what I am arguing. What we have at the moment is not worth mentioning.

    This sort of strict attitude towards what people "have to learn," is something that prevents experimentation and even a modest expansion of the musical language.

     

    It is not my attitude that is strict here (personally I am considered a very open minded teacher). It is the nature of the disciplines involved that is very strict by nature. And the strict disregard and ignorance of whatever rules inherent in west or east musical cultures that amounts to the attitude of most so called "ethic" musicians that results in so poor and amateurish fusions so far. You can adopt your own approach/experimentation to eastern music and good luck with it.

    (It's very popular, of course, to the point where it represents a stereotype—but the Western-Central Asian synthesis hasn't reached much further than this.  Oddly, the United Arab Emirates used this very piece to represent their international short wave presence, prior to broadcast, not long ago).

     

    That says a lot. Same as another Arab emirate which adopted (by whim of its emir) the "never on a Sunday" tune as its national anthem.

    Your approach is like saying the Western multi-linguist in Euro-America must study Latin first, before studying French, Spanish, Russian, Arabic or Chinese.

     

    For any one that has even an elementary Knowledge of Latin and Greek it would not be hard to realize that studying all European romance languages (and many others) is again like  studying Latin and Greek in newer versions. That's all it is really, but hardly ever understood now a days since the collapse of classical education in the 1960s.

    I don't dispute a natural tendency for "Westerners" to study what we call Western music.  But for you to say, people should "only approach study of other musical cultures (if we feel inclined) at a very specialized post-graduate level," seems almost monstrous to me.  It's the erection of the very "Berlin Wall" in the mind, I was talking about.  I say, at the moment an interest in another culture becomes manifest, ENCOURAGE IT.  It's natural, and it often arises, only to be squelched with the caveat, "you aren't ready yet." 

     

    I am all for encouraging noble efforts and ambitions. I don’t understand why study of Arabic music at post-graduate level is so monstrous to you, it seems perfectly legitimate to me.

    As for building whatever brain city walls, look at your own brain a bit first, the enemy is already within. So building those walls is a bit  futile, wouldn't you say? Anyway You don’t seem to me very aware of what it amounts to (I mean here again the nitty-gritty, the studying of actual pieces of music-not its ethnophilosophical  implications). In that way you remind me of some ethnomusicologists' papers where all the emphasis is on the "ethno" and nothing on the "music". Why should a primarily practical musician, performer or composer be interested in that? First requirement is familiarization with the music itself, not with notions bout it.  Try studying it a bit in the aforesaid academic disciplinary confines to see what I mean.

    As for the suggestion that people avoid the discussion of "politics and religion" here, I don't see how that is possible for anyone with the slightest degree of philosophical and cultural curiosity.  Don't you acknowledge that it is precisely cultural prejudice (manifest as national, political and religious prejudice) that keeps peoples, ethnicities and nationalities in nearly perpetual states of tension and war?  That can't be good for artistic, musical or literary culture, and proves to be even worse for political, economic and social culture.

     

    Your thread question is clear in its relating US bombing to Arab music, I don’t complain about that, but I hoped that (for a change) in this thread you would like to clarify first a few basic musical issues before we proceed to generalizations again. The "nitty-gritty" of music that I talk about, so as to have a more focused discussion on musical matters. If this is not the case, fine. You obviously mean this thread to be all inclusive (what's new?).  I do not have a lot of time to digress on other matters although, if I did I would be interested.

    Do we really have to go into all these side subjects at once though? I feel that your replies make it necessary as you digress into them, but not possible to respond for luck of time.

    From the responses you have so far I see that people may not be so interested in politics or philosophy. So, how about music and leave those other subjects for later?

    Concentrating only on the question of musical fusions would be interesting probably to a lot more musicians, see bellow.

     

    Regarding my opinions on music fusions I invite you to go back to the thread "why classical music is dying" and read a bit more carefully the poem "Fusion Breeding Confusion". They are more to the point than here (and a lot more poetical).

    FUSION OR CONFUSION ? PART 2

     

     

    Thanks, Imam Baildi, for the new excitement to be gained by your artistic endeavors, you see, I'm only seating in a bar trying to get drunk to see the night through with some music, but I don’t have any choice on the subject since the barman thinks he is also a talented DJ, so he chooses the music for all patrons. I have either to go along with it or get out of the bar if I don’t like it, but it's raining heavily tonight and there's nowhere else to go, and the raki is not so bad in here, and what the hell, no one is really listening to the music, (but I do), no one seems to be annoyed, (but if you ask them, most say that they are indeed bored or even worse done by it, but what the hell?). Every one seems to be secure tonight, the barman more so, in the knowledge that the previous owner of the bar is far away and unlikely to appear, cause if he did he would say: "Now boy, cut the crap and play some real music", causing everybody to think twice: "What the hell are we all doing in here? I mean we are paying good money to drink and be entertained, do we have to put up with this shit?"

    (that's my music journalism bit done)

    The following links refer to only a small example of a teratogenesis that happens all to often for any comfort.

    This particular Frankeinsteinized creation consists of mainly mixing elements of 3 (general/particular) cultural products into a new entity the revelation of which catches me unaware, but making me perhaps gradually aware of musical parameters that I did not know they existed at all (how inadequate of me!)

    The name "Imam Baildi" to start with, is a bit of a misnomer to me: It is a Turkish name/adjective combination meaning literally "the priest gone blissfully fulfilled (?) " (is there a translation for the word "baildi" in English? My Turkish is really non existent, please help), and it refers to a dish having aubergines as its main ingredient (and a very tasty dish at that, as the priest who ate it was transferred into a "baildi" state of existence), but where is the musical connection? I don’t know, you better ask the musicians concerned for that. It is a specifically recognizable Turkish dish, so one would reasonably expect the music to have a specifically Turkish character (?), (no, I may be asking too much, after all this is only a group of Greek(?) musicians(?)), butchering (some call it "fusing") two really beautiful rebetiko songs.

    The main element of this new teratogenesis is a Greek rebetiko song first recorded in 1935 or 1936 by Greek rebetiko Composer Stelios Chrysinis. Its title "Argile mou yiati svinis" translates as "My hookah why do you get extinguished?" and it clearly refers to hashish and the regret of the singer who is not able to keep his hookah alight and carry on smoking.

    The main musical characteristics that make it the song that it is (not negotiable from  a composer's point of view) are :

    1. It is conceived in makam Kurdi throughout (called makam Ussak by some illiterate musicians sometimes).
    2. Its rhythm is conceived as a Zeibekiko dance rhythm of the old type throughout the song. This rhythm is/should always be considered as a 9/4 conceived rhythm (otherwise the dancers may loose their step and shoot you in their frustration, we don’t want that now, do we?), and in this song's case the grouping division is of the type "A", ie  2+2+2+3 (there are two other main grouping divisions also).
    3. The lyrics, of course are always a main musical characteristic in a song (as per original Greek concept of music).

    The first recording of this song can be enjoyed here:

    [url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5h2mzs4PsH8]

    Argile Mou Giati Svineis - Georgia Myttaki - Rebetiko Original 1936[/url]

    A revivalist live performance of this song, of which I am not particularly fond, but still adhering to the above three main characteristics can be compared here:

    [url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Hazi2wwmv8]

    Αργιλέ μου γιατί σβήνεις "Άντζελα Ορφανού"[/url]

    I don’t disagree completely with it (in the sense that I would still remain in the bar, enjoying my drink at least), but I feel that the rebetiko simplicity is gone. The Spartan or Doric expression is greatly diminished. The song was not meant/conceived for such a big ensemble and vocal/instrumental duplication in the first place.

    The second element of this new teratogenesis is a Greek rebetiko song first recorded probably in the 1940s by Greek rebetiko Composer Vasilis Tsitsanis (1917-1984). Its title "You were looking like a princes" refers to a beautiful woman but its content refers to her treachery throughout the song.

    The main musical characteristics that make it the song that it is (not negotiable from  a composer's point of view) are :

    1. It is conceived in makam Hejaz (hicaz in its Turkish version-chromatic Dorian in its Greek sense) throughout.
    2. Its rhythm is conceived as a Zeibekiko dance rhythm of the old type throughout the song. This rhythm is/should always be considered as a 9/4 conceived rhythm, and in this song's case the grouping division is of the type "A", ie  2+2+2+3 (there are two other main grouping divisions also). Warning given in previous example about dancers still holds strong for this song.
    3. The lyrics, of course are always a main musical characteristic in a song (as per original Greek concept of music).

    The first recording of this song can be enjoyed here:

    [url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qx_u0SbMKc]

    Βαμβακάρης Μάρκος & Χατζηχρήστος Απόστολος - Φάνταζες σαν πριγκιπέσσα[/url]

    A revivalist live performance of this song, of which I am not particularly fond, but still adhering to the above three main characteristics can be compared here:

    [url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWRrHVfih6M]

    ΦΑΝΤΑΖΕΣ ΣΑΝ ΠΡΙΓΚΙΠΕΣΣΑ - ΑΘΗΝΑΪΚΗ ΚΟΜΠΑΝΙΑ[/url]

    I don’t disagree completely with it (in the sense that I would still remain in the bar, enjoying my drink at least), but I feel that the rebetiko feeling suffers a little from over-zealot syndrome. 

    (I mean trying to be more rebetes than the rebetes themselves, wow!)

    Note: Only a small but characteristic motive of the introduction of this song is used as the second element in the "Imam Baildi" recording. This motive's use of certain scale degrees is as such that one cannot distinguish whether it belongs to makams Kurdi or Hedjaz. So, I suppose it fits the "Imam Baildi" purposes, (if they had any to start with).

     

    I will not discuss the third (lyrical element) here, cause I am too lazy to translate it. "Imam Baildi" lyrics are as they are and I am not interested in them whatsoever. They are the same rumble as countless other rap lyrics.

    What I want to observe is that the two original rebetiko songs used as a primary sound source are very much associated with their original lyrics and subject matter so any other lyrical effort using the same sound sources is bound to leave a native listener cold at best.

     

    So, I am left with the music only and I wonder:

    What these middle class spoiled kids (gone suddenly musical and rebels without a cause) trying to do here?

    Teach the world their version of rebetiko or rap by adding a nonsensical bass and percussion to make it "groove"? Groove for whom? It even spoils the taste of the raki in my mouth.

    Of course it is in 2/4 or 4/4, it's got to be.  "Imam Baildi" type of musicians can not conceive rhythm in anything other than those two time signatures (and counting up to 9 can be very taxing for those kids-their middle class schooling not withstanding). If you listen with some attention to the original or revivalist versions of the songs you cannot but recognize that these are motives essentially conceived in a 9/4 rhythm. Take it away and the original melodic concept is deprived of its shape and falls apart. Well, I can only suppose than 9/4 is too advanced or too eastern for such simpletons, but why the hell they don’t try to come up with their own original melodic/rhythmic shapes but butcher original pre-existing musical beauty instead?

    Question that creeps to mind is, can they come up with anything original at all?

    Even the rap like rhythmically delivered poetry is not their own. It is only a passing rhythmic infection (laboratory manufactured by non musicians) that tends to affect even brilliant musical brains sometimes.

    (Of course it would be too much here to refer to concepts of Hijaz, Kurdi, etc, as per material borrowed - "Imam Baildi" would simply say "Fuck all that, who cares?"

    Well, I do.

    Last but not least is the question of copyright. The two original composers are dead but the copyright period is not lapsed and the rights still belong to their families or to the original recording companies.

    I can only suppose that there is money incentive involved here, but if I had composed the two songs involved I would probably be inclined to do something really nasty to the "Imam Baildi" group for such distortion of my work. (And still I'm in two minds about it cause I respect Chryssinis and Tsitsanis very much, I grew up with them and I want my blood back).

    Here they are, enjoy them!

     

    [url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6WAPRYltPs]

    The Imam Baildi - Αργυλε Μου Γιατι Σβήνεις ( argile mou giati sbinis )[/url]

    That took a long time writing and searching youtube etc. I really don’t have time for this, taking an example from Richard I am out of here also.

     Hi again Ondib,

    Sorry, I have to ask you again:

    Is this what you are really after?
    It's not so bad after all, it's raining outside, but why should I care? I am still inside the bar enjoying my drink at least.

     (ooops! the HTML did not work, I don't understand how to fix it in this forum, sorry about that, but the url links are still active)

  • Hey, moderators this is my second request.

    Any chance of allowing more than 15 minutes to edit our posts?

    I want to correct some typos in my previous post, is that unreasonable? Why not remove the time limit all together like other public forums do? What is the reason behind it?

  • If you want to see what islam can do for music or art look at saudi arabia where all non islamic religions  where banned from the time of the prophet.islam kills everything eventually you might say the same thing about other destructive ideologies like nationalism and unrestrained corporate capitalism however of all the multi polar evils in the world islam is the worst,for it allow no freedom of thought or to dissent.

  • Richard,

    Yes, you are right that my wonderful country of Portugal was invaded by Muslim people.  I checked Wikipedia and found a partial list of my country’s invaders:

    -          Neanderthals (300 000 – 500 000 years ago).

    -          Homo sapiens (Cro-Magnon) (24 500 year old fossils show mixture with Neanderthals).

    -          Random drifters after the ice age ended (9 000 - 11 000 B.C.). Cigarette butts all over the territory (fossils found, all cheap brands).

    -          Celts arriving from Central Europe (2 000 – 3 000 B.C.). They brought butter and bagpipes (we all have our priorities).

    -          Phoenicians.  I wonder whether these were the guys who knew how to make wine. 

    -          Carthaginians.  I assume they brought us cartilage.

    -          Romans (218 B.C.) – these guys forced everyone to speak Latin, with the excuse that it’s a “romance” language (just marketing). They faced fierce and long-lasting resistance by the locals (who by then were called the Lusitanos).

    -          Suevs and Vandals (Germanic tribes) and Alans (of Persian origin) invaded as the Roman empire lost power. They brought us Black&Decker tools.

    -          Visigoths (415 A.D.) who allied with the Romans, creating warring factions and a power vacuum in the Iberian Peninsula. They had Volkswagens pulled over the Pyrenees by oxen.

    -          Berbers and Arabs (711 A.D.), who hopped over the Straight of Gibraltar and brought irrigation techniques (which made small-scale agriculture possible and ended feudal dominion), olive oil (good for the heart), mathematics, geometry, and scholarly libraries (to Spain, anyway, we don’t have one in Portugal yet) and couldn't be bothered to convert Christians or Jews to their religion.

    -          Surfers (ca. 1975 – present) and Europ-Pop musicians (ca. 1985 – present). Culturally very destructive, difficult to forgive. Severe animosity here.

    I was born before 1975, hence I incorporate the various lineages mentioned above, plus perhaps additional ones, but not from the last item, no.

    Many other people came to Portugal too after the 1500s but cannot be called “invaders” hence are not on the above list.

    Hope this helps.

    Mariza



    Richard T. Hill said:

    What's the matter? Mozart's rondo alla turca and the augmented 2nd isn't enough influence for you?

    No, but seriously, the influence on some Western music thanks to the colonization of Spain, Portugal and the Balkans by the Muslims and the last 1400 years of attempted conquest really balances things out, don't you think?

    We live in a time of global cultural cross pollination. I think you're ignoring the positivity of our reality, despite the ongoing struggle for these cultures to coexist.

    What Harm is Being Done to World Musical Culture by the Wars between the West and Muslim Peoples?
        What Harm is Being Done to World Musical Culture by the Wars between the West and Muslim Peoples?   A recent documentary discussed yesterday, on…
  • Daryl,

    Didn't you say you live in Indonesia?  Isn't Indonesia a predominantly Muslim country? 

    Mariza

    daryl sprake said:

    If you want to see what islam can do for music or art look at saudi arabia where all non islamic religions  where banned from the time of the prophet.islam kills everything eventually you might say the same thing about other destructive ideologies like nationalism and unrestrained corporate capitalism however of all the multi polar evils in the world islam is the worst,for it allow no freedom of thought or to dissent.

    What Harm is Being Done to World Musical Culture by the Wars between the West and Muslim Peoples?
        What Harm is Being Done to World Musical Culture by the Wars between the West and Muslim Peoples?   A recent documentary discussed yesterday, on…
  • ------

    .

    .

    Permit me to express gratitude to all those who responded so recently to this post.  I thank you, Richard, Chris C., daryl, Socrates (Socrates Arvanitakis) and Mariza—I thank you all, for your replies.

     

    In this message, I wish to answer points made by 1. Richard, 2. Chris and 3. daryl.

     

    (1) Reply by Richard T. Hill: Yeah, whatever. 1400 years of islamic aggression. Fuck off.

     

    Can you explain what you mean by "whatever."  It's a common expression, but in this context, given the complex historical reality, it's meaning does not appear to be clear.  Is it even a sentence?  The phrase "1400 years of islamic aggression" is not a sentence either; and it's difficult (without more qualifying structural support in this grammatical fragment) to decipher the meaning with any precision. It could refer to the conservative meme or myth of "1400 years of islamic aggression," which grossly simplifies and distorts the entire history of East-West relations in the Middle East, North Africa and Eastern Europe.  I was speaking of the last hundred or so years, since the fall of the Ottoman Empire, during which time we can hardly speak of anything but Western aggression and atrocities which barely compare (in the sheer number of people killed) to what Muslims have "done to the West." We haven't even mentioned that in Libya alone (back during the colonial period and World War Two), Europeans killed an estimated one million people. People ignorant of this historical fact may wonder why any Libyan person might harbor some skepticism or doubt about the benignity of Western motives, but people with a bit more knowledge will probably not wonder. If you want to go back to the seventh century, and discuss Islam and the politics of the Arabian peninsula, and everything that followed, we can do that.  But then won't we have to go back further, and talk about the Roman genocide of the Carthaginians in North Africa (in precisely what we call "Libya" today)?  That will be very time consuming.      

     

     

     

    2.  Reply by Chris Carman 3 hours ago:

    "OMG The xenophobia!  The evil colonialists!"

     

    "Or, you know, maybe people just prefer predictable, familiar, music(as evidenced by any pop chart).  Occam's razor and all that.

     

    "It seems you may just want to discuss politics and are stretching to make musical connections to justify posting here.  If that is the case, feel free to message me.  I can direct you to a forum where we discuss politics all day."

     

    I appreciate the offer, but I am sincerely interested not only in the history and the politics, but I am especially interested in the effect which the events under discussion have on art and culture generally, and on music specifically. 

     

    But what is your take on all this?  Does killing large numbers of Muslims (we are talking about millions) contribute to the artistic development of either the West or the world as a whole?  From the viewpoint of the Composers' Forum, should the West stop killing such large numbers of Muslims, if only for the reason that some of the people Western bombs are killing are probably musicians?  I have been trying to get the US military to get me an estimate on how many Arab and Islamic musicians they have killed, but so far there has been no response.  Does anyone know?

     

    Chris, when you say, "OMG The xenophobia!  The evil colonialists!"  I don't know what point you are trying to get across.  Are you saying colonialism was not, and that contemporary neo-colonialism is not really a system that exploits and kills countless numbers across the globe?  Are you saying the deliberate cultivation of xenophobia by our own Western media, in the English speaking world (and in France) is not a problem?  For living people, and for culture and music. Or are you acknowledging xenophobia, colonialism and neo-colonialism to be genuine evils, but in a humorous way, while suggesting that the nature of the evil is exaggerated? (Maybe you simply think hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children are being killed by it, and not well over a million, as some say; so therefore, it's not really that serious a problem).  It's  hard to tell what your attitude is, unless you are more specific.

     

    3.  Reply by daryl sprake 39 minutes ago:

     

    "If you want to see what islam can do for music or art look at saudi arabia where all non islamic religions  where banned from the time of the prophet."

     

    I want to give credit to daryl for making a point which is true to a large degree about Wahhabism in the Arabian Peninsula (though certainly NOT true about most sects of Islam, either in the Arab World, or in the larger non-Arab Muslim World.  Nor is the statement really true about what Islam can do, or does do, or is doing globally for the most part. ) It is a true statement about very extremist forms of what some people refer to as Islam or "Islamicism," as it's sometimes called.  Wahhabism, the doctrine of Qutb and so-called al-Qaeda and the self-denominated "Islamic State in Iraq and Syria" [ISIS], and the Taliban.  There are other groups as well. Yet most Islamic clerics and scholars do not consider such groups to be Islamic (any more than most priests and pastors would consider Hitler to be a "Christian," though let us remember the Pope did support Hitler for a long while). 

     

    So let's look at US policy on the issue.  I would ask daryl why he thinks the US lends full diplomatic, military, political and every imaginable kind of support to regimes like the current absolute and despotic religious monarchy in Saudi Arabia (and also in Qatar), which have supported Islamicist fundamentalist extremists in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo, Syria, and Libya?   I wonder if he thinks this is by design, or done accidentally, and whether he supports or opposes the policy?  Why has the US itself also supported Islamicist extremist groups in all the named countries, when it appeared to suit US policy interests?

     

    I emphasize the fact that I do credit you and your soundness of mind to see that the extremism within a very small section of the Islamic world is a problem. But I wonder also if you think our government should support it, while telling us at the same time (or a year after the fact) that this or that extremist group is evil, when we decided we should no longer support it, at least openly.  And I wonder why he thinks now, Islamic extremist groups should be opposed in one country, and bombed, while being supported in another country, by being given weapons, at the same time?  (Syria, Iraq and Libya are the most egregious recent examples of this).

     

    Also, do you think it becomes easier or more difficult for the average Arab musician to tune the strings of his oud under these circumstances?

     

    "Islam kills everything eventually you might say the same thing about other destructive ideologies like nationalism and unrestrained corporate capitalism."

     

    Well, just as we say, "Guns don't kill people. People do," don't we also say, "Islam doesn't kill people.  People do?"  [Actually, the statistics do suggest that guns kill people, and that Western guns, Western bombs, Western tomahawk missiles and Western Aircraft and Drones do kill people, and that they kill far more people than Islam does.  Just look at the numbers].

     

    I don't think you really mean that "Islam kills everything," but that a small percentage of Muslims are engaged in the support of malign and distorted ideological interpretations of the Quran, which do result in atrocities being committed (though nowhere the number of those committed, if we are talking about the numbers killed, in the name of Western civilization and/or capitalism, colonialism and neo-colonialism).  If you genuinely do mean "Islam kills everything," then you appear not to understand the behavior of the average Muslim, or how he lives his life.  Dare I ask you how many Muslims you have met, or whether you have lived in a country with a majority Muslim population for an extended period of time?

     

    "However of all the multi polar evils in the world islam is the worst, for it allow no freedom of thought or to dissent."

     

    So you are saying Islam is "the worst evil in the world?"  Here I might ask, where do you get your information about Islam? (Please tell me it's a more reliable source than Glenn Beck and his fellow travellers). Even supposing you were right, do you think US and UK military actions in the  Islamic World over the past several decades (or since 1920, for that matter) have helped stabilize and have generally benefitted the peoples of that region? Do you think it has given most of them grounds to think Western imperialism is a benign influence?

     

    And most importantly, has it helped the average musician in the Islamic world to better tune and play any of these instruments:

     

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  • My sarcasm was directed towards the idea that's there is some giant conspiracy to shun eastern music in the west.  I think, like most things, the answer is far more simple.  Money.  If eastern music sold well here i'm sure we'd see a lot more of it being produced.  I really think that's about it.  Even if there were a concerted effort to suppress it by the establishment they wouldn't be able to, if it's what the people wanted.  

    And while Logic may not have you covered for alternate tunings, some sample libraries have a variety of tunings built in.  For example EastWest's Ra and Silk both have a number of tunings for instruments i'm sure i couldn't even pronounce correctly, and Neocymatics Hybrid Strings library boasts 22 presets just for tunings.  If you feel there's a lack of eastern influence in the music out there rite now, then i would recommend you change that.  There are more tools at a composer's disposal than ever before, no matter what style he or she wishes to write.  

    As to the culture clash, i will say this, i would never advocate a blanket policy of violence or pacifism.  The animosity between the Islamic world and the West has existed since long before i was born, and i have no doubt that it will continue long after i'm dead.  People more educated than myself on the subject have written volumes and there's nothing useful i could add.  

    On a bit of a side note, i'd be curious to see a source for the casualty numbers of the Moro Rebellion you mention.  I'd always been taught it was estimated in the thousands, with the high estimates around 20,000.  Not that there's an acceptable number of people that should be killed at a given time, just curious as reliable information on the topic is harder to find now that i don't live there. 

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