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Conversing tradition : Wagilak manikay 'song' and the Australian Art Orchestra's Crossing Roper Bar

Curkpatrick, Samuel

Description

This thesis is an exploration of tradition as event in the present, realised through the dynamic expressions of manikay (song) in contemporary contexts. Particular focus is given to the collaboration between Wagilak songmen from Ngukurr in Australia's Northern Territory and the Australian Art Orchestra, known as Crossing Roper Bar. Inquiry into various musicological, performative, narrative, philosophical and historical aspects of Wagilak song and Crossing Roper Bar, draws together abundant...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorCurkpatrick, Samuel
dc.date.accessioned2017-08-30T01:56:22Z
dc.date.copyright2014
dc.date.created2014
dc.identifier.otherb3579004
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/124938
dc.description.abstractThis thesis is an exploration of tradition as event in the present, realised through the dynamic expressions of manikay (song) in contemporary contexts. Particular focus is given to the collaboration between Wagilak songmen from Ngukurr in Australia's Northern Territory and the Australian Art Orchestra, known as Crossing Roper Bar. Inquiry into various musicological, performative, narrative, philosophical and historical aspects of Wagilak song and Crossing Roper Bar, draws together abundant examples supporting the thesis that tradition exists as a dynamic interplay, a conversation, between the past and the present, between individual subjects and situations, and amid ongoing iterations of performance. Through involved, creative articulation, tradition is known and sustained into the future. This is true of conservative performance contexts and those dramatically envisioned. Crossing Roper Bar is a laudable approach to musical engagement amid diversity in Australia and this thesis documents some of the history, intentions and achievements of the project. Descriptions of the differing musical cultures of individuals involved mirrors my exploration of tradition as substantiating, effective history (Gadamer) shaping our horizons of performance. Consecutively, the creative possibilities of unique, vocative expression within orientations of situation and orthodox form are also appraised. A dynamic picture of tradition as discursive play emerges, engaging individuals amid an excess of perspectives, forms, motivations, contexts and technologies. Musical and contextual analysis is directed by an interpretation of the Yolngu hermeneutic of tradition resonant with philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer's hermeneutics. This allows the development of an explicit understanding of Crossing Roper Bar as a part of Yolngu ceremonial tradition, present articulations of performance shown to be legitimate iterations within an ongoing, orienting ancestral groove. Challenging prevalent notions of intangible culture, such tradition is not ossified heritage: the ancestral text is known as it is tangibly engaged and disclosed within the lives of present generations. Investigation into the musical and personal interactions between different individuals and cultures in Crossing Roper Bar begins from musical analysis that pursues: textures of sound, textures of situation and layered media; the animation of musical forms; the vocative expression of individuals. This thesis draws on diverse sources including extensive fieldwork and ongoing relationships with the Young Wagilak Group and the Australian Art Orchestra, as well as the writings of Yolngu leaders and other academics. The conversation generated presents, itself, an image of discursive engagement with diverse perspectives - a key motivation behind the Crossing Roper Bar collaboration. Subsequently, a rich demonstration of tradition emerges as something more vocative than essentialist, as something that speaks uniquely into our lives and is simultaneously sustained by creative articulation and performance.
dc.format.extentxix, 388 leaves
dc.language.isoen
dc.subject.lcshTradition (Philosophy)
dc.subject.lcshSongs, Aboriginal Australian Australia Ngukurr (N.T.)
dc.titleConversing tradition : Wagilak manikay 'song' and the Australian Art Orchestra's Crossing Roper Bar
dc.typeThesis (PhD)
local.contributor.supervisorDodson, Mick
dcterms.valid2013
local.description.notesThis thesis has been made available through exception 200AB to the Copyright Act.
local.type.degreeDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)
dc.date.issued2013-08
local.contributor.affiliationAustralian Art Orchestra
local.identifier.doi10.25911/5d611bd3bf8c3
dc.date.updated2017-08-25T01:51:11Z
local.mintdoimint
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