Património musical e diálogo intercultural

Translated title of the contribution: Music heritage and intercultural dialogue

Research output: Book/ReportBook


The notion of musical heritage, its historical and social relevance, its intersection with ideologies, religion and politics, its hegemonic and counter-hegemonic dynamics, its role in the clash of cultures as much as in intercultural dialogue - in a range that goes from the silent testimonies that survived in the past to the digital sound reproducibility of our era - run through the essays collected in this volume.
The first, entitled “Musical heritage: from ideological legitimation to critical problematization”, addresses, in a retrospective that goes back to classical antiquity, some examples of contradictions and, at times, extreme intolerance in the constitution of the doxa that legitimizes a musical practice. Sometimes the space marked by the criteria of inclusion simultaneously defines a vast unmarked space - that of the exclusion of the Other - and sometimes, conversely, it is through the strict delimitation of the latter that what is tolerated or preserved as heritage makes its way. The marking of the included/excluded may result from both intercultural and intracultural processes or, more often, from the relationship between the two. This is what happens with the suppression of difference as self-exclusion, exemplified through a case study: that of opera in Portugal.
When the continuum of history is abruptly interrupted by a revolutionary event, the dialectic of inclusion/exclusion arises from the fracture between before and after, from the tension between continuity and rupture. In revolutions like the French, in 1789, or the Russian, in 1917, the political confrontation is accompanied by a no less violent cultural confrontation, as if we were in the presence of two incompatible cultures, with their contrary beliefs and values excluding each other. The new counting of time and the new calendar attest to the radical nature of the confrontation: they are the inaugural acts of a new era that intends to wipe out the previous one. This is the scenario underlying the study “Musical Heritage and Revolution: Placing the Problem in the Theoretical Discourse and Action Programme of Anatol Lunacharsky”, where the issue is addressed in relation to the Soviet revolution. The main object of analysis and discussion are the texts on music or musical arts as well as on cultural policy in this field by the Bolshevik leader, who was part of the first Soviet government as the People's Commissar for Education, a position he held until 1927. Through these texts, in which Lunacharsky intervenes in the debates then underway in the field of Marxist aesthetic theory and bases the programmatic options of his governmental action in matters of musical heritage and the promotion of musical arts (at the different levels of creation, education, higher education and dissemination), a considerable range of the positions in presence is unveiled. But what stands out most of all is the argumentative energy with which Lunacharsky commits himself to a line of continuity - which will eventually prevail - against the destructive, iconoclastic impetus of the most radical currents, which bet on a break with the "aristocratic-bourgeois" cultural heritage, that is, which claimed for a cultural revolution: for the establishment of a proletarian culture, without which the social and political revolution itself would not be viable. This line of continuity assumes the European matrix of Russian music and recognizes it as a valid canon for the whole of the USSR.
The colonial context is the object of the third essay, whose title – “Music between confrontation and intercultural dialogue” - reveals the ambivalence of the relations between colonizer and colonized, the strategies of reciprocal appropriation to which they are exposed, in a dialectic of confrontation/dialogue not without emancipatory potential for both parties. There are, however, worrying signs of entrenchment in fundamentalisms of various colours, which take the form of cultural apartheids impenetrable to any and every attempt at the democratic exercise of difference, in which the difference of musical expressions is included, not to mention the political debate. Hence the emphasis given, in the final part of the article, to the civilizational significance of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions approved by the UNESCO General Assembly in October 2005.
An integral part of the European cultural heritage is the notion of “work of art” and, in the case of music, of musical work of art. However, the de-contextualization effect of musical genres and practices, firstly operated by the circulation in phonographic supports, and, already in our days, intensified by digital media, is at the origin of an enormous diversification of uses and appropriations of which any musical "product" can be object, entirely alien to the traditional socio-communicative systems in which they were inserted: among them, precisely that which, in Europe, constituted itself as art. Hence the crisis of the notion of “musical work”, discussed in the final work of this volume – “Music in the age of its digital reproducibility” -, which takes as a reference some of Walter Benjamin's contributions, namely his celebrated essay “The work of art in the age of its technical reproducibility” (1936). It concludes that the trend towards the de-aesthetization of art or, as someone has already called it, the “anti-aesthetic turn” coexists with the persistence and even the resurgence in digital networks (or emerging digital public spheres) of modes of musical communication not only focused on the notions of work of art and artistic creation, but also and above all characterized by the symmetrical position of the interlocutors, who simultaneously assume the competences of creators, consumers and critics of aesthetic objects.
Despite the controversies and conflicts to which musical heritage has given rise, it presents itself to us, both historically and today, as a privileged medium for intercultural dialogue. In a world so troubled by intolerance and fanaticism, it is more important than ever to emphasize this dimension, which values the diversity of cultural expressions and understanding between peoples. This explains the book's title: “Musical heritage and intercultural dialogue”.
Translated title of the contributionMusic heritage and intercultural dialogue
Original languagePortuguese
Place of PublicationLisboa
PublisherImprensa Nacional - Casa da Moeda
Number of pages216
ISBN (Print)978-972-27-3042-6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


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