Sunday, February 05, 2006

Music evolution?

Today, the interim dean at my wife's cathedral was giving a lecture on transition, as the parish is searching for a new dean and rector. During the lecture he mentioned that many of the displaced musicians from New Orleans have migrated up to Memphis, attracted to its strong Blues tradition. He expects that this influx of New Orleans-style music will forever alter the regional music of Memphis, and hence the entire Blues genre. At the same time, the dearth of older musicians in New Orleans guaranteess that the next generation of Crescent City musicians will not be raised in the same traditions of Creole, Zydeco and Jazz. This may allow some new form of regional music to arise. It is an interesting thesis, one that an enterprising young musicologist could track through the next several decades. Does anyone know of previous studies of this nature, looking at how major catastrophes caused changes in musical traditions?

3 comments:

Peter (the other) said...

That IS an interesting question. I seem to remember that the country music center around Bakersfield, California, was a function of the okies migrating from the dust storms. I imagine the story of most folk music nodes, swell and ebb on their cultural/geographical realities. All the long gone neighborhoods, each with its own ethnic mix, plowed down for development. Work songs sung to a beat of a long, extinct machine.

Michael J. West said...

If you find such a study, can you pass it along, Scott? I'd like to read it too.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Someone in classical musicology must have looked at the effects of the Hundred Years and Thirty Years Wars on musical styles - to the extent that those changes can be documented.