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How to make good "world' fusion music??


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#1 Edward Powell

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Posted 20 April 2008 - 05:08 PM

...I also remember being impressed with Ross's opinions regarding 'world fusion' music.

In his opinion the best way to make world fusion music is;
1. to make sure that all members of the project really KNOW something about the types of music being fused.
2. the best way to achieve this is to try to 'fuse' musics that are not SO different from eachother - for the reason that there is more likelihood that all the players will really KNOW something about eachothers' music and therefore not be reduced to having to reduce the music to a narrow band of lowest common denominators.

I found this second idea very interesting. For example a very good fusion might be Turkish and Arabic music... or Indian and Persian... of American and Mexican... or rock and jazz (obviously)... or German and Romanian folk.... or Tibetan and Mongolian etc etc

It seems like these days primarily world fusion involves one type of music from somewhere in the world mixed with some form of western music- - - the western players involved generally knowing almost nothing about the 'ethnic' music they are mixing with - the 'ethnic' musician therefore making almost all of the compromises (and learning the others' music) in order to play in this fusion. The obvious reason why today it is this way is because the big bucks and coolest playing opportunities are in the West... but what is the result of this trend??

If Egypt was the most powerful culture on Earth then it would be all the other countries fusing their musics with Arabic music.

In my opinion it is such a big illusion that we have 'world fusion' music... what we HAVE is more and more western music with a widening range of 'spices' from around the world. We rarely hear a real fusion. And we almost never hear a fusion of musical cultures that do NOT involve some form of western music.
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#2 rob

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 11:13 AM

My problem with "World Music" is that most of what I hear is a couple of pop musics thrown together.

Getting beyond the pop/junk music aspects, my take on what makes for good music fusions is that it requires extracting distinct elements from the entities being fused. Like taking the rhythms from one form and mixing with harmonic and melodic structure of another. This way, the players can be from very different backgrounds. As long as they can track each other's intents, the music can flow and the listener can follow.

The problem with the mixing of music is really the listener. If you take two absolutely brilliant melodic players from two different musical forms and have them play lines that cross develop from one to the other, unless the listener can track the developments, it's probably going to come out confusing. It's got to be far easier to absorb the new experience of hearing fused music when you can completely track at least one of the elements.

#3 Edward Powell

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 12:23 PM

The problem with the mixing of music is really the listener.


this is a good point... because you will rarely find listeners (and harder to find players) who can really understand music from more than one culture. If you mix 2 cultures than usually only 50% of it will be understood by any one listener.

it seems that so much of the 'fusing' that is going on now is artificial, in that it didn't come about "naturally" - - - in the way that blues was born out of a natural mixing of black and white cultures. The reason blues lasted and developed is because the musical fusion was the result of an actually real-life fusion of the cultures of two peoples.
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#4 Matthew Bearne

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 02:05 PM

The problem with the mixing of music is really the listener.


this is a good point... because you will rarely find listeners (and harder to find players) who can really understand music from more than one culture. If you mix 2 cultures than usually only 50% of it will be understood by any one listener.

it seems that so much of the 'fusing' that is going on now is artificial, in that it didn't come about "naturally" - - - in the way that blues was born out of a natural mixing of black and white cultures. The reason blues lasted and developed is because the musical fusion was the result of an actually real-life fusion of the cultures of two peoples.


Erm, I can see what you mean in the blues coming from a real life fusion of different cultures, but I wouldn't call the kidnapping and enslaving of an entire people as 'natural'. But I get what you mean.

I imagine the type of fusion that you want to see and hear will take a while to develop, I think that type of thing is still in early stages but I think over time we'll end up with more natural fusions coming out. And you're certainly contributing to that Eddi.

#5 Edward Powell

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 02:23 PM

Erm, I can see what you mean in the blues coming from a real life fusion of different cultures, but I wouldn't call the kidnapping and enslaving of an entire people as 'natural'. But I get what you mean.


:unsure:
...i knew as a wrote that word 'natural' i would get in trouble. . . :lol: ...although unfortunately the kind of unacceptable savage behaviour you mention IS natural. Like it or not we have in us both the seeds of Love AND the seeds of Hate and brutality - both are a natural part of us--- hense the GREAT importance of 'watering the seeds of Love in us', rather than the seeds of violence.

,,,but something wonderful always grows out of something terrible --- just think, if all that never happened we would never have had Jimi, John Lee, BB, Richard, Buddy, Muddy, Coltrane, Rollins, Davis, . . . and for that matter all of great Afro Influence on American music. I wonder what American music would sound like otherwise.


I imagine the type of fusion that you want to see and hear will take a while to develop, I think that type of thing is still in early stages but I think over time we'll end up with more natural fusions coming out. And you're certainly contributing to that Eddi.

. . .thanks Bro, although often I feel like I am struggling still with the basics of guitar playing now after 33years :blush: ---but this is what you get when you decide to try to be a pioneer, I could have just stuck it out with my strat afterall. . . . :lol:
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#6 Matthew Bearne

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 02:40 PM

:unsure:
...i knew as a wrote that word 'natural' i would get in trouble. . . :lol: ...although unfortunately the kind of unacceptable savage behaviour you mention IS natural. Like it or not we have in us both the seeds of Love AND the seeds of Hate and brutality - both are a natural part of us--- hense the GREAT importance of 'watering the seeds of Love in us', rather than the seeds of violence.

,,,but something wonderful always grows out of something terrible --- just think, if all that never happened we would never have had Jimi, John Lee, BB, Richard, Buddy, Muddy, Coltrane, Rollins, Davis, . . . and for that matter all of great Afro Influence on American music. I wonder what American music would sound like otherwise.


OK it is natural in that sense, in that sense EVERYTHING is natural, including temperments, atomic bombs etc. but it certainly wasn't a natural and mutual coming together of cultures, which I guess is what I meant (I think).


That reminds me of seeing an interview with someone form the British National Party (a fascist party here), he was a geneticist and claimed there was a genetic basis for white people being superior black people (!?). One of his arguments was 'Were is the black mozart?', which basically showed his musical ignorance along with everything else. What an idiot.

. . .thanks Bro, although often I feel like I am struggling still with the basics of guitar playing now after 33years :blush:


Put the frets back on! :lol: It makes thing easier!

#7 Newbie Brad

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 03:09 PM

The problem with the mixing of music is really the listener.


this is a good point... because you will rarely find listeners (and harder to find players) who can really understand music from more than one culture. If you mix 2 cultures than usually only 50% of it will be understood by any one listener.

it seems that so much of the 'fusing' that is going on now is artificial, in that it didn't come about "naturally" - - - in the way that blues was born out of a natural mixing of black and white cultures. The reason blues lasted and developed is because the musical fusion was the result of an actually real-life fusion of the cultures of two peoples.


Um... here in the US the blues came solely from black culture. Whites started playing the blues in a noticeable way in the 1960s, but we haven't fused anything into it. Though I guess rock music owes a lot to the blues, and that's a black-white joint venture, or was at first.
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#8 Edward Powell

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 03:37 PM

I guess rock music owes a lot to the blues, and that's a black-white joint venture, or was at first.


exactly!

...oh, about the 'natural' thing... it think that the word 'natural' has slowly taken on more the meaning 'positive/good' rather than 'occuring normally in nature' - - - afterall everyone love cats and thinks they are SO sweet :unsure: , but observe them for while and you will notice how savage they ARE! [and I can tell you that's the truth - istanbul is FULL of cats and i can hardly sleep around here cuz every night on the roof outside my hotel room they are non-stop howling and ripping eachother skin off!!!

...but i agree that A LOT more should be said about what the white man did to the African Man, as well as to the Native American Man - - - its amazing how self-righteous most Canadians are about being a country that has such high moral standards - but nobody mentions that the entire place was stolen from the Native Indians!
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#9 Newbie Brad

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 03:54 PM

That reminds me of seeing an interview with someone form the British National Party (a fascist party here), he was a geneticist and claimed there was a genetic basis for white people being superior black people (!?). One of his arguments was 'Were is the black mozart?', which basically showed his musical ignorance along with everything else.


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http://chevalierdesa....com/Page1.html
http://www.myspace.com/futuremanmusic

Roy Wooten is a real Chevalier de Saint Georges enthusiast
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#10 motel resident

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 06:07 AM

The problem with the mixing of music is really the listener.


this is a good point... because you will rarely find listeners (and harder to find players) who can really understand music from more than one culture. If you mix 2 cultures than usually only 50% of it will be understood by any one listener.

it seems that so much of the 'fusing' that is going on now is artificial, in that it didn't come about "naturally" - - - in the way that blues was born out of a natural mixing of black and white cultures. The reason blues lasted and developed is because the musical fusion was the result of an actually real-life fusion of the cultures of two peoples.


I think you're really on to something there Ed. Music is culture, and it only really works when the culture is understood and people actually mix cultures. Like Paranda music--no one decided to just mix west african music with latin influences until they already had a mixed language, beliefs, etc. I do like to hear styles that don't fit mixed together, because I find culture clashes exciting and interesting in general. But if the music isn't the product of actual life and living then to me it's fake, and will just sound like a product, or a curiosity at best.
I wish more people would mix themselves and their lives and ideas, while also valuing their own culture... and then eventually make some music.

#11 motel resident

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 06:33 AM

Um... here in the US the blues came solely from black culture. Whites started playing the blues in a noticeable way in the 1960s, but we haven't fused anything into it. Though I guess rock music owes a lot to the blues, and that's a black-white joint venture, or was at first.


Yes, but where did they get it? Their structures came from the popular musics that were around them, using western harmony structure, so while it is black music, they were forced into living surrounded by other culture that influenced them and produced a style that sure isn't African music. Also, whites were influenced by blues way before the 60's as evidenced on lots of records from the dawn of recording where the influence can be heard. Merle Travis did a lot of boogie stuff and incorporated lots of blues and jazz influence, but he had a delivery style that didn't get the rednecks excited. And there is lots of country influence in early rural blues. Look how many songs have a country and a blues version. Another important crossover point: the "western" in country/western is for "western swing", which is basically cowboy jazz.
Eventually, blues guys playing country, and country guys playing blues, got the label rock and roll, and at that time the KKK suddenly saw it as a dangerous integration and started actively campaigning against it ("devil music"). All the main american music types such as jazz, blues, gospel, country, western, and don't forget tejano/conjunto, are mixed culture "fusion" styles that have since been fused with each other in various ways.
You can't have people living together and not influence each other's culture, no matter how seperate they try to be, and it will come out in the music.

#12 Edward Powell

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 07:31 AM

Um... here in the US the blues came solely from black culture. Whites started playing the blues in a noticeable way in the 1960s, but we haven't fused anything into it. Though I guess rock music owes a lot to the blues, and that's a black-white joint venture, or was at first.


Yes, but where did they get it? Their structures came from the popular musics that were around them, using western harmony structure, so while it is black music, they were forced into living surrounded by other culture that influenced them and produced a style that sure isn't African music. Also, whites were influenced by blues way before the 60's as evidenced on lots of records from the dawn of recording where the influence can be heard. Merle Travis did a lot of boogie stuff and incorporated lots of blues and jazz influence, but he had a delivery style that didn't get the rednecks excited. And there is lots of country influence in early rural blues. Look how many songs have a country and a blues version. Another important crossover point: the "western" in country/western is for "western swing", which is basically cowboy jazz.
Eventually, blues guys playing country, and country guys playing blues, got the label rock and roll, and at that time the KKK suddenly saw it as a dangerous integration and started actively campaigning against it ("devil music"). All the main american music types such as jazz, blues, gospel, country, western, and don't forget tejano/conjunto, are mixed culture "fusion" styles that have since been fused with each other in various ways.
You can't have people living together and not influence each other's culture, no matter how seperate they try to be, and it will come out in the music.


Excellent post!

An interesting thing is that sometimes whole cultures try to 'reject' whole other cultures for one reason or another. For example, the Balkans. What happened over here is that the Ottoman Turks ruled the entire area for hundreds of years and during that time obviously managed to influence the entire area musically, bringing makams and microtones. Finally, after expelling the Ottomans the Balkan people didn't want anything lingering around that reminded them of their former rulers - so therefore began rejecting Eastern musical influences and instead began looking to Western Europe for inspiration.

So it was at this time that they began to temper their instruments - Huseini makam became the dorian mode - Hicaz makam lost it's microtones, Kurdi makam became phrigian mode.... modulation from Rast makam to Huseini makam became a movement from C major to D minor (ask Lubo about this in Bulgarian music!).

This is one reason why Ross could revolutionized music in Greece. He arrived at a time when Greeks passionately disliked anything Turkish - - - but Ross came from the outside and didn't carry this cultural baggage - and was therefore able to see that Turkish and Greek music are brothers, and was able to facilitate a kind of 'long overdue meeting of long lost brothers'! It is unnatural for Greeks to reject Turkish music, so when someone brought those musics back together again - everyone loved it.
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#13 Edward Powell

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 08:12 AM

I mean.... in terms of fusion music actually needing to be a reflection of an actual merging of real cultures, what I'm doing right now is a touch absurd :blush: ...a Canadian guy sitting in a hotel room in Istanbul trying to fuse Turkish and Indian music :lol:

...you know, in India you never see Turks, and in Turkey you never see Indians!

if, God forbid, for example some crisis happened and forced 50 million Indians to suddenly migrate to Turkey, THEN you would see a true RAGMAKAM develop.

...but, having said that, ALL the open-minded Indians and Turks I have met are pretty wide-eyed about the RagMakam idea... To me the interesting thing about Turks and Indians is how similar they are but at the same time almost are not aware that the other exists. [this is, I think, partly due to the current fact that people everywhere are so focused and Europe and America that they have hardly no idea who even their near nieghbours are!]
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#14 Matthew Bearne

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 01:29 PM

That reminds me of seeing an interview with someone form the British National Party (a fascist party here), he was a geneticist and claimed there was a genetic basis for white people being superior black people (!?). One of his arguments was 'Were is the black mozart?', which basically showed his musical ignorance along with everything else.


http://www.lemozartnoir.com/
http://chevalierdesa....com/Page1.html
http://www.myspace.com/futuremanmusic

Roy Wooten is a real Chevalier de Saint Georges enthusiast


Yeah, when I came across Roy Wooten's project and found out about that guy I did laugh :)

#15 jahloon

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 03:58 PM

One of his arguments was 'Were is the black mozart?', which basically showed his musical ignorance along with everything else.


He's over here with the Green Sebelius, and the Blue Gazza. :)
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