Muse Power: How Recreational Music Making Heals Depression and Other Symptoms of Modern Culture (Chapter 3, page 2 of 10)


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Chapter 3

Their lives were/are dedicated to learning the stories, songs and traditions of their people, most of which was passed down orally. They were entertainment, they channeled the spirit world, and they were responsible for "performing" at rituals, rites of passage and other community happenings. They carried the wisdom of generations in their musical expressions. These individuals held a great role in their communities, and were valued as important people in the community. They were treated with respect for their dedication and path, but they were not deemed "special," in the way the western mind glamorizes the musician. Simply, people didn't think of music as some special talent per se, it was simply recognized that they were either born into that tradition, or chose it out of desire. Music was something everyone could and did do.

"To western minds, music is generally considered to be a rare talent possessed only by a few. As a consequence, most contemporary thinkers who have pondered the evolutionary contribution of music to human life regard it as an inexplicable "mystery" because it is so unevenly distributed among individuals. (e.g. Barrow, 1995). If one looks at traditional societies, however, it is evident, that music is as broadly endowed as any other human capacity, and virtually everyone participates in music making. Differences in performing and composing ability are attributed to differences in individual interest and desire, not to special endowment." (Feld, 1984:390)."

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