Geoffroy Colson:
Te Vārua o te Auahi: Channelling Traditional Arts into the Operatic Genre Through Practice-Led Research

Stati a studie / Živá hudba 2021/12 / Publikováno 29. 4. 2022

In 1785, at Covent Garden, London, Omai, Or, A Trip Round the World, a pantomime
with music by English composer William Shield was premiered. Although the music aesthetics were predominantly Western, in paying much attention to the realism of the scenery, the work represented a “proto-ethnomusicological” effort to display and recreate Polynesian instruments and their tonal quality. 236 years later, intensifying globalisation processes in the Pacific Islands region have complicated the relationships between indigenous
music and other musical traditions. This article focuses on the non-traditional research output of practice-based research applied to ethnomusicology about the Polynesian cultural heritage. The research relies on an approach to sustainability extended to the global
cultural environment that might be termed “meta-sustainability”. After briefly presenting key elements of Tahitian traditional arts, the article frames the theoretical background that underpinned the research. It characterises the compositional ethnomusicology
paradigm as a model for intercultural composition that might represent an effective tool to efficiently provide Tahitian cultural heritage with a greater exposure in the intangible
global repository of the world’s culture. L’Esprit du Feu: Te Vārua o te Auahi is an experimental opera in the Tahitian language, which builds on indigenous compositional
processes and musical instruments. This creative exploration of musical synthesis is the result of a “multi-mode research inquiry” combining contrasting approaches to cultural sustainability. As a fieldwork-informed musical fiction, it demonstrates the possibilities of a new aesthetic for the meta-sustainable development of Tahitian musical tradition.

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