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  4. Centre for Music Studies Research Seminar




Centre for Music Studies Research Seminar




Speaker: Jennifer C. Post

LOCATION: Room AG09, College Building, City University London, St John Street, EC1V 0HB

Speaker: Jennifer C. Post

Sharing Rosewood, Smuggling Ivory: The Global and Local Politics of Resource Use and Distribution in Musical Instrument Making

Until recently, musicians and builders made decisions about tonewoods and other renewable resources used in instrument making principally based on historical and social convention, linked particularly to aesthetic and acoustic properties of the materials. More and more frequently, instrument makers' practices are adopted and adapted in relation to local, national, and global environmental and economic crises. Today the music industries, especially those involved in instrument production (not only makers, but those sourcing and providing renewable resources) and conservation agencies that work to regulate the use of endangered and threatened species, are engaged in complicated social and political encounters that are changing the look and sound of music, and are impacting musical and other cultural opportunities for countless communities of people around the world. The enforcement of international agreements and local government regulations, and activities of organizations that communicate about protection and regulation, affects makers, musical instruments, and the music itself, yet the impact is uneven and often divided along class and economic lines. In this paper I present six case studies on musical instrument making, each representing a different geo-location and approach to issues around music and sustainability. In some economically rich countries and communities, instruments made from imported woods and other materials are readily available, while in more vulnerable regions, makers seek economic equilibrium drawing from local sources for tonewoods and skins, even as these resources are reduced in quantity because of export for use outside their countries, and are diminished in quality due to environmental degradation and change.

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When and where

3.30pm - 5.00pmWednesday 9th November 2011