Article

Exoticism

W. Anthony Sheppard

in Music

ISBN: 9780199757824
Published online November 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199757824-0123
Exoticism

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  • Applied Music
  • Ethnomusicology
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In much of the extensive literature on the subject, exoticism is considered a form of representation in which peoples, places, and cultural practices are depicted as foreign from the perspective of the composer and/or intended audience. In earlier usage of the term, “exoticism” and “exotic” referred to an inherent quality or status of the non-Western other. More recently, exoticism has been understood to require an imaginative act of representing, perceiving, and classifying on the part of the beholder. In this sense, “exoticism” is most properly considered in its predicate form: to exoticize, both through acts of representation and perception. Postcolonial studies emphasize the political functions of exotic representation in the power dynamics between imperialist powers and the subaltern rather than detailing stylistic influence. Although cross-cultural influence and exoticism are not easily disentangled, the emphasis here will be on representation rather than on issues of contact and appropriation. Scholars differ on the relationship between the term exoticism and such other terms as Orientalism, primitivism, medievalism, and archaicism. For the purposes of this bibliographical article, and reflecting current scholarly usage, we will consider exoticism as a term encompassing the others and as roughly equivalent to Orientalism. Although clearly related, nationalism and folklorism are typically treated separately and will not be included here. The pervasive impact of racial perceptions and realities on the production and consumption of music clearly shapes musical exoticism. Examples of exoticism may be found throughout history and across the globe and in genres ranging from opera seria to ringtones. Though most scholarship on musical exoticism has been focused on Western art music, this article will include citations of work on exoticism in popular music and on alternative forms and sites of exotic representation.

Article.  9841 words. 

Subjects: Music ; Applied Music ; Ethnomusicology ; Music Theory and Analysis ; Musicology and Music History ; Music Education and Pedagogy

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