Filming Music as Heritage

Norton, Barley. 2018. Filming Music as Heritage. In: Hui Yu, ed. Ethnomusicology in Audiovisual Time. Zheijang: Zheijang University Press, pp. 78-90. ISBN 978-7-308-18210-2 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

A burgeoning body of scholarship has critically evaluated heritage discourse and UNESCO’s 2003 Convention on Intangible Cultural Heritage. Ethnographic studies have also begun to assess the impact of policies aimed at safeguarding intangible cultural heritage (ICH) on music practices and communities. Audiovisual representations of ICH, however, have received little scholarly attention. This chapter reflects on how film intersects with the heritagization of music traditions, focusing on the official videos submitted by state parties as part of the process of nominating elements for inscription on UNESCO’s ICH Lists. As a case study, it considers the Ví and Giặm folk song tradition from the Vietnamese provinces of Hà Tĩnh and Nghệ An, which was inscribed on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2014. Drawing on a research trip to Vietnam in 2013, the chapter unpacks the complex issues involved in the audiovisual representation of intangible cultural heritage and problematizes the notion that film is a neutral form of documentation. Through a comparison of the official video about Ví and Giặm folk songs submitted to UNESCO and a television broadcast of a large-scale staged show featuring performances of folk song and dance, it is emphasized that films are historically situated cultural artifacts with the potential to affect how music heritage is perceived and practiced.

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1 July 2018Published

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Date Deposited:

10 Sep 2018 08:55

Last Modified:

12 Jun 2021 13:13


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