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ASRA Conference 2005

Australasian Sound Recordings Association Conference

"Sound Ecology: Saving our Sound Environments"
"Our City O-Tautahi", Christchurch, New Zealand
29 June - 1 July, 2005

Provisional Program

Conference Abstracts 2005


By the turn of the 20th Century social, economic, political and cultural changes were occurring in tribal structures. These changes were due to the introduction of European cultural systems and technological innovations. While the fatal impact of these introduced systems and technology upon Maori cannot be denied, the ability of traditional Maori culture to absorb and adapt to foreign changes, concepts and practices should not be under estimated either. Precedents in challenging and extending cultural boundaries to accommodate change were established in mythological times by the gods themselves. Tane, for example, established the practice of adoption in Maori society by taking on the fatherly duties of fostering his older brother's offspring the birds. Such actions demonstrated the flexibility of traditional Maori cultural frameworks to include and adopt European concepts, systems and technologies within its conceptual universal family and community network.

The Maori instrumental tradition was one which was as developed as that of any indigenous people. They had a variety of musical instruments which were used in performing profound and coherent functions within community ritual and activity, e.g., in birth, in healing, in making things grow and in ushering people from the world. Entertainment is the least important function for Maori music but it was nonetheless used for that particular reason as well.

Many uses of and stories about the instruments, vary from tribe to tribe and no one tribe has retained a complete body of knowledge about them. Taonga Puoro has much to teach us about the past as well as being able to take their place in a modern setting.

A greater exposure to a wider variety of attitudes and beliefs about all things, particularly the elements of individual spirituality, self determination and identity has done much to encourage people to discover the depth of the world of traditional Maori Music and musical instruments. This is exciting not only for Maori people but for all people who are open to alternative understandings of the natural world and the spirituality of the person. Taonga Puoro is inextricably connected to Maori spirituality and the Maori attitudes to conservation and the environment.

Dr Alice Moyle Lecture

Rangiiria Hedley: Taonga Puoro
(Traditional Maori Musical Instruments)

The tangata whenua or indigenous people of the land throughout the world have some common shared understandings about sound and the origins of sound. It is not uncommon to find instruments, which look, sound and are played similarly, in different parts of the world. There are associations of music with ritual and spiritual events and healing. In a traditional Maori understanding sound is connected to most things through whakapapa (genealogy). Very seldom, if at all, was instrumental music used for entertainment by the Maori. This highlights an immediate conflict with western concepts of music and some misunderstandings about Taonga Puoro which endures to this day.

Key Note Address:

John Cousins - Sonic Art as a Carrier of Family History

This paper compares original raw field recordings with appropriate excerpts from some of composer John Cousin's works to illustrate how various composed contexts amplify and/or attenuate the subjective impact of the original recordings.

These contexts have been observed 'after the event' and do not emerge from any preconceived theory or conceptual framework. To this extent the paper is simply a series of observations of, and reflections on John's own intuitive methodology.

Jeff Brownrigg - Trans-Tasman Critiques:
musical criticism of C N Baeyertz and the Triad

The music reviews of C N Baeyertz, usually published in the music periodical Triad (which he edited) are unusually detailed. This was, in part, due to Baeyertz particular character, especially his musical punctiliousness and his aversion to 'booming' musicians with huge false praise in newspaper reviews written by the artist's management. Taking his reviews, Amy Castles' surviving sound recordings, together with other the promotional publicity written by her agents and reviews of some other notable critics, was Baeyertz 1902, 1909 and 1911 criticism justified?

Chris Cree Brown - A Composer's interface with two Sound Worlds

i) A brief discussion of the soundscape of Antarctica

In November 1999, Chris Cree Brown was selected as one of two artists to travel to Antarctica with the Artists to Antarctica programme run under the auspices of Antarctica New Zealand. He describes some of his experiences on the Ice and reflects on some of the ideas that emanated from his trip.

In particular: The paucity of sound in Antarctica, The character of the sounds in relation to the landscape/icescape

ii) The Aeolian Harp project: A brief discussion of the Aeolian Harp project

In 1999, Chris Cree Brown designed an Aeolian Harp within a sculpture that would assist the wind flow across the strings and provide a suitable resonant space in which people could enjoy the sounds. In 2000, he constructed a 40% working model for display in the Christchurch Botanical Gardens as part of the Scape: New Zealand Community trust Art + Industry Urban Arts Biennial 2002.

Gareth Watkins & Roger Smith:
Douglas Lilburn - The Landscape of a New Zealand Composer

"We communicate, in the resonant silences between my words" (Kendrick Smithyman)

It is very rare to have the opportunity to interview twenty-five people about one individual. It is even more rare to have access to an archive of audio recordings stretching back to 1939 dealing with aspects of that person's life and works. But this is the fortunate situation that producers Roger Smith and Gareth Watkins found themselves in as they began researching and recording "Douglas Lilburn - The Landscape of a New Zealand Composer" a major ten-part public radio series now available as a 10 CD set with accompanying booklet.

They will discuss the idea of making a recording that not only captures straight information but also tries to capture place, spirit and atmosphere. Asking the question - what are people listening to? Information, the surroundings, the breath, the laugh, the voice, the pace, the relationship between interviewer and interviewee the language used . perhaps something between the words.

Roger Buckton - The music and dance of a Bohemian village
in Australasia at the turn of the 20th Century

This paper, illustrated with live and recorded music, recorded interviews and slides, will provide a "snapshot" of music and dance at the village of Puhoi, 50 km. north of Auckland. By 1900, the village had been settled for 37 years. Long enough to establish a relatively prosperous farming and forestry settlement, to establish easy lines of communication with Auckland and yet short enough for language, customs and cultural practices of the old villages in Bohemia to be evident despite the ever-encroaching dominant British colonial culture. The old "German Band" with its violin, dudelsack and accordion was still playing for weddings and other anniversaries but the Brass Band was soon to be formed and Bohemian musical blood and aptitude was to ensure that it was indeed a successful venture regardless of the contents of its repertoire. The old Bohemian village dances were still known but the first New Zealand born generation were not necessarily learning the old dances, preferring currently popular dances such as the waltz and the polka.

The paper will demonstrate the author's attempts at recording, preserving and performing the music of this unique example of New Zealand's heritage.

Kevin Bradley - Sound Sustainability,
Sound Archives in University Repositories.

The Australian Partnership for Sustainable Repositories (APSR) is APSR is one of four projects funded by Department of Education Science and Training (DEST) under the Systemic Infrastructure Initiative. The APSR project's overall focus on the critical issues of the access continuity and the sustainability of digital collections in Universities. Amongst those collections are significant audio holdings. This paper describes the APSR projects and discusses the problem of audio in university archives, highlighting UNESCO concerns on this issue, but also the benefits of digital archive systems. It also examines some of the audio based projects that have been testbeds in this project.



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