Tuesday, July 28, 2009


I went to Google and found that Phil Ford post on Dylan and authenticity mentioned below. Back when it first went up I was struggling with how to go about making a CD of traditional Tibetan Buddhist prayer songs and mantras, using mostly Western musicians and instruments, i.e. myself, Susan(flute) and Andy(cello & bass). One approach would have been for us to try to be as much like traditional Tibetans as possible to try to create an "authentic" recording. But since the music was already Westernized by my fitting it to Western scales in transcribing it, and then adding Western harmonies, that seemed a non-starter.

Here are some snips from Phil's post:

>>But performance isn't always, or even often, a matter of sincerity. . . In my classes I often like to point out that the artistry of singers like Bob Dylan is largely directed at fashioning a rhetoric of authenticity. . .  It's a remarkable acheivement: between 1963 (Freewheelin' Bob Dylan) and 1967 (John Wesley Harding) he invented half a dozen ways of being authentic.<<

So out of all that I figured we could be authentic without trying to mimic what we knew of Tibetan performance practice. We could be Westerners making an authentic attempt to present Tibetan music to the West.

Just thinking about all this here in the last day or so, realized that's really what I'm about as a music therapist - helping people make music that's authentic to them, that's an authentic expression of who they are. Music educators are trying to get people to make music that's authentically a part of the canon. There's a big overlap, but there's a difference as well. 

Just as in Tibetan Buddhism, motivation is everything. Understanding why you're doing something is vital to understanding what you're doing and how best to go about it.

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