AlgoMantra, b. 2005

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Cantometriks: The Global Jukebox

The theory I have been developing to analyse the "health" of societies is apparently called cantometrics. My essay Diplomacy In D-Minor was a step in this direction, clearly.

that the dominant values of societies fundamentally influence how their members sing; that this influence applies wherever folksong is found in its natural state; and that the world distribution of singing styles is patterned on the world distribution of human societies.

I think I have agree with this at this point on an intuitive level, until I make some further discoveries. If not, why is Himesh Reshamiah the ruling singer on the charts even as Gujarat burns? Does the pain of Gujarat use him as medium? If media are extensions of man, man is a medium/extensions of what? Ya Ali, his latest a call to the prophet by a Hindu. The symmetry of opposites here is almost unnerving to me. The essay anticipates my feelings:

For if music expresses our view of the world, then it will change as that world changes. In any event, Lomax tells us, there followed in the wake of this autocracy, a sorrowful, repining kind of song. It was heavily ornamented, melodically indeterminate, with narrow intervals and rhythmically free. This he calls the high lonesome complaint. It spread to the Orient in one direction, to the empires of North Africa in the other and down to the Wolofs of Senegal, before being carried from there into the mouths of Mississippi convicts and mule skinners. A staggering traverse by any standards, but the ball doesn't stop rolling even then. 'There are', he tells us, 'more than hints of this ancient song type in the so called big songs - the highly-ornamented and complex bardic melodies - that entertained the kings of Ireland in ancient times.

Listening to: Ari Ari (remix) feat Overseas, by Bombay Rockers
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