Paper short abstract:
By "announcing one's existence to the universe" singing is a powerful tool to free oneself from oppression. Songs have the power of transforming one's condition, hence the social environment. What is the rule of words and what is the rule of singing in such process of emancipation?
Paper long abstract:
Bernice Johnson Reagon, Social Rights Movement activist and founder of the choir Sweet Honey in the Rock, stated in an interview with Bill Moyers: "When we sing we announce our existence. Songs are a way to get to singing. […] and singing is running sound through your body. You cannot sing a song and do not change your condition". Yet she also underlined the necessity for the black community to carry the Gospel repertoire over to the next generation for the meaning that theirs words bear. What is the relationship between the vibrational component of the music, that moves the bodies and transforms singers' very being, and the words carried through those songs? An answer will be searched in David Abram's analysis of aural traditions and the power they attributed to words in themselves. This analysis may lead to examine the ritualistic components of music, dance and words for their different and integrated ways of establishing a communication with the more-than-human world of nature. Meredith Monk's wordless embodied singing practice and Pauline Oliveros' theory of Quantum Listening will be employed as example of contemporary music practices that relies on a conception of the sound and its power similar to the traditional aural understanding.
Knowing by singing: song, acoustic ecologies and the overflow of meaning