Music and migration

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Music is observed to travel with the migration of communities in the contemporary world since it is portable and can be communicated orally. There is a change in the musical styles of individuals during migration or transmission of music to other cultures. However, some musical styles remain unaltered. Music development can incorporate the demonstration and embodiment of the migration process, or commemorate the areas of occupancy that are left behind.

Music is closely associated with the movement process of individuals in the contemporary world. After individuals are prompted to migrate, particularly under the existence of hard conditions such as warfare, it is evident that the songs, dancers and different memories that are formulated in the region travel in the form of musical tunes. In the past, music was only observed to move in the form of human migration as people moved with their music to different areas. Contemporary forms of transportation have permitted the extensive movement of music in the contemporary world. The increase in the facilities to record music in the contemporary world has also resulted in the increased musical transmission among different immigrants in the areas that they move (Shelemay 170). Currently, people are note to move faster in comparison to previous years while their music moves even faster.

Numerous immigrant communities are integrated with other individuals that live in different areas and those that originated from their homeland. Therefore, there is an emergence of a network that surpasses numerous international boundaries. In addition, the immigrant communities that are living in different areas outside their homeland are observed to disperse the music from their homeland into their diaspora communities (Shelemay 170). There are many places that create a suitable environment for diaspora communities as individuals from their communities move into different foreign locations. In the previous years, the term diaspora has been expanded to include communities that incorporate numerous populations and population movements, incorporating travel to different foreign localities and displacement from the previous homes, incorporating different ethnic and racial minorities.

Many migrations are considered to be permanent or long-term, however, the enhanced communication and chances to travel in the previous years has made it possible to shift back and forth between the ancestral and the new homeland adopted by individuals. Moreover, the classification of “home” has been expanded to include distant nations and cities since individuals have the liberty to move back and forth. This, people are not rooted in a single locality to a significant extent in comparison to the past. However, the classification of “home” proceeds to demonstrate great power and remains to be a notion and attachment that is incorporated into song and literature (Shelemay 170). On the contrary, the classification of home remains linked to a single scale. This, there is an evident increase in the musical diversity and scale of the communities and their localities.

The presence of many foreign music traditions in one place is noted to have different results. Some of the music that is performed and retained by the individuals that have migrated and the people that share their kinship and history evolves. In addition, people are also noted to be attracted to the emerging musical style thus expanding the reach of the music. The attraction and retention of participants of people who transform into part of the new musical communities is referenced to the affinity of the music to the individuals. People move in different regions and settle in various places for numerous reasons. Voluntary migrations are observed to be the norm in the contemporary world. However, forced migrations are noted to be more common sue to famine and war (Pfeifer 58). There are also different factors that affect the evolution of sounds as the individuals travel and move from one place to another. For instance, the gender, identity, economic situation and educational levels are factors that affect the evolution of music sounds, significances and settings of different forms of music in the contemporary world.

Voluntary migration defines the movement of individuals to different regions based on their choices and attraction to the new locality. For instance, many individuals migrated to South and North America by their own discretion as they were seeking new economic and religious opportunities. The migrants to America were noted to increase in a dramatic manner during the second half of the nineteenth century after the shift to the use of steamships making travel cheap, safe and convenient (Shelemay 170). The increase in the speed of travel was observed to increase the movement of Europeans to America and the arrival of individuals from the Middle East and Asia.

Every wave of the American migration was observed to have a significant music impact. For instance, the beginning of the seventeenth century saw the migration of the British into America carrying ballads, which represented strophic songs that narrated a given story. This songs were increasingly adopted by individuals in Kentucky and Virginia after which they were transmitted after they had been dismissed in the British communities. One example of the existence of ballads in the American community, includes the different performances of Barbara Allen, which presented an imperative example of the integral transmission process of both written and oral transmission of music in the contemporary world (Shelemay 170). Oral transmission of music is noted when music is moved from one individual to the other through hearing music that is performed. In addition, oral transmission can take place intentionally between the students and the teacher and casually thorough constant hearing of the tunes that are incorporated in different forms of music such as lullabies.

Music can also be moved through written sources such as books. In addition, the transmission of music can take place through written music ballads where some cultural groups are observed to have particular writing systems that include specific information on the music. The information that is transmitted on the music includes the melody, rhythm, content and form. Oral and written forms of musical transmission are noted to overlap. Since the emergence of musical recording in the twentieth century, there has been a revolution in the transmission of music through the inclusion of music in different technological media.

In reference to the Chinese migration, some individuals were noted to migrate voluntarily in search of economic opportunities and better lives. However, the idea of immigration was observed to ride on an emerging sense of exploration and desire to expand their economic activities. The decision to migrate was noted to be full of conflict and personal decisions among the immigrants (Pfeifer 58). One integral immigration path represents the immigration of Chinese individuals from China to North America that can be traced through the musical evolution.

Immigration from China was noted to be fuelled through voluntary immigration that started around 1850 due to the attractive nature of the United States, particularly the economic opportunities. The first great wave of immigration was motivated by the California gold rush whereas other Chinese immigrated in the early 1860s to assist in the construction of the Transcontinental Road (Shelemay 175). The famine, political anarchy and economic crisis that was noted in the mid-nineteenth century prompted the increased immigration of the Chinese into different parts of the world. Therefore, numerous musical tunes that were formulated by the Chinese in the twenty first century were laced with the painful story of immigration. The history of the Chinese migration into the United States also showed the different economic and political factors that had affected the immigration of the Chinese into the region.

Many voluntary Chinese immigrants, especially during the initial part of the twentieth century were regarded as sojourners in America. Many Chinese were motivated by the increased economic opportunities that were present in the United States. However, individuals were anticipated to retain their cultural and economic practices. For instance, the song Ng Bak Loi Gimsaan (Uncle Ng Comes to the Gold Mountain) demonstrated details of the Chinese migration process via musical performance. It is important to note that the song was initially formulated by individuals from south eastern Chinese genre that was referred to as muk’yu (Shelemay 176). The song was observed to transmit a significant amount of information on the contemporary process and experiences of the individuals during immigration. There were detailed definitions of the buildings and cityscapes that were present in the twentieth century. Moreover, the music also communicated the different ideas on immigration and reflected on the goal of the sojourner who wished to return home respected and prosperous.

From the discussion, it is evident that migration plays an integral role in the movement and transmission of music. The movement of individuals in the contemporary world results in the movement of musical tunes through oral and written means. The adoption of musical tunes in the contemporary world leads to the adoption of different musical sounds in a variety of areas. However, it is important to note that music evolves according to the cultural, political and economic state of individuals. Hence, the migration of music is closely linked to the economic and political occurrences and experiences of different individuals at the time.

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  1. Pfeifer, Eric. “Europe on the Move: Music Therapy Accompanying Children With and Without Migration Backgrounds”. Nordic Journal of Music Therapy 25.sup1 (2016): 58-58. Web.
  2. Shelemay, Kay Kaufman. Soundscapes. 2nd ed. New York: Norton, 2006. Print.
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