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The job facing the cultural intellectual is . . .

not to accept the politics of identity

as given, but to show how all representations are constructed, for what purpose,
by whom, and with what components. (Edward Said)
I am glad to have been born in Argentina, since I was not confronted with the
notion of cultural hegemony, which in Europe has been used to justify fatal
inhibitions and aggressions. . . . As regards the concept of `cultural identity':
sure I've got one, my identity, yet I would prefer to speak of `fragmentary
identities'. The aggressive identification with a single culture has often led to
catastrophes. (Mauricio Kagel)
Cross-cultural musical representation has been a hotly debated topic over the
past decade. Whereas traditional research tended to focus on the expansion of
the material of Western concert music, more recent approaches have empha-
sised the ideological aspect of references to non-Western music, ranging from
acceptance as a fruitful synthesis in the sense of multiculturalism to suspicion
of its being a manifestation of Western hegemony.
While the critique of
Western appropriations, notably in postcolonial theory, undoubtedly enabled a
more informed debate, certain ideological assessments are founded less on
analytical insight than judged a priori, thereby effectively by-passing the
question of how representation is constituted musically. For example, in their
introduction to Western Music and Its Others, Georgina Born and David
Hesmondhalgh state that:
Postcolonial analysis . . . sets a fruitful example for music studies in that it pays
meticulous attention to textual detail, but always sees such analysis as
subsidiary to the larger project of thinking through the implications of cultural
expression for understanding asymmetrical power relations and concomitant
processes of marginalization and denigration.
It is hard to disagree with a programme that sounds so worthy, yet there is a
danger that, by starting from the assumption that there are `asymmetrical
power relations and concomitant processes of marginalization and denigration',
an analysis is put on the wrong footing. From this perspective, the outcome of
any engagement with cross-cultural representation in Western music is
severely circumscribed before it has even started. This is what happens, for
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instance, when Richard Middleton states that Gershwin in Porgy and Bess `has
situated himself where he is inevitably heir to the nineteenth-century strategy
of imposing monologic authorial control on disparate materials, and where the
only method available to him of representing ``low-life'' is through the code of
the picturesque'.
The problem here is not the conclusion itself, which repre-
sents one of many plausible ways of understanding the work, but that it seems
so inevitable from the very outset, and that all there is in the way of musical
analysis appears solely to serve the purpose of supporting it, without examining
in detail exactly how the music references its sources and what constitutes the
`code of the picturesque'.
But if the representation of non-Western music by Western composers is
little more than neo-imperialist usurpation a conclusion that could be drawn
from Born and Hesmondhalgh's introduction as well as other articles in the
volume would it not be best to eschew it altogether? Apparently not: `postwar
musical modernism's attempts to create musical autarchy and self-enclosure,
through the negation or denial of reference to other musics or cultures . . . is
historically aberrant', comment the editors.
We have obviously reached an
impasse. Is there really no way of mediating between those poles, one that
avoids the slightly patronising aestheticism of the `artist as sympathetic
commentator [on the East]', expressing a `profound Western appreciation of
the artistic and aesthetic legacy of the East',
as well as equally generalising
notions of the celebration of difference or hybridity? The volume is silent on
this issue. Along with many similar publications, it tends to chart an almost
undifferentiated musical terrain with little scope for alternatives. (The
sweeping generalisation about modernism above is a case in point.)
One purpose of this article, then, is to attempt to redress the balance by
demonstrating that there are ways in which Western concert music, even or
perhaps particularly of a broadly modernist tradition, can engage with dif-
ferent cultures in ways that go beyond simple appropriations. One such way is
to render the Western representation of otherness itself into an object of
representation, thereby introducing an element of historically informed self-
critique. This is the strategy taken by Mauricio Kagel (b. 1931) in Die Stu cke
der Windrose fu r Salonorchester
(198995). Kagel is an interesting case as he
combines insider and outsider perspectives on Western culture. Growing up in
Buenos Aires as the son of Jewish immigrants fleeing anti-Semitic persecution
in post-revolutionary Russia, he eschewed the cultural nationalism predomi-
nant in Argentina at the time (musically represented, for instance, by Alberto
Ginastera) in favour of the ardent cosmopolitanism of the writer Jorge Luis
Borges one of Kagel's university teachers and the charismatic father figure
of the South American musical avant-garde, Juan Carlos Paz. After emigrating
to Cologne in 1957, Kagel became one of the leading composers of the post-war
European avant-garde associated with the Darmstadt summer courses.
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However, he kept himself at a critical distance from the various factions of the
avant-garde and their respective ideologies, a sceptical attitude that he also
reserves for Eurocentric attitudes more generally, as the quotation at the
beginning demonstrates. As will be seen, while Die Stu cke der Windrose are an
example of this kind of questioning of Western perspectives and of monistic
notions of cultural identity, they also incorporate elements from Kagel's
Argentine and Jewish heritage.
An investigation of this work may further the study of cross-cultural musical
representation by reintroducing a greater element of analytical reasoning and
historical perspective without relinquishing the increased ideological aware-
ness and methodological reflexivity that recent approaches such as post-
colonialism have undeniably brought. The method I propose in order to
achieve this linkage between musical analysis and ideological critique is based
on Bakhtinian dialogics. This leads to a typology of representations, such as
was putatively proposed by Born and Hesmondhalgh,
and which could
enable a more informed differentiation between different kinds of musical
representations. Although this typology is based on Die Stu cke der Windrose, it
is intended to be more widely applicable.
Die Stu cke der Windrose as an Essay on Cultural Geography
Die Stu cke der Windrose constitute a cycle of eight pieces on the main bearings of
the compass, each number being named after a compass point. The titles of both
the cycle and the individual pieces establish two references: the first, the
compass points, directed outwards towards the geographically and culturally
defined other; the second, the salon orchestra, pointing inwards towards the self,
namely a Western `light' music tradition. These references are closely related
since the salon orchestra repertoire is characterised by the musical exoticism of
the hey-day of imperialism during the fin-de-sie cle, thus signifying an earlier
approach to the representation of otherness.
As will become apparent, it is
through the shifting relationships between these two references that Kagel
develops a critique of common constructions of selfhood and otherness.
Kagel's most fundamental insight is that the perception of geography is
closely connected to the representation of non-Western cultures. In support of
this he collected a host of newspaper cuttings, advertisements and similar
materials, now held among the sketch materials, which show a link between the
perception of geography and an intuitive, pre-rational representation of other-
ness in the public imagination. In his introduction to the cycle he describes this
connection in the following terms: `[With respect to compass points] our ideas
tend to be simplistic; they are a composite of fleeting or enduring travel
memories, of lectures and things we know, of likes and dislikes'.
comments in the interview are more explicit:
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What's always stimulating is the relativity of compass points: what is north,
what is south? What is south for you, what is north for me, west for an Asian?
It's worthwhile considering these questions, because then one can expose the
results of thinking in fixed categories. Just as we regard our own musical culture
as a dynamic phenomenon, we should mistrust rigid and static conceptions of
This quotation reveals an important strategy for subverting `thinking in fixed
categories', namely the reference to compass points, which makes clear that
something is represented, but not what. Since geographical directions are
relative, the musical representation of a certain compass point could be seen to
refer to an unlimited number of world regions and their cultures, and listeners
are constantly misled while trying to reconcile the title with the supposed
cultural characteristics of the music, thus being made aware of musical cliche s.
In this way Kagel critiques the connection between musical characteristics and
cultural identity, on which the musical representation of otherness is
commonly predicated. By defining geographical locations in terms of their
relationships to one another, as the idea of compass points implies, he
emphasises interconnectedness and reciprocal influence instead of supposedly
essential attributes. The result is a musical world of strangely refracted and
unstable co-ordinates, which reflects the dramatic changes in the perception of
place as a result of developments such as globalisation.
Furthermore, Kagel adds a second layer to this play with musical identities
by changing the vantage point of the imaginary observer from piece to piece.
While the settings of `Osten' and `Su den', the first two pieces of the set, are
(northeast Brazil, Cuba)
Vantage point
Eastern Europe
Andean Mountains
Caribbean Africa
Africa USA
(Siberia Hudson Bay)
Mexico (west coast)
gamelan (?)
South American Indian
(huayuo of the Aymar)
Musical idioms
Italian folk dances
African (modal),
ragtime, jazz
shamanic (Siberian)
First performance
Salonorchester Cln
Schnberg Ensemble
Amsterdam (16/6/90)
Aachen (4/6/89)
Salonorchester Cln
Salonorchester Cln
Cologne (18/1/92)
Cologne (18/1/92)
Cologne (8/1/92)
Ensemble Modern
Kyoto (5/11/93)
Cologne (3/3/95)
Paris (23/4/95)
Fig. 1 Overview of the Conception of Die Stu cke der Windrose
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defined in relation to Kagel's current domicile in Cologne, `Nordosten' and
`Nordwesten' are seen from Argentina, his birthplace, and later pieces feature
yet different perspectives and `musical voyages' (Fig. 1 presents an overview).
Just as the obscuring of the geographical setting of each piece asks a question
about who the other is, so the fluid positioning of the imaginary observer
undermines a clear identification of the self. In this sense, the exposition of the
relativity of compass points acts as a metaphor for the contingency of cultural
identity. This cosmopolitan conception is arguably a reflection of Kagel's own
biographical background.
Kagel and the Analysis of Representations
Kagel is frequently described as an iconoclast, an enfant terrible or simply as
`critical'. Although the question of what and how Kagel criticises is far from
trivial, there can be little doubt that many of his pieces parody bourgeois `high'
culture. For instance, the theatrical elements in the String Quartet I/II (1965/
67) undermine concert hall rituals, the music theatre piece Sur sce ne (1961)
portrays musical culture as a whole as a grotesque carnival, and the `scenic
composition' Staatstheater (`state theatre', 1971) contains a biting satire of one
of the most prestigious European cultural achievements, opera. That these
pieces strike at the heart of the Western cultural self-image can be seen not least
in audience reactions: fewcomposers have been so enthusiastically applauded or
so fanatically hissed; the premiere of Staatstheater even led to an anti-Semitic
bomb threat. The avant-garde idea of bridging the divide between art and life
also led Kagel to explore various forms of popular music, including the salon
orchestra tradition alluded to in Die Stu cke der Windrose. Thus, the pieces
`Charakterstu ck for zither quartet' and `Musi for plucking orchestra' from the
cycle Programm (1972) (which includes audience discussions as part of the
performance instructions) are composed for amateur musicians (again proving
extremely contentious). Furthermore, Tactil (1970) and `Die Rhythmus-
maschinen' from Ex-Position (1978) allude to pop, `Pre sentation' and `Varie te '
from Quatre degre s (1977) to show and circus music, Blue's Blue (1979) and
`Five Jazz Pieces' from Rrrrrrr. . . (1982) to jazz, and Klangwehr (1970) as well
as Ten Marches to Miss the Victory (1979) to marches. As a matter of course,
there is also a tango, albeit a `German' one: Tango alema n (1978).
Of even more immediate importance regarding Die Stu cke der Windrose is
Kagel's engagement with issues of cross-cultural influence. This concern can
be seen, for example, in his choosing `extra-European music' as the topic for
the Ko lner Kurse fu r Neue Musik in 1974,
but it is equally evident in his
compositions. His first work with an overt cross-cultural background, Exotica
for Extra-European Instruments (1972), focused on a deliberate reversal of the
common direction of cultural transmission. Instead of non-Western musicians
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playing Western or Westernised music on Western instruments, (implicitly)
Western musicians are instructed to play non-Western instruments, preferably
ones that have never formerly been used in Western music.
Some sections of
the piece involve the imitation of ethnomusicological field recordings played
through speakers. As Kagel noted in his sketches, the idea was to reveal how
inferior the imitation is compared with the richness of the original. Thus, the
`primitives' in this instance are clearly the Westerners who are depicted in a
way traditionally reserved for `savages': behaving riotously, making undiffer-
entiated noise and the like. Most crucially and this is why field recordings are
employed they are forever trying to imitate the `superior' culture while never
succeeding a mainstay of colonialist literature. This idea seems designed as a
devastating critique of the concept of Weltmusik, connected particularly to
Karlheinz Stockhausen, which was in vogue at the time.
Exotica acts as a
cruel parody of Stockhausen's self-aggrandising claim of being able to syn-
thesise the world's musics into a higher unity (i.e. his own music), as it
proclaims that a fusion of musical cultures leaves the richness and nuances of
the individual ingredients behind in favour of a barbaric and undifferentiated
mix, just as the performers in Exotica come nowhere near emulating the music
on tape.
A clearer and in many ways wittier instance of the reversal of per-
spectives is presented by Mare Nostrum: Entdeckung, Befriedung und Kon-
version des Mittelmeerraumes durch einen Stamm aus Amazonien (`Discovery,
Pacification, and Conversion of the Mediterranean Region by a Tribe from
Amazonia') from 1975. In this music-theatre piece Kagel considers the con-
sequences of a South American invasion of the Mediterranean as opposed to
the European occupation of South America. The piece takes on the view of the
colonisers, telling a deliciously satirical version of `the history of the white
savages and their questionable customs'.
Almost exactly a month after the first performance of Mare Nostrum, also in
1975, Kantrimiusik: Pastorale fu r Stimmen und Instrumente was premiered.
As the title (the English term `country music' spelt with German phonemes)
suggests, it is a satirical treatment of the folkloristic pastoral. Resonating with
the political activism of the 1970s, Kantrimiusik acts as the ultimate decon-
struction of the appearance of `natural' beauty: it parodies the exploitation of
nature and folklore by presenting an uncompromisingly objectified musical
idyll, pieced together from a bizarre selection of segments taken from the
department store of international tourist folklore. Kagel's own description
explains the basic conception:
The eight movements as a whole, together with the interludes, build a pro-
gramme such as is frequently presented in enlarged form by those ensembles
of the entertainment industry, which belong to the department of folklore (sub-
department arrangements). On these evenings costume-wearing `family' groups
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with many children make their appearance, who, in the conviction that they are
authentically representing a certain region, also declare their acoustic solidarity
with other examples of adulterated music. (As so often, the fate of folklore to act
at the same time as mouthpiece and entertainment of the ethnic community is
The combination of nonsense texts (actually taken in part from world litera-
ture, such as the Poema del Cid, Boccaccio and Heine) and a stereotyped
mixture of third-based harmony, bouncy rhythms and catchy tunes, played by
a somewhat imbalanced `folkloristic' ensemble is a specimen case of musical
synthetics and the interchangeability of marketed folklore. The ironic edge of
the piece results not least from Kagel's idiosyncratic use of serial technique,
which he calls `serial tonality'.
This technique, developed by Kagel during
the early 1970s and used by him ever since, consists of treating `tonal' material
such as triads and pulse rhythms according to serial principles. For example,
numbers are assigned to triads and their sequence is derived from numerical
rows; similar methods are used for other parameters. In this way, there is a
deliberate incongruity between the musical materials and their treatment,
resulting in a music that is rich in historical and cultural associations, but that
always thwarts the expectations they raise. By the same token, the mismatch
between techniques and materials from different historical periods eschews any
appearance of `naturalness' or `organicism'; on the contrary, it appears
ostentatiously artificial. Hence, in Kantrimiusik accents seem to fall in the
`wrong' place, harmonic sequences are erratic and melodies merely meander in
chromatic motion. Kagel's own characterisation is particularly revealing in this
context: `The hypothesis of the piece is that the apocryphal has become the
authentic. We are so dependent on apocryphal music performances that they
have become part of our instinct, just like plastics or nylon.'
Shortly afterwards, Kagel produced the `epic radio play' Die Umkehrung
Amerikas (`The Reversal of America') (1976).
Taking up the topic of the
conquista again, Die Umkehrung is in many ways a sequel to Mare Nostrum, but
now replacing the cynical humour of the earlier piece with a very real sense of
terror. Despite Kagel's claim that the piece was a representation of real events,
historical and present, Die Umkehrung Amerikas is a personal treatment of the
facts, shaped by his outrage at the treatment of the South American Indians.
The work is chiefly built from a collage of texts, including fragments from
original documents concerning the events, as well as other material such as
enumerations of different ways of killing (apparently also concocted from the
documents). As Kagel explained in his introduction, he tried to `compose with
words in a musical way'. The most notable technique in this context is the tape
reversal, which is used, for instance, to illustrate the forced teaching of the
oppressors' language. For this, Kagel wrote the text in reverse, which was then
read and recorded, but played backwards so that the result is a distorted
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version of the original. The Amerindians in the piece speak mostly in this
disembodied, ghostly way, the loss of their language signifying their loss of
cultural identity. Since Kagel wanted to avoid illustrating the words with
music in the way of traditional radio play or film practice, music in a conven-
tional sense is used only sparingly as in strange percussion sounds and surreal
chant. The result is not so much a narrative but a conglomeration of night-
marish images, characterised by violence and religiously motivated hatred,
exposing the perverse accumulation of greed, religion and sheer blood lust that
lay behind the genocide.
What is apparent in all these cases is that Kagel reflects on the repre-
sentations and depictions of non-Western cultures within Western culture
rather than using indigenous music as raw material for his own compositions.
It seems as if Kagel, in accordance with Shklovsky's theory of `defamiliarisa-
exhibits the mirror-image of `ethnic' music as it is reflected in Western
culture and then meditates on what the original might have been. The idea of
the `apocryphal', which Kagel mentions in his preface to Kantrimiusik, and
which plays an important role in his aesthetics in general, is crucial here, as it
offers a critique of the notion of `authenticity'.
In a similar way to
Baudrillard's concept of simulacre, the apocryphal i.e. the deliberately `fake'
and artificial supersedes the supposedly `original'.
Somewhat paradoxically,
this analysis of the replacement of the original by its simulacra appears as
possibly the only way to reclaim this original which can neither be recaptured
nor be represented directly without falsifying it.
Die Stu cke der Windrose continue Kagel's exploration of Western repre-
sentations of otherness, while presenting a more positive, if sceptical, view of
cross-cultural interaction. This may have something to do with the shift in the
general discourse on cross-cultural interaction, from the sometimes simplistic
Marxism of the political activism of the 1970s, with its stereotypical ascription
of passivity and stasis to the other, to more recent postcolonial theories.
ethnomusicology, too, the essentialisation and attempted conservation of the
`authentic' has given way to a new appraisal of change, which is not necessarily
regarded as a sign of standardisation or annihilation by the West, but rather as
a strategy of resistance or subversion and the sign of dynamic cultures, which
for their part appropriate foreign influences.
From his statements it is evident that Kagel was aware of these develop-
ments and wanted to capture the dynamic interplay between musical cultures
in Die Stu cke der Windrose. For instance, in his programme note to `Nord-
westen' he states that `fusion and reciprocal influence have become key
concepts in looking at musical languages and cultures', and in my interview
with him he also confirmed emphatically that Die Stu cke der Windrose are
intended as a model of cultural interchange. These are all clear examples of the
ways in which Kagel reacts compositionally to social debates.
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The Dialogics of Representation
If any meaningful discussion of musical representation is to be undertaken,
then it is first essential to identify the sources to which Kagel alludes in Die
Stu cke der Windrose. Kagel's programme notes are helpful in this regard, but in
many cases an investigation of the sketch and manuscript materials is also
necessary to reveal the precise source materials Kagel has employed, as well as
how they are subsequently transformed and incorporated into the pieces.
Fig. 1 is based on both sources of information: the geographic locations under
`region' are derived from Kagel's programme notes, and the entries under
`musical idiom' are taken from analyses of the sketch and manuscript materials,
as well as the finished composition.
This leads us to the more complex and revealing question of how the sources
are represented in the music. This aspect of musical intertextuality can best be
investigated via Bakhtinian dialogics.
Of particular importance here is
Bakhtin's concept of `represented discourse' that can be related to Said's
notion of `representation', and which in turn forms the basis for recent
discussions of cross-cultural interaction.
Represented discourse in Bakhtin's
theory of the novel means that a character's words or thoughts are represented
by someone else (often, but not exclusively, the narrator, i.e. the `authorial
Representation thus entails a sense of aesthetic distance: we are
made aware that what we read or hear are not the words and intended meaning
of the persona who has voiced them, but of someone else.
However, this recontextualisation automatically inflects what is represented:
according to Bakhtin, `someone else's words introduced into our own speech
inevitably assume a new (our own) interpretation and become subject to our
evaluation of them; that is they become double-voiced'.
Political and
scientific debates are examples of this kind of `internal dialogisation', where
someone else's discourse can be represented in many different ways, and given
new meaning in the process. This `heteroglossia' of manifold voices in dialogic
interaction is, according to Bakhtin, captured in the `polyphony' of represented
discourses in a novel which is therefore not characterised by a unified voice or
style, but constitutes an `intentional hybrid' of different voices. These are all
contained within the authorial discourse, which is nevertheless only one voice
among many.
The same happens in music. Quotations or stylistic references signal to us
that we are listening to someone else's music contained within the authorial
discourse of the respective composer even if we do not know whose music it is
that is being represented. These represented discourses are not identical to the
composer's; they are heard in imaginary quotation marks, resulting in a
musical meta-level. As in the case of language, there is no neutral discourse: the
representation by the authorial discourse is inevitably felt to be double-voiced,
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that is to contain, for instance, overtones of admiration or parody. Since in the
case of cross-cultural interaction musical voices signify cultural identities
(which is, by and large, the step from Bakhtin's to Said's concepts of repre-
sentation), it is not hard to see why such representation can appear contentious.
Ex. 1, the first section of `Osten', illustrates this model of musical dialogics.
It consists of four elements: a recurrent melodic figure in the clarinet; an
oompah accompaniment using minor chords in an irregular rhythm in the
lower strings (only the first of those chords is shown in the example); a freely
floating, `improvisatory' melodic line for the standing violinist; and a faster
succession of minor chords in parallel motion in the piano, harmonium and
second violin.
To begin with, let us examine the two more prominent elements in this
passage: the clarinet melody and the oompah accompaniment. The melody
features a conspicuous, falling rhythmic motive consisting of note-repetitions
between relatively unaccented and accented semiquavers and highlighting the
interval of the augmented second. As will be shown below, these elements are
characteristic of Yiddish folklore (klezmer), which Kagel portrays in `Osten',
and the soaring violin line (which shares with the clarinet the prominence of
faux-modal augmented and minor seconds) adds to that association. The
accompaniment, on the other hand, is a stereotypical requisite of the salon
That these elements are represented discourses within the overall authorial
discourse is made clear by the incongruity of the various idioms. While the
combination of a klezmer line in the clarinet with an oompah accompaniment in
the lower strings sounds natural enough, the specific compositional realisation
of these elements in terms of harmony and phrase structure is incompatible
St. Vln
con sord.
, ma dolce
Vln 1
Moderato gracioso (MM = ca 84)
con vibr.
, ma dolce ed espressivo
Ex. 1 `Osten', bars 14
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with the conventions of their respective idioms. Although the clarinet line,
with its recurring augmented seconds, suggests modal usage, it actually runs
through eleven pitch-classes in one-and-a-half bars. The oompah, meanwhile,
stays obstinately in A minor, even though this has no connection with the
melody line it is supposed to accompany, except for the very first few notes
(which is subsequently uncovered as a red herring). The harmonic sequence of
the accompaniment is AE[AGA, which an investigation of the sketch
materials reveals to be the beginning of a twelve-note row with the first note
returning after each series step. As can also be inferred from the sketches, the
sequence of notes and rests in the oompah is likewise serially derived, this time
from a numerical row which is unrelated to the twelve-note series employed for
the harmonic sequence (as can be seen in Ex. 1, the values are 243156 for
number of consecutive notes, always followed by one quaver rest). It is
therefore no wonder that the phrase structure of the lower strings only
occasionally coincides with that of the melody line in the clarinet
Thus, what first appears to be a klezmer line with an oompah accompani-
ment is revealed as a collage of incompatible elements, to which the addition of
two extra layers complicates matters further. That is not to say that there are
no structural relationships between the layers the clarinet and violin lines and
the faster moving minor chords share the semitone/augmented-second motif,
while the clarinet line and the chords in parallel motion are melodically
identical at first but this sort of connection is more akin to a collage of
different elements assimilated to one another than to the kind of melody-plus-
accompaniment texture which is being mimicked. Both the klezmer and the
salon orchestra elements are defamiliarised to an extent that makes their
identification as simply klezmer or salon orchestra music implausible. Salon
orchestras do not typically play harmonic sequences based on twelve-note rows
and serially derived rhythms, and `genuine' klezmer is not atonal. Conversely,
both elements are sufficiently marked to set them apart from what we may
assume to be Kagel's music, judged from the perspective of the overall atonal
context against which the klezmer line and minor chords are placed. Thus,
while the topics represented by the klezmer line in the clarinet and the oompah
chords in the lower strings can be described as represented discourses, the
atonal harmonic framework, dodecaphony and serially derived rhythms are a
result of Kagel's authorial intervention. The represented discourses thus refer
to putative sources outside the music itself some generative form of klezmer
or salon orchestra music respectively, not unlike Platonic ideas. What we hear
is an apocryphal version of an original which must itself remain a fictional
construction, in other words a simulacrum.
What is crucial in this context is that the authorial discourse does not assert
itself as a personal voice, since there is no single musical element in the
example which can unmistakably be described as `Kagel's music' and this
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can, with some qualification, be said of all of Die Stu cke der Windrose, as well as
of the composer's more recent work in general. In this way, represented
discourses and authorial discourse cannot be isolated from one another: there is
no `pure state' of uninflected musical discourse. Instead, all discourses are in
dialogical interaction with one another. It is this emphasis on interaction rather
than a supposed original and `authentic' monologic state that makes dialogics
such a useful tool for the study of cross-cultural musical representation.
On the whole, then, `Osten' can in Bakhtinian terms be described as a
polyphony of represented discourses, an intentional hybrid reflecting the
heteroglossia of cultural interchange in real life, which, as was noted earlier,
was Kagel's stated intention. As a consequence, authorship mostly manifests
itself by the selection, combination and inflection of pre-existing musical
idioms, not by the assumption of a `personal voice'. This obviously represents a
challenge to romantic-modernist concepts of authorship, characterised by
notions of originality, organicism and unity, which are still widely prevalent in
musicology. However, the inadequacy of these models in dealing with music in
a postmodern context need hardly be elaborated. In addition, a dialogical
perspective reveals that any composition or artistic creation more generally
involves a dialogue with pre-existing forms, idioms and conventions.
This does not mean that dialogics sound the death knell for the notion of
authorship altogether. On the contrary, it can be viewed as rescuing it from a
rather simplistic declaration of death by complementing a monological model
of authorship (the `personal style' defined as an absolute difference from other
styles) with a dialogical one. As we have seen, the represented idioms in the
example are transformed by the authorial discourse, which clearly leaves its
mark. Modifying Bakhtin's own terminology, where the term describes a
particular kind of objectified discourse rather than a general principle, I call
this transformation `stylisation'. Hence, stylisation is the difference between
the reference to an idiom and its putative source, and thus acts as the clearest
marker of authorial intervention. In its aesthetic effect it can best be compared
with Shklovsky's defamiliarisation.
Since it describes the very mechanism of dialogical interaction between
discourses, stylisation is a very useful tool for the analysis of musical
representations, cross-cultural or otherwise. In Ex. 1, for instance, the atonal
inflection of the klezmer idiom in the clarinet, and the twelve-note row and
serial rhythmic structure in the salon orchestra's oompah, can be attributed to
the stylisation of the authorial discourse. In accordance with the principles of
dialogics, this process arguably works both ways: just as the authorial discourse
stylises the represented idioms, so it is shaped by them inasmuch as the `new
music' element (for want of a better term) is defamiliarised because klezmer and
salon orchestras are considered alien to it. Since the piece does not contain any
`frame' unmistakably establishing Kagel's personal voice to which the repre-
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sented idioms could be contrasted, there is a significant degree of reciprocity in
the dialogic interaction, leading to an effective othering of the authorial
discourse. So the music may be heard as Kagel's `take' on klezmer and salon
orchestras, or as a defamiliarised version of how Kagel would imagine a salon
orchestra to play klezmer.
The relationships between the musical discourses in Ex. 1, as I have
described them so far, can be visualised as in Fig. 2 (the arrows standing for
representation), with both the klezmer and the salon orchestra as represented
discourses within the authorial discourse. However, there is a different way of
understanding the passage, one that takes the historical reflexivity I mentioned
earlier into account. As suggested, the two references created by Kagel can be
seen as interlinked in that musical exoticism was a staple of the salon orchestra
This interpretation leads to a different model: since the salon
orchestra is mentioned in the title to the piece, and adhered to in the
orchestration, it becomes possible to regard it as a mediating representational
level between authorial discourse and klezmer as presented in Fig. 3. According
to this reading, Kagel creates a fictional salon orchestra which plays a `klezmer
fantasy'. The salon orchestra would then be an element of theatrical illusion
and the music it plays would obtain a quasi-diegetic function. In this sense, the
salon orchestra acquires agency as an authorial mask, resulting in the two
consecutive representations depicted in the graph. This interpretation is
supported by the theatrical actions to be performed by the musicians in many
of the pieces that are part of the legacy of Kagel's `instrumental theatre'. As a
consequence, `Osten', and Die Stu cke der Windrose in general, can be
understood as analyses of Western representations of otherness rather than
resembling such representations themselves. Applying this reading to Ex. 1
may result in seeing it as a parody of conventional klezmer arrangements, with
Authorial Discourse
Salon Orchestra Klezmer
Fig. 2 Musical Representation in `Osten'
Authorial Discourse
Salon Orchestra
Fig. 3 Three-level model of representation
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the salon orchestra trying to impose a stereotypical harmonic framework on the
klezmer, but never `getting it right'.
A Typology of Musical Representations
Ex. 1 is only one instance of representation in Die Stu cke der Windrose. A
typology of representation can be developed for the rest of the work by
distinguishing between different kinds and degrees of stylisation. In general,
musical references can be differentiated through three main parameters: the
duration of the reference in relation to the piece as a whole; the contrast
between the reference and its surrounding discourse; and the proximity
between reference and source. The last of these is the most crucial for a study
of cross-cultural representation, and is captured by the term stylisation. The
lowest level of stylisation (and the greatest degree of proximity) would be literal
quotation, the highest an abstract, almost imperceptible allusion. The
continuum between these poles can be divided into discrete stages.
With respect to Die Stu cke der Windrose, I distinguish between seven
different types of representation, based on five degrees of stylisation plus two
special types, and I believe that this taxonomy in modified form can be also
be used for other repertoire. The first type is literal quotation. There is only
one instance in Die Stu cke der Windrose, where it can be proved beyond doubt
that Kagel has employed musical material in its original form. This occurs in
`Osten'. Where Ex. 1 represented a free application of typical characteristics of
klezmer, other sections consist of melodies copied verbatim from a collection of
Yiddish folk tunes from the Ukraine recorded by the ethnomusicologist Moshe
Beregovsky during the 1930s, and more recently re-edited by Mark Slobin.
(If I speak of `quotation' in this context, it has to be borne in mind that the
performance of an ethnomusicological transcription obviously differs from the
Ex. 2 shows bars 1619 of `Osten' and Ex. 3 the respective transcription by
Beregovsky from which it is derived. The only differences as such in the
melody are the transposition and the closing figure (which Kagel uses as a
Vln, Vln,
Vlc., Harm.
Vla, Harm.
Andantino (MM = 72)
Ex. 2 `Osten', bars 1619
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motif that recurs in other parts of the piece). This is one of five tunes which are
quoted in direct succession and which constitute the middle section of the piece
(bars 1656 from a total of 92 bars). The source of the tunes is mentioned in the
sketch to the passage where all the quoted material is copied, also specifying
the titles and page numbers from Slobin's book. But as can be seen in Ex. 2,
Kagel makes no attempt to compose an `authentic' complement to his tunes;
neither does he adhere to the rather stale shock aesthetics of greatest possible
contrast which is often associated with collage techniques. Instead, he subtly
undermines the harmonic implications of the tunes, while at the same time
keeping their general character and rhythmic properties intact.
The intimacy of this dialogic interaction and the sense of identification of
the authorial discourse with the represented idiom subverts any dichotomy
between self and other, or foreign and own, to a far greater extent than any
`authentic' quotation or a straightforward `arrangement' could have done. The
effect is slightly paradoxical: whereas the quoted passages with their mildly
sentimental melodies on harmonically amorphous complements sound like
typical Kagelian inventions, the actual inventions such as Ex. 1 with its
stereotypical klezmerisms actually sound more other to Western ears.
reversal of self and other is one of Kagel's typical rhetorical strategies, as
witnessed in Exotica and Mare Nostrum, and can be seen to result from his own
biography: Kagel regards klezmer as an important part of his own Ashkenazi
The second type is what I call representation of genre. The most prominent
example of this type of representation is a tarantella at the beginning of `Su den'
which is meant to depict the Mediterranean. As Ex. 4 shows, this genre is very
closely adhered to by means of the distinctive 6/8 rhythm and the contour and
minor key of the melody. Nevertheless, there are distinct elements of stylisa-
tion which mark the tarantella as a represented discourse. The most obvious, as
so often, is the harmony: the melody is accompanied by heterophonic variants
of itself in parallel thirds which, although emulating tonal harmony, have
nothing to do with the harmony suggested by the melody. Cello and double
bass, meanwhile, are playing chords consisting of stacked fifths, whose roots
follow a twelve-note row (only the first three notes of which can be seen in the
example) and whose rhythmic structure is also serially derived. Less apparent
Aj, du forst a ve ket, un, aj, du forst a vek fun mir
26. Aj, du forst avek
Ex. 3 Beregovsky's transcription of a Yiddish folk tune, from Slobin (ed.), Old
Jewish Music, p. 339 (first line)
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is the modular structuring of the tune: in the sketches to the passage, Kagel
first set up different melodic modules of a dotted crotchet in length, which are
repeated different numbers of times according to a numerical series.
Thus, this passage is constituted by the rhythmic and melodic charac-
teristics of an Italian folk dance, heterophony in atonal harmonies, a twelve-
note row and numerical ordering techniques. As in the case of Ex. 2, the
dialogic interaction between the authorial and represented idioms does not
arise simply from the re-contextualisation of the tarantella element, in the
sense that one cannot just equate the represented discourse with the tarantella
idiom and the authorial discourse with the context. Instead, the melody itself
shows marks of the authorial discourse, and conversely the tarantella rhythm is
present in the complement, and takes hold in the entire piece.
Representation of genre is frequent in Die Stu cke der Windrose, and can
involve a variety of idioms and different degrees of stylisation. The tarantella
in `Su den' is a familiar dance form in Western concert music; the ragtime in
`Westen' is a similar example. However, there is also a danzo n (the Cuban
national dance) in `Nordosten', and a huayno (a dance of the Aymara in the
Andes of Peru and Bolivia) in `Nordwesten'. Whereas in the earlier cases there
is the possibility of coincidence between production and perception, the later
instances tend more towards covert allusions which can only be uncovered by
examining the sketch materials. The huayno illustrates how close representa-
tions of genre can be to their source: Ex. 5 presents an excerpt from `Nord-
westen' and Ex. 6 an ethnomusicological transcription contained in the sketch
Were it not for the harmonic context, this would be a re-
Allegro ( . = 120128)
St. Vln,
Vln, Vla
Vcl., Cb.
(arpeggios alternately upwards and downwards)
Ex. 4 `Su den', bars 14
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composition after a model. This may have something to do with Kagel's
partiality to the music of the South American Indians. As he explained in our
interview, he was involved in an ethnographical expedition in his youth, and he
continues to support the Amerindians' case as was already evidenced in Mare
Nostrum and Die Umkehrung Amerikas.
Ex. 5 from `Nordwesten' can also be used to illustrate the third type,
conceptual representation, which means the application of abstract structural
properties of a source music, not necessarily connected to idiomatic
semblance. A case in point would be Messiaen's use of Indian rhythm in
such pieces as Cante yodjaya (1948) and Turangal la-symphonie (19468),
which is employed as an abstract structural feature without the effect of
imitating the source music. In the case of Kagel's `Nordwesten', the feature
of South American indigenous music the composer specifically wanted to
employ was pentatonicism. However, there is again an element of harmonic
stylisation in that Kagel combines pentatonic scales on different tonics,
gradually reducing the level of dissonance from eight simultaneous modes to
one. In his programme note, he describes this as an `unblemished
multipentatonic style', by means of which he is `paying homage to a tonal
system that is certainly alien to us'. Pentatonicism, used in conjunction with
other tonal systems, is also an important element in `Su dwesten' which
represents Oceania. In both these cases Kagel refers to a long established
code of representing the source musics concerned. `Westen', by contrast, uses
St. Vln
arco ord., senza vibr.
, robust
Allegro (MM = 112120)
Ex. 5 `Nordwesten', bars 8592, standing violinist
Ex. 6 Helfritz's transcription of a huayuo of the Aymara , played by the quena (see
Helfritz, `Zu Besuch', p. 360)
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a multitude of less familiar African modes resulting in more esoteric allusions.
Exs. 7 and 8 present an excerpt from the piece and an illustration of the tonal
system of the Wagogo, a Tanzanian people, on which the passage is based, as
is apparent from a note to that effect in the sketch to the passage.
excerpt, with its striking similarity to Debussyian whole-tone scales in dense
canon, stands out from its context and is thus easy to identify as a represented
discourse, but what it represents specifically is almost impossible to decode
through listening alone.
Perceptual representation, the fourth type, describes idiomatic resemblance
rather than identical structural features, thus focusing on the `sound character'
of a music, its aesthetic effect. As a counterexample to Messiaen, one could cite
Boulez's extremely elusive evocations of gamelan, and African and Japanese
music in Le Marteau sans ma tre (1954) (both examples are on opposite points
of the scale; in most cases and certainly in Die Stu cke der Windrose there is a
degree of dialogue between conceptual and perceptual representation).
there is no similarity without difference, perceptual representations will mostly
appear markedly stylised. It is arguably the most common mode of appro-
priating foreign musics, from the exoticism of the eighteenth and nineteenth
centuries to Weltmusik. It is also ubiquitous in Die Stu cke der Windrose. The
most obvious instance is the klezmer adaptation in Ex. 1. As I have suggested,
the note repetitions between unaccented and accented semiquavers and the
slurring do reflect typical klezmer pieces and performance practice;
Beregovsky's collection which Kagel used shows an abundance of examples.
The augmented second is also a factual element of many klezmer modes, but
obviously not in such seemingly random transpositions as introduced by
Kagel. In this way, although Kagel's representation is based on certain
structural features of klezmer, there is no wholesale adoption of any such
features; rather, the music appears to imitate the general character of its source.
, dolce
poco sul tasto
Andantino (MM = 5863)
St. Vln, Vln
Ex. 7 `Westen', bars 1423
( - )
( - )
Ex. 8 Kubik's illustration of the tonal system of the Wagogo (see Kubik, Ostafrika,
p. 116)
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Other examples, such as jazz elements in `Westen' and references to
Caribbean music in `Su dosten', establish even more elusive connections to their
respective sources. This creates an analytical problem: it becomes increasingly
difficult to distinguish between authorial and represented discourses; in other
words, how does one decide whether or not a reference is being made?
Moreover, it is far from clear on what to base one's judgement the subjective
listening experience, authorial intention or structural affinities that can be
highlighted in the score. (My tacit method so far has been that all are equally
valid, and that the interest lies in their intersection.) But the analyst's loss is
arguably the aesthetician's gain in that the fascination of musical references lies
precisely in the subtlety of allusion, and in the shady no-man's-land between
what is `my music' (authorial discourse) and what is `your music' (represented
discourses) as well as their reciprocal assimilation. This may be why perceptual
representations have proved to be so attractive to composers.
A phenomenon related to conceptual representation is the fifth type, fictive
representation. This describes a reference to a non-existent source, such as
imaginary or invented folklore. More than the other types of representation,
fictive representation highlights the construction of the other, for instance in
the `exotic fantasy'. It is to this aspect that Kagel's aesthetics of the apocryphal
calls attention, as has already been discussed with respect to Kantrimiusik. In
our interview, Kagel explicitly stated that his aim was to reflect on the
`construction of the characteristic' and to create a `fata morgana' (a mirage). In
a subsequent telephone conversation, he also characterised his musical
representations in Die Stu cke der Windrose rather globally (and somewhat
misleadingly, as we have seen) as `imaginary regional folklore, which isn't
actually based anywhere'.
Apart from his critique of folkloristic simulacra,
evident in his ambivalent attitude to the salon orchestra, Kagel is generally
more interested in imagination, fantasy and potentiality than in the purely
factual. This can be witnessed in his close involvement with South-American
literature, notably the works of Jorge Luis Borges, as well as with later
developments often described as `magical realism'.
The clearest instance of fictive representation can be found in `Norden' in
which Kagel wanted to convey his experiences while reading Mircea Eliade's
account of Arctic shamanism
`without having ever heard a single note of the
original music', as he states in his programme note, so that `the music has no
connection to a physical experience or a recording, and therefore makes no
demands on authenticity'. The music has what can be described as a `folk-
loristic ring' to it, but there is no clear differentiation between authorial and
represented discourses, and identification of concrete sources for any of the
music remains elusive, even though the sketches show that Kagel did possess
information concerning Siberian chant, for instance. Similar cases abound in
`Su dwesten', but with the difference that large sections of the piece appear to
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be represented discourse due to their being clearly set-off from the rest of the
piece by means of both musical techniques (notably pentatonicism and intri-
cate rhythmic layering possibly a covert allusion to gamelan) and techno-
logical means (some of the music is played from tape to create aesthetic
distance and a sense of objectification). However, it remains unclear what this
discourse represents, or rather, it is clearly exposed as an illusion, particularly
through the use of the tape which, as Kagel specifies in the score, has to be
connected to an old-fashioned radio with poor sound quality an object that
has to be clearly visible on stage. Again, the elusive quality of the representa-
tion is not a result of a lack of knowledge on the contrary, `Su dwesten' is one
of the most meticulously researched pieces
but a deliberately apocryphal
fantasy calling attention to the constructedness of representation.
The fictive representation in both these pieces `Norden' and `Su dwesten'
is aided by illustrative representation, the sixth type. This concerns the musical
depiction of scenery, climate and culture rather than the intertextual reference
to music. Tone-painting is the most obvious technique in point, and Kagel
makes abundant use of it in these pieces: in `Norden' one can hear the crackling
and scratching of ice flows; and in `Su dwesten' there is what I hear as the
graphic depiction of a storm. Illustrative representation is a special case in my
typology, as it does not involve any reference to music (even imaginary music)
or differentiation between authorial and represented discourses. Nevertheless,
it is one of the means by which Kagel evokes a particular region and, by
implication, its culture.
Another special case is abstract symbolism, the seventh type. Comparable
with tone-painting, it is not concerned with imitating or referring to particular
musics and does not involve represented discourses. What is referred to by
abstract musical symbols is not directly apparent fromtheir sonic features: there
is no quasi-iconic resemblance as discussed above. For instance, Kagel has used
Neapolitan sixths throughout `Su den' to point to Naples as one of the
geographic centres of the piece, which most listeners are unlikely to recognise.
This sort of symbolism, often of a theatrical nature, plays an important role in
Kagel's engagement with the regions and cultures he represents in Die Stu cke
der Windrose. For example, in `Su dwesten' the percussionist's playing on
cushions functions as an imitation of the Tuvaluan practice of playing on mats
and thus symbolises poverty; the chopping of wood in `Westen' stands for
slavery; and many theatrical elements of `Norden' can be traced to Eliade's
Shamanism. Again, as a listener one cannot know this; these are private and
esoteric designations by Kagel only recoverable from the sketches, and one can
be quite sure that the composer is well aware that the passages discussed have
their own aesthetic effect independent of the meaning invested in them. Never-
theless, this symbolism is important supplementary information, evincing
Kagel's profound and multifarious engagement with the cultures he represents.
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Conclusion: Interpreting Representations
As I have shown, there is a great variety of cross-cultural musical representations
in Die Stu cke der Windrose. These involve different degrees of stylisation, and
range from concrete to abstract, close imitations to obscure allusions, long
sections or whole pieces to short local inflections. In most pieces there is a
network of different kinds of interacting representations at work. For instance,
the literal quotation of original music in `Osten' is reinforced and at the same
time contrasted with perceptual representations of the music in question,
composed in a hybrid of idiomatic features of klezmer stylised by Kagel's
compositional techniques. Longer pieces such as `Westen', `Su dwesten' and
`Norden' feature a complex web of often conflicting references. A further
difficulty in these pieces lies in the fact that they refer to more than one culture or
musical idiom, and depict a trajectory between different regions. On the whole,
however, each piece is concerned with one specific region or a musical journey in
one direction; there is no attempt to synthesise a greater number of musical
idioms in order to develop something like a `global music'. Although the
collection in its entirety may be interpreted as a step towards a broader
perspective, it is fair to say that the individual pieces are more concerned with
the local and particular than with the global and universal: they are characterised
by an `encyclopaedicity of incompleteness' as Kagel called it in our interview.
As has also become apparent, Kagel has used much specialist information in
his engagement with foreign cultures, which is often directly reflected in the
music, though not always perceptibly. I have already demonstrated the
influence of Beregovsky's collection of klezmer tunes on `Osten', Kubik's work
on African music on `Westen', Helfritz's transcriptions on `Nordwesten',
Eliade's study of shamanism on `Norden', and Koch's and Christensen's
account of Tuvaluan music and culture on `Su dwesten'. Other sources include
Claus Schreiner's and Alejo Carpentier's books on South American music,
and there is reason to believe that this is only the tip of the iceberg.
This detailed preparation and the sometimes remarkable accuracy of the
representation (details which are often lost on audiences) contrasts with
Kagel's playful and at times (seemingly) irreverent engagement with his source
materials. Kagel's emphasis is on an aesthetics of allusion rather than quotation
and reproduction, so that even the incorporation of original material should be
interpreted in the light of a discourse of the apocryphal. Although there are
prominent counterexamples (such as the klezmer quotations and some
conceptual representations), the majority of references are of an imaginative
rather than an ethnographic kind. Moreover, the more specific borrowings are
also of a broadly illusory nature and not to be understood as `authentic' (which
is probably why Kagel never mentions these cases in his programme notes). In
fact, the composer stated in our interview that he wished to `transcend the very
Music Analysis, 23/i (2004) Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2005
concept of quotation'. Rather than expressing indifference to the source
materials, this concern with the apocryphal should be seen as a musical critique
of the concept of `authenticity' and its representation.
The fascination of the pieces, therefore, lies in the intersection between,
firstly, a depiction of empirical reality, secondly, fiction, mimicry, illusion and
make-believe, and, thirdly, a reflection on Western musical representations of
otherness. It has also been demonstrated that Kagel places greater emphasis on
syncretism than on the supposedly `authentic' or `pure'. His dislike for the
term `purity', incidentally, goes as far as associating it with `fundamentalism'
and `fanaticism' (even when it is used in an aesthetic and not a racial context).
The resulting multifariousness of the work and its openness to different
interpretations activates listeners' own reflections, which is perhaps its most
distinguishing and admirable characteristic.
The network of representations I have described forms a polyphony of
musical idioms, which acts as a mimetic representation of the heteroglossia of
cross-cultural musical influences in real life. Due to the multitude of
references, the intimacy of the dialogic interaction and the different degrees
of stylisation, it will at times be difficult to distinguish between authorial and
represented idioms. I do not think that it is going too far to suggest that this
confusion concerning the essential question of `whose music is this?', which is
constantly raised, can be seen as a deliberate strategy to subvert the
essentialising distinctions between self and other. Listening to the pieces,
one is time and again struck by fleeting allusions and vaguely familiar passages,
but before one is able to `hunt the reference down' in the deeper recesses of
one's musical memories and internalised code systems, the passage is long over
and superseded by different, but equally evocative music (but evocative of
what?). In this way, the represented discourses are almost always stylised by
the authorial discourse just as the authorial discourse is inflected by what it is
representing. In short, the music is an intentional hybrid, in Bakhtin's sense.
Kagel's method of inventing folklore `more life-like than the real thing', as
he stated in his programme note to `Norden', further undermines the common
dichotomies between cliche and original, or invented and characteristic, such
as the fictive impressions of Oceanian music in `Su dwesten', which are
highlighted by technological means. Here again, the conceptual closeness of
Kagel's aesthetics of the apocryphal to Baudrillard's critique of simulacra is
evident. What seems to sound most typically other in Die Stu cke der Windrose
is frequently composed by Kagel, while more `original' music is often less
salient and will at times sound positively Kagelian (e.g. the conceptual
representation of the music of the Wagogo in `Westen'). Following Shklovsky's
observation that defamiliarisation lends significance, what is presented
according to our expectations will only reconfirm our conceptions, whereas
what is made slightly unfamiliar may trigger a reflective process.
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to Kagel's characterisation, this peculiar mixture of identification and
unfamiliarity, brought about by the stylisations discussed, provides an impulse
to `reflect on the complexity of cultural geography [which is] the most striking
aspect of the conception of the pieces'.
It is this reflexivity and the constant critique of essentialising constructions
of self and other which provide a way out of the impasse concerning the
representation of non-Western music I outlined at the beginning. Particularly
through the use of the salon orchestra as a mediating representational agent,
the representation of otherness becomes itself an object of representation. Also,
the use of triads in `Osten' and `Su dwesten', for instance, points to a stylised
representation of the Western tradition. Thus the self is othered, just as the
other appears surprisingly familiar. In `Osten', in particular, Kagel seems to
identify with what is supposed to be the other while othering what is ostensibly
the self.
This questioning of the self is also evident in the withdrawal of a `personal
voice' of the authorial discourse. Rather than subsuming appropriated idioms
under the umbrella of a personal style the typical charge regarding the
representation of non-Western music Kagel creates an essentially non-
hierarchical dialogue between different idioms, resulting in a music often
dominated by represented discourses, referring both to the external and the
tabooed internal other (the salon orchestra).
Thus, there are ways in which Western concert music engages with non-
Western traditions without resorting to simple appropriations or manifesta-
tions of hegemony. I do not think that Kagel is alone in critiquing Western
representations in his music Berio's Folk Songs (1964, orch. 1973) and Coro
(1974) present comparable examples nor is this necessarily the only strategy
to avoid exerting monologic control. But in order to discuss such subtle and
complex cases of cross-cultural representation, it is necessary thoroughly to
analyse the actual music. In the case of Die Stu cke der Windrose, the fact that
the music represents non-Western cultures may be very much on the surface,
but to describe what it represents and how, as I have endeavoured, requires
detailed analysis of the scores, and in this case particularly an in-depth
investigation of the sketch and manuscript materials. Without this, many of the
references would probably never have been uncovered. For the study of
musical representation it is therefore necessary to reconnect ideological
critique with more traditional musicological methods such as analysis and
sketch studies. An ideological critique that does not concern itself with what is
actually represented musically risks being as short-sighted as an analysis
undertaken in an aesthetic and ideological vacuum.
Music Analysis, 23/i (2004) Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2005
This article is a revised version of material that first appeared in my PhD
dissertation ` ``Transcending Quotation'': Cross-Cultural Musical Representa-
tion in Mauricio Kagel's Die Stu cke der Windrose fu r Salonorchester' (PhD
diss., University of Southampton, 2001). I should like to thank Richard Toop
for his valuable suggestions for improving the article.
1. Culture and Imperialism (New York: Knopf, 1993), p. 380.
2. From an interview with Max Nyffeler, `Fragen wird es immer genug geben:
Mauricio Kagel im Gespra ch mit Max Nyffeler', Lettre, 51/iv (2000), n. p.; part
of the interview was also published in Frankfurter Rundschau, 20 June 2000.
3. The traditional approach is most obvious in Peter W. Schatt, Exotik in der Musik
des 20. Jahrhunderts (Munich: Katzbichler, 1986) and Glenn Watkins, Pyramids
at the Louvre: Music, Culture, and Collage from Stravinsky to the Postmodernists
(Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 1994); multicultural approaches are predomi-
nant in Akim Euba and Cynthia Tse Kimberlin (eds.), Intercultural Music, Vol. 1
(Bayreuth: Breitinger, 1995) and Mervyn Cooke, ` ``The East in the West'':
Evocations of the Gamelan in Western Music', in Jonathan Bellman (ed.), The
Exotic in Western Music (Boston, MA: Northeastern University Press, 1998),
pp. 25880; and the postcolonial critique of representation is most notable in
Georgina Born and David Hesmondhalgh (eds.), Western Music and Its Others:
Difference, Representation, and Appropriation in Music (Berkeley: University of
California Press, 2000) and Timothy Dean Taylor, `The Voracious Muse: Con-
temporary Cross-Cultural Musical Borrowings, Culture, and Postmodernism'
(PhD diss., University of Michigan, 1993). For a more comprehensive biblio-
graphy on cross-cultural interaction in music see my ```Transcending Quotation'':
Cross-Cultural Musical Representation in Mauricio Kagel's Die Stu cke der
Windrose fu r Salonorchester' (PhD diss., University of Southampton, 2001).
4. Western Music and Its Others, p. 5.
5. `Musical Belongings: Western Music and Its Low-Other', in Western Music and
Its Others, p. 68.
6. Born and Hesmondhalgh, `Introduction', in Western Music and its Others, p. 16
(italics in the original).
7. Watkins, Pyramids at the Louvre, p. 31.
8. For a more balanced view, see for example W. Anthony Sheppard, Revealing
Masks: Exotic Influences and Ritualized Performance in Modernist Music Theatre
(Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001): `It is naive or at least a product
of wishful thinking to discuss cross-cultural encounters, borrowings, or appro-
priations without considering the attendant political ramifications and assump-
tions inherent in such transactions. Cross-cultural influence is never neutral,
although to say this is not completely to foreclose the possibility of mutual benefit
and respect.' (p. 10)
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9. In this article I shall use the original German title of the work, normally
abbreviated as Die Stu cke der Windrose. The main reason for this is that the
composer specifically wanted to retain the German title even in English texts, as
his replacing the translator's suggestion `Pieces of the Compass Card' with the
German title in the preface to the score of `Osten', the first of the pieces, makes
clear. This can be seen in a draft of the preface kept at the Mauricio Kagel
Collection of the Paul Sacher Foundation, Basle, where all sketch and manuscript
materials of finished compositions are housed. (There are various translations in
use, such as `Compass Pieces' in the CD booklet Mauricio Kagel 5. Stu cke der
Windrose: Osten, Nordosten, Nordwesten, Su dosten. Phantasiestu ck. Auvidis
Montaigne: (MO 782017), and `Pieces of the Compass Rose' by the publisher
at concerts.) For reasons of consistency, I shall also use the original German titles
for the individual pieces. Although the pieces are published separately, I refer to
them in single quotation marks, reserving italics for the title of the complete set.
10. See `Introduction', pp. 39 ff.
11. In an interview with me Kagel drew another connection by suggesting an analogy
between the external other and the tabooed internal `low-other' as Middleton
calls it (see `Musical Belongings'), stating that `one cannot divide music into
``noble'' and ``ignoble'' material. If you condemn the salon orchestra, you also
reject a great amount of folk music'. The interview was held in German, and the
translation is mine. A complete transcription as authorised by the composer can
be found in my `Transcending Quotation', pp. A24A35. An abridged version of
the original is also published as Bjo rn Heile, `Musik an der Grenze der
Empfindsamkeit', Neue Zeitschrift fu r Musik, 162/vi (2001), pp. 1620.
12. Kagel's programme notes are used for all performances of the work and for the
liner notes of the commercial recording Mauricio Kagel 5: Stu cke der Windrose
which contains the five pieces completed at the time of the production. They can
therefore be regarded as part of the work itself. I am using Richard Toop's
translation of the original German texts from the programme note to the concert
by the London Sinfonietta in the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, on 2 November
13. In the original version Kagel explicitly stated that he `sensed that [compass points
have] something to do with our conception of culture, [and] how we group
together and perceive foreign cultures'. The section was later revised, but the
composer gave permission to quote the original wording (telephone conversation
of 9 February 2001).
14. See Werner Klu ppelholz, Mauricio Kagel 19701980 (Cologne: DuMont, 1982),
p. 299.
15. In a typically postmodern twist, a recent recording with the Ensemble Modern
directed by Kagel (Koch Schwann Aulos, Ko 31 3912) features Asian musicians
imitating Asian music, rather like blacks performing in blackface.
For Exotica see Klu ppelholz, Mauricio Kagel, pp. 6972; Claus Raab, `Zum
Problem authentischer Musik: eine Interpretation von Mauricio Kagels Exotica',
in Wilfried Gruhn (ed.), Reflexionen u ber Musik heute: Texte und Analysen
Music Analysis, 23/i (2004) Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2005
(Mainz: Schott, 1981), pp. 290316; Peter W. Schatt, Exotik in der Musik; and
Peter Niklas Wilson, `Das andere als Fremdes und Eigenes: Die Neue Musik und
ihr Zugriff auf die Musiken der Welt', MusikTexte, 26 (1988), pp. 36.
16. The idea of Weltmusik is a fascinating example of cross-cultural transaction in
music, which unfortunately has been all but overlooked in the burgeoning
literature on the subject. For different approaches to Weltmusik see Karlheinz
Stockhausen, `Telemusik', in Stockhausen, Texte zur Musik 19631970: Ein-
fu hrungen und Projekte, Kurse, Sendungen, Standpunkte, Nebennoten, Vol. 3
(Cologne: DuMont, 1971), pp. 758; `Weltmusik', in Stockhausen, Texte zur
Musik 19701977: Werk-Einfu hrungen, Elektronische Musik, Weltmusik,
Vorschlage und Standpunkte, zum Werk Anderer, Vol. 4 (Cologne: DuMont,
1978), pp. 46876; `Hymnen Nationalhymnen (zur elektronischen Musik 1967)',
CD booklet Stockhausen 10. Hymnen, pp. 3145, reprinted in Rudolf Frisius,
Karlheinz Stockhausen: Einfu hrung in das Gesamtwerk, Vol. 1 (Mainz: Schott,
1996), pp. 273 ff; Henri Pousseur, Composer (avec) des identite s culturelles (Paris:
Institut de pe dagogie musicale et chore ographique, 1989); and Pousseur, `A Brief
Appraisal of an Investigation as Obstinate as it is Meandering', in Michel Butor et
al., Inter Disciplinas Ars (Leuven: Leuven University Press, 1998), pp. 4178. For
a critical introduction to the concept, see Peter Ausla nder and Johannes Fritsch
(eds.), Weltmusik (Cologne: Feedback Papers Studio Verlag, 1981).
17. Quoted in Klu ppelholz, Mauricio Kagel, p. 110.
18. For Kantrimiusik, see Klu ppelholz, Mauricio Kagel, pp. 1219 and Ge rard
Conde , `La Charrue avant les boeufs: essai sur Kantrimiusik', Musique en jeu, 27
(1977), pp. 5871, an appropriately funny `analysis' of the piece.
19. Quoted in Klu ppelholz, Mauricio Kagel, p. 123 (my translation, italics in the
20. On Kagel's serial tonality, see Werner Klu ppelholz and Mauricio Kagel, `. . ./1991:
ein Gespra ch zwischen Mauricio Kagel und Werner Klu ppelholz', in Werner
Klu ppelholz (ed.), Kagel . . . /1991 (Cologne: DuMont, 1991), pp. 2636 and
Wieland Reich, Mauricio Kagel: Sankt-Bach-Passion. Kompositionstechnik und
didaktische Perspektiven (Saarbru cken: Pfau, 1995). An early account of some of the
techniques involved is presented by Rudolf Frisius, `Komposition als Kritik an
Konventionen: Tendenzen in neueren Stu cken von Mauricio Kagel und ihre
Bedeutung fu r den Rudolf Musikunterricht', Musik und Bildung, 11 (1977),
pp. 600606. For a discussion of the aesthetic consequences of serial tonality, see
my `Collage vs. Compositional Control: the Interdependency of Modernist and
Postmodernist Approaches in the Work of Mauricio Kagel', in Joseph Auner and
Judy Lochhead (ed.), Postmodern Music/Postmodern Thought (New York:
Routledge, 2002), pp. 28799 and ``Kopien ohne Vorbild: Kagel und die A

des Apokryphen'', Neue Zeitschrift fu r Musik, 162/vi (2001), pp. 1015.
21. Quoted in Klu ppelholz, Mauricio Kagel, p. 129 (my translation).
22. See Klu ppelholz, Mauricio Kagel, pp. 1338 and Kagel, Das Buch der Ho rspiele,
ed. Klaus Scho ning (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1982).
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23. See Viktor Shklovsky, `Art as Technique', in Russian Formalist Criticism: Four
Essays, trans. and ed. Lee T. Lemon and Marion J. Reis (Lincoln, NE:
University of Nebraska Press, 1965), pp. 524.
24. For discussion of Kagel's aesthetics of the apocryphal, see my `Kopien ohne
25. See Jean Baudrillard, Simulacres et simulation (Paris: Galile e, 1981).
26. Many influential texts by Fanon and Said had appeared before this, but they were
yet to have a major impact on the general debate in Germany.
27. See particularly Bruno Nettl, The Western Impact on World Music: Change,
Adaptation, and Survival (New York: Schirmer, 1985) and Mark Slobin,
Subcultural Sounds: Micromusics of the West (Hanover, NH: University Press
of New England, 1993).
28. A prominent model for employing sketch studies for the analysis of cross-cultural
interaction can be seen in Richard Taruskin's discoveries of the sources to
Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring; see `Russian Folk Melodies in The Rite of
Spring', Journal of the American Musicological Society, 33 (1980), pp. 50143 and
`The Rite Revisited: the Idea and Sources of the Scenario', in Maria Rika
Maniates and Edmond Strainchamps (eds.), Music and Civilization: Essays in
Honor of Paul Henry Lang (New York: Norton, 1984), pp. 183202. It is all the
more surprising, then, that the value of such studies is not more generally
29. Bakhtin first developed his theory of dialogics in Mikhail Bakhtin, Problems of
Dostoevsky's Poetics, ed. and transl. Caryl Emerson, introduction by Wayne C.
Booth (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1984); the most condensed
and most widely read version of it is his `Discourse in the Novel', in The
Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays, ed. Michael Holquist, trans. Caryl Emerson
and Michael Holquist (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1992). In recent
decades, Bakhtinian dialogics has been among the most influential methods in
the humanities, as evidenced by a flood of publications. A concise introduction
to both Bakhtin's own theory of dialogics and later developments of it can be
found in Lynne Pearce, Reading Dialogics (London: Arnold, 1994). Among the
most far-reaching attempts to employ dialogics in musicology are Robert
Hatten, Musical Meaning in Beethoven: Markedness, Correlation, and
Interpretation (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994); Ken Hirschkop,
`The Classical and the Popular: Musical Form and Social Context', in
Christopher Norris (ed.), Music and the Politics of Culture (London: Lawrence
& Wishart, 1989), pp. 283304; and Kevin Korsyn, `Beyond Privileged
Contexts: Intertextuality, Influence, and Dialogue', in Nicholas Cook and
Mark Everist (eds.), Rethinking Music (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999),
pp. 5572.
30. See Edward Said, Orientalism, 2nd reprint with a new afterword (New York:
Penguin, 1995); `Orientalism Reconsidered', Cultural Critique, 1 (1985), pp. 89107;
and Culture and Imperialism.
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31. Bakhtin did not distinguish between author and narrator, which is an innovation
in later literary theory. Bakhtin's `author' would in most cases be called `narrator'
32. Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics, p. 195. `Double-voicedness' is elsewhere defined
as `discourse with an orientation toward someone else's discourse' (Problems,
p. 199).
33. This is clearly shown by Hatten's and Korsyn's applications of dialogics to
Beethoven and Brahms respectively: see Hatten, Musical Meaning in Beethoven
and Korsyn, `Beyond Privileged Contexts'. Furthermore, Leonard G. Ratner's
and Kofi Agawu's `topics' can be described as represented discourses, thus con-
firming the applicability of Bakhtinian thought to earlier repertoire; see Ratner,
Classic Music: Expression, Form, and Style (New York: Schirmer, 1980) and
Agawu, Playing with Signs: a Semiotic Interpretation of Classic Music (Princeton:
Princeton University Press, 1991). Representations of street music in Stravinsky,
Mahler and Ives are another field where a dialogical investigation may prove
34. See Shklovsky, `Art as Technique'. The reason for my preferring Bakhtin's term
over Shklovsky's has simply to do with consistency. There are grounds to believe
that Bakhtin was profoundly influenced by Shklovsky's concept.
35. This appears to be common knowledge but is also supported by the literature on
the subject, in particular by Karl Kogler, `Das Salonorchester: Entstehung,
Besetzung und Repertoire', in Paul v. Fu rst (ed.), Zur Situation der Musiker in

sterreich. Referate der Musik-Symposien im Schlo Schlohof (198992) (Vienna:

Institut fu r Wiener Klangstil, 1994), pp. 3936. See also Andreas Ballstaedt,
`Salonmusik', in Ludwig Finscher (ed.), Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart:
Allgemeine Enzyklopa die der Musik, 2nd edn., Vol. 8 (Kassel: Ba renreiter/Metzler,
1998), pp. 85467; Andreas Ballstaedt and Tobias Widmaier, Salonmusik: zur
Geschichte und Funktion einer bu rgerlichen Musikpraxis (Wiesbaden: Archiv fu r
Musikwissenschaft, 1989); and Tobias Widmaier, `Salonmusik', in Hans Heinrich
Eggebrecht (ed.), Handwo rterbuch der musikalischen Terminologie, Vol. 5 (1989),
pp. 116.
36. Mark Slobin (ed.), Old Jewish Folk Music: the Collections and Writings of Moshe
Beregovsky (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1982).
37. Is it therefore tongue-in-cheek when Kagel annotates his klezmer representation
of Ex. 1 with `inventado por mi' (sic) (`invented by me') in the sketch to the
passage the same sketch that contains the quotations?
38. See Max Nyffeler, `Fragen wird es immer genug geben', n. p.
39. The transcription is from Hans Helfritz, `Besuch bei den Hochland-Indianern:
Musik und Ta nze der Aimara und Quechuas'. The photocopy contained in the
sketch material does not indicate where the article appeared.
40. The transcription is from Gerhard Kubik, Ostafrika (Leipzig: Deutscher Verlag
fu r Musik, 1982), p. 116.
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41. The distinction between perceptual and conceptual representation is roughly
analogous to the one between `superficial' and `structural' influence drawn by
Steve Reich in his `Postscript to a Brief Study of Balinese and African Music', in
Reich, Writings about Music (London: Universal Edition, 1974), pp. 3840. I do
not follow Reich's value judgement, however.
In actual fact, conceptual and perceptual representation do not so much
represent different degrees but different kinds of stylisation. However, it seems
unnecessary to complicate matters further.
42. See Slobin, Old Jewish Music, pp. 146, 428, 438, 439, 464, 469 and 502.
43. Telephone conversation, 11 July 2000.
44. Borges himself is often described as a magical realist; in an influential article,
Angel Flores has even hailed him as the founder of the movement. This, however,
is disputed by other scholars; see Angel Flores, `Magical Realism in Spanish
American Fiction', Hispania, 38 (1955), pp. 18792; R. J. Christ, The Narrow
Act: Borges' Art of Illusion (New York: New York University Press, 1969),
p. 105; and Lois Parkinson Zamora and Wendy B. Faris (eds.), Magical Realism:
Theory, History, Community (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1995). I am
grateful to Pablo Jivotovschii and Mar a Angell for their advice on this question.
45. See Mircea Eliade, Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy (Princeton:
Princeton University Press, 1964).
46. The sketches show a reference to `Koch' which appears to relate to Gerd Koch
who wrote Die materielle Kultur der Ellice-Inseln (Berlin: Museum fu r Vo lker-
kunde, 1961) and with Dieter Christensen co-authored Die Musik der Ellice-
Inseln (Berlin: Museum fu r Vo lkerkunde, 1964). Many aspects of `Su dwesten' are
directly influenced by these books; for instance the use of the radio, annotated
with `acculturation' in the sketch, appears to relate to Christensen and Koch's
deploring the destructive effect of Western media on Tuvaluan music (Die Musik,
57), and the instrumentation of the piece is also partly derived from these
47. See Alejo Carpentier, La Musica en Cuba (Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura
Economica, 1956) and Claus Schreiner, Musica Latina: Musikfolklore zwischen
Kuba und Feuerland (Frankfurt am Main: Fischer, 1982).
48. Kagel made the connection during an unpublished discussion with David Sawer
in the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London on 13 October 1999.
49. See Shklovsky, `Art as Technique'.
50. Interview; see `Transcending Quotation'.
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