Aesthetics of Opacity and Transparence: Myth, Music, and Ritual in the Xangô Cult and in

the Western Art Tradition
Author(s): José Jorge de Carvalho
Source: Latin American Music Review / Revista de Música Latinoamericana, Vol. 14, No. 2
(Autumn - Winter, 1993), pp. 202-231
Published by: University of Texas Press
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Jose Jorge de Carvalho

Aesthetics of Opacity and

Transparence: Myth, Music,
and Ritual in the Xang6 Cult
and in the Western Art

In this article, I propose to present first an

ethnography of the musical life in the Xang6 cult of Recife, focus

primarily on the correlation between the various musical styles practice
and the organization of its complex ritual universe. Secondly, I will com

pare some classical ethnomusicological approaches to the understand
of traditional musical systems (as in the case of Xango music) with

proaches considered specific or exclusive for the understanding of West

music. In this context, I will discuss the analysis by Levi-Strauss o

musical theme of the tetralogy The Ring of the Nibelung by Richard Wag
as well as the principal theses of Max Weber, Theodor Adorno, and Fred

Jameson concerning the increasing rationalization of the technical

compositional procedures of modern Western music, seeking to reread a

of these ideas-strongly Western-in light of the Xango musical mater

Finally, through the articulation of these various ethnographic and inte
pretative schemes, I will attempt to offer a small contribution to a theor
the interrelations between myth, music, and ritual. My intention is to
continuity to the theoretical challenge proposed by John Blacking (1974
who advocated for ethnomusicology the role of enriching and suggesting
themes and central issues for the humanistic disciplines in general.

General Characteristics of the Xango Cult

The Xango cult of Recife pertains to the traditional Afro-Brazilian relig
standard, an equivalent except for some differences of the candombl

Bahia. The predominant African tradition in Recife is the Nago Nati
very similar to the Ketu Nation of Bahia.1 For the sake of the mus
discussion to be introduced here, I will very synthetically present

fundamental characteristics of the cult.

Latin American Music Review, Volume 14, Number 2, Fall/Winter 1993
?1993 by the University of Texas Press

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Jose Jorge de Carvalho : 203

The Xango belief system is based on three main categories of supernatural entities, with whom believers try to make contact by means of ritual
practice: the orixds, or "saints," who are deifications of natural forces; the
ori, or head, a type of individual vital principle; and the eguns, or ancestors.

The orixds function primarily as mediators between an abstract God
(nowadays assimilated to the Catholic God) and men. They are called
"saints" precisely because of their mediating role upon which the phenome-

non of syncretism, or the significant equivalence between the African
deities and some of the most idolized Catholic saints, was established.
The ori is an entity that fulfills a role analogous to that of the guardian

angel in Christian belief. Literally, ori means head, and while the orixd
belongs to an atemporal dimension (since it refers to a deity), ori is the
supernatural dimension of temporal life, possessing the same life span as

each individual.

The eguns are the souls of the dead, mostly of those who belonged to t
cult. Sometimes they interfere in people's lives and can appear to anyone
under the form of specters or disturbing entities. The cult of the eguns is
far the most secret part of Xango life; it is the exclusive responsibility o
the trustworthy men of the group, and women are only permitted to repl
to the song of eguns during the ritual. This great separation of the world
the eguns in relation to the rest of the system is also felt in terms of musi

as its music preserves very idiosyncratic traits in relation to other reper
tories of ritual music.

Ritual life is centered on three great areas of activity: (a) the sacrifices
of animals and the offerings to the orixas, the ori, and the eguns; (b) the
special rituals concerning the initiation process; (c) the great public festi-

vals, or toques, including those that close the initiation process and the
celebrations dedicated to the orixas, which are generally linked to the
Catholic calendar. In the same way that it is proper to qualify Xango as a
possession cult (for trance is undoubtedly the main mystical path offered
to the followers), it would also be adequate to call it a religion of sacrifice,
such is the intensity and quantity of sacrificial acts performed by members.

The three main sacrifice and offering rituals of Xango are: (1) obligation, or sacrifice and food offerings to the orixas. It is the most prominent

and frequent activity in any saint's house. It implies the articulation of
various and elaborate symbolic systems, such as colors, foods, songs,
material objects, invocations, and so on, molded on a very complex sequence of ritual acts. In practice, the obligation unfolds into various other

rituals, interdependent in execution and significance, meaning that a
certain obligation can last for weeks. For example, three days after the
main obligation, two complementary rituals occur that are of interest
because of their musical material. First the "saida do ebo" (or ebo removal),
also known as despacho, is a very important rite in Afro-Brazilian religious

tradition that consists of the removal and elimination of cooked foods and

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130. especially for its music. The fundamental. as a complete initiate. most secret or private initiation rituals are the "lavacao de cabega" (head washing). the Obori is one of the most beautiful rituals of Xango. This classical scheme of "rite of passage" ends. or settling of the saint) or "raspagem de cabeca" (head shaving). shoulders and arms. including dances and songs proper of the orixd who now govern his head. possessed by the orixa. with the purpose of introducing under the skin some prepared vegetable and mineral mixtures called axes. cuts are made on the head. there will be time for complementary rituals. At least once a year. (3) bale obligation (or bale sacrifice). The head of the neophyte and the stone of the saint are simultaneously washed in a liquid made of herbs and plants with various magic powers that belong to the orixds. as can be seen in Van Gennep's model with the aggregation phase. (2) Obori. which can or cannot be part of a public festival." With the exit of iao.jstor. Here the neophyte is secluded in a room where her hair is shaved. when the neophyte finally leaves the liminal state to be reintegrated into the community of followers. The novice remains in this secluded room generally for a month. a quite reserved yet musically rich rite centers basically on the figures of the orixas Exu and Osanyin and closes the entire offering cycle. preparing him/her to endure the possession by the orixd. and during this period she learns various kinds of information about the saint. with a razor. or the obligation to the eguns.143 on Fri. According to followers. or feeding of the head. 19 Aug 2016 16:55:47 UTC All use subject to http://about. animals are sacrificed and food offerings are made for the most important eguns of a cult house. the initiation cycle of a Xang6 adept is formally concluded. and then.204 : Xango Cult Music and Ritual animal parts left on the deposits of the orixds during the sacrifice. called the "Iyawo's . It is a sacrifice destined to strengthen the ori of the person. The "amarracao de folhas" (tying of the leaves). even if without the symbolic (or musical) power of the two maximum moments described above. or functional songs. making the person healthier. The vegetable world in general belongs to the god Osanyin and it is with his main plant that the ori of the neophyte is touched in the crucial moment of the washing. This final phase is completed with a great feast for the orixas.19. and at the same time. called "feitura de santo" (the making. a central act through which the orixd definitely settles in the ori of the person. Later. This opposition occurs both in terms of meaning and of performanc This content downloaded from 200. It could be rightly argued that a first contrast within the great divisio of Xango music consists in the opposition between the repertoire of prai songs for the orixds (of a public character) and the repertoire (of a priva character) of the songs that accompany specific ritual acts. to join the crowd of followers who sing an exclusive song for the occasion. in which the new iao (initiate) leaves the seclusion room ritually and in triumph. The head washing is immediately followed by a more secret and famous ritual.

especially during trance occasions. such as Xango. In the particular case of the orixas that "possess" followers. Iemanja. and Iansa. Oxum. they This content downloaded from 200. for example. the continuity and good flow of cosmic and psychic forces put in motion is assured.Jose Jorge de Carvalho : 205 Concerning the songs for the orixas (see Segato 1984). the capacity to project ascribed meaning in songs is very great. On the other hand. In other words. above all. The songs for the orixds are much more emotional. in general. for example. the members make their own translations. Although they no longer know the literal translation of the songs (almost all are spoken in the Yoruba language.19. and the interpretations are more general and homogeneous. these songs remain quite distant from the world of emotions that each ritual . There is a sort of musical indifference for these songs on the part of the followers and rarely do they show any variation of greater expressiveness in the way they sing them. thus. In the case of the most abstract orixas. The first two levels use parameters that reflect the way the followers themselves categorize their universe. when the presence of the gods is celebrated with joy. The first level of analysis refers to the first level of internal differen- tiation in which the followers speak of each ritual as a totality. members make many commentaries and appreciations. no longer used in the cult).2 First Level of Analysis: The Types of Rituals and Types of Songs I now turn to the musical organization of Xango rituals as revealed through three different levels of analysis. the functional songs cause less commentaries or "translations. Orixala. defining musically the personality of each orixd. Making use of a classical and well adapted opposition by John Blacking in How Musical is Man?. A second contrast between the two musical domains occurs at the level of performance. and energetic. is the situation and precise moment they must or must not be sung. there is no change in dynamics and the voices show hardly special inflection. 19 Aug 2016 16:55:47 UTC All use subject to http://about. dynamic. for each individual. they celebrate and guarantee the reward." and what is discussed.143 on Fri. based principally in certain associations and phonetic concordances with the Portuguese language. the purely ritual songs are always sung in the same way. as Orumila or Osanyin. the Obori. that the songs for the orixds are an example of "music for being. When the songs are repeated. can be seen as a musical unit." By means of concrete ritual acts. At a second level. while the third level involves a dimension of discourse we could call essentially analytical. of such a continuity.130." and those that go along with ritual acts are "music for having. Ogum. By means of the songs for the orixds. the profile becomes less individualized. or those simply not allowed to "possess" people (as Exu). one can say.jstor. Instead.

org/terms .130. 6. First. Putting together these levels.19.143 on Fri. I will first present the list of variables. 19 Aug 2016 16:55:47 UTC All use subject to http://about. including the subdivisions of a single type that would be relevant in differentiating a variation of a certain ritual from another. as well as some very rare songs that may remain unheard by the majority of members for as long as ten years (like the song for the sacrifice of turtles.206 : Xango Cult Music and Ritual speak of types of ritual songs. 3. through their specific repertoires. being cau- tious to include all possible cases of types of songs. Songs to kill animals during a common sacrifice Songs to accompany ritual acts during a common sacrifice Songs to spice up the offerings (or seasoning songs) Songs for eguns Songs for Orumila Ritual songs of obligation for Orumila This content downloaded from 200.3 (a) Obligation (normal sacrifice) for the saints (b) Sacrifice of a ram for Xango (c) Sacrifice of a tortoise for Xango (d) Sacrifice of a duck for Iemanja (e) Obori (/) Obligations for the eguns (g) Saida do ebo (or eb6 removal) (h) Amarracao defolhas (tying of the leaves) (i) Etutu (1) Obligation for Orumila (k) "Lavacao de cabeca" (or washing of the head) (/) Initiation ("making" or settling of the saint with head shaving) (m) Saida de iab (iyawo's exit) (n) Ose' (rice offering for Orixala) (o) Normal toque (p) Toque with a basket of offerings for Oxum (q) Toque with a pot of offerings for Iemanja Now. which accompany acts or sequences of acts that point out significant moments of a ritual as a whole or that identify. For example.jstor. 2. each orixd in particular. the songs for animal sacrifices admit many variations. we can construct a chart that shows clearly how the correlations between rituals and songs were formed in the history of the cult. For such purpose. 4. all the possible types of songs: 1. If we consider all the rituals of Xango and all the possible types of songs. an animal that is rarely sacrificed). the list of all the possible rituals in the life of the cult. 5. one can say that the identity of each ritual is recognized through the very particular manner in which different types of ritual songs are combined during their execution. or groups of songs (be they functional or praise songs).

Song for killing a ram for Xango 22. Agbe songs. I will show the musical material that appears in an Obori. Etutu songs 12. Songs for Osanyin 8. Song for killing a tortoise for Xango 23. Song to introduce Orixala in a public festival 19. Ibegi.130. 7. Oxumare. Songs to offer cooked foods (iyanle) for Xango 25.jstor. or songs of happiness and relaxation that are performed after the formal conclusion of a public festival 26. Eua. Praise songs in honor of the various orixads (Exu. Songs that end a public festival 18. Ia6's songs 13. 5. Ogum. Ebo's songs 21. Ori song that accompanies the offering of a fish A song for the killing of chickens Seven ori songs Seven songs to spice up the offerings An ori song Five songs for the orixd Orumila An ori song This content downloaded from 200. the following sequence is heard: 1. Praise songs for Xango that are sung exclusively on the occasion of a public feast 16. 2. Orumila) 15. . 19 Aug 2016 16:55:47 UTC All use subject to http://about. Ibegi. Ode.19. Songs for the ori 11. when only raw food is offered to the ori of the adept. Songs of rejoice 20. Ritual songs of the obligation for the Exu The possibilities of the expressive articulation of songs and rituals can now be better understood through the appreciation of the following correlation chart. a highly complex ritual. Oxum. following the chronological order of appearance of the songs. (a) In the first part of Obori.143 on Fri. Orixala. Songs specific for the amarrardo defolhas (including various other songs for Osanyin) 10. Song for killing a duck for Iemanja 24. To give a brief example of how distinct types of songs are combined in a single ritual. Songs to bid farewell to orixds at the end of possession 17. 6. Songs specific for the washing of the head (including another song for Osanyin) 9. 4.Jose Jorge de Carvalho : 207 7. Song for the "making" of the saint 14. Oba. Obaluaie. Iemanja. Xango. Nana.

we can deduct that every Xango ritual is unique as regards the musical character of its symbolic expression.:: xx xX x x x xX x X X s.' X :&'::~ x : X X . x x x (b) In are offered. the second part of th . only a single type characterizes This content downloaded from 200.19. for it is introduced exclusively at the end of the ritual. *. . An ori song 11.. Eight ori songs 9.. A fraternization and conclusion song Here we can observe how five different types of songs are combined in an Obori so as to produce a quite complex result.130. Five songs for Orumila 10..143 on Fri. 19 Aug 2016 16:55:47 UTC All use subject to http://about.. x 19 X x x X X X x X -S$:x *.208 : Xango Cult Music and Ritual Correlations Between All Rituals (letters) and Song Types (numbers) :. the musical material now intensifies these differences. after the second part which is but a mere repetition of the first.. An initial important conclusion we can draw from the correlation chart indicates that each ritual possesses at least one type of song that belongs to it specifically. xx . x X X X X X X X X X X X a::. it increases the degree of information of the event). Another relevant observation is that there are very few types of songs introduced in each new ritual.17. Also. .: X x ^tx ~~~~~x ..i' :l ex x x x:. From this. In general. one should point out that the last song adds an element of surprise (in other words. If other levels of symbolism already distinguish each ritual from the others..jstor..

sung immediately before the head of the neophyte is washed. two complex rituals that imp a greater communal participation. In the iyawo's exit. thus. repeated throughout the whole event. In fact. 19 Aug 2016 16:55:47 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor. and because it is based mainly on the neophyte. From this point of view. In the third place. th most secret of all the activities of the cult is. out of the entire repertoire of Xango that the initiated follower will hear. The initiation ritual (the settling of the saint) has only one specific song. This fact. it excludes almost entirely the collective orientation that other rituals display. a single new song appears. although it . from the first to the last o the rituals. reinforces its unique position within the total set of ritual chants. the correlation chart enables us to realize that certai rituals are constructed with a greater number of song types than others. who is transformed into the main vehicle of symbolic expressions. the most homo geneous in terms of music and the one that contains less song types (only two). that a person can experience and absorb the complete range of Xango music. sung by the community especially for him. centered primarily on the individual. The obligation for the saints and the Obori. as in the previous case.130. This leads us to conclude that there is a high level of redundancy in the music of the Xango ritual system. it only shares one type of song with other rituals-the so of rejoicing. articulate a great number of song type We can also see clearly that the most spectacular and attractive rituals of the cult (the great celebration for Oxum and Iemanja and the iyawo's exit with which the initiation culminates) are precisely the rituals that presen a greater variety of types.143 on Fri. a follower who has ju arrived to the ceremony gains a new fragment of musical information in each new ritual in which he participates. the only time in life. Finally (and despite all the previous discussions) it is significant to note that the three principal songs of the three initiation rituals are the only songs. This content downloaded from 200. the general musical information is distributed more or less evenly along the entire music system. and it is only through participation. This is more comprehensible if we keep in mind that the ritual activity in itself is extremely brief. On the other hand. the obligation for eguns.Jose Jorge de Carvalho : 209 a differentiation between two distinct rituals. it is composed of a diversified musical material. As for the head washing. at the same time he reinforc the knowledge of the musical material to which he had already bee exposed in previous rituals. coincidentally. many songs are performed during this ritual. In this way. obviously. nevertheless. despite the dozens of songs in honor of all the orixds which are sung in many other rituals.19. and that the musical identity of a ritual is generally given by th presence of a single diacritical sign. all the symbolic action centers around a single song (to which I shall refer later).

this simila gives it a special distinction within the Xango repertoire that. the gen musical character of this ritual varies according to the saint of the pers whose head is being washed. it is only in this ritual that the voices of the choir are united. its musical material will depend largely on which specif saints receive a sacrifice during a particular celebration. w the women. At any rate. within the binary signature which does not exist in any ot This content downloaded from 200. is sung entirely in Yoruba. (a) The obligation for the saints. it possesses characteristics th differentiate it a great deal from other rituals (as for example. also called the bale room). to Gregorian Chant (although I have no way of know if this is due to any influence of Western music). corresponding obligation should end at a climax with lively songs. seen as a whole. the men sing from within a secret room (the room of the dead.19. is more than sufficient to disting this ritual from all others. Dozens of songs in honor of the saints are interpos with functional songs that are synchronized with the diverse ritual act For this reason. the majority of the songs for the eguns possess a very pa ticular meter.jstor. In terms of music. all based on the anhemito pentatonic scale. Nevertheless.143 on Fri. Specifically in this ritual. This separation of the sexes affects the relative he ing of the chants: the men hear their voices loudly and the women's barely audible. On the other hand. No other ritual presents such musical contrasts directly related w execution (such as . we m remember. The extremely slow tempo of songs for the ori. for whom the bale is a taboo. and shouts. in it performance style. clapp loud singing. if the last to receive offerin is Orixala (a calm saint). (b) Obori. Just as in the obligation for the saints. combined. and vocal tension). I will succinctly descri the principal musical characteristics of each ritual. Besides. while the women hear their own voices high and the me very low. enhancing almost perfect unisonous singing. the prese of more than a dozen songs for Osanyin. the music will probably end in a calmer stat spirit. They are formed normally by binary and ternary divisio that. intensity.210 : Xango Cult Music and Ritual Second Level of Analysis: The Musical Characteristics of Each Ritual After reviewing the combination of song types. which is practically exclusive of the chants for this orix Moreover. thus conveying general impression of a recitative. 19 Aug 2016 16:55:47 UTC All use subject to http://about. Finally. it is one of the m varied of all rituals. Thus. The music of the Obori is very similar. do not present a definite measure. the songs for Osanyin tend to use anticipations and rhythmi syncopations.4 (d) Head washing. this ritual includes the o song in all of the Xango repertoire that is sung exclusively by men. For exampl Xango (an introverted orixa') is the last saint to receive a sacrifice.130. repetition. respond to the chants from t other side of the wall. (c) Obligation for eguns.

(b) an assump tion. equally necessary. One of the most convincing applications of the interrelation between anthropology and musicology is still found. we must select from the purely technical elements we use for a classical musico logical analysis (such as interval statistics. the key song of this ritual is surrounded by an atmosphere of expectation and contained emotion that makes its performance a ritual act of specially unique significance. We have been able to detect. it is the use of a certain scale. amongst which dynamics. United by Music Until this point I have applied the classical ethnomusicological method developed mostly in the 1960s by authors such as Alan Merriam (1964 and masterly exemplified by the studies of John Blacking of the music of the Venda of South Africa. 19 Aug 2016 16:55:47 UTC All use subject to http://about. analysis of harmonic structures. For such purpose. intensity. This content downloaded from 200. the musical parameters that reveal this singularity vary significantly from one case to another.jstor. in my opinion. or even the mere presence or absence of certain musical instruments seem to be crucial. in Blacking's Venda Children s Songs (1967). frequently formulated in religious. from the musical point of view. it is the presence of a certain type of recitative rhythm to the chants. and rhythmic and melodic cells) those parameters which most fit the musical distinctions and evaluations made by followers of the style. not only must one proceed from native categories (which is what every anthropologis does). parameters relate more directly to the musical performance. The basic assumption is that such distinctions.Jose Jorge de Carvalho : 211 type of Xango music. production and vocal integration. in each one of the mentioned rituals. with the leader striving to emphasize musically the unique character of each iyawo's exit. that is interpreted always in a dramatic way. as I will try to show further on). even though the native vocabulary uses expressions taken from cultural domains apparently distant from the musical language.19. where he molded wha he called the cultural analysis of music. (e) Iyawo's exit. Third Level of Analysis: Divided by Ritual. In others.130. Lastly (and maybe the most important factor. Because this is a very special class of public celebration. I will briefly repeat some of the basic points of this approach: (a) a basic structuralist assumption of th integration and internal coherence of a musical tradition. so far. called the iyawo's song. in . identification of modes. That is. On the other hand.143 on Fri. In some rituals. but also give credit to the capacity of the participants of any musica tradition for being able to analyze their own music. the existence of singularities. it includes a long presentation of dozens of chants in honor of all saints. It also includes a very special chant. that the native categories of music are in some way compatible with what we define as analytical categories.

pitch. and other essentially musical terminology. as the first song of the ebo removal. economic. but describe both the music and its cultural basis as interrelated parts of a total system"5 (Blacking 1971:93). Finally. It is also present. it is organized in such a way as to confirm and stress these symbolic divisions.130. The novelty of the ethnomusicological approach (and Blacking's contribution has been fundamental here) argues for the utility of selecting analytical parameters suggested by the same society whose musical tradition one is studying. Not always is the most technically complex or difficult analysis the most sensible to the context of the music we wish to comprehend. I named it a key symbol because it penetrates all internal divisions of the entire complex of rituals that expresses the relation of the followers with the saints. a vast repertoire of songs. instrumentation. exactly in the same way. I was able to realize that one song (and only one) was repeated. However. We saw how the Xango rituals draw a systematic outline of the supernatural universe. for they usually favor certain aspects that were historically relevant for the consolidation of the Western musical tradi- tion (like the harmonic structure). and then analyze the style in terms of rhythm. As for the musical material. manipulating. such as those related more directly to the process of musical organization and performance. I think that one of the central objectives of a musical analysis sensitive to ritual context could have been fulfilled with the description presented up to this point. it also appears with some changes in the amarrafao de folhas. frequency of ascending and descending intervals. which I denominated as the key symbol of this ritual system (Carvalho 1984). especially the functions of the different entities and their magic . by means of an even play of repetition and innovation (as one can see from the correlation table). tone. the criteria for the use of systems of musical analysis must be contextually redefined. In agreement with such an approach. If we consider the sequence of initiation to the cult as a slow and steady absorption of a great symbolic plane.143 on Fri. This song. It is the task of the analyst to identify this musical domain that is metaphorically expressed or concealed under other symbolic domains. The purpose of cultural analysis "is not to describe simply the cultural background of music as human behavior. with minimal variation. are capable of being translated into some domain of Western musical theory. with a different text. or kinship terms.212 : Xango Cult Music and Ritual political.19. is that sung at the crucial moment of the head washing. to one of the songs used at the moment of spicing the food offerings present in the obligation to Orumila and in Obori. we see that this song is This content downloaded from 200. From this approach. in more than one different ritual. It is also identical. some time after having practically concluded my analysis of this music.jstor. Even the supposed complexity of some methods (such as those of Kolinski and Schenker) is almost always partial. 19 Aug 2016 16:55:47 UTC All use subject to http://about. in detriment of others which are relevant to other traditions.

this remarkable song seems to function as a leitmotiv. cannot last forever and must b eliminated at the end of a certain period so as to prevent its effect from becoming negative. with a modulation that permits a momentous impression of bitonality does not have a parallel counterpart in the Xango repertoire. reflecting compositional processes that ar extremely distinct from each other (it provides the contrast to the songs fo ori. For a repertoire of 182 songs. it reappears once again as the first song of the ebo removal. because it is such an important song. Later on. and thus only a few know by memory the three song based on this melody. the songs of Osanyin). the register chosen is deep in relation to the normal register of th female voice). so that the lowest note of the melody (a fourth lower than the initial note) sounds more spoken than sung. there are other ritual mechanisms that help to conceal the similarities. 19 Aug 2016 16:55:47 UTC All use subject to http://about.143 on Fri. First. its great ascending and descending intervals conceal very subtly the most obvious effect of a pentatonic melody (exactly what identifies. Much later. it presents som unique musical characteristics. which it helped generate and concentrate in previous moments of the cycle. Significantly. Finally.jstor. each one executed in very distinct rituals. the song appears again. after the person has prepared his or her ori and made offerings to the orixd. It must b noted that it is always sung at a low register (when a woman leads th singing. we can observe that. on the other . Therefore. during the amarrafao de folhas. Besides. which is infused in plants that carry the power of the orixds. this song and its repetitions or variations form a group within the total repertoire.19. it can be argued that the degree of redundancy of three repetitions is very low. For all this. temporally displaced and perhaps similar to each other. This content downloaded from 200.130. as I will show next. as sort of reminder that the ritual force. for they are the only ones to introduce this parlando effect upon a single not In short. when the cycle of offerings and sacrifices related to initiation has ended. and Osanyin transcribed at the end to notice the differences). at the beginning of this initiation process. 6 song as a reference. there can be no return from a lifelong compromise with the saints. it is performed in its most dramatic form right before the head is bathed in the sacred liquid. Its presence here is a clear sign that.Jose Jorge de Carvalho : 213 presented to the neophyte in the Obori. Besides. the melodic progression it presents in the secon part. although it is composed without semitones. producing a subliminal sense of musical unity for a repertoire that seems to be in fact quite internally sectionalized. three times. Numerous factors contribute to disguise or hide this melodic identit within the repertoire as a whole. for a common member of the cult. it is necessary to observe that only a minority of the most important followers of the cult know in detail th amarrafdo defolhas. Taking the No. it is a matter of three simple songs. from this moment on. eguns.

the act of humming is equally remote to the musical behavior of followers of the cult. This means that it is possible to apply to the musical tradition of Xang6 Suzanne Langer's hypothesis that in a song. as for ritual songs. As if these factors would not suffice.jstor. nobody whistles in a Xango house. From Song to Melody Putting into practice the basic ethnomusicological attitude I discussed previously-that is. Even the (supposedly) purely musical meaning is varied. And let us remember that whistling is a type of activity that can become analytical. The only songs that are sometimes sung out of context are some songs of celebration and praise to the orixds. The sum of all of these factors contributes in concealing the only melodic repetition in a repertoire of more than 180 songs. there are other forms of inhibition linked to ritual organization.19. What is similar.130. the most important factor in all of this is perhaps that. but that can surpass 300 if we include numerous songs for the orixds that are also present in private rituals. Nevertheless. since whistling is a taboo for Osanyin. and remembered in relation to the song that immediately preceded it and to that which follows it in the established ritual order. no one sings them out of their specific context. which introduces a level of analysis that has no equivalent in native discourse. 19 Aug 2016 16:55:47 UTC All use subject to http://about. which reinforces textual memory. in the need of singing the texts correctly. performed with all their idiosyncratic ingredients. purpose. and significance. Complementing this taboo. more directly linked to the use of musical language: the songs are tied to the contexts of rituals where they appear. as it permits an independence from the text and an appreciation of the pure movement of the notes. in other words. In addition. for the same melody will be sung. whistling allows us to produce melodies. We can add other factors. both individual and collective. the mnemonic process itself works against a musical association made purely at the level of notes or melodies.214 : Xango Cult Music and Ritual It has been stressed that this is a frozen musical repertoire (for at least half a century no new songs have been composed in Yoruba in Recife) and that it runs a constant danger of de-characterization due to loss of . which are more easily comparable with each other. heard. for us. supernatural. from a native point of view. such as emotion. With such a great importance given to the text.143 on Fri. is the melody. words are nothing more than elements of the music (Langer 1953).6 Much emphasis is placed. the songs are distinct because their texts are distinct. adhering to the cult members' way of being musical-I This content downloaded from 200. especially because they belong to a language that nowadays is exclusively ritual (more or less equivalent to what the Latin language used to be in a Mass during a Catholic service). therefore.

if I can offer my own synthesis of a vast number of more or less kin theories about the symbolic field. I must now admit that the key symbol is only song No. a color. but a mere reiterating sign.7 From the already known to what is yet to be known.130. confirm perfectly Victor Turner's formu- lation. most of which are unknown (although knowable) to the subject. of the symbol as "pieces of recollection. into that which was only implicit before-when not into revelation itself. Despite this effort. In this context. beyond the diversity of specific ritual activities of the cult and despite the apparent unconsciousness of members as to the meaning of this symbol. taken from Plato. as they expressed a profound unity. 6 as a symbol. condenses. I will give a concrete example of this activity that integrates symbolic imagination. I define a symbol-a flower. a work. which certainly is articulated with other signs to form the structure of rituals. If we should want a semiotic parallel for this situation.143 on Fri. is adequate and revealing. I named them the "key symbol" of the ritual system. from the known dimension that other levels of association and meaning can emerge (thus the essentially polysemous character of the symbol). a song-as a type of sign that possesses at least one dimension of incognito.Jose Jorge de Carvalho : 215 was able to learn how to sing and to accompany with drums the entire repertoire of the cult. without being This content downloaded from 200. it is the symbolic that integrates. about the capacity of the ritual symbol to integrate opposite or even contradictory meanings. Not surprisingly. an image." that is. while the diabolic is what separates and disunites (Souza 1980: 83-84). of song . rhythm. these conceptions. however. 6 (Osunbaoro). As a matter of fact. which led me to decontextualize the ritual songs so as to analyze them intrinsically. Upon discovering the melodic identity of these chants.jstor. It is. derived from the purely speculative practice of these two philosophers. for it has a special expressive value from the native's point of view. extracted from his experience as an ethnographer. However. 19 Aug 2016 16:55:47 UTC All use subject to http://about. I was only able to discover this melody exactly when I ceased guiding myself by the native criteria of musicality and started to develop a purely formal level of search. and leads us to reach into the realm of surprise-or at least. we could say that this melody is to the songs just as the phonemes of a language are to a speaker who combines them in an identical manner on homonymous words. melody. in a cryptic dimen- sion. and so on. Eudoro de Souza's formulation. an object. The melody common to these songs is not a symbol from the native's point of view. It coincides in essence with Gadamer's formulation.19. although not forming part of a larger play of meaning that these rituals establish. in terms of tone. the other songs have a lesser symbolic value and are nothing but semiotic versions. as something with which what used to be united and later was separated by forgetfulness (which is a form of unconsciousness) is finally recognized. to the effect that the symbolic is what unites and integrates.

between gold. transformed in distinct moments of a complex . There is also the woman. and the woman are the same thing. there is a treasure that must be removed or diverted. inevitably reminds us of the famous Wagnerian leitmotiv. we can accept the equivalence that he suggests as plausible. and piling them together. 19 Aug 2016 16:55:47 UTC All use subject to http://about. the sword buried inside the tree by Wotan is finally found by Siegmund. Then. the sword. which he did not consider and which allows us to evaluate the relevance of the results of his analysis. A comparative example is the analysis by Levi-Strauss of the theme of renunciation of love present in The Rhinegold and The Valkyrie. in an attempt to understand them as if they were structurally one and the same event. in the sense of collective). Through the analysis of the story's plot and utilizing the repetition of the theme as the conductor of the reading. However. and the interpretations formulated by the four generations of appreciators of the work. if the relation revealed by him is also symbolic and not merely semiotic).143 on Fri. In principle.130. and the woman (that is. Levi-Strauss concluded that the gold. which Alberich conquers after abdicating love. although considered under distinct points of view. Brunhilde. confined by her father Wotan inside a fire circle. there is another issue. It seems important just to emphasize that what he revealed to us was the logical connection between the three diverted treasures. I decided to include his analysis because it exemplifies very well the utilization of a musical action as a guide for reading. In my view this task has yet to be undertaken. in the strict mythical level.216 : Xango Cult Music and Ritual permanently conscious that the same linguistic material generates profound differences in meaning. cultural. relevant medieval symbolism. Because the realm of great structures is par excellence the realm of the unconscious (in principle. a mythical action). This is not the adequate place for an extensive discussion of the merits or mistakes of Levi-Strauss' interpretation. the first two parts of the tetralogy The Ring of the Nibelung. the sword. beyond mere appearance. Every time the renunciation theme is heard. as long as it refers to a sym- bolic field of which the anthropologist participates as a native. if there is a significant relation. was always capable of consciously controlling the placement of the leitmotiv? This content downloaded from 200. as the creator of a gigantic structure as The Ring of the Nibelung. who is saved by Siegfried.19. who is in turn disguised as Gunther. 8 His method con- sisted in pulling together the three mythical events where such a theme is present. Levi-Strauss concluded. it could only be shown through more specific research about the explicit intentions of Wagner (extensively formulated in numerous theoretical essays). The use of a returning melodic theme. very distinct and chronologically distant in the plot. found in literary sources from where many concatenated stories of the plot arise. an action that takes place in another discursive level (in this case. is it possible that Wagner himself.jstor. The first is the gold buried in the Rhine.

the force that the orixcs hold and concentrate in the ritual). there is a preparation of what we call a magic potion (a plausible translation for axe. we can proceed in an identical form and superimpose the three ritual situations in which the melody is sung. which I will develop further on.JoseJorge de Carvalho : 217 When Levi-Strauss tells us that he tried to show "hidden parallels or oppo- sitions" (1985: 236). (b) Osunbaoro . about the utility of continuing to apply the structural analysis (of which the main results until now have come from studies of savage thought) of the comprehension of individual works that were constructed by creators who perfectly dominate structural reason. the axe.9 Returning to the Xango melody. he seems to suggest that Richard Wagner was also overtaken by the vast myth he proposed to narrate and ended up individually reproducing the collective cultural logic.washing the head of the neophyte (head washing ritual) In this activity.placing honey in the offerings (in Obori and obligation rituals) Emixaloke emixalokum .ebd removal All the liquid utilized. once worn-out of its power.130.jstor. and musical themes. by hiding some profound relations between narrative episodes. (c) Edimo edimece .org/terms . thus. which had been gathered before. obligation and tying of leaves Ritual Value (b) Head washing / (c) Ebo (a) Preparation of axe Key Melody Magical Value (b) Activation of axe (c) Elimination of axe (a) Infrequent performance \ Medium dramatic tension Musical Value (b) Individual performance High dramatic tension (c) Routine performance Low dramatic tension This content downloaded from 200. is converted into a polluting remnant and must be thrown away. characters. 19 Aug 2016 16:55:47 UTC All use subject to http://about. is now activated in the follower's head.mixing water and sugar in the offerings (in the amarradao defolhas) In both activities. Let us organize. the appearance of the songs in the following way: (a) Ebatold ebato . This issue takes us to another. I synthesize the fan of symbolic associations condensed by the melody in the following chart:?1 (a) Obori.143 on Fri.19.

The reaction of the receiver to the work (whoever it is) is to try to understand how it was composed from a formal and technical point of view. is much more than chance. is based on a much more intense degree of rationalization and self-consciousness than that of the Xango tradition-or even the majority of other musical traditions. and musicologists. That such a central and important song is so elegantly obscured. Maybe the Xango musical aesthetics can become clearer if we compare them to modern Western musical aesthetics. Complementing Weber's reasoning. it is understood that each new musical piece brings a certain degree of creation (however small) and the aesthetic impact of the work is linked to the mystery (or secret) of how it was composed. instrumentalists.. still remain to be explored. intensify the enjoyment. this is due to the specific way in which this tradition deals with issues of creativity. indirectly and thoroughly narrates all the course covered by the axe of the saint. enables a deritualization of a repertoire wherever it comes from and its analysis from a strictly formal point of view. the energy that permeates the life of the cult and that is the source of its religious efficiency. All of this would This content downloaded from . 19 Aug 2016 16:55:47 UTC All use subject to http://about. of a purely theoretical character.19. one could say that the Western discussion about music always leads to a discussion of fundamentals. i. according to the initial proposal." If we remember the brilliant study of Max Weber of the development of classical Western music (Weber 1953). especially in twentieth-century music.143 on Fri. mainly because musicology as a science (and consequently ethnomusicology. common to com- posers. In my understanding. In the universe of Western musical values.jstor. as if this operation was just another type of musical activity. we realize that this musical tradition. the only one that repeats itself in the Xango repertoire. which grew at the core of the very same culture that propelled the scientific spirit. Both the process of composition and the manner of reception of a new composition. to the point where its repetition is only perceived through a great analytical effort. which allows us to explore this musical tradition) evolved along with and parallel to the development of compositional techniques at the end of the nineteenth and mostly throughout the twentieth century. innovation. or at least.e. and efficacy in the field of music. conductors.218 : Xango Cult Music and Ritual We can thus reveal a plan of equivalencies in meaning that had not appeared at the levels of analysis discussed above. This melody. Some issues. The analytic rationalization. convinced that this comprehension is what will enable the aesthetic enjoyment. undergo this rational operation that I call revision of foundations. Ritual Power and Musical Mystery So far I exposed the three levels of analysis of the Xango musical material.

with little redundancy). (1974: 21) The counterpart of this vertiginous loss of efficiency is the need to invent structures and compositional processes ever more unusual. principally since the period of Romanticism. yet having grown familiar and tolerable over the years. Once the structures generated by opposition to the existing ones become excessively original (that is. Thus.19. obscure. from its initial utilization in Wagner's compositions at its inception expressed unresolved pain and sexual longing. but rather as an end to be pursued in its own right" (1974: 19). or better. as a manner rather than a concrete experience of negation. The musical effects start to age and become obsolete in an ever more accelerated pace. the revelation of the technical-formal structure of the piece threatens to render as banal (banal employed here in the sense of predictable. "not as a relatively secondary and natural by-product. a serial work. part of its charm. this same discourse contributes in making it obsolete. on the other hand. for it exposes part of its compositional secret. As Fredric Jameson (creative interpreter of the musical ideas of Theodor Adorno) affirms.Jose Jorge de Carvalho : 219 be simple and trivial if it did not interfere with other values of this same culture. as opposed to new information) its principal pretensions of originality.130. now renewed and supposedly with technical-formal originality. One good example of this is the discussion of the process of corrosion of the aesthetic and psychological impact of the diminished seventh. a certain concept of form.jstor. unsuspected. the aesthetic novelty comes to be considered. Another consequence of this fight against banality is the rapid increase in the number of discourses and theoretical explanations about the new compositions. It is indispensable for the work to reach the public. it now stands as a mere period sign of feeling and emotiveness. a certain disposition of sounds. the yearning for ultimate release as well as the refusal to be reabsorbed into bland order. But here. to guarantee a new aesthetic appeal through novelty. and any attempt to repeat or imitate is not efficient. the composer decodifies the new work produced by his predecessor. and so on) weakens the efficacy of its message as an artistic piece. make them clearer so that the receiver can assimilate them. This is why (especially after Wagner.143 on Fri. it is necessary to speak of them. the discovery of the "secret" of the musical work (suppose. whose theoretical writings are quite vast) it is not possible to separate Western music from writings about it. 19 Aug 2016 16:55:47 UTC All use subject to http://about. That is. for it makes its internal law accessible to . Taking recent examples. and offers in exchange his own structure. let us think of the volume of Karleinz Stockhausen This content downloaded from 200. technically difficult. the ana- lytical discourse enters in the music in an absolutely paradoxical and almost aesthetically suicidal way. At last.

Thus. in a sense. thus. in this new music. Before this process. twentieth-century art was capable of bringing to discussion the absolute hegemony of reason (1984: 102-103). modern music was converted into one of the main examples of how art functions in a "discursive society. other musical traditions exist (such as the Indian. If This content downloaded from 200. I could accept his arguments as long as they would refer to the origin or to the nature of the material used by the modern artist (for example. One has to observe that the activity of musical analysis is clearly present in these traditions. in other words. the oniric dimension of surrealism or the extreme spontaneity of dadaism). although not with the same dialectical ardor. the music casts to the listener an interpretative." to use a characterization of Michel Foucault (1973). and musicologist-in a single effort to explain and receive the new music (if it is at all possible to continue to refer to an agent in the traditional sense).130. since after all. for reasons historically linked to the creation of the cult in Recife. analyzed in its presentation. and causes the first impact and is identified as such. the rationalizing operation is present. 19 Aug 2016 16:55:47 UTC All use subject to http://about. nor any of that which functions aesthetically is analyzed in terms of music.jstor. the knowable unknown is what holds the aesthetic power. the Turkish and the Persian. The limits between the composer and the analyst become more and more subtle. In the strategy of the Xango tradition to avoid wearing out or saturation. If we take this oriental aesthetic as mediator. The aesthetic effort. the previous creation is not destroyed in the act of analyzing it or affirming the new creation. rationalizing challenge. as or more powerful than the challenge of sensibility and emotion. new structures are not produced. but in assuring that the existing ones continue to make an impact on the public. for example. I refer here (inevitably) to a theme that is very complex and upon which there is no easy agreement. it is rationally neutralized in an almost instantaneous operation. Counterposed to this conception of aesthetics and efficiency. everyone is united-composer. certain repertoires of musical genres of these traditions can grow to include thousands of distinct parts without threatening or abandoning the fundamental tradition.220 : Xango Cult Music and Ritual and John Cage's writings of interpretational and technical support to their compositions. comparable with each other for their eminently modal structures) in which the new composition is placed side by side to existing ones and not against them.143 on Fri. According to him. luckily. listener. existing ones are not destroyed. Henri Pousseur. that they preserve their mystery. even in relation to the oniric or unconscious material. In addition. to name three that are. that is. . is not concentrated in the generation of new structures.19. It is a question of a tradition in which the composition of new musical pieces is practically abolished. we can consider the case of Xango as an extreme opposite to the situation of Western music. argues in an opposite sense to what I affirm. conductor.

19. for the discourse of the native to present an "exact" image of his music. The fundamental point for me is not that Berg and Pousseur have distinct visions of each other's music. in his search for a general semiology of discourse about music. of modern Western music. It is interesting to emphasize the singular influence of rationalization. but the fact that both visions are expressed in the same discursive way. Therefore." as if this could be possible. both in the production of the work and in the construction of the canon of Western music.jstor. in quite different societies. 19 Aug 2016 16:55:47 UTC All use subject to http://about. " univocally. in societies of oral tradition. destruction and denial. When this foundation is investigated and entirely exposed. We can now follow exactly the inverse path: the music makes us see something in the nature of the ritual that was not clearly shown. Ritual is the kingdom of opacity par excellence. information and . The other notorious ethnographic examples known in ethnomusicological literature-the metaphors about bamboos used by the 'Are'Are to describe music (Zemp 1979). According to Nattiez. This places me at a distance from the position of Jean-Jacques Nattiez. and to cover it with conventions that preserve its expressive force.: 48). mystery and revelation.Jose'Jorge de Carvalho : 221 modern music exemplifies societies dominated by discourse. almost "scientific. for example. Let us put aside the positivist tone of the author (the idea that we "observe. as far as I know. In this play between creation and repetition. intentionally technical. Thus. something "exact" in music). in the Weberian sense. I initiated this study using the ritual as a guide for the understanding of music. This identity of modes of discourse between the creator and the analyst is an exclusive characteristic. which maintains its unknown foundation. the ritual declines. Everything happens as if it were the This content downloaded from 200. analytical. To ritualize a form is to hide a part of its meaning. as in the three examples mentioned above. he believes it is possible to level all the so-called ethnotheories about music.130.143 on Fri. the metaphors about waterfalls of the Kaluli (Feld 1982). and even the mythical language used by followers of Xango to speak about the music of the orixacs (Segato 1984)-all demonstrate a much greater discontinuity (both symbolic as semiological) between the discourse about music and the technique of creation or reproduction of the musical material. Xango music epitomizes what could be called "societies of ritual action. that is. he concluded that there is no reason." The issue here lies in understanding how musical canons are constructed historically. The role of reason and its hegemony in the construction of a meaningful world cannot be so easily matched between all of these societies. rational. even when the metaphorical discourse about the music is extremely elaborate. "from the commentaries of a pygmy to the writings of Wagner" (id. the ritual stands out precisely as being a guarantee of the presence of form. Henri Pousseur was able to reveal a contradiction between what Alban Berg said of his own music and "what we observe" (Nattiez 1981: 51).

The Xango initiate is not taught to analyze music. we fall into a dilemma analogous to that raised by Heinrich von Kleist in his engaging essay about the puppet theater (Kleist 1987): how to return in art to an original.222 : Xango Cult Music and Ritual competence of ritual to control memory."2 In the case under analysis. The Xango tradition. aesthetically and supernaturally. since this would mean to weaken voluntarily its magical power. we postulate also that there still exist musical traditions. but to perform it correctly. on the other hand. in turn.143 on Fri. the basic message is that it is not worth investigating them. which remain aloof to the musical dimension of our culture. to the origin. For example.facilitating what must constantly be remembered and guarding what must continue in the dark. the ritual preserves the mystery of the song. the possibility that the follower discovers equivalences and symbolic identities in the life of the cult is open. year after year.19. once it is discovered that the exceptionally dramatic song Osunbaoro has the same melody as the plain and ordinary Edimd edimece. to expand to the limits this same conscience that caused the burst is quite problematic. this is not the case for reacting anti-historically against this movement of self-conscience that is already an essential part of Western tradition and which cannot be changed by means of copies or superficial and external imitations. That is. inaccessible to common consciousness. spontaneous unit that is broken when we eat from the tree of science?'3 The solution he proposes. However. 19 Aug 2016 16:55:47 UTC All use subject to http://about. at the same time we detect in modern Western attitudes concerning music an updating of the disinte- gration myth. is to use them to establish a relativistic comparison and be able to propose a new attitude towards musical analysis in general. be it from more This content downloaded from 200. how can one hear it week after week. since a good part of its magic can disappear with the revelation of its mechanisms and contents. without diminishing the emotion for the mystery that betrayed its alleged singularity. if not constant at least temporary. because it postpones sine die the moment of reintegration and also hopes for a definite restitution of a lost innocence. at least there is a collective decision to make its understanding difficult or delayed. favored by ritual practice with its dialectic alternation of reflection and sensory experience.130. It is obvious that. that continue to embody the possibility of integration. In short. However. of proposing to bring Xango music to the rationalistic and self-reflective arena of Western music. impeding the emergence of the dimension of melody-if it is not entirely hidden. What is emphasized is the belief that it is efficient. now rationally destroyed? When roaming such an unusual path. It is also not the case. One of the reasons for trying to understand these most abstract principles. over time. seems to opt for a return. such as .jstor. this tradition pursues the sustenance of a tension between consciousness and unconsciousness with respect to the meaning and the constitution of the signs that are manipulated.

Carvalho (1984. I can only This content downloaded from 200. while 'music for being' is that which enhances human consciousness" (1973: 50). as far as pos- sible. 2. people experience both levels of musical expression within the same situation. so that the music can go back again to that threshold where the known fuses with the unknown and theron can continue producing an impact on our spirit with its truths and mysteries.jstor. we would have to uncover. Ribeiro (1978). In short. and Carvalho and Segato (1986. the belief system.Jose Jorge de Carvalho : 223 conservative musical systems. it is perhaps unnecessary to wait for the last chapter of world history to reach a moment of innocence and aesthetic plenitude without giving up reflexive conscience. 19 Aug 2016 16:55:47 UTC All use subject to http://about. distant even in temporal terms. we have to try to detach ourselves from the analytical atti- tude (which makes music present only intellectually) immediately after exercising it. That is. Notes 1. For John Blacking (referring primarily to the case of the Venda from the Transvaal) "music for having" can be defined as those songs that "are more important as markers of stages in ritual or as reinforce- ments or mnemonics of lessons than as musical experience. Proposing an alternative to the idea of von Kleist. More detailed information about the social organization. Segato (1984). 1988. It is not possible for me to even sum up all these rituals that were analyzed in detail in another work (see Carvalho 1984). Once the enigmas of structure and form are revealed. such as contemporaneous music. 3. but possibly all musical traditions. both levels are only aspects of the musical behavior of followers and not (as Blacking seems to indicate for the Venda) two distinct types of behavior. and the ritual world of Xango can be found in the works of Motta (1978). Here. 1990). 1992). such as . which is as much pessimistic as modern. or from constantly mutable musical languages. it seems significant that even such a rationalist and analytical Western musician and theoretician as Pierre Boulez admits that "it continues to be primordial to safeguard the potential of the unknown confined in a masterpiece" (Boulez 1986: 15). They go from a song for animal sacrifice (music for having) to a song for the ori (music for being) without interruption. The difference I see from the Venda to the Xango case is that in Xang6.143 on Fri. My intention here was to show that this is precisely the essence of the aesthetic experience of Xango and this is perhaps where we encounter not only these two. the path covered in the audition and participation of the musical event.

the correlation between ritual and music. and the woman so instigatingly "revealed" by Levi-Strauss in this work. This only reveals the identity. 1971. This content downloaded from 200. hardly would Wagner not have in mind the equivalency between gold. Turner (1967) for the emphasis on the polarization of the meaning of the ritual symbol. We speak of a composer who is particularly lucid and methodical in his process of creation. Jung (1976) and Durand (1964) for the critical or occult dimension of symbol. 5. According to the Argentinian composer Luis Mucillo. 1987). an eminent expert in the life and work of the author of The Ring of the Nibelung (and whom I thank for these clarifications) . Note that Levi-Strauss extends his analysis of this Wagnerian theme in another writing (1986) and includes its presence in the two final parts of Wagner's tetralogy (Siegfried and The Twilight of the Gods). 9. The elaboration of this chart was inspired in two classic studies by Victor Turner about the Ndembu symbolism: that of the Chishingh. in the first and second time. it appears just as a melody. between song and melody. 19 Aug 2016 16:55:47 UTC All use subject to http://about. I cite Venda Childrens Songs for its character of a true ethnomusicological classic.224 : Xango Cult Music and Ritual hope that the central discussion of this essay. the small correction of an error and the extension of his study do not substantially alter his method of making explicit relations of homology and making equivalencies of meaning. and whose artistic projects were accomplished with extreme self-conscience and an absolute control over the minor details of the text and the score. the sword. In another essay (Carvalho 1988). the third time. John Blacking elaborated in more detail the theoretical ideas contained here in various subsequent works (see Blacking 1969.143 on Fri. and Souza (1980) for the analyses of the intellectual and philosophical role of the symbol. and Todorov (1984). In any way. 1973. namely. 4. I based my study above all in the work of Peirce (1955) and Burks (1949) for the fundamental distinction between sign and symbol.19. executed by the orchestra. I discuss the dramatic loss of collective memory in the cult and its attempts to recover and give continuity to its African cultural tradition. 7. Gerard Behague stresses the musical differences between the ritual for the eguns and the ritual for the orixds (Behague 1984: 222-246). accepted by Western musical aesthetics. The theme of renunciation appears. Also in the case of the candomble of Bahia. 1979. can be grasped without the need to enlarge this already extensive ethnography. as two songs that are sung respectively by Woglinde and Siegmund. 8. which is of interest here. 1982. 1974. 6.130. Gadamer (1958). 10. 1981.

and others). which is only dialectically and paradoxically compensated by the frequent adherence to the community of musicians. John 1967 Venda Children's Songs. 1969 'The Value of Music in Human Experience.jstor. Ethno- musicological Perspectives. edited by Gerard Behague.19. It is worth mentioning here the original and quite forgotten essay by Maurice Halbwachs about the collective memory in musicians (1990).org/terms . of course. the rhythmic experimentation of Stravinsky. According to him. 11. 19 Aug 2016 16:55:47 UTC All use subject to http://about. "the new disposition to hear and study foreign music in its proper terms appears at the same time as music in Europe experienced profound changes" (1973: 8). symbol present in fertility rituals (1969: 86). to Western classical music). Here. This content downloaded from 200. Gerard 1984 "Patterns of Candomble Music Performance: An Afro- Brazilian Religious Setting. Connecticut: Greenwood Press. converged instead of feeding mutually" (1981: 77). Blacking. vol." Yearbook of the International Music Council.143 on Fri. and concludes that all these signs represent the orders given by the society of musicians to its members (1900: 183). 1: 33-71.130.Jose'Jorge de Carvalho : 225 symbol of hunting rituals (1967: 296-297) and the Nkula. in addition. he argues that the musician needs them because he cannot retain the complexity of combinations articulated in a piece (he refers. Johannesburg: Witwatersrand University Press." In Performance Practice. Klaus Wachsmann shows how the interest for music of other parts of the world (which led to ethnomusicology as a discipline) arose along with an extension of the interest of Western musicians in experimenting with non-orthodox forms and compositional processes (Sprechgesang by Schonberg. Let us be aware that his essay dated 1810 is already contemporaneous with this disenchantment of the world that so much defines modern Western culture. the Western score fulfills a role analogous to that of the ritual: it saves the collective memory and stimulates individual forgetfulness. 12. Bibliography Behague. "internal Western thought about non-Western composition and musical intuition. 13. When trying to explain the role of signs in the musical memory.

19 Aug 2016 16:55:47 UTC All use subject to http://about. Steven 1982 Sound and Sentiment.130. Ph. The Hague: Mouton. 1992 Shango Cult in Recife." In The Performing Arts. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. 184-194. Gilbert 1964 L Zmagination symbolique. vol. Jose Jorge. Austin: University of Texas Press. Caracas: Fundaci6n de Etnomusicologia y Folklore. Paris: Presses Universitaire de France. vol. 71-91. n. Department of Social Anthropology.. Mainz: Schott." In The Sign in Music and Literature." Yearbook of the International Music Council. 1988 "La fuerza de la nostalgia. Lisboa: Junta de Investigaq6es Cientificas do Ultramar.19. Cambridge: Cambridg University Press. Feld. 1979 'The Study of Man as Music-Maker. Burks.jstor. Carvalho." In Sinais dos Tempos. edited by Tiago de Oliveira Pinto." In In Memorian Antonio Jorge Dias. Diversidade Religiosa no Bra Rio de Janeiro: Instituto de Estudos da Religiao (ISER). Einfuhrun in die Musiktraditionen Brasiliens. Arthur 1949 "Icon." Philosophy and Phenomenologic Research. Brazil. Montalban (Caracas Universidad Catolica Andres Bello). Birds. This content downloaded from 200. 1990 "Xango.226 : Xango Cult Music and Ritual 1971 "Deep and Surface Structure in Venda Music. 1982 'The Structure of Musical Discourse: The Problem of the Song Text. Brazil." Yearbookfor Traditional Music. Index and Symbol. 20: 167-193. In Brasilien. 14: 15-23. 139-145." El Concepto del tiempo hist6ri en los cultos afrobrasileros tradicionales. edited by Wendy Steiner. 4: 673-689. 1987 A Commonsense View of all Music. 3: 91-108. Weeping. Durand. 9. Poetics. 3-15. Rita 1986 Musik der Xango-Kulte von Recife. and Songs in Kaluli Expression. Sao Paulo: Editora Perspectiva. Pierre 1986 A Musica .143 on Fri. Carvalho. 1981 'The Problem of 'Ethnic' Perceptions in the Semiotics of Music. diss. vol. edited by John Blacking and Joan Kealilnohomoku. and Segato. Boulez. 176-192. Jose Jorge 1984 Ritual and Music of the Sango Cults of Recife. 1974 "Ethnomusicology as a Key Subject in the Social Sciences. The Queen's University of Belfast. 1973 How Musical Is Man? Seattle: University of Washington Press.

Jean-Jacques 1981 Paroles d'nformateurs et Propos de Musiciens. edited by Frank Harrison. Madrid: Tecnos. Evanston: Northwestern University Press. edited by Javier Arnaldo. Mantle 1963 "Music. Peirce." In Philosophical Writings of Peirce." In The View from Afar. Fredric 1974 Marxism and ." In Man and His Symbols. Sao Paulo: Edicoes Vertice.jstor." In Musicology. Heinrich von 1987 "Acerca del teatro de marionetes. Gadamer. 1: 143-158. Suzanne 1953 Feeling and Form. Alan 1964 The Anthropology of Music. vol. Kleist. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Jung. the Unknown.JoseJorge de Carvalho : 227 Foucault. Michel 1973 El Orden del Discurso. Princeton: Princeton University Press. New York: Dover Publications. Barcelona: Tusquets Editor. 48-59." In A Memoria Coletiva. Roberto 1978 "Homens." Revista Pernambucana de Desenvolvimento.19. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. Hans-Georg 1986 The Revelance of the Beautiful and Other Essays. Nattiez. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. S. Claude 1978 Myth and Meaning. 13. Mantle Hood and Claude Palisca. This content downloaded from 200. Motta. Carl 1976 "Approaching the Unconscious. vol. 101-107." In Fragmentos para una teoria romantica del arte. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. Westport: Greenwood Press. New York: Doubleday. Merriam. Hood. C. 1955 "Logic as Semiotic: The Theory of Signs. Jameson. Maurice 1990 "A Mem6ria Coletiva dos Muisicos. Santos e Sociedade: As Crencas Basicas no Xango de Pernambuco. Twentieth-Century Dialectical Theories of Literature. Yearbookfor Traditional Music. 5. 19 Aug 2016 16:55:47 UTC All use subject to http://about.143 on Fri. no. 1985 "Note on the Tetralogy. Levi-Strauss. Halbwachs. edited by Justus Buchler. Langer.

" In The Forest of Symbols. Tzvetan 1984 Theories of the Symbol. Madrid: Alianza Editorial. to which level this key melody of the ritual system is idiosyncratic from the musical point of view. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Todorov. although precariously. 5-13. 23. diss. Rita Laura 1984 A Folk Theory of Personality Types. The transcription is approximate since the duration of the notes is altered considerably from one performance to another. Hugo 1979 "Aspects of 'Are' Are Musical Theory. Souza. The Queen's University of Belfast. Rene 1978 Cultos Afro-Brasileiros do Recife. Henri 1984 "Muerte de Dios y Crisis del Arte. Oxford: Clarendon Press. I also give some examples of typical songs of the repertoires of ori. 1968 'Themes in the Symbolism of Ndembu Hunting Ritual. Musical Examples This is the transcription of the six ritual songs discussed in this article. Victor 1967 The Drums of Affliction. Brasilia: Editora Universidade de Brasilia. Weber. Max 1953 The Rational and Social Foundations of Music. Ribeiro. 1981 "Applying Ethnomusicological Methods to Western Art Music. Eudoro 1980 Mitologia. Sociedad. Osanyin. Ph. 19 Aug 2016 16:55:47 UTC All use subject to http://about. This content downloaded from 200. Turner." Ethnomusicology.jstor. Recife: MEC-IJNPS. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press. eguns. 23 (1): 6-48. n. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Wach ismann. Klaus 1973 "Spencer to Hood: A Changing View of Non-European Music.143 on Fri.. To illustrate. and of ritual acts related to the obligation to the saints. 2: 74-86. Departmen of Social Anthropology.D.130." The World of Music.228 : Xango Cult Music and Ritual Pousseur." Proceedings of the Royal Anthropological Institute." In Musica Semantica. Segato. vol.19. Each one of these examples is directly akin to various other songs of the same type. Zemp. I sought a solution of compromise between a descriptive transcription and a prescriptive transcription (according to Charles Seeger's classification).org/terms .

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