Presented by Dr. Zechariah Goh
Vox Camerata and the University of Queensland are curating an online seminar series entitled ‘Choral Conversations: Context and Culture.’ This series is focused on consolidating researcher and practitioner findings, thoughts, trajectories, and discussion on current issues within the practice of choral music. We also hope to raise consciousness in celebrating Indigenous knowledge and decolonization beyond simply representation.
Folksongs are important cultural artefacts that represent a group’s identity through the telling of narratives and of actions. In Singapore, folksong arrangements seem to be a mainstay in the practice of graded music theory and examinations. Yet, many students who attempt to make said arrangements often fall back on a Eurocentric musical syntax that is often foreign to the cultural milieu of the folksong’s point of origin.
This seminar introduces the audiences to an intercultural approach towards teaching folksong arrangements for choirs. As a teacher of composition, I have developed a framework of approaching folksong arrangement that encourages the arrangers to make the effort to explore musical elements and forms that are indigenous to the local cultures. Subsequently, these elements and forms are then incorporated as part of the folksong arrangements where and whenever possible and are prioritised over the use of western compositional tools. By doing so, the final arrangement will allow arranger, performer and audience too have a better grasp of appreciating and understanding the cultural source of the folksongs.