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Western Music vs. Indigenous Music

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Introduction:

Defining ‘reconciliation’ alone can be a cumbersome task. It has been defined as many things such as “a collection of lived practices – a culture, a cultural project, a sea-change in the psyche of a nation and a product of the imagination of the ‘lunar left’ (Rigney & Hemming, 2011).” The main idea one should keep in mind when reading this paper, is the discrepancies between Indigenous and Western worlds and the way in which they conceptualise music. When understanding music as a tool for reconciliation, it can be defined under any of the headings stated above. The way in which traditional and popular music is discussed in this paper can be identified as ‘a collection of lived practices – a culture (Rigney & Hemming, 2011)’. Consequently, contemporary music (for the Indigenous cause) is better described as a cultural project and an attempt for a sea-change in the psyche of a nation. Lastly, the idea of Indigenous music being incorporated into the curriculum and teacher’s pedagogy, to most, will appear as ‘a product of the imagination of the lunar left (Rigney & Hemming, 2011).’ In discussing these subjects, hopefully some clarity will be gained as to why these definitions have been accepted in each musical realm.

Western Music Ideology vs. Traditional Indigenous Music

‘Western music is regarded as a piece of individual property, performed to entertain and appeal to the listener’s emotions (Mills, 1996).’ In keeping this working definition of Western music in mind, it is no wonder that Westerners fail to see and ridicule the ‘power’ of Indigenous music (Mills, 1996). In this sense, viewing Western music as a ‘mass-produced, commodified and standardised product, involving minimal creativity (Connell & Gibson 2003...

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