Curating The Week: Drumming, Oral Culture, and Whistling

DRUMMINGat50, a website about the history, composition, and performance practice of Steve Reich’s Drumming, a seminal piece of 20th- (and 21st-) century acoustic music. I contributed an essay, which is here.

Zenep Tufecki on the psychodynamics of oral culture.

“…oral culture is not suited to certain kinds of knowledge accumulation and legibility of the world, some of which is necessary to hold our institutions together. And this underappreciated transition is certainly one big reason for the current tension in this historic transition: because of technology, oral psychodynamics have broken through at scale, and we are trying to manage them with institutions that operate solely through an within print/written culture. And that cannot, will not, hold without adjustment.”

• An article and video about whistling as language.

“Like poetry, whistling does not need to be useful in order to be special and beautiful.”

(Addendum: As it happens, Drumming has become a kind of oral culture, taught and learned from one musician to another. The piece also incorporates whistling.)

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