“May God Increase Your Pain”: Turkish Classical Music and the Cultural Politics of Melancholy"
Date: Monday, February 28th, 2011
Time: 12:30 pm
Location: Mathers, Pearsons Hall
Sponsored by: Music Department
Contact: Daniel Barolsky, Music Department
Teaching-fellow candidate for Ethnomusicology, Denise Gill-Gürtan, will give a public presentation titled “May God Increase Your Pain”: Turkish Classical Music and the Cultural Politics of Melancholy." For more information, read abstract below.
Ethnomusicologists have long investigated the ways in which sound and music evoke particular emotional responses. In contemporary Turkey, musicians and audiences articulate Ottoman-Turkish classical music as itself a genre of melancholy. In this research presentation, I consider how and why this melancholy and affiliated narratives of loss are expressed through musical practices. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Turkey (2007-2009), I examine the processes through which melancholy is heard and felt by Turkish musicians and audiences. I attend to the ways individuals deploy feelings and negotiate the interstices between Islamic beliefs and secular ideologies of the Turkish public domain, grounding my claims about the social work that melancholy does in and through music by considering the widespread Ottoman practices of healing with melancholic music. What is at stake in this project is therefore an understanding of the ways in which individuals and communities employ and navigate feelings and sounds of melancholy in the construction of social identities.
Denise Gill-Gürtan is an ethnomusicologist completing her Ph.D. in Music and in Feminist Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her primary interests are the music and cultural practices of contemporary Turkey and the Ottoman Empire, with particular attention to the relationship between music/sound experience and historical consciousness, gender, affect/emotion, spirituality, healing, and social justice. She is a recipient of the Ki Mantle Hood Award of the Society for Ethnomusicology and a Sakıp Sabancı International Research Award. As a kanun (Middle Eastern trapezoidal zither) player committed to the study of Ottoman-Turkish classical and Mevlevi Sufi music traditions, Denise Gill-Gürtan has performed on radio and television programs and in concert halls in Turkey, the United States, and for the European Union in Brussels. She is currently a visiting instructor of music at the College of William & Mary, where she also directs the College of William & Mary Middle Eastern Music Ensemble.
This event is free and open to Beloit College faculty and staff.