State patronage of Burmese traditional music
Douglas, Gavin Duncan
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In the past decade the ruling junta of the Union of Myanmar has begun several large-scale projects aimed at preserving cultural heritage and forging national unity. These include; the formation of the University of Culture (offering degrees in music, theatre, and sculpture), the genesis of an annual performing arts competition, and the implementation of a standardization project designed to unify and notate a five hundred year old oral tradition. Each project enjoys ample government funding and significant attention in the state press at a time when Burma (Myanmar) is suffering great economic hardship.This dissertation examines these cultural projects in light of the present dictatorship's quest for legitimacy. It will be shown that this state patronage is used to further certain national and international political ends and only partially for support of the tradition and its musicians. Multiple and contradictory perspectives of professional musicians, some of whom benefit from the above projects and some of whom are marginalized, will be addressed revealing a patronage system that is radically changing the traditional music of the country.
- Ethnomusicology