Case Studies Overview

At the core of the Sustainable Futures project are nine case studies, chosen for their diversity. They represent a wide range of practices, transmission processes, public profile, history, and degree of vitality. In order to find the triggers for sustainability, it is important to look at music genres that are struggling, but also at those that seem to be vibrant. These case studies were organised according to five domains of music sustainability. In this way, we developed a model that describes the many factors that affect sustainability from a similar perspective. You can explore summaries of these case studies below, by music genre or by domain.

  • Vietnamese ca tru

    Vietnamese ca tru

    Ca trù is a vocal chamber music genre with a long history in northern Vietnam. Due to war and political tension ca trù was rarely performed from the 1950s to the late 1980s, and much musical knowledge was lost. Since the early 1990s a revival has taken place, and although the number of skilled musicians is still low, the amount of people engaged with ca trù has grown significantly in the last decade or so, especially through the phenomenon of the ca trù ‘club’.

  • Australian Aboriginal yawulyu/awelye

    Australian Aboriginal yawulyu/awelye

    This report concerns yawulyu/awelye, an important ceremonial genre of traditional songs performed by women in Central Australia. Our fieldwork in the area over many years, and a series of interviews we conducted as part of the Sustainable Futures Project, we discuss various issues and ideas concerning the sustainability of the tradition.

  • Hindustani music (India)

    Hindustani music (India)

    While major social, religious, cultural, political and technological changes have sometimes led to a decline in music cultures, Hindustani music has reinvented itself across a sequence of very different socio-cultural contexts over the past eight centuries or so: courts, houses of courtesans, places of worship, celebrations, radio stations and television, Indian concert halls, Western stages, and a variety of recorded formats, as the country moved from a feudal society to colonised people to a modern democracy.

  • Balinese gamelan (Indonesia)

    Balinese gamelan (Indonesia)

    This case study on Balinese Gamelan is based on interactions with performers, composers, teachers, instrument makers and arts managers in Bali. It raises issues of how music and dance are implicated in the social and religious lives of Balinese people as well as relationships between music and dance and current political debates about the identity of Balinese people and Balinese culture.

  • Ewe percussion (Ghana)

    Ewe percussion (Ghana)

    Ghanian Ewe percussion is a form of traditional dance-drumming which continues to be one of the most thriving music forms in West Africa. It is connected with traditional religious events, seasonal festivals, funerals, and daily life. The majority of Ewe groups remain unknown outside their communities, despite extensive ethnomusicological research focusing on the work of a few musical families.

  • Mexican mariachi

    Mexican mariachi

    Mariachi music is a symbol of cultural identity for many Mexicans, Mexican-Americans, and people of Mexican heritage who reside in other parts of the world. Like many other musical expressions, mariachi music is largely connected to traditional religious gatherings, local festivities that celebrate rites of passage, and a variety of community social events. The mariachi tradition has arguably succeeded in preserving traditional characteristics despite the demanding effects of globalisation.

  • Western opera

    Western opera

    Since its beginnings in Italy four hundred years ago, Western Opera has become a world-wide artistic practice. Its continued success has been due to the way in which it has adapted to changing conditions, but in the contemporary world, while continuing to flourish, it faces significant challenges. These include finding ways to secure sustainable funding; creating new repertoire or ways to successfully (re-)interpret old repertoire; and dealing with the problematic ratio of employment opportunities to well-trained opera singers, meaning that career prospects are characterised by extreme competition.

  • Amami Island music (Japan)

    Amami Island music (Japan)

    This report discusses issues of sustainability in a case study of shima-uta (local folk/vernacular song forms) in the Amami islands of southern Japan. This case study identifies and discusses issues relating to concepts of sustainability with regard to musical style, repertoire, cultural function and contemporary mediation.

  • Korean SamulNori

    Korean SamulNori

    SamulNori is one of the most popular music genres in Korea today. It is, though, a recent development of something much older, namely an amalgam of local folk bands and itinerant troupes. It was first heard on a Seoul stage in February 1978, performed by a quartet of percussionists playing two gongs and two drums. The original SamulNori group continues, as a foundation known as SamulNori Hanullim and a company, Nanjang Cultures.

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