the world of music

ISSN 0043-8774


wom 48, 2006-1

Music and Childhood:
Creativity, Socialization, and Representation

Editor: Max-Peter Baumann
Co-Editor: Jonathan P. J. Stock
Guest Editor: Amanda Minks

ISSN 0043-8774


Music and Childhood: Creativity, Socialization, and Representation


Kathryn Marsh
Cycles of Appropriation in Children’s Musical Play: Orality in the Age of Reproduction

Anthony Seeger and Kate Seeger
Beyond the Embers of the Campfire: The Ways of Music at a Residential Summer Children’s Camp

Marie Agatha Ozah
The Iwali Child Queen Dance of Ogoja, Nigeria

Rita de Cácia Oenning da Silva
Reversing the Rite: Music, Dance, and Rites of Passage among Street Children and Youth in Recife, Brazil

Yee Ming To
Shifting Identity and Disappearing Childhood in Hong Kong Children’s Songs

Roe-Min KokOf Kindergarten, Cultural Nationalism, and Schumann’s Album for the Young

Book Reviews (Helena B. Simonett, ed.)

Jay Keister
Dale A. Olsen, The Chrysanthemum and the Song: Music, Memory, and Identity in the South American Japanese Diaspora

Adriana Helbig
Taras Filenko and Tamara Bulat, The World of Mykola Lysenko: Ethnic Identity, Music, and Politics in Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century Ukraine

Ernesto Donas
Carlos Sandroni, Feitiço decente: Transformações do samba no Rio de Janeiro (1917-1933)

Bruno Deschênes
Xavier Vatin, Rites et musiques de possession à Bahia

Helena Simonett
Sergio Navarrete Pellicer, Maya Achi Marimba Music in Guatemala

Cheryl L. Keyes
Felicia M. Miyakawa, Five Percenter Rap: God Hop’s Music, Message, and Black Muslim Mission

Recording Reviews (Kevin Dawe, ed.)

Sue Miller
Out of Cuba: Latin American Music takes Africa by Storm. Compilation and Text by Janet Topp Fargion; ¡Cubalive! Notes by Gene and Natasha Rosow

Parmis Mozafari
Iran—Khorassan. The Tale of Tâher and Zohre: Rowshan Golafruz, Singing and Dotâr. Notes by Ameneh Youssefzadeh

Ruth Hellier-Tinoco
¡Llegaron Los Camperos!— Concert Favorites of Nati Cano’s Mariachi Los Camperos; Aztec Dances—Xavier Quijas Yxayotl



Amanda Minks

Children’s expressive practices have been the object of extensive scholarly study in the disciplines of folklore, anthropology, and linguistics, but the study of children and childhood in ethnomusicology has been somewhat more sporadic (Minks 2002). In spite of a few seminal texts by prominent scholars, ethnomusicologists have largely avoided a topic that may not have seemed sufficiently “serious” in the process of institutionalizing a small and vulnerable discipline. In recent decades, music educators with expertise in ethnomusicological methods have almost single-handedly carried on the tasks of exploring children’s musical practices and experiences across cultural contexts. A new generation of scholars is emerging within ethnomusicology to build on this past work and push it in new directions, but some may still face challenges by advisors who dissuade them from research with children either because it is perceived as a less serious topic, or because of the necessity of obtaining approval from academic review boards—a process which can be tedious but has not caused scholars in psychology, sociology, or other fields to abandon research with children.

Cycles of Appropriation in Children’s Musical Play: Orality in the Age of Reproduction

Kathryn Marsh

Children’s musical play is a spontaneous form of expression encompassing a range of forms which vary according to age and locality. For school-aged children in primary school playgrounds, genres of musical play include those that are part of an oral tradition, such as singing games, the sung and chanted games that are owned, performed and orally transmitted by children. In the course of oral transmission, these games are varied, often intentionally, through processes of formulaic construction. Children appropriate formulae from the adult world, drawing in particular on mediated sources for their material, but manipulating the source material as a form of resistance to and subversion of the hegemonies of the adult world. In children’s dialogue with the media, cycles of appropriation emerge and similarities between the generative aesthetics of musical play and popular music can be identified. In particular, the intertextuality within these two linked performative traditions is explored. This exploration is based on a cross-cultural study of children’s musical play entailing extensive periods of ethnographic fieldwork in predominantly multiethnic schools in the UK, Norway, USA, South Korea and in urban and remote locations in Australia.

Beyond the Embers of the Campfire: The Ways of Music at a Residential Summer Children’s Camp

Anthony Seeger and Kate Seeger

Nearly 11 million children and adults attend over 12,000 summer camps in the United States each year. Singing and other forms of music making are an important part of the camp experience. Unlike schools, camps usually encourage music making in a variety of contexts. In spite of its significance, the music of summer camps has rarely received scholarly attention. The authors review music making at Camp Killooleet, their family’s residential summer camp for the past 56 years, and consider some 130 LP records made at other summer camps by Alma Mater records. We describe how children are exposed to music and how some aspects of their experience have changed while others have remained very much the same over the decades. We also describe methods we have used to create a vibrant musical experience for all campers. In order to understand and encourage the rich musical life of children, researchers must include consideration of how music is made and experienced at summer camps.

The Iwali Child Queen Dance of Ogoja, Nigeria

Marie Agatha Ozah

In the Bekwarra and Yala cultures, the figure of the iwali, otsichwi or ochuole represents aspects of religious as well as socio-political beliefs and activities. The child chosen to be an iwali is a symbolic representation of the embodiment of womanhood and also a custodian and transmitter of culture. The various attributes of the iwali find expression in dance, which is the principal obligation of her daily life. Through training and practice, the iwali gains full control over her instrument, her body and her art. This article focuses on the iwali, discussing how music and dance are integrated to form vital aspects of her life. This article in addition considers the inherent balancing of irreplaceable traditions with varying degrees of change brought about by modernity.

Reversing the Rite: Music, Dance, and Rites of Passage among Street Children and Youth in Recife, Brazil

Rita de Cácia Oenning da Silva

This article is based on fieldwork in marginalized neighborhoods of Recife and Olinda, Brazil, in 2004 and 2005. It analyzes children’s artistic performances as rites of passage, seeing them as spaces where children and adolescents can test and express their competence and creativity, while at the same time creating an identity far from the common association of poverty with drug-based criminality. Significantly, in these rites, children and adolescents do not only play the role of neophytes, but also that of educators, teaching each other, the local society, and regional and national actors about conditions in the impoverished communities of Brazil’s Northeast.

Shifting Identity and Disappearing Childhood in Hong Kong Children’s Songs (Yi Goh)

Yee-Ming To

In contemporary Hong Kong, the term yi goh is a genre label referring to mass-mediated children’s songs. Since it emerged in the 1970s, this genre has undergone a transformation from songs with children’s lyrics performed by children to songs performed by adolescents and adults with lyrics that are often inappropriate or incomprehensible to children. This article discusses the historical context of yi goh and its contemporary mass-mediated context. As a colonized city, Hong Kong is a place with strong ties to Britain and to China, and both cultures influence the self-image and ideology of people in Hong Kong in all aspects. Interviews with yi goh composers reveal some of the motivations and methods of production, and an analysis of the music industry reveals a merging of this formerly child-oriented genre with mass popular music. The result is a distortion and virtual disappearance of the concept of childhood from yi goh.

Of Kindergarten, Cultural Nationalism, and Schumann’s Album for the Young

Roe-Min Kok

As scholars of nationalism continue to unravel the complex interrelationships between creative intellectual labor and political preferences, and to plumb how national identities were and continue to be experienced in everyday contexts, children and the roles they play—or are assigned—in constructed national consciousness have come under close scrutiny. Since the French Revolution, for instance, children had been viewed as political capital whose education should be directed towards their future roles as citizens of the state, a concept that caught on across Europe in the early decades of the nineteenth century. This essay places children’s music, specifically Schumann’s Album for the Young, within the context of the controversial kindergarten movement in Vormärz Germany. Friedrich Froebel, founder of the kindergarten, believed that a German national identity could be achieved through educating the young regardless of their social backgrounds. His ideas were greeted with much suspicion by Prussian authorities who imposed a ban on all kindergartens in 1851. Schumann, who leaned towards the political left, sent his daughters to a Froebelian kindergarten in Dresden between 1846 and 1848. Towards the end of their stay at the school, and in the midst of the continuing political upheavals of that revolutionary year, he composed the Album for the Young. I argue that the Album contains elements of cultural nationalism that drew upon contemporary pedagogical concepts.

Max Peter Baumann
last revisions: 12/18/2006
the world of music journal
University of Bamberg, Department of Ethnomusicology