Australian Music

Australian music, term for the music of the Australian natives (Aborigines) on the one hand, the European immigrants on the other hand as well as their mixed forms; The rock and pop music that emerged in Australia after the Second World War is also part of Australian music.

Aboriginal music

According to weddinginfashion, the focus of Aboriginal music is vocal music; it accompanies birth, death rituals, body painting and the retouching of ancient rock art. The “real” songs are considered ancestral creations that are passed on from generation to generation; however, there are areas in Australia where the idea prevails that songs must and should be “made” by humans. Together with dances, drawings and myths, the chants bear witness to the world and life. Performances with chants and dances that are exclusively in a social or religious context are commonly called corroboree. Rituals and the associated music of men are more important in the community than those of women (especially songs for love spells, funerals, which have a smaller melody range and simpler rhythmic design than in the men’s lecture). Chants of one sex (with regional differences) are usually not allowed to be sung by the opposite sex. From singing to hissing, howling on a high falsetto tone and humming, there are flowing transitions to speaking. Typical for the melody are rows of descending tones (Deszendenzmelos north, terrace melos south of the Tropic of Capricorn). The range of the melodies ranges from two to twelve levels with pentatonic and heptatonic scales. The only wind instrument, the wooden trumpet didgeridoo (made from a log hollowed out by termites or a bamboo tube) accompanies almost all chants in the north. In addition to boomerangs and sticks as counterstrike sticks, buzzers are Rattling and rattling common. The single-headed drums on the islands of the Torres Strait are believed to have come from the Papuans. – v. a. the universities in Adelaide and Canberra.

Australian musical life in the occidental tradition

After the immigration of Europeans to Australia, an independent musical life in the sense of the occidental tradition developed only hesitantly. While the Aborigines initially v. a. Taking biblical themes and the evangelical hymn as a model and mixing them with their traditional music-making practice, they also adopted dances and folk songs from European immigrants in the course of the 19th century. These in turn cultivated their own culture: the first impulses, especially in the fields of choral and light music as well as opera, came from British, Irish or German instrumentalists and theater musicians such as Vincent Wallace (* 1812, † 1865), John Phillip Deane (* 1769, † 1849) and Carl Linger (* 1810, † 1862). With the opera “Don John of Austria”, which premiered in Sydney in 1847, the English composer Isaac Nathan (* 1790, † 1864) became the “forefather of music in Australia”. Nathan used reports on the research trips of the time as scenarios for his cantata texts.

After the economic boom after 1850, stimulated by the gold rush, a lively musical life developed, especially in Melbourne and Sydney. The initiatives of the opera impresarios (e.g. G. Coppin, J. Lyster, G. Musgrove, J. C. Williamson) with their long-term guest performances (e.g. J. Lyster’s Grand Opera Company, 1861–80) established Australia’s musical reputation as an operatic continent. In the following time, the first important choral societies (Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Society), song tables, orchestral and chamber music associations (including the Melbourne Centennial Orchestra, 1888). Between 1885 and 1915 the first music faculties at universities and the first state colleges were established in Adelaide (1885), Melbourne (1895) and Sydney (1915). In 1932-36 the then Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) formed six modest radio orchestras (in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane and Hobart) which – with occasional reinforcements – put on their own series of subscription concerts. Between 1946 and 1950 these six orchestras were enlarged and redesigned as state and radio symphony orchestras. There are currently fifteen orchestras, including the Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane Opera and Theater Orchestras. From 1946 onwards, “Musica Viva Australia” developed as a national network that organized subscription concerts for the maintenance of chamber music and festivals in the capital Canberra as well as in the provincial centers. There are also festivals in these cities. From the Elizabethan Theater Trust Opera (founded in 1955/56), the Australian Opera emerged in 1970 as a permanent state opera with repertoire operations, which has been based in the newly opened Sydney Opera House since 1973. Since 1970 state theaters and concert halls have sprung up in the capitals of all states on the mainland as well as in Canberra. Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth have independent opera companies that set up three to six stagions per year. Church music care exists on a very different level, with the various denominations following their forms of custom.

The first generation of Australian composers included Alfred Hill (* 1870, † 1960), Ernest Truman (* 1870, † 1948) and Edward Hutcheson (* 1871, † 1951), all of whom received their training at the Royal Conservatory in Leipzig, as well as Percy Aldrige Grainger (* 1882, † 1961), who studied at the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt am Main. The early generations of Australian composers created their works mainly according to the prevailing German and English traditions of the years 1880–1930. Despite such ties to late Romantic, Impressionist or English “pastoral styles”, the search for independent, in part national forms of expression increased, for example through tonal depictions of the specific bush, desert or tropical landscapes of Australia as well as through episodes from the country’s cultural history or inclusion musical elements of the Aborigines and the East Asian high cultures (especially Indonesia and Japan).

In addition to PA Grainger and Margaret Sutherland (* 1897, † 1984), who was a student of A. Bax in London and a. for the New Music are John Antill (* 1904, † 1986), Clive Douglas (* 1903, † 1977), Don Banks (* 1923, † 1980), Felix Werder (* 1922, † 2012) from Germany) and George Dreyfus (* 1928), also Keith Humble (* 1928, † 1995), Peter Sculthorpe (* 1929, † 2014), Malcolm Williamson (* 1932, † 2003), Richard Meale (* 1932, † 2009), Larry Sitsky (* 1934), Donald Hollier (* 1934), Collin Brumby (* 1933, † 2018), Nigel Butterley (* 1935), Jennifer Fowler (* 1939), Philip Bracarin (* 1942), Barry Conyngham (* 1944) and Brian Howard (* 1951).

Popular music

Based on the folk music of European immigrants, the Aborigines created their own popular music culture. Their so-called Bush Music consists of songs accompanied by a fiddle, accordion and harmonica. In the 20th century they adopted country music and reggae, and finally rock music, which occasionally became known internationally, for example through the group Yothu Yindi. The rather conservative rock music of the descendants of European immigrants is based on British and American models. Since the 1960s, international success for these bands has mostly only been possible by conquering the British market (The Easybeats, The Bee Gees, AC / DC). Century also state-funded) Australian rock music with a high degree of independence and, thanks to the Mushroom label, largely independent of the Anglo-American music market. The records of Men at work, Midnight Oil, Divinyls, INXS, Split Enz, Schnell Fenster, Crowded House and Icehouse as well as the musician testify to a specifically Australian rock Kylie Minogue , Tim Finn (* 1952) and Neil Finn (* 1958).

Australian Music