The field of Feld’s mind

To be completely honest, Feld’s article greatly confused me. I understood he was talking about Pygmies and who they are as well as the of schizophonic mimesis which I still don’t entirely understand. My small understanding to what schizophonic mimesis means is a separation of sound from its source. I’m relatively confused as to what else it refers to. I understood that Feld’s disciplinary background allowed him to be open to investigating other cultures and how concepts and music have been taken into our culture without crediting the original source. Particularly how “neither Western nor African societies had morally superior claims to the” best or most appreciative method of treating other societies (1). To my understanding, he was talking about the rhythms of some tribes in Africa being stolen and used uncredited in pop music starting from jazz . Then it was stolen from jazz to be used in more pop centric music. All without crediting the actual source of the tribes in Africa. When Feld questioned if the original jazz players who stole the rhythms were afraid of legal issues, they claimed it was normal for rhythms to be used considering that’s just how being black was. It was an understanding that your creations got used for other things and no credit would be given to you, it “was a brothers kind of thing” (7). In the midst of this, Feld talks about how Ota Benga was stolen from Africa and forced to be in a fair for his appearance. I found that entire story completely terrifying and disgusting.

I would like to have a clearer understanding of what Feld’s view of music is as I got lost in the many layers of other points of view he brought up. There were a lot of words that were long and complicated that I found confusing as well. Such as ‘ethnomusicology’. What exactly is an ethnomusicolgist? 

On a different note, Feld was talking about recognizing pieces of music from jazz players that were iconic in other pieces of music and how the same phrase can be stolen and changed slightly to be used in many other things. How can the untrained person recognize those musical phrases in music to open their mind about where it originated from?

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