Why Suya Sing

Anthropology of music is concerned with the methodologies, concepts and its concerns which are largely drawn from the ideational and social processes as well as structures which form the human transformation. Generally, anthropology of music is therefore largely involved with musical organization and its contribution to the cultural and social concepts of human lifestyle. Therefore anthropology of music studies music as an influence of culture and social life as opposed to music in culture. The study of Suya’ sing analyzes the anthropology of music because of the social and cultural ties the community has on music in performances and ceremonial arts.

Anthony Seeger approached this issue from the integrated point of view examining both theoretical and empirical approaches and mediation regarding the reasons why Suya’ sing including reasons for traditional ethnomusicology. Seeger is an anthropologist, record producer as well as ethnomusicologist archivist.  In consideration of why Suya’ sing, Anthony Seeger considered and emphasized on the importance speech making, initiation ceremonies, myth telling as well as singing to understand the anthropology of music. The conclusions from the research are based on thorough field research extending for duration of twenty four years and practical procedures of musical exchange. In his analyzes, Seeger concentrated on every detail involved in musical performances and verbal arts of various types. He noticed the formation of an adults who is fully socialized from a small boy, how a village is formed from a well organized collection of households as well as Suya’ singings which with time creates a state of euphoria from its silence which in collectivity adds up to a pool of ideas regarding time, social identity and space.

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Seeger went further to analyze his research from a musical performance perspective rather than concentrating on the application of anthropological concerns and methods to music. In his study and research, Seeger distinguished anthropology of music and musical anthropology. He organized is anthropology of music with perspective of music and society and their components. He organized his research of anthropology based on the concepts, concerns and methods of anthropology. Their importance in ideational and social structures of a society was largely emphasized in their roles to transformation of human groupings and societies. His emphasis was based on which distinct areas does anthropology shared with other social sciences in areas of economic and social formations as opposed to music and other forms of arts. The analysis as well focused largely on how anthropology of music is incorporated in the social and cultural life. His analysis also touched on musical anthropology where music was part of social and cultural life. The research carried by Seeger concentrated in Suya Indians which formed a community in Northern State Mato Grosso in Brazil.

The natural formation of Suya’ was described intensely in the research due to its performance depicting social and cultural importance. Departing from earlier works, Seeger’s research was carried out to study creation, maintenance, re-establishment and alteration of processes and structures within the community set up. Therefore the research was solely conducted from grassroots since it was part of life of these communities that shaped not only their socio-economic ways of life but also cultural transformations and processes. This approach and methodology for the research was adopted due to the Suya’ settings where they lived in isolated parts of south America and used native language possessing nether industry nor social classes, so their study was simple as well demanding due to their lifestyle. The research also composed of audio and tape recordings that were made as early as 1963 then a comparison was done with other performances in recent and previous years to identify their values and importance in social and cultural processes.  

The organization of this anthropology was based on several factors and categories due to diversity of Suya’ sing as identified by Seeger. Performance style and features were categorized separately. Anthropology was also grouped according to age, the tune and nature of the song was also used to group them, lastly they were organized according to processes and values of composition and articulation. Organization was also based on the origin of the music, he ceremony during which music was performed and the role music played in strengthening the social and cultural values in the society. The research was sub divided to include nature involved in the field research in consideration to personal, ethical and social facets, importance of considering music as an integral body of aesthetic components, fundamentals of understanding native musicology to give an insight of what is contained in a music genre, the role played by music in social formations and processes through use of its creative and constitutive roles. In addition, the organization was also based on the importance of employing musical performances as a tool for political struggle. Lastly ethnographic present was largely employed to explain past events in present times for relevancy and easy understanding.

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There were very important underlying issues that were considered in carrying out the original field research which are considered paramount. First there was a consideration that music was an integral part of many lives of South American Indians. Music was also considered as a valued social activity and was practiced frequently among these communities. It was further hypothesized that, every song among these communities was seasonally for a specific reason and at a specified time. In addition, consideration that songs were a form of creating a social order in the society was also given a great emphasis in this research. Lastly, music was also considered to contain social identity and material production as well which guided the preliminary stages of this research as well as its findings, conclusions and recommendations.

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