Com tudo o mais á pertençe a solemnid. de huâ grande festa – Spotlights on ‘Music’ in the Jesuit Mission in South India during the late 17th and 18th Centuries

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Lisa Herrmann-Fertig

Abstract

The extraordinary success of the mission of the Society of Jesus is said to be based—above all—on its psychologically well-thought-out methodology, the deliberate adaptation to the habits of life and the level of education of the people to be converted. Within the context of their intercultural communication, missionaries of the Order used ‘music’ or musical phenomena as a ‘tool’ in order to spread the religious message all over the world. The mutual influence of the missionaries’ ‘music’ and the converts’ indigenous forms resulted in music-cultural change. In accord with their commitment to global mobility, Jesuits of the Old Society were active in South India until their expulsion in 1759. A special feature of the communication of the Order’s members is a collection of letters and reports, which formed a global system for the exchange of information. Some of them have been published, but for the most part they remain unprocessed in various archives and libraries. An important source for music research, these documents offer statements about musical phenomena as well as representations of the overall context, enabling one to investigate whether and how the Jesuits in South India succeeded in fulfilling their missionary tasks precisely through ‘music’ in a deliberately chosen form. The present study examines two discourses analytically on the basis of illustrative examples—spotlights—from primary sources written by Jesuits: (1) musical phenomena and (2) intercultural communication in the mission. In addition to Historical Discourse Analysis, Content Analysis and especially Grounded Theory prove to be of significance. The question is to what extent these two discourses are interwoven, so that the use of the musical repertoire in intercultural communication can be judged from the perspective of ‘music as a tool’. This study will focus on questions of different forms of contact points—enabled by musical phenomena—on which mission success was based. What role did emotions play in this context, and what was the deliberately chosen form of ‘music’ like?

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Herrmann-Fertig, L. (2019). Com tudo o mais á pertençe a solemnid. de huâ grande festa – Spotlights on ‘Music’ in the Jesuit Mission in South India during the late 17th and 18th Centuries. International Journal for Indian Studies, 4(1), 58-77. Retrieved from https://journals.ukzn.ac.za/index.php/Nidan/article/view/1188
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