In Units 6 and 7 we have used Ralph Locke’s definitions as the basis for discussing exoticism as a spectrum of possibilities that range from Pure Exoticism, which is meant to represent, define, or “Other” an exotic subject (i.e. a non-Western group, place, or people), to the more seemingly benign Transcultural Composing, which is a hybrid of Western and non-Western styles that is not intended to represent or “Other” an exotic subject. In the first part of your paper, please discuss this exotic spectrum using either Claude Debussy’s Pagodes from Estampes or Colin McPhee’s Tabuh-Tabuhan. What are the exotic elements of each of these works, why are these exotic elements used, and where do the works fall on our spectrum of exoticism?
For the remainder of your paper, please discuss the use of gamelan-inspired music in Benjamin Britten’s opera Death in Venice. Where on the spectrum do you feel this work falls? Britten does not use elements of non-Western music to describe or label non-Western people, but instead uses it in connection with themes of homosexual attraction, to represent something “Other” in the main character of the opera. Is this truly any different than Bizet’s use of Spanish music to label Carmen as an “Other”? You decide!
Back up your argument by citing sources from the reading above. Use no other sources.
Your paper should include the following components:
- A brief introduction that describes the various components of exoticism. Your
introduction should contain a thesis statement that details your argument regarding where
on the spectrum Britten’s Death in Venice falls.
- A discussion of either Debussy’s Pagodes or McPhee’s Tabuh-tabuhan. In what ways is
the work exotic? What is the purpose of the composer’s use of these exotic elements?
- A somewhat longer discussion of Britten’s Death in Venice. In what ways is the work
exotic? What is the purpose of Britten’s use of these exotic elements? Where do you feel
this work falls on the spectrum of exoticism?
- A brief conclusion.