From Willem-Hendrik Zwart to world music: a different perspective on church organ playing by Hans Fidom

by Hans Fidom | Het ORGEL | Year 103 | (2007) | Issue 6
Hans Fidom From Willem-Hendrik Zwart to world music: a different perspective on church organ playing
Het ORGEL 103 (2007), nr. 6, xx-xx [summary]

When I began studying musicology in 1986, I learned two things immediately. One: music by people from, say, Africa is just as exciting as western music. Two, a direct consequence: all music is in principle interesting. It’s a matter of taking seriously the group for which the music was made. So Wikipedia is right to keep the definition of world music very short: world music is music that comes from a particular population group. If you look at it that way, the music of my teacher Willem-Hendrik Zwart, that of the pop group Krezip, and the call-and-response songs of 19th-century slaves are all world music.
The interesting question arises whether western church musicians, if their profession can be seen as a kind of world music, might be able to integrate other world music into their work. In any case, a problem will remain: as soon as ‘world musicians’ make their music for a different audience than was originally intended, there is danger that the music loses an aspect and the church service is reduced to the status of a museum performance for tourists. For this reason there is but one technique that is worth the trouble: improvising together. In this area there are worlds to be won, at conservatories as well.