Burstyn Shai

Abstract

Many songs created in pre-State Israel incorporated certain Oriental
elements, but their overall stylistic slant, like that of other contemporaneous
local cultural products, was largely Occidental. The radical demographic
change caused by a massive immigration of Jews from Middle Eastern and
North African countries to the new state created enormous pressure to absorb
the newcomers both physically and culturally. The ensuing melting pot policy
declared by the young state as its supreme national task proved unsuccessful.
This failure had many reasons, not least of them the condescending
attitude of the absorbing establishment and its inability to fathom the sociocultural
processes involved in such a colossal national project. Against this
background, I examine in this article the encounter of immigrant Oriental
children with Israeli folksong, mainly from the perspective of musical perception
and cultural conditioning. In the 1930s and 1940s, ingrained musical
perceptual habits made European-oriented audiences insert variants into
the newly composed modal, mildly Oriental songs they used to sing. In the
1950s, however, the musical perceptual habits of immigrant Oriental children
hindered them from embracing Israeli folksongs created mainly by composers
of Eastern European origin.

Keywords

Israeli folksong; immigration; melting pot; cross-cultural music perception

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Vydání: 17, 2015, 2