The old paradigm restrains the language of music to the musicians and audiovisual language to students and professionals of the area. This decreases the potential of art appreciation by the public. It also excludes the possibilities of human expression and communication that exist in these languages and that should live in the everyday experience of the population.
I hope this article and the research that has led to it, together with the cited references and bibliography, reinforce the need for the existence of inclusive proposals in communication media, to enable the appropriation of these languages by those who were excluded of their universes.
Radio as a space for regional representation in Brazil
The participation of Brazilian music on the radio was crucial and perhaps a catalyst for the development of a dialogue between listener and radio. The dialogue gets stronger meaning in the universe of music as human expression.
To illustrate this point there is an interesting historical moment of São Paulo, between the first half of the twentieth century and some decades later. It is a significant period for the city, capital of the state of São Paulo, and several factors had active role on its musical context.
The city began to receive immigrants from around the world (mainly from Italy and Japan), as well as migrants from the rural population and other states of Brazil. These people from different realities seek, like everyone else, their cultural expression, and radio music delivered it. Radio became a space of representation of different cultural expressions in daily life.
In this context were the carnival songs of authors such as Ari Barroso, Lamartine Babo and João de Barros, whose compositions were in the stations several months before the event. Besides disseminating the genre, radio was also a great stimulator of this popular celebration, and both (samba and Carnival) constituted an imaginary of Brazilian popular music and its performers.
In the 30′s and 40′s the growing number of migrants from the countryside of São Paulo had its cultural music represented in the radiophonic landscape by some thematic programs aimed at this specific audience.
The program aired daily in 1937 by the state owned broadcasting station Radio Educativa Paulista despite its elitist character had a variety of musical genres in its programming, including “Russian and Italian melodies, Fox music, Strauss waltzes, Brazilian and Argentinean songs, music for dancing”.
In the years 50 and 60 Sao Paulo has the artist Adoniran Barbosa, a strong presence in Brazilian radio, as an important figure of everyday life. His music and artistic interpretations on the radio represent the historical and cultural life of the city because he managed to “pull the emotion of daily life that many can only see as commonplace.”
These examples show the potential of music as an element to develop a dialogue with the listener and how interesting is the integrative role that radio, as media, achieves. If the content of the media includes different cultural expressions of Brazil, or in this case of São Paulo, it’s possible to see the radiophonic support as an inclusive media.
There is a duality of perspectives in the studies on the radio and music in Brazil that embraces the discussion regarding the definitions of culture. There are many critics about the massive character of cultural production that excludes it as part of Brazilian culture. The Brazilian historian Alcir Lenharo calls attention to the existence of a continuous process of rejection, in the field of academic research, about everything from the mass culture.
Bertold Brecht says that such a prospect may denounce “a concept of culture whereby the culture setting has been completed and culture have no need of any creative effort continued”.
If we consider culture as something in part of the daily life, in which this presence, largely takes place through practices involving the media, the radio can be an interesting support to provide a universe where everyone has the right to communication. “This is the concept of multiplicity of viewpoints in the process of increasing complexity of communications universes”.
The empathy between radio and listener
Sound and music are the material of the radio. They are more than an object of study, they are means to perceive the world, an instrument of knowledge . The radio sensitizes the individual to perceive the other and himself, provides a unique and creative freedom and by its very inclusive nature expands horizons to listeners.
The listener appropriates the language and content of the radio by the proximity to what is perceived and by its intimate and instantaneous, regionally and globally characteristics. So it provides a unique identification between the listener and content.
This identification, when extended to human relations, embraces the concept of compassion. Compassion is nothing more than identification with the other, being sensitive to situations that life presents. About this sensitivity, recent studies in the areas of brain science and neuropsychology bring new light in the research about the involvement of mirror-neurons in the human experience in general.
When we experience significant moments in collective practices or in our own mental universe we usually have really interesting ideas or hypotheses.
There is an element of semiotics developed by Charles Peirce that introduces a type of reasoning, and therefore a process of perception, named as abduction.
“It’s the kind of reasoning by which creativity is manifested not only in science and art, but also in everyday life. [...] In addition to being instinctive and evolutionary, abduction is at the same time, a logical inference.” (SANTAELLA, 2001: p.121)
Abduction is a living process of thought. When we are exposed to rich and complex stimuli, such as when we appreciate a beautiful song, a rich natural landscape during a road trip or a soft human touch, we become more sensitive to this interesting process.
Is there a complex integration between our perceptions that goes beyond our bodies and extends to the feelings of others, forming some sort of sensory aggregation shared by all living beings, consciously or not?
“Ideas are merely sensations imprinted deep within. Once perceived, we can act. In other words, our creative impulses are vibrations of the Universal Mind.” (PRAAGH, 1999)
About this, there are studies proposed by Jung on the concept of collective unconscious that embraces spirituality and the creative process.
“Universal Mind knows no boundaries or limits, and anyone can use it. Like the same sun shines for all people, all share a common condition. We share the senses: feel, see, hear, touch, laugh and cry.” (PRAAGH, 1999)
The awareness that we all share something implies the weakening of the idea of possession. It is a concept strictly defended by consumer society, for it constitutes its very essence. Without the encouragement of possession as an object of social and financial value the discussions related to access gain strength.
During the research that led to this article, access to knowledge and access to communication proved to be essential questions for a discussion of media communication and also for many questions present on our current reality.
“While issues such as democracy and citizenship are to be achieved gains in Brazil, it is an indisputable fact that the radio has greatly contributed to the creation of values that promote collective ideals.” (BARBOSA, 2009: p.22)
This perspective indicates the importance of a sense of community in people. The feeling of belonging is essential to human consciousness and its practice coexists with communication.
To develop a collective sense of community among individuals in a society it is necessary that they have the opportunity to express themselves in countless ways and for many purposes. It makes people co-producers of their own culture and therefore more aware and careful of situations around them.
To do this we must transform the radio, convert it from distribution device to communicational device, with the active participation of listeners in the production of an interesting content, which requires a kind of rebellion by the listener, its activation and rehabilitation as a producer. (BRECHT)
Radio and music experience
Between 1928 and 1942 the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) aired the program The Music Appreciation Hour. It was a weekly program about music appreciation directed to children and young people in American schools as a complement to the curriculum of music and accompanied by four student’s manual and a teacher’s guide.
The program was established at the time as an important material in music education in the United States and had reached nearly seven million students in the country in 1937. In this context Theodor W. Adorno was hired to conduct an analytical study on the program.
In his analysis, Adorno comes to some pessimistic conclusions about the possibilities of radio broadcasting, The author writes that the program addresses the music in a superficial way, subordinate to what he calls “the aesthetic effect.” Thus, Adorno argue that radio fail to provide listeners with a true “musical experience”.
Is this a true statement for all radio purposes? Is the empathy related to musical language that radio provides able to produce a true musical experience in the listener?
Amongst the pedagogical suggestions proposed by Adorno in his study and present in the practices of sensitive music educators is the possibility of inner experience with music through the development and discovery of our own musicality, often related to improvisation . However, when we change the context to the media – radio, in our case - new possibilities arise while some important alternatives are lost. We know that both the appreciation and practice of music change our sense of time. An interesting and revealing example of the incredible possibilities of music in human experience is the chapter “Here and Now: Music and amnesia” in the book “Musicophilia” by Oliver Sacks.
On that work Sacks presents the notorious case of Cliven Wearing . Affected by a devastating infection in the brain that completely changed his life experience, Clive could not hold the memory for more than a few seconds. The text presents the case with an impressive clarity and sensitivity that makes it really worth reading.
I bring this text to the present article because during musical practices Clive was able to experience a continuity of consciousness in no other way possible to him. His relationship with the musical language was intense because of his past as a musician, so “the execution revives him, motivates him as a creative person; becomes new and alive, and may contain new improvisations or innovations”. That’s because “the practice involves the conscious application of the individual, monitoring what he is doing, using all his intelligence, sensitivity and values”. And in music this experience is so strong because “a musical composition is not a mere sequence of notes, it is an organized and cohesive organic whole”. (Sacks, 2007)
Can the production and appreciation of the radio, together with educational practices, politics articulations, artistic expressions, and especially the active participation of musical experience in the consciousness of human beings, be able to help developing an awareness of the present time in the listener and provide him higher sensitivity in relation to himself and others?
Radio programming and the sense of time on a society
Not only the sound but the perception of time also contains significant information about a society. The pace of life in a society is the conditions that exist in the daily life of citizens, on the establishment of timetables in common, such as school or business hour. It is also the different sensations of the past, present and future time that people adopt in their lives.
This is certainly influenced by means of mass communication, and vice versa. In radio, Schafer explains:
“Each station and each country has its own broadcasting time, but overall the speed has increased over the years and its tone is changing, from tranquil to irresponsible.” (Schafer, 2001: p. 140)
Therefore, the traditional radio broadcast determines an authoritative understanding of time through a constant temporal orientation (program schedule, referral programs in daily life such as the morning journals) according to the pace of society.
Does a change in the structure of daily radio programming, in the sense of a more liberty duration of the programs and in the use of silences, can change the perception of time in a society?
Knowledge opens perspectives for the conscious use of radio that embraces its educational, communicational and artistic potentials. The appropriation of its language by listeners makes radio a possible space to develop their own voice. On this path, practices around the radio seem to be a very rich possibility aiming an education for sensitivity.
Therefore, isn’t the radiophonic product an interesting material to be explored in creative ways of different areas and for various purposes?
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