Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Kibby, Marj, and Karl Neuenfeldt. "Sound, Cinema and Aboriginality." In Screen Scores: Studies in Contemporary Australian Film Music, ed. Rebecca Cole, 66-77. Sydney: Australian Film Television and Radio School, 1998.

The didjeridu is misleadingly used on the soundtrack of Burke and Wills (1986) to suggest an Aboriginal presence, by borrowing the distinct timbre of the instrument but discarding the free rhythmical form of aboriginal music. The timbre of the didjeridu, electronically synthesized and symmetrically organized in meter, is used in film scores aimed at western audiences to signify a single element of Australian Aboriginal culture as complex histories of "otherness," networks of beliefs, and the relationships between peoples and lands. Borrowing the distinct timbre and register of the didjeridu in Australian cultural representations provides for white Australians and Western cinematic audiences a spurious notion of Australian Aboriginal musics, which are primarily vocal musics accompanied by drum and whistle.

Works: Peter Sculthorpe: score to Burke and Wills (66); Guy Gross: score to Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (69); J. Peter Robinson: music for Encino Man (69); Martin Armiger, William Motzing, and Tommy Tycho: music for Young Einstein (72); Ira Newborn: score to Ace Ventura, Pet Detective (72); Bill Conti: score to The Right Stuff (73).

Index Classifications: 1900s, Film

Contributed by: Kathleen Widden

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