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Nguyen 1Derek NguyenMusic 15 March 14, 2017The Spectrum of ExoticismAccording to Ralph Locke, exoticism can be defined as the process of evoking a place that is perceived to be different. Therefore, musical exoticism can be defined as an attempt through non-western elements of music to evoke a people or culture in a western context (Locke,p. 47). The process of perceiving differences is called “othering” which provides a way to label agroup as different from one’s own group. By being able to create labels for different groups or people, it is one way to help define that group or people. However, exoticism is more complex than just being able to distinguish differences among or within groups and/or people. Exoticism can be viewed as an entire spectrum with transcultural composition on one extreme and pure exoticism on the other. Transcultural composition is the integration of western and non-western elements of music that is not intended to “other”. This hybrid of styles consists of works that integrate certain stylistic and rhythmic elements of a different culture’s music (usually non-western) and making it into one’s own usually for a western context. While transcultural composition is not intended to “other”, pure exoticism often does just that. Pure exoticism labels a group or people as different or as an exotic subject. Explicitly, Benjamin Britten’s opera Death in Veniceprimarily contains elements of transcultural composition because he does not use non-western styles of music to intentionally define an exotic subject.Colin McPhee’s work Tabuh-tabuhan was inspired by his infatuation for Balinese Gamelan music. McPhee was a Canadian composer and pianist who visited and stayed in Bali for eight years of his life and during his stay, adopted a Balinese lifestyle and culture. McPhee
Nguyen 1described gamelan music as “a delicious confusion, a strangely sensuous and quite unfathomableart, mysteriously aerial, aeolian, filled with joy and radiance” (McPhee, p.40). Another reason that he moved to Bali was because of their accepting society for homosexuals. Here, he studied ethnomusicology which is the study of non-Western music and so he began integrating the styles and techniques of ceremonial gamelan music into his repertoire. Traditionally, gamelan music was not written but rather, it was passed down orally. Therefore, McPhee had to figure out a way