1. Introduction:


 The formation of Intercultural music occurs when two or more musical cultures meet and interact. An analogy to this is when two people meet from different cultures, with a desire to enter into dialogue, exchange ideas and learn from one another. They may speak different languages and have different appearances. In order to feel comfortable in another culture you need to learn the language (beyond the basics), history, customs and cultural codes and social norms. For example, dressing appropriately when invited to be with people from a different culture or religion according to their dress code, knowing if it's acceptable to shake hands or bow, knowing what time to arrive when invited etc. The same applies with music. Once you have a good understanding of the background, music history, theory, sound and rules of different styles of music, you can blend the two forms and cultures to form intercultural music.

 There is a difference between creating new music that deeply merges musical ideas from diverse cultures, as opposed to merely using influences from different musical cultures. Simply using influence is really giving a small taste from a different music style. Whereas, intercultural collaborations can lead to merging in ways that form a vibrant new sound.

Huib Schippers shows this on a continuum going from monocultural to what he terms multicultural to intercultural to transcultural. (Schippers, 2010).





(Schippers, 2006, p.348)

In this project I was aiming towards a transcultural or a new identity, what is often termed as a hybrid outcome. 

The term hybrid defined in The Oxford Dictionary as “a thing made by combining two different elements; a mixture.”  The Britannica explains that “hybridity[is] the dissolution of rigid cultural boundaries between groups hitherto perceived as separate, the intermixture of various identities, in effect the dissolution of identities themselves. Weiss (2014) explains that within the field of music. hybrid is used to mean a third type of music which is a mix of at least two other kinds. It's an ongoing process and not a fixed new type of music formed by the parts. In this research I will consider hybrid according to Weiss's interpretation, namely, addressing a third type of music with influences from each other rather than the dissolution of rigid cultural boundaries.


I suggest that the composer needs to have a strong connection with both styles in order to create new hybrid musical ideas. This is seen as the challenge of bi-musicality (Hood, 2013). The term bi-musicality was coined by ethnomusicologist Mantle Hood to explain this phenomenon when, in particular, Western musicians want to study and be proficient in Eastern music and visa versa. (ibid). The challenge is to be proficient in both genres of music. The term is based on the concept of bilingualism when someone is proficient from childhood in two languages. Hood is referring to students learning the other culture at an older age.  (Bailey 2001). For this reason, Bailey prefers to refer to this ability as "learning to perform" (Bailey 2001, p.3) He argues that only as a performer can you acquire a certain essential kind of knowledge about music.  

This ability to be bi-musical implies much more than experience or trying out another style. The hybridity can in my opinion only occur when the composer/musician  possess the two music genres and gives each the space and respect they deserve. 


This research will follow my search for a sharing point and new language between jazz and Arab maqam from the point of view of a composer, an arranger, a band leader and a vocalist during my field which involved collaborating with musicians, bands and ensembles in Denmark, Finland, Morocco, Israel and Zanzibar.





(Schippers, 2010, p.31)

How can we know and understand where the music is on the continuum

First let's understand the terminology used. 

In the field of education, the term multiculturalism coined by Professor James Banks defines multicultural education as seeking to create equal educational opportunities for all students, including those from different racial, ethnic, and social-class groups (Banks 1997). However, in Europe the preferred term today is intercultural education in order to stress that the aim is equal cooperation and learning between cultures and not just co-existence (Räsänen, 2010). Banks and others, however, sees the terms as interchangeable (Walton & Webster, 2019).

Although these terms can be interchangeable in education, Schippers sees them on a continuum.  Monocultural where there is only one frame of reference which is invariably the western culture, and other music and musical approaches are marginalized, multicultural where musicians from different cultures in music stay within their own music, and children of each culture learn the music of that culture, intercultural when there are perhaps motifs rhythms harmonies and improvisations from the other culture and ultimately transcultural which is an in depth exchange and understanding of other music styles.  Moreover, Schippers presents a way for us to look at the issues of authenticity by asking:

"does the situation attempt to recreate an original context for the music, or does it see the music as completely recontextualised, and does the situation reflect a tendency towards reconstructing an authentic (in the sense of culturally and/or historically correct) version of the music, or does it work from the view that the music has a new identity in the new context?" (Schippers, 2006, p.348).

This can be seen in the diagram below which looks at three plans, the traditional, the context and the authenticity on a continuum.