Ex Omnibus Linguis Reviews of
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in Journals and Magazines

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Reviews by
Helmi Järviluoma, Tampere
& Antti-Ville, Kärjä, Helsinki

Etnomusikologian vuosikirja  Finnish Music Quarterly



Musiikin suunta

Musiikki Sosiologia Tieteessä tapahtuu 

Etnomusikologian vuosikirja 
(Yearbook of Ethnomusicology)
ISSN 0783-6821

Review in RPM#29 (Winter 1999/2000)

Vol. 11 (1999), pp. 62-72
Tarja Rautiainen
Musiikkitekstit, kontekstit ja populaarimusiikin tutkimus 
("Musical Texts, Contexts, and the Study of Popular Music"). 

A dense and thorough survey to the relationship between text and context, especially in relation to ethnomusicology and popular music studies. The article provides a cultural studies approach to the study of popular music, with an emphasis on such concepts as "discursive formation" and "articulation", and leading towards a position where the formation of meanings is perceived as a result of the interaction between actions, texts, and contexts.

Vol. 11 (1999), pp. 73-90
Vesa Kurkela
1800-luvun sointikuva ja populaarimusiikki:
Lähtökohtia varhaisen populaarimusiikin soinnin tutkimiseen 
("The Sound of the 19th Century and Popular Music: 
Points of Departure to the Study of Early Popular Music Sound"). 

An introductory examination into the foundations of the 20th century Finnish music, with illustrative methodological problematizations and observations. The temporal and spatial focus is in 1840s' Helsinki, which at that point began to "internationalize", and thus functioned as a crucial filter for diverse influences mainly from Central Europe and Russia. Kurkela summarizes the essential changes in sound during the 19th century as follows: increasing volume due to material and technological innovations, "sing ability" brought forth by new aesthetic thought, "broader" sound especially in the arrangements of brass bands, the "tingel-tangel" of automatic instruments made in the fume of mechanical and rational world-view, and the "romantic intonation" through which music's emotions were attempted to express emphasizedly.


Finnish Music Quarterly
ISSN 0782-1069

Review in RPM#29 (Winter 1999/2000)

A quarterly journal published by Performing Music Promotion Centre (ESEK), Foundation for the Promotion of Finnish Music (LUSES), the Sibelius Academy, and Finnish Composers' International Copyright Bureau (TEOSTO). As it might be obvious, the journal focuses on the promotion of Finnish music in general, and the articles are not usually that "scientific". Still the journal is undoubtedly extremely useful to everyone interested in Finnish music – it is written entirely in English language. Though the emphasis is on the art music tradition, there are some articles dealing with the popular side of the field; in recent numbers there have been articles on Jimi Tenor (2/98), on DJ-ing in Finland and in general (2/99), and on Finnish music videos (3/99).


Kulttuurintutkimus (Cultural Studies)
ISSN 0781-5751

Review in RPM#25 (Winter 1997/1998)

1997, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 3-10:
Kari Nyyssölä
The Beatles - the modern fulfilment of pop music?

Why did the Beatles once became so famous and why has a comparable band never turned up? The Beatles represent the fulfillment of modern social development and culture, radiating faith in progress and uniformity. They are one of the "grand narratives" of the age of modernity, who touched their contemporaries and simultaneously left their mark on collective memory. Why did they have no successors?

Lähikuva (Close Shot)
ISSN 0782-3053

Review in RPM#29 (Winter 1999/2000)

nr. 2-3/99, pp. 62-69
Liora Moriel
Ylpeä laululintu: Dana International ja Eurovision laulukilpailut 
("Proud Songbird: Dana International and Eurovision Song Contest"). 

An intriguing article about the first trans-sexual who has ever won the Eurovision Song Contest. Moriel interestingly highlights the various dimensions of Dana International's identity as shifting from a carefully constructed media product to an "authentic" and participating trans-sexual, from an ironic camp-artist to a significant political catalyst. As Moriel is a PhD student at the University of Maryland, I would imagine that her ideas are available also in a more easily accessible language than Finnish.

Musiikin suunta (Musical Currents)
ISSN 0780-0703

Review in RPM#25 (Winter 1997/1998)

1997, vol. 19, no.1, pp. 21-29
Antti-Ville Kärjä
The puberty of the Finnish music video.

For a long time Finnish music videos have been thought as poor or bad, and their success has been a subject of disbelief. Still, with almost every publication of a Finnish record a music video is produced. The primary problem with Finnish music videos is their visibility. Until the past couple of years they have been just momentary curiosities, but in the television programme Jyrki - established in the autumn of 1995 - Finnish music videos finally have a distribution channel worthy of consideration.

1997, vol. 19, no. 2, pp. 18-27:
Markus Lakanen
Thru The Wire - the story of a music video.

This music video directed by Aki Kaurismäki gained some international fame. It is not only a promo selling a rock group, but clearly a miniature film presenting the thoughts of the director. But what are the properties of and interrelationships between the three narrative agents of the video: the image, the text, and the melody. Analysis of these agents is based on the quantitative and qualitative methods used in the study of films, music and texts: Werner Faulstich‘s analysis of the image and Gary Burns‘ "hook"-theory. Quantitative methods can be used to point out some parts of the video that are stressed more heavily than others, and qualitative methods lead to different interpretations of the narrative.

1997, vol. 19, no. 2, pp. 28-34:
Hanna Lönnblad
A comparative analysis of two computer demos.

Computer demos could be characterized as music videos made with a computer. There is no research made about demos, and so it is reasonable to approach them with the methods used in the study of music videos. But, whereas in music video the image is attached to the music afterwards, in demos the image is usually made first. Through a comparative analysis of two demos a few conclusions can be made: there is a strong influence of techno and ambient music; the demos are obviously not narratives; and there is no especial sense of the primacy of either image or music.

1997, vol. 19, no. 2, pp. 35-40:
Anne Tarvainen
An anatomy of techno -
The Art of Trance: "Octopus".

Techno music is a new kind of music, and it should be examined from the starting-points of its own. It cannot be evaluated by the aesthetics of traditional western music. One possibility is a tree diagram developed from the paradigmatic analysis of Jean-Jacques Nattiez. In addition, a techno song can be presented in a line diagram, in which every sound of the song has its own line. These two methods give a fairly clear picture of the structure of the song. They also state that the most interesting aspects of techno music do not lie in its melody, but, more probably, in its space of sounds.

Review in RPM#27/28 (Winter/Spring 1998/1999)

3/97, pp. 17-28:
Outi Koivisto
"Muse/musician -
Tori Amos in the masquerade of Popular Music".

The expression of woman can be seen as positive resource, which can even renovate the institutionalized rock culture. Still, not yet even on this decade rock music is not fruitful soil for women who speak honestly about their own feelings; music business is dominated and controlled by men. The object of this study is Tori Amos, one of the most independent female artists of 1990s. How has she achieved her status, and how is she accepted? What are her public image and music like in the middle of the surrounding cultural atmosphere?

3/97, pp. 29-40:
Taina Viitamäki
"'I'm not the man you think I am' -
Morrissey's fourth gender".

There are two major aspects in this article. First, and largely because the writer acknowledges herself as a fan of the Smiths, the struggle between fan's critique less admiration and scholar's "truthfulness". Secondly, the article tangles on the issue of whether or not androgyny can be detected in the songs and interviews of the band, and if so, how?

3/97, pp. 41-50:
Taru Tähti
"Fun for us and others -
An ethnographic survey to the depths of a drag show".

Whether you are on a tourist journey on the Canary Islands, or watching a film praised by your friends on television, you can't escape it: men in dresses. Or are they men after all, since they are so beautiful. And why do they have even better legs than women do! To perform in the clothes made for the other sex usually causes extra attention, on stage it gives birth to a jolly laughter and on street at least a long stare if not shoutings after. What is it that all-seen modern people still find interesting in cross-dressing?

3/97, pp. 51-58:
Heli Perkki|
"A Rockin' Couple -
Thoughts of a musician couple on music and gender".

A lot of gender-related things are tied up with music. Especially the world of Popular Music is very masculine. Bands are groups of "good guys", there is a need to have "dick" in the playing, a good singer sings "like a man" - and a girlfriend directs her worshipping look to the performer from the edge of the stage. A woman making music is easily a subject for prejudice and at least astonishment. Is the physical strength of a woman really sufficient for good playing? Is a woman generally any good except for as a background singer? And what happens, if girls are allowed to join the band?

3/97, pp. 59-63:
Ursula Norman
"Images of femininity -
PJ Harvey and the representation of feminine".

In this article the writer is examining in what sense PJ Harvey can be seen as reflecting present views of being a "woman". In what ways is she challenging and abolishing established representations of the "feminine"?

1/98, pp. 5-24:
Alfonso Padilla
"From La Cumparsita to Leo Brouwer -
Latin American music in Finland".

The music of Latin America has influenced several music cultures. Also in Finland its position is very strong. Especially tango has rooted into the Finnish culture permanently, and the Finnish tango can be considered as a genre of its own. In addition to tango, in this article a survey is conducted to Cuban and Brazilian music, to popular, folk, and art music of Latin America, to "nueva cancion" movement, and to the status of Latin American music within the cultural and media institutions of Finland.

1/98, pp. 25-32:
Tarja Rautiainen
"Bolero constructing 'Cubanness'".

The music of Latin America has conquered hearts since 1960s, and there is plenty of information available on it. The knowledge itself, however, has not grown. The nature of the knowledge has, nevertheless, changed. In the examinations of Popular Music its relationship to folk and art music has been taken into consideration. The borders between musical genres are seen as constructed cultural practices. For the study of Latin American Popular Music this point of departure seems especially applicable - the initial stages of Cuban bolero are a good example of this.

1/98, pp. 33-44:
Petri Home
"'Make the guitars go ska! ska! ska!' -
The development and change of ska music in a process of transculturation".

In this article the writer is charting the most essential differences between the original Jamaican ska music and its British re-interpretation, on the level of musical structures. The analysis focuses on the treatment of rhythm, and on orchestration.

1/98, pp. 45-62:
Juhani Similä
"Rhum, roulette, and rumba -
Tourism and Cuban music in 1920s Havanna".

During the 1920s the USA was governing Cuba both economically and politically. In musical life the effects of this were visible in the large number of musicians employed by casinos, hotels and dance venues. Also the unofficial local entertainment was blossoming; especially the media industry brought to Cuba by the Americans was a central part of the symbolic intercultural battlefield, in which the borders of Cuban culture and music were redefined.

1/98, pp. 63-72:
Jarmo Romppanen
"Cry and keep going -
Mandolin trills in Brazilian choir music".

In this article the writer analyses the trills and 16th-note triplet ornaments in two different versions of the song "Noites Cariocas". From the point of view of mandolin playing the study of trills and triplet ornaments is useful, since the ornamentations vary among musicians.

2/98, pp. 4-8:
Erkki Pekkilä
"New folk music as an object of study".

The popularity of "new folk music", or "world music", is a phenomenon of the 1990s. But what is this new kind of folk music, and what are the basis for its popularity? And how can it be studied; what kind of explanations and theories does ethnomusicology have for it? The concepts of ethnomusicology, like acculturation, westernization, urbanisation, and modernisation, are not sufficient for depiction of world music. One must rely also on the models provided by Popular Music studies and cultural studies.

2/98, pp. 9-18:
Ano Sirppiniemi
"The era of the wolf -
A descriptive analysis and the reception of Tellu Virkkala's record".

In this article the author uses Tellu Virkkala's record "Suden aika" ('The era of the wolf'), published in March 1996, as an object of analysis. At the same time, he uses the record as an example of the cultural and musicological features related to the phenomena of the so-called new Finnish folk music, and of the larger context of world music of 1990s. These features open up numerous point of views concerning record-making and -producing, as well as the problem of musical communication.

2/98, pp. 19-21:
Sasha Mäkilä
"Soundscapes and recording technology -
Tellu Virkkala's Suden aika as an example".

The traditional functionality of folk music makes the music a part of the surrounding soundscape. New folk music has, however, lost a large portion of this feature. Most of the listeners get familiar with it only through records and festival arenas, where it is functioning as one of several forms of Popular Music, although its origins are in the Finnish folk tradition. On records, the deadly silence of the studio overruns the mooing of cows and the shivering of leaves.

2/98, pp. 22-28:
Jutta Jaakkola
"Helsingin kaksrivisnaiset -
and the image derived from them".

The object of study in this article is a folk music ensemble Helsingin kaksrivisnaiset. The purpose of the study is, in the first instance, to introduce the band, and, secondly, to find out what is it that they wish to communicate - musically and otherwise - consciously, and what they might be communicating unconsciously.

2/98, pp. 29-31:
Heikki Pulli
"Master musician -
Arto Järvelä's activities as a folk musician".

The purpose of the author is to introduce the musical activities of the Finnish folk musician Arto Järvelä, and to find out some reasons for his active career as a musician. As sources the author has used Järvelä's interview, material from Internet, magazine articles, record reviews, literature on folk musicians, and records on which Järvelä has been playing.

2/98, pp. 32-38:
Hertaldis Offermann
"Värttinä and new folk music".

By interviewing six people, and showing them one video, the author has tried to find out how the people interviewed took the band Värttinä, what did they know about the "story" of the band, how they related themselves to both folk and new folk music, how would they define new folk music, and what are commerciality and its effects on new folk music.

Review in RPM#29 (Winter 1999/2000)

Vol. 21 (1999), nr. 2
a theme issue on music videos. 

Taken from the editor's preface: "This issue of Musiikin suunta is a special edition: first, it is in English; second (and therefore), it is intended for international distribution; thirdly, all the contributors are working and living in Nordic Countries.


For a kind of introduction to the topic, Sven E Carlsson provides us with "perspectives for music video analysis" – he has also a web-appendix for his article. Then, focusing more thoroughly on the reception of music videos, including an extensive account of previous music video studies, Tuija Modinos seeks to explain some of the differences and similarities between US and Finnish MTV viewers. After that, I sketch out how material conditions and aesthetic considerations go hand in hand, with a heavy emphasis on Finnish music videos. And finally, Stan Hawkins presents a highly elaborated, sophisticated analysis of Björk’s video It’s Oh So Quiet. Also, included in the inner back cover is a theme index of Musiikin suunta covering the years 1983–98, for those who might be interested in Finnish ethnomusicology." (Antti-Ville Kärjä)

Musiikki (Music)
ISSN 0355-1059

Review in RPM#25 (Winter 1997/1998)

1997, vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 96-114.
Vesa Kurkela
Integrating Diversity or Separate Cultures?
Perspectives on the Historiography of Popular Music.

Music history writing has traditionally been divided into various genres, be this jazz, rock, folk, or art music. The opposite of this convention is a historiography of all musics, where the main topic is the interaction between various traditions. This viewpoint is highly applicable to the study of early popular music. Today‘s musical life also appears quite integrated. Various idioms are not separate cultures but form a pluralistic entity with several fusion tendencies.

Review in RPM#29 (Winter 1999/2000)

Vol. 29 (1999), nr. 2, pp. 210-219
 Jukka Sarjala
Musiikin kulttuurihistoria - lyhyt oppimäärä
("The Cultural History of Music - Short Curriculum"). 

An important opening into the discussion about the theoretical and methodological foundations of the historiography of music. Sarjala himself takes the position of a cultural historian, stressing that we cannot speak just about one music, but many musics instead, and that these musics are interpreted within different systems of perception and experience. He also sees music as an utterly contextual phenomenon, changing in time and place. What is also important to him, is the ability to make differences, and to question the truths of our own time.

Sosiologia (Sociology)
ISSN 0038-1640

Review in RPM#25 (Winter 1997/1998)

1997, vol. 34, no. 1, pp.15-26:
Helmi Järviluoma & Irene Roivainen
Jäsenkategorisoinnin analyysi kulttuurisena metodina
(Membership categorisation device as a cultural method).

As a cultural method Membership Categorization Device (MCD) forms a part of the same chain of material-driven tools as are represented by discourse analysis and conversation analysis (CA). MCD analysis involves both categories carrying collective meanings and categorizations that are in constant flux in interactional situations. The article highlights some of the features that MCD and CA share in common and looks at the interactional dynamics of categorization and particularization. A concrete example included derives from Helmi’s ethnographic work on a Finnish amateur musicians ensemble. With English Summary.


Tieteessä tapahtuu (Happening in Science)
ISSN 0781-7916

Review in RPM#29 (Winter 1999/2000)

Vol. 16 (1998), nr. 8, pp. 49-54
Janne Mäkelä
Tähti on syttynyt. Kuuluisuuden varhaishistoriaa populaarimusiikissa 
("A Star Is Born. Early History of Celebrity in Popular Music"). 

Starting from the premise that stardom – as we know it – is essentially a modern phenomenon, Mäkelä traces the roots of the concept all the way back to Alexander the Great. This more political celebrity was complemented with romantic geniuses, bohemian artists, and dandies during the 19th century. Later technological developments both in transportation and mediation, mass production, and social changes have really been driving the concept of stardom forward.

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