Ritual Soundings

Ritual Soundings
The women of communities in Hindu India and Christian Orthodox Finland alike offer lamentations and mockery during wedding rituals. Catholic women of southern Italy perform tarantella on pilgrimages while Muslim Berger girls recite poetry at Moroccan weddings. Around the world, women actively claim agency through performance during such ritual events. These moments, though brief, allow them a rare freedom to move beyond culturally determined boundaries.

In Ritual Soundings, Sarah Weiss reads deeply into and across the ethnographic details of multiple studies while offering a robust framework for studying music and world religion. Her meta-ethnography reveals surprising patterns of similarity between unrelated cultures. Deftly blending ethnomusicology, the study of gender in religion, and sacred music studies, she invites ethnomusicologists back into comparative work, offering them encouragement to think across disciplinary boundaries. As Weiss delves into a number of less-studied rituals, she offers a forceful narrative of how women assert agency within institutional religious structures while remaining faithful to the local cultural practices the rituals represent.

Publication Date: 
March 16, 2019