Friday, February 17, 2012

La musique des Hmong: Now available online

Eric Mareschal. La musique des Hmong. Paris: Musée Guimet, 1976.

Mareschal's La Musique des Hmong has long been cited as one of the first and most comprehensive sources on Hmong music Laos. Unfortunately, it also also been almost impossible to get. I try every couple of years to get a copy to no avail. There are only a few copies in international libraries and no one is willing to lend it out. I recently found out that Eric Mareschal has uploaded a .pdf of the work to the website Scribd.

For someone like me who is interested in Hmong music and history, this is a pretty monumental event. I've only skimmed the contents, but the amount of detail the book contains is incredible. Mareschal documents secular and ritual songs (including musical transcriptions), qeej performances, and other types of instrumental music. Both Hmong Daer and Mong Leng music is included. The texts of these performances are highly valuable in their own right, but the musical transcriptions hold the potential for an interesting comparison with contemporary practices.

I don't think the full impact of the availability of this text will be realized for quite some time. It will take a while for people to realize it is available and fact that it is in French adds another barrier. Still, I am excited to spend some time with this text to see what it holds.

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