W. Gerard Poole
The Joyous Procession
Updated: Feb 21, 2021
This one chapter, Chapter 5, is specifically on the procession as a phenomenon in and of itself within the general processional pilgrimage that is El Rocio.
[The entire dissertation, El Rocio: A Case Study of Music and Ritual in Andalucía, can be obtained by clicking on the image to the lower right. Chapter 5 can be downloaded by clicking on the icon below the following introduction.]
THE MUSIC OF THE PROCESSIONAL CHORUS: A CASE STUDY OF MUSICAL MODALITY AND TRANSFORMATION IN RELATION TO RITUAL BEHAVIOR
As preceding chapters have discussed, the singing, dancing, processional chorus—and its relationship to the single musician accompanist—has had a long history. Likewise, there has been a long history of the specialized musical procession with a single emotional mode at its core that appears to be consciously cultivated (if its manifestation in present-day Andalucía is an indication). Here I propose, hypothetically, that the very nature of a procession makes a single emotional cast, or mode, practically inevitable, and that this default relationship between procession, mood, and musical modality may offer important revelations concerning the evolution and proliferation of musical abstractions such as mode, scale, and form. This chapter will treat the music of the processional choruses of El Rocío from two approaches. The main approach will be from a performative and ritual perspective that focuses on the music’s role within the pilgrimage. I am suggesting that the musical forms of Andalucía, and their morphology within the ritual process, find their ultimate manifestation in behavioral aesthetics—aesthetics that I contend are created within a ritual process that is inseparable from the musical practices. Attempting to understand the role of the chorus and its relation to El Rocío has also pointed toward a process of musical and ritual behaviors that contribute toward the emergence of individuality from within a communal endeavor. Individuality and behavioral aesthetics seem to be intimately related. The second approach, and it is secondary, is historical. I have provided only as much historical material concerning the chorus as I judged relevant to the present-day practices at El Rocío. However, the historical legacy of the singing processional chorus, not only in Andalucía but also cross-culturally, would itself be a rich subject for further ethnomusicological and historical musicological work.
[For the complete Chapter 5 download the link below]