Iva Nenić (1979) is an ethnomusicologist and cultural theorist from Belgrade, Serbia. She earned PhD in Ethnomusicology (2015) and Mag. Phil. in Theory of Arts and Media (2009) from Belgrade’s University of Arts. Iva is an associate professor at Faculty of music in Belgrade and collaborates with a number of educational and research institutions home and abroad, as well as with several grassroots networks and initiatives regarding Serbian traditional folk and rock music scene. Her research interests include relation between ideological interpellation and cultural practices, epistemology of fieldwork, with a special focus on the topography of popular culture in early 21st century after postmodernity, and also on issues of gender, transgression, agency and power. She has published numerous articles, essays and chapters in edited volumes, and translated several studies and two books related to philosophy, music and culture. Her first monograph Gusle players and female instrumentalists in Serbia is released by renowned Serbian publisher CLIO.
The ideological frame that underlines the ideas on how the knowledge and skills of traditional music should be carried on further, calls for a deconstructive maneuver that could show that the transmission is never a simple ‘sending across’ of sounds through time and space, but also a trans – mission, a project of actively (re)creating of past in order to foster the present. I will discuss the nexus of ideology, intimacy and novelty in regard to several case studies of frula playing in Serbia. In recent frula revival after the turn of millennium, the role of a traditional teacher outside or complementary to an institutional setting, is highlighted as crucial for the learning process and further keeping of this folk instrument’s tradition. This is, however, not in line with the past practice, since today frula playing is taught by older and skilled players preferably of rural background, while in not so distant past the children were learning not from the teacher, but in solitude, by imitating, copying and listening to other players. The relation between an “authentic” master player and apprentice – today perceived as a genuine “old way”, it is in fact fairly new. On the other hand, especially for young players, the status of music as digitized sound-object doesn’t always imply its alienation, since the online environments strike a feeling of closeness for generational cohorts of digital natives. The main question is, then, how to understand the conceptualization of cultural intimacy and distance via sound in a world where traditional music exists in a twofold manner: as living, enchanting but yet faraway echo of the past and as technologically molded ‘immediacy’, an acousmatic presence of a specific kind? To what kind of knowledge and familiarity / distance do both way of learning music – combined – give a rise to?