How to save Tibetan folk songs? Put them online!
More and more Tibetan folk songs are disappearing. Led by anthropology professor Gerald Roche, the Tibetan Endangered Music Project (TEMP) uses digital media to capture tunes that are being lost. The volunteer-run program aims to put all the digital songs they collect online, as a way of archiving the material for future generations, the National Geographic writes.
So far the students at Qinghai Normal University have recorded more than 250 songs, including melodies for herding, harvesting, singing babies to sleep, and coaxing yaks into giving more milk. "The goal is to digitalize the songs we record and return them to our communities," said 20-year-old student Dawa Drolma. "We want to record as many songs as possible."
"It is quite remarkable how much they have been able to accomplish from such a remote place, thanks to the Internet and digital recording technology," said Jonathan C. Kramer, a professor of music at North Carolina State University who has worked with the students. "It is hard to imagine such a project even 20 years ago."
“One of the biggest challenges that we face at the moment is how to return the music to the communities it comes from,” says Roche, as there are few Tibetan communities with Internet access. “Putting it online is a start, but just a small start.” Tsering Lhamo from Ngawa, Sichuan suggests, “the music we have recorded [could be] taught in primary schools of Tibetan areas in order to preserve them.” according to That's Beijing.
TEMP is remarkable for many reasons according this blog: its ease of growth, use of existing technology with no budget, a method of preservation by people from the culture itself, and a prospect for real use by both local and global communities.
The Tibetan Endagered Music Project has its own website at YouTube with currently five videos.