The Ethnomusicology Applied to Research in Collective Health

  • Aline Veras Morais Brilhante
  • Ana Maria Fontenelle Catrib
  • Elaine Saraiva Feitosa
  • Epaminondas Carvalho Feitosa
Keywords: Culture; Music; Violence against women


This article describes the application of ethnomusicology in a Collective Health research. Considering that violence against women is culturally sustained, we start from ethnomusicology to investigate the relationship between music - as artifactuality - and the ideological formations that normalize this violence. Ethnomusicology based the epistemological assumptions and, together with Discourse Analysis, methodological ones. The research aimed to understand the meanings attributed to women, sexuality and gender relations in northeastern culture through forró and their relation to the vulnerabilities to which they are exposed. The corpus of the research was composed of lyrics of iconic representatives from each period, always seeking to listen to the female voice, which led to the exclusion of the second phase of university forró. The historical coexistence of these phases prevented a temporal hiatus. We compile all the songs recorded by Luiz Go nzaga and Marinês (traditional forró), Alceu Valença and Elba Ramalho (first phase of the university forró), Mastruz com Leite (precursor of electronic forró), Aviões do Forró, Garota Safada Saia Rodada e Ferro na Boneca (contemporary electronic forró). The selection of the songs occurred after exhaustive readings, guided by the analytical constructs that related to the models of masculinity and femininity and to the relations between the genres. A total of 617 songs were selected, organized by period and grouped into the categories Nordestinidade, Masculine Image, Feminine Image and Gender Violence. After the exclusion of the redundant speeches, 188 songs remained. The lyrics were read, the songs heard and the videos, when there exists, watched on average 20 times. The process of selection and categorization of the songs was performed in a period of six months. After exhaustive readings, each lyric was segmented into units of meaning, from which we began a detailed procedure of interpretation, articulating them with each other and with the socio-historical-political context in which they were inserted. We did not use any program for statistical analysis. Next, we work the discursive formations, relating them to the ideology of the subject, in order to interpret from the imagined or possible meanings of realized discourses. Subsequently, we perform a work with paraphrases, polysemy, metaphors and the relation say / do not say and we identified the discourse relations with discursive formations that are acting on it, in order to relate it to the subject's ideology and to be able to conclude from the imagined or possible meaning of discourse already realized. As the songs are in the public domain, there was no need for ethical committee approval. The triangulation between the principles of ethnomusicology and Discourse Analysis in the study of gender relations in Forró's songs allowed us to organize the songs into five categories (Nordestinidade, Social Relations of Gender, Masculine Image, Feminine Image and Gender Violence), whose analysis originated nine subcategories, each one originating a chapter. Ethnomusicology has emerged in this context as a possibility for the understanding of the social world in which asymmetric relations of gender are performed.