on my mind . . . putting Humpty back together again

Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall,
Humpty Dumpty got pushed off the wall 

or so it seems. I’ve used the Humpty Dumpty image in the past to liken historical and archival research as attempts to find and reassemble pieces into coherent stories. Every new discovery is a potential moment for revisiting earlier interpretations put forth in the absence of the newly uncovered piece now in hand. But the web of pieces keeps getting bigger and bigger. And the number of folks finding pieces and putting forth interpretation upon revised interpretation is also growing.

Pehea lā e pono ai?

These are good times for Hawaiian music and hula. There is a diverse range of performers out there, from those who savor and nurture tradition as received, to those pushing forward bravely–and many taking hard knocks for doing so. And yet . . . there have never been so many questions racing through my mind. How could someone say this without knowing about that? How could songbooks be dissed by musicians who cannot read notation? How could reading about Hawaiian music be dissed by folks–many of whom, I would wager, have not read the writings they dismiss as irrelevant?

But then . . . among those who wrote about Hawaiian music and hula in the past . . . how could they box us in? How could they have pushed us over the wall? And how do we deal with reassembled puzzles that do not look like what we expected, or were led to believe we should expect?

just venting, folks. just venting.

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2 Responses to on my mind . . . putting Humpty back together again

  1. But Amy, You are just the person who will be able to reassemble and present a new Humpty. It has been a daunting task for you to confirm and assimilate the old with the ever-growing ever-evolving new, and you have been doing it while at the same time patiently educating us to question and evaluate our sources.

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