Cross-Cultural Inquiry in 1802
This chapter focuses on the ways in which the arts were employed by scientific travellers not only to record and analyse the cultural practices of indigenous peoples, but also to mediate between cultures. It deals with the musical performance in particular. Nicolas Baudin, whose voyage took place at the beginning of the nineteenth century, and whose objectives and conduct mirrored those of his predecessors, has a rightful place in this group of French voyagers and shared their Enlightenment ideals. In terms of musical performance, this, the last of the French Enlightenment voyages, similarly upholds a longstanding tradition. The chapter considers more closely the French tradition of 'encounter music', before turning the attention to the records of the Baudin expedition. Music was clearly the factor that enabled the most pleasant and mutually satisfying cross-cultural encounters, in contrast to the moments when other forms of exchange, notably of weapons, were the source of misunderstandings and tension.