Which is the best definition of ethnomusicology?
- Ethnomusicology Defined. Ethnomusicology is the study of music in relation to the society and culture in which it was created. In addition to analyzing the elements and structure of music from around the world, it also examines the cultural significance of music composition and performance in the context of a community.
About Ethnomusicology. Ethnomusicology is the study of music in its social and cultural contexts. Ethnomusicologists examine music as a social process in order to understand not only what music is but what it means to its practitioners and audiences. Ethnomusicology is highly interdisciplinary. Individuals working in the field may have training ...
Jun 01, 2020 · Ethnomusicology is the study of music in relation to the society and culture in which it was created. In addition to analyzing the elements and structure of music from around the world, it also ...
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- Studying Music Can Mean Many Different Things
- The Study of Music as A Musicologist Or Ethnomusicologist
- Musician Or Musicologist – Where Are The Lines
If you are a musician, and your aim is to interpret a piece with the goals and style of the composer, you will likely venture into one of these other two areas of study. You might research the history of the piece and the life of the composer. What was the composer trying to say or accomplish? Was there a particular movement that the music is part of? There are many ways to study a composer that can enhance your ability to play (or enjoy as a listener) the works of that composer. As a performer, I am most inclined towards books that give context to a composer, a composition, or a type of music, which can be very helpful in interpreting or playing. One such book that I have used (and highly recommend) is Debussy’s Paris by Catherine Kautsky. Kautsky’s book is far more than a biography of Debussy. She brings deep insights into how his work reflects culture during the Belle Epoque. The author, herself a pianist, elaborates on origins of much of Debussy’s music in relation to his experi...
Music’s impact on the world is also an important field of study. Some musicologists (an expert in music as an academic subject, as opposed to a musician who is trained in performance or composition) study the history of music, looking at timelines of criticism, performance, and composition. Ethnomusicology is the study if how music simultaneously influences and reflects culture, often drawing on knowledge of fields like anthropology. Music as an academic subject has a lot of overlap with other arts and the social sciences. Its role in culture makes gives it an important relation to anthropology, and its relevance with regard to society ties music to sociology. A fine book to read in this regard is Men, Women & Pianos: A Social History.
The lines blur somewhat between musicologist, ethnomusicologist, and musician. The academic study of music certainly musicians. Musicians may also need to consider the economics of music, looking at how in demand a certain type of music or musician is. To study the history of music and composers can help a musician learn and personalize music just as much as dedicated practice can. In the end it’s about the student, his or her interest and intent. But whichever course turns out to be the path someone takes, this is a topic that one can go as deep and wide as they choose. And that, in itself, makes the study of music in any form quite rewarding.
- Research Questions
- Key Theories/Concepts
- Ethical Considerations
Ethnomusicologists study a wide range of topics and musical practices throughout the world. It is sometimes described as the study of non-Western music or “world music,” as opposed to musicology, which studies Western European classical music. However, the field is defined more by its research methods (i.e., ethnography, or immersive fieldwork within a given culture) than its topics. Thus, ethnomusicologists can study anything from folkloric music to mass-mediated popular music to musical practices associated with elite classes.
The field, as it is currently named, emerged in the 1950s, but ethnomusicology originated as “comparative musicology” in the late 19th century. Linked to the 19th-century European focus on nationalism, comparative musicology emerged as a project of documenting the different musical features of diverse regions of the world. The field of musicology was established in 1885 by Austrian scholar Guido Adler, who conceived of historical musicology and comparative musicology as two separate branches, with historical musicology focused only on European classical music. Carl Stumpf, an early comparative musicologist, published one of the first musical ethnographies on an indigenous group in British Columbia in 1886. Comparative musicologists were primarily concerned with documenting the origins and evolution of musical practices. They often espoused social Darwinistnotions and assumed that music in non-Western societies was “simpler” than music in Western Europe, which they considered the cul...
Ethnomusicology takes as given the notion that music can provide meaningful insight into a larger culture or group of people. Another foundational concept is cultural relativismand the idea that no culture/music is inherently more valuable or better than another. Ethnomusicologists avoid assigning value judgments like “good” or “bad” to musical practices. Theoretically, the field has been influenced most deeply by anthropology. For example, anthropologist Clifford Geertz’s notion of “thick description”—a detailed way of writing about fieldwork that immerses the reader in the researcher’s experience and tries to capture the context of the cultural phenomenon—has been very influential. In the later 1980s and 90s, anthropology’s “self-reflexive” turn—the push for ethnographers to reflect on the ways their presence in the field impacts their fieldwork and to recognize that it is impossible to maintain complete objectivity when observing and interacting with research participants—also to...
Ethnography is the method that most distinguishes ethnomusicology from historical musicology, which largely entails doing archival research (examining texts). Ethnography involves conducting research with people, namely musicians, to understand their role within their larger culture, how they make music, and what meanings they assign to music, among other questions. Ethnomusicological research requires the researcher to immerse him/herself in the cultureabout which he/she writes. Interviewing and participant observationare principal methods associated with ethnographic research, and are the most common activities ethnomusicologists engage in when conducting fieldwork. Most ethnomusicologists also learn to play, sing, or dance to the music they study. This method is considered to be a form of gaining expertise/knowledge about a musical practice. Mantle Hood, an ethnomusicologist who founded the renowned program at UCLA in 1960, termed this “bi-musicality,” the ability to play both Eu...
There are a number of ethical issues ethnomusicologists consider in the course of their research, and most relate to the representation of musical practices that are not “their own.” Ethnomusicologists are tasked with representing and disseminating, in their publications and public presentations, the music of a group of people who may not have the resources or access to represent themselves. There is a responsibility to produce accurate representations, but ethnomusicologists must also realize that they can never “speak for” a group of which they are not a member. There is also often a power differential between the mostly Western ethnomusicologists and their non-western “informants” or research participants in the field. This inequality is often economic, and sometimes ethnomusicologists give money or gifts to research participants as an informal exchange for the knowledge the informants are providing to the researcher. Finally, there are often questions of intellectual property ri...Barz, Gregory F., and Timothy J. Cooley, editors. Shadows in the Field: New Perspectives for Fieldwork in Ethnomusicology. Oxford University Press, 1997.Myers, Helen. Ethnomusicology: An Introduction. W.W. Norton & Company, 1992.Nettl, Bruno. The Study of Ethnomusicology: Thirty-three Discussions. 3rded., University of Illinois Press, 2015.Nettl, Bruno, and Philip V. Bohlman, editors. Comparative Musicology and Anthropology of Music: Essays on the History of Ethnomusicology. University of Chicago Press, 1991.
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Which is the best definition of ethnomusicology?
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The Ethnomusicology program prepares students to evaluate and study the place of music in various cultural contexts. Students are trained in cultural theory, anthropology, ethnographic methods, problems in cross-cultural musical analysis, and world music and vernacular musical traditions.
Ethnomusicology is the study of music from the cultural and social aspects of the people who make it. It encompasses distinct theoretical and methodical approaches that emphasize cultural, social, material, cognitive, biological, and other dimensions or contexts of musical behavior, in addition to the sound component.