Talk:Ethnomusicology

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Update Further Reading section[edit]

The further reading section should reflect items that speak to the field of ethnomusicology in general, its scope, methods, development, and major trends. Specific works or articles that illustrate significant theoretical insertions or developments in the field would also be appropriate, but the following do not. Therefore I removed the two below citations and added Merriam 1964. Further citations should be added as well.

Removed citations:

  • Cooley, Timothy J. Making Music in the Polish Tatras: Tourists, Ethnographers, and Mountain Musicians. Indiana University Press, 2005 (Hardcover with CD). ISBN 0-253-34489-1
  • Czekanowska, Anna. Polish Folk Music: Slavonic Heritage - Polish Tradition - Contemporary Trends. Cambridge Studies in Ethnomusicology, Reissue 2006 (Paperback). ISBN 0-521-02797-7

These would be excellent for an article or reading list on East European slavic music, but not a general article. Morskyjezek (talk) 23:42, 18 January 2014 (UTC)

Untitled[edit]

I'm very unsure about the last paragraph which somebody just added. I mean, man isn't the only creature to have music - what about birdsong, or various apes drumming on bits of wood? And I'm not sure how the whole thing relates to ethnomusicology at all, really. Don't have time to look at it properly now (though I suspect I'll end up just taking it out), but I'l return later. All comments welcome, of course, especially from whoever added that part. --Camembert

Hi Camembert, I wrote this article. Maybe the last paragraph is just in the wrong context here, but it would be very kind of you if you wouldn´t take it out but instead put it somewhere where it fits better.

Hmm, I'd like to put it somewhere better, but as I suggested above, I'm not sure it's really correct. For instance:
In the evolution of mankind music developped as a means of communicating feelings to fellow humans.
This is rather speculative - we don't really know why or how music developed.
By having the need for music, humans distinguish themselves from gorillas or chimpanzees.
This is probably demonstrably false: various apes do use music, in the form of drum signals. Sorry, but I'm going to move the last paragraph to the talk page here. --Camembert

In the evolution of mankind music developped as a means of communicating feelings to fellow humans. Thus our ancestors were forced to live in groups and not alone or in couples. By having the need for music, humans distinguish themselves from gorillas or chimpanzees. In the modern world , with the invention of walkmen or the like, music is in part freed from its social purpose.


I'm removing/rewriting this:

It is often thought of as a study of non-Western musics, but may include the study of Western music from an etic perspective.

First off, "etic" is a jargony word - I don't know it, and I doubt many other people will. We should use simpler terms if we can, and I think we can. Second, I'm not convinced the word is appropriate anyway. [1] says that "etic" means:

Of or relating to features or items analyzed without considering their role as a structural unit in a system, as in behavioral science or linguistics.

I don't think ethnomusicology could be described in that way, since many ethnomusicological studies do go into the social role of music. As far as I can tell, "etic" is exactly what most ethnomusiciology isn't. --Camembert


First of all: ETIC means OUTSIDER in terms of cultural perspective. The opposite is EMIC that means INSIDER. Secondly: I have many problems with the entry regarding the scope, method & meaning of Ethnomusicology, most obviously problematic is the sentence about the study of "oral traditions". This might have been the case until the 1970's but, because of its colonial weight contained within, this is no longer the case. Where until recently (thanks to Nettl) etic study was applauded; the recognition of EMIC studies has finally come to the fore. Thus we find the majority of ethnomusicologists now work within an urban context. Personally I work within Jazz and Electronica.

John Baily (who studied under John Blacking) wrote (1994) that it is "the study of any sonic (or movement) structure and the culture that surrounds it". This is still the closest I can get to the scope & nature of Ethnomusicology.

Thus: is there any chance ofchanging this entry to the contemporary meaning of the word?

Of course: go to the article and click "Edit this page" - be bold in updating pages! Consider, however, that if you use terms like "etic" without any explanation, they are not likely to be understood - the Wikipedia isn't a specialist publication, and if you don't clearly explain terms such as that, it's just going to cause confusion. I've done a bit of reading up since my previous comments, and I think I understand more now - I'd put a little about the etic/emic distinction in the article myself, but I'm sure you're in a better position to do so. --Camembert

Minor edit[edit]

"People who have done well known ethnomusicological work have sometimes been previously trained as anthropologists studying many other aspects of a society as well as their music. "

I changed this a little bit to make it more fluid. Nothing drastic; just caught my eye. I'd like to contribute a lot more to this article when I have more time.

Also, the link to the young ethnomusicologist is broken. Should it be removed?--JEMathews 21:27, 23 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Possible expansions[edit]

The section on "scholarly relevance" is sorely outdated and should be changed. Mantle Hood's 1971 book The Ethnomusicologist is an important work in the field, but it does not reflect the current state of the field, nor do the statements in the paragraph reflect much about the relevance of the field. Perhaps the section is actually referring to something more like "scholarly maturity" or "academic recognition"? The subtitle should probably be changed or else the content of the section updated. Morskyjezek (talk) 23:32, 18 January 2014 (UTC)

I'd be very interested in expansions on this topic, but don't yet know enough about it to write with much authority. Two things come to mind:

  • what sort of quantitative and/or objective systems have been devised for looking at differences between cultures in musical expression? The only instance I can find is Alan Lomax's cantometrics approach, which doesn't seem to be well-regarded among ethnomusicologists as far as I can tell.
  • the article as it stands suggests that most ethnomusicology is practiced as a subdiscipline of cultural anthropology. Are there any field researchers who have applied principles of evolutionary anthropology to the same topics? The only work I can find on this is in "the origins of music" (eds. Wallin, Merker, & Brown) and doesn't have a lot of anthropological data to back it up.

Delmonte 22:02, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

There is a growing field of "biomusicology," but it separate from ethnomusicology and has always positioned itself as such. That said, there are so many approaches to ethnomusicology which are not directly indebted to cultural anthropology: linguistic approaches, sociological approaches, psychological approaches, perception/cognition approaches, performativity approaches, etc. In terms of breadth and depth, I find the article as it stands to be thoroughly inadequate as an assessment of the field; present, past, or future (and I say this not to chastise the authors who have contributed to this wiki, thanks for your good work, but the result is a portrayal of only a small subset of the field!) I'll try to contribute by editing this article in the future, but am swamped at the moment. eliotbates (talk) 03:13, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

Centers of Study[edit]

About the paragraph on notable centers of the study of ethnomusicology: How is this list being composed? As I am currently studying ethnomusicology at UC Santa Cruz, I was at first happy to see so many UC's on the list and then dissapointed to find out UCSC was not on that list. It doesn't surprise me, per se, but I would like to know how the list is being composed. Erich Blume 04:17, 4 December 2006 (UTC)

I'm editing the list to include all institutions that grant undergraduate and graduate degrees, or in the case of specialty graduate-only schools, ones with several dedicated faculty members specializing in ethnomusicology. I'm also putting it in alphabetical order to remove inter-school bias. The best source for this is SEM- Guide to programs. eliotbates (talk) 08:55, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

Merger proposed (Dance ethnology)[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

The result was: No merger at this time. I will add the references. Let's hope that someone expands the article. --B. Wolterding 10:14, 23 October 2007 (UTC)


I propose to merge the content of Dance ethnology into here, since the notability of that article has been questioned. Actually the article is a very short, unexpanded stub that might easily fit in here.

Please add your comments below. Proposed as part of the Notability wikiproject. --B. Wolterding 14:38, 19 October 2007 (UTC)

  • "Dance ethnology" and "ethnomusicology" are different things and notability can be easily proven though it is relatively new ethnic science in comparison w/ ethnomusicology . I believe there is much to say in Dance ethnology article. There's much to say about its scope in both a strict sense and a broader oen. Add to that its historical development and the contexts surrounding that. "Anthropology and the Dance: Ten Lectures" (ISBN 0-2520-7134-4), "Anthropological Perspectives of Movement" (ISBN 0-4050-6201-X) among other books can be useful for the article. I'd really give a chance to such an article to survive independently. -- FayssalF - Wiki me up® 19:34, 19 October 2007 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.