How Musical Is Man?

How Musical Is Man?

How Musical Is Man?

How Musical Is Man?

Excerpt

This is not a scholarly study of human musicality, so much as an attempt to reconcile my experiences of music making in different cultures. I present new information that is a result of my research in African music, as well as some facts that are familiar to anyone brought up in the tradition of European "art" music; but my conclusions and suggestions are exploratory. They express the dilemma of a musician who has become a professional anthropologist, and it is for this reason that I dedicate the book to Meyer Fortes. In 1952, when I was devoting far more time to music than to my courses in anthropology, he sent me to Paris to study ethnomusicology under André Schaeffner during a summer vacation. But another five years passed before I began to glimpse the possibilities of an anthropology of music. Even after a year's intensive fieldwork, I tended to regard African music as something "other"; and this attitude would be reinforced when I listened to a tape of Wozzeck or some of Webern's music in my tent, or whenever there was a piano available and I could immerse myself in Bach, or Chopin, or Mozart.

It was the Venda of South Africa who first broke down some of my prejudices. They introduced me to a new world . . .

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