Ethnomusicology and Modern Music History

By Smith, Gordon E. | Canadian University Music Review, January 1, 1993 | Go to article overview

Ethnomusicology and Modern Music History


Smith, Gordon E., Canadian University Music Review


Stephen Blum, Philip V. Bohlman, and Daniel M. Nueman, eds. Ethnomusicology and Modern Music History. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1991. 322pp. ISBN 0-252-01738-2.

This volume of fifteen essays is dedicated to the American ethnomusicologist, Bruno Nettl, on the occasion of his sixtieth birthday. Nettl's international prominence as a music scholar is well-known and recognized. He is a prolific author whose writings include numerous books and articles on a range of research areas: the music of the Middle East (Iran), North American native music, European and American folk music, and more general interests such as acculturation and modernization in traditional music. Nettl's influence as a teacher is equally important; he has instructed, inspired, and guided an impressive number of students who have subsequently distinguished themselves by significant contributions to the discipline of ethnomusicology. Many of the authors represented in Ethnomusicology and Modern Music History are former students of Nettl, and, as Stephen Blum comments at the end of the prologue, all present their work as appreciation of Nettl's pioneering scholarship and friendly counsel.

Most notable about the collection is that it represents vital new emphases in ethnomusicology, particularly the critical value of history and historical consciousness as viewed through specific musical events, and the continuing emergence of reflexive enquiry as a critical process and a broadening force in the discipline. The essays are grouped into four parts: Music and the Experience of History, Authority and Interpretation, Brokers and Mediators, and Musical Reproduction and Renewal. In the prologue, Blum examines the global notion of "modern music history" as a subject of scholarly enquiry. By extending the enquiry beyond European worldviews including those represented in the first "general histories of music" from the mid-eighteenth century, Blum articulates a stance which takes into account not simply "non-Western" areas, but the following notion: "According to the conceptions that inhabitants of each region have formed of their own histories, modern music history extends over different periods of time in various parts of the world" (p. 4).

The first four essays in the collection present different contexts within which their authors consider ways music intersects with the experience of history. As Anthony seeger observes in the opening essay, the Suyá Indians of central Brazil construct and reproduce history in song. The appropriation of "foreign" songs through encounters with many peoples is a basefor Suyá history and a source of restructuring of Suyá myth. The essays by David Copland and Christopher Waterman are studies of two modern African genres - Sotho "lifela" and Yoruba "jùjú." The authors show how performers of both genres reproduce and, indeed, create mythic structures as they interpret historic events. Waterman, for example, challenges the "core concept" of tradition to ethnology, folklore, and ethnomusicology, and suggests that there is a contradiction which "revolves around the necessarily social and historical origins of tradition, in opposition to its status in both native and scholarly discourse as something immutable, a structure of historical culture fundamentally immune to history" (p. 36). Within the specific context of the 1932 Congress of Arab music held in Cairo, Ali Jihad Racy outlines two incompatible attitudes toward history and the misinterpretation of specific terms such as "Occidental" for "new" and "Oriental" for "old." This article is a penetrating account of racial misrepresentation triggered by Western bias.

In the second part of the book, Charles Capwell examines controversies surrounding certain North Indian "gharanas" or lineages (disciples and students) of musicians. (This subject is also discussed in Stephen Slawek's essay on Ravi Shankar later in the book.) Capwell highlights the importance of stories in the transmission of musical knowledge in North Indian music culture; he also recounts the origin myth of the Visnupur gharana, arguing that stories which describe the transfer of specialized knowledge from the Aryan heartland to Bengal legitimize such a Bengali institution as the Visnupur gharana. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Ethnomusicology and Modern Music History
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.