Ethnomusicology and Cultural Musicology
MUS 872 Presentation
January 25, 2005
Author: Joseph Kerman – Musicologist
Viewpoint/Position: Discussion of ethnomusicology and cultural musicology;
position being to discuss the differences between the two, and what ethnomusicology
can bring to the study of Western art music, not non-Western music.
Written: 1985, Contemporary Period
I believe that this article is part of a larger issue that sheds light on
the differences of ethnomusicology and cultural musicology, and those that
- Ethnomusicology is the study of music as culture. It studies the music
of the world, as an act of cultural expression.
- Ethnomusicology studies
music from the outside in and from the inside out.
- Ethnomusicologists are
as interested in the people making the music as in the sounds of music they
- Ethnomusicology is not the study of music or musics as autonomous
systems or structures.
- Music sound is the result of human behavioral processes
that are shaped by the values, attitudes, and beliefs of the people who comprise
- Human behavior produces music – behavior is shaped to produce
- Mantle Hood defines ethnomusicology as an understanding of music
studied in terms of itself and also toward the understanding of music in
- Alan Merriam defines ethnomusicology as an area of study caught
up in a fascination with itself.
- Ethnomusicology works hand in hand with
Helpful Ethnomusicology Websites:
- Musicology is a systematic study of music in all its forms of appearance.
It exists as an academic discipline that studies primarily composed and notated
- Musicology is all about the knowledge that underlies the enjoyment of music.
*Musicologists study the history and interpretation of music. Until recently,
the discipline focused largely on European art-music repertories, but has expanded
to include popular music, film music, jazz, and cultural criticism.
Chase proposed adoption of the term ‘cultural musicology’ by
analogy with cultural anthropology.
- Chase believes that musicologists should
adopt actual ethnomusicological methods, techniques, and findings.
Musicology means to study the similarities and differences in musical behavior
among human groups, to depict the character of the various musical
cultures of the world and the processes of stability, change, and development
that are characteristic to them.
- Most musicologists pay too little attention
to anything outside the strictly musical context of the music they are studying.
- Music’s relation to the socio-cultural matrix is a major concern for
- Some musicologists think that the application of ethnomusicological methods
to historical studies of Western music is in a state of doldrums.
- The typical musicological enterprise turned out to be the establishment
of the notes, the preparation of critical editions.
Helpful Musicology Websites:
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