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What is Ethnomusicology

What is Ethnomusicology - What is Ethnomusicology The field...

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What is Ethnomusicology? The field of ethnomusicology explores human music-making activities all over the world, in all styles, from the immediate present to the distant past. We study music, the people who make it, the instruments they use, and the complex of ideas, behaviors, and processes that are involved in the production of music. Classical musics of Europe and China, Cajun dance, Cuban son, Hip-Hop, Nigerian Juju, Javanese gamelan, Navajo ritual healing, and Hawaiian chant are just a few of the areas in which ethnomusicologists work. Ethnomusicology is interdisciplinary by nature and so ethnomusicologists may also be trained as anthropologists, musicologists, folklorists, educators, performers, composers, dancers, archivists, librarians, historians, linguists, cultural analysts, cognitive psychologists, and in other disciplines. Many ethnomusicologists utilize the tools of ethnography in their research. They spend extended periods of time with people making music, observing what happens, asking people questions, helping individuals and communities document and promote their musical practices, and sometimes learning to perform in the style they are studying. Ethnomusicologists may also rely on archives, libraries, and museums for documentation from the past on musical sounds, practices, instruments, and the people who created them. Most ethnomusicologists work as college professors in academic institutions, but a significant number also work with museums, festivals, record labels, archives, libraries, schools, and other institutions in roles that have a greater focus on educating and presenting to the general public. A large number of colleges and university have programs in ethnomusicology. To see a list, visit our Guide to Programs in Ethnomusicology .
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A Short History of the Founding of SEM by Willard Rhodes A quarter of a century is a short span of time by any standard, but for the Society for Ethnomusicology it is an occasion for celebration—the founding of the Society, and twenty-five years of achievement and continuing development of a humanistic discipline that recognizes music as a worldwide, basic, universal expression of man. In planning for the twenty-fifth annual meeting of the Society for Ethnomusicology Alan Merriam and the program committee invited me as first president of the Society and senior of the three surviving founders to write a history of the founding of the Society, a piece that might serve as a point of departure for a continuing dialogue by other past presidents. I have a vivid memory of those early years, the conversations, and the letters that we exchanged, now archived in the Olin Library, Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut. A rereading of the Newsletters, numbers one through seven, has been a source of information that supports and confirms my memories long dormant.
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