Ethnomusicology Research Paper

Ethnomusicology Research Paper-37
While musical analysis provides tools to gain insight into Aboriginal musical cultural expression, its application raises a number of issues that are central to our understanding of the broader intercultural context in which research takes place in Australia.In the first instance, due to the variability of musical systems (Barwick, 1989), analysis of Aboriginal song (particularly analysis that seeks to understand the relationships between text and rhythm, and melody and text/rhythm) inevitably becomes a complicated technical feat. the universalising aims of analysis” through irregularity and variability (Barwick, 1989, p.

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Alan Merriam, at Indiana University, argued for the necessity of anthropological approaches to music in ethnomusicology (Merriam, 1964) and cultural anthropology emerged as a primary influence on the study of musics of the world.

John Blacking turned to the biological conditions of music to find that music was not simply a product of a culture, but rather that “[c]ulture ... a product of musical practices that combined with other fundamental human activities to yield society” (Bohlman, 2001/2016, para. A disciplinary focus of music as culture (not simply music in culture) emerged.

Bohlman has suggested, “an extension of colonial intervention, with the concomitant aim of locating non-Western music in the comparative framework of Western, largely European, history” (Bohlman, 2001/2016, para. The new globalism that followed World War II brought by new migrations, reorganisation of colonial boundaries and powers, and new recording technologies, prompted numerous revisions to the study of music and culture.

At Columbia University in the USA, Franz Boas espoused the importance of rich ethnographic description in the study of music.

In these traditions, where musical variability is a key marker of social action, fine-grained analysis of multiple songs within repertories, and multiple performances of songs, enables us to get to socio-cultural processes and the social power of musical processes.

Allan Marett, a leader in Australian ethnomusicology from the 1980s to the present explained: although analysis is not particularly fashionable within ethnomusicology today, …

Critical reflexivity has emerged as a priority when designing and conducting research, and when analysing, interpreting, and representing results, as have calls for greater attention to postcolonial discourses when we theorise our field(s).

In Australia, a settler state that continues to struggle with the systemic violence of colonialism, ethnomusicology has turned its sites on the power and the privileges assumed by non-Indigenous researchers in approaching and representing Indigenous musical traditions.

The article is particularly concerned with Australian ethnomusicology that is concerned with Indigenous Australian performance traditions.

Keywords: music research, ethnomusicology, music as culture, intercultural research : In 2016, Voices hosted a special edition to accompany the launch of a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on the topic of "How Music Can Change Your Life".


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