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Etnomuzicologia1

Definiţie: Etnomuzicologia – ramură a muzicologiei care se ocupă de culturile muzicale ale


tuturor popoarelor.
Termenul etnomuzicologie a pătruns treptat în literatura de specialitate, începând din 1953;
astfel, după primul Congres Internaţional de la Wégimont (Belgia) se înfiinţează „Cercul
internaţional de etnomuzicologie”.
Domeniul de cercetare al etnomuzicologiei nu este încă unanim admis, unii cercetători
considerându-l „muzica popoarelor care trăiesc departe de tradiţia culturală şi de influenţa
occidentală” (Marius Schneider), alţii – „culturile muzicale originale de tip arhaic” (Claudie
Marcel-Dubois) etc.
Etnomuzicologia a înlocuit alţi termeni, a căror problematică este comună: folcloristica,
demologia, etnografia muzicală, muzicologia comparată. Etnomuzicologia a luat un mare avânt
după naşterea Şcolii de muzicologie comparată de la Berlin, ai cărei specialişti se grupează în jurul
lui Carl Stumpf, Erich von Vornbostel şi Curt Sachs, puternic influenţată la rândul ei de Şcoala
vieneză de etnologie.
Problematica specifică etnomuzicologiei este extrem de largă: originea muzicii, trăsăturile
proprii, intonaționale și cristalizate în sisteme ritmice, arhitectonice, legile de creație și de evoluție,
funcționalitatea, originea polifoniei, tendința spre sistem. Cu toate că exponenții școlii berlineze
studiau cu prioritate muzica „primitivă” și pe cea savantă extraeuropeană, cercetările ulterioare au
arătat că „nu există nici o diferență înnăscută între muzica primitivă a celorlalte continente și, la
grade variate de dezvoltare, cea din satele europene: aceeași legătură cu viața, preponderența
tradiției, modalitatea de transmitere orală, predominarea colectivității”.
O serie de probleme au fost clarificate de etnomuzicologie, ca:
 evoluția „marilor culturi extraeuropene” (Curt Sachs),
 legătura culturii antice grecești cu cea chineză, ambele avându-și centrul în interiorul
Asiei,
 cunoașterea muzicii savante exotice și importanța acesteia pentru compozitorii
extraeuropeni, geneza și evoluția scărilor sonore etc.
Dacă „muzicologia comparată” avea în vedere, cu prioritate, geneza și locul de naștere al
artei muzicale, în ultimele decenii începe să se constituie, pe baza documentelor muzicale scrise și a
tradiției orale, o nouă disciplină: „protoistoria” (Frühgeschichte), intuită, încă din 1936, de Curt
Sachs (Prolégomènes à une préhistoire musicale de l’Europe).
Importanţa disciplinei etnomuzicologiei: prin intermediul acestei ştiinţe, înţelegem şi
cunoaştem mai în profunzime viaţa omului, evoluţia acestuia, mai ales ca mod de gândire muzicală
şi sensibilitate artistică.

Ethnomusicology2 is an area of study encompassing various approaches to the study of music


(broadly defined) that emphasize its cultural, social, material, cognitive, biological, and other
dimensions or contexts instead of or in addition to its isolated sound component or any particular
repertoire.

Ethnomusicology, a term coined by Jaap Kunst from the Greek words ἔθνος ethnos (nation) and
μουσική mousike (music), is often described as the anthropology or ethnography of music.
Although early in its development as a discipline ethnomusicology was often positioned as a study
of non-Western musics, ethnomusicology also includes the study of Western music from
1
Informaţii conform: Academia Română, Institutul de Istoria Artei „G. Oprescu”, Dicționar de termeni muzicali, ediția
a II-a, revăzută și adăugită, Editura Enciclopedică, București, 2008, pp. 196-197, autorul articolului: Emilia Comișel.
2
Cf. Wikipedia

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anthropological, sociological, or other perspectives. The territory of the field has changed radically
since its beginnings. Bruno Nettl once characterized ethnomusicology as a product of Western
thinking, proclaiming "ethnomusicology as western culture knows it is actually a western
phenomenon."[1] Jeff Todd Titon has called it the study of "people making music."[2]

Definition
Stated broadly, ethnomusicology may be described as a holistic investigation of music in its cultural
contexts.[3] Combining aspects of folklore, psychology, cultural anthropology, comparative
musicology, music theory, and history, ethnomusicology has adopted perspectives from a multitude
of disciplines.[4] This disciplinary variety has given rise to many definitions of the field, and
attitudes and focus of ethnomusicologists have changed and evolved since the initial studies in the
area of comparative musicology in the early 1900s. When the field first came into existence, it was
essentially limited to the study of non-Western music, in contrast to the study of Western art music
which had been the area of focus for conventional musicology. Over time, the definition broadened
to include study of all the musics of the world according to certain approaches.[5][6] In fact, the field
was referred to early in its existence as “comparative musicology,” though this term fell out of use
in the 1950s.[7]

While there is not a single, authoritative definition for ethnomusicology, a number of constants
appear in the definitions employed by top scholars in the field. It is agreed upon that
ethnomusicologists look at music from beyond a purely historical perspective, and look instead at
music within culture, music as culture, and music as a reflection of culture. [6][7] In addition, many
ethnomusicological studies share common methodological approaches encapsulated in ethnographic
fieldwork, usually traveling to an area (or areas) of interest, then interviewing people involved in
the music culture and, often, taking on the role of a participant observer in learning to perform in a
musical tradition, a practice Hood termed "bi-musicality". [8] Musical fieldworkers often also collect
recordings and contextual information about the music of interest.[7] Thus, ethnomusicological
studies do not rely on printed or manuscript sources as the sole source of epistemic authority.

History
While musicology's traditional subject has been the history and literature of Western art music,
ethnomusicology was developed as the study of all music as a human social and cultural
phenomenon. The primary precursor to ethnomusicology, comparative musicology, emerged in the
late 19th century and early 20th century. Comparative musicology and early ethnomusicology
tended to focus on non-Western music that was transmitted through oral traditions. But, in more
recent years, the field has expanded to embrace all musical styles from all parts of the world.

The International Council for Traditional Music (founded 1947) and the Society for
Ethnomusicology (founded 1955) are the primary international academic organizations for the
discipline of ethnomusicology.

Antecedents

One antecedent to ethnomusicology was the field of comparative musicology. The development of
the cent system by Alexander John Ellis in 1885 offered one way for scientists to empirically
measure and compare pitches.[9] This provided the impetus for comparative musicologists to
emphasize the differences between the music of different cultures, and to argue against culture
contact as the primary explanation of similarities among geographically distant music communities.
[10]
Comparative musicologists, such as Béla Bartók, Zoltán Kodály, Komitas,[11] Constantin

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Brăiloiu, Vinko Zganec, Franjo Kuhač, Carl Stumpf, Erich von Hornbostel, Curt Sachs, Hugh
Tracey, and Alexander J. Ellis.[12] primarily studied the music of oral, folk traditions in comparison
to the Western musical tradition. [13][14] Others, like Laura Boulton, created commercial recordings
and built on the work of early recordists like Frances Densmore and Jesse Walter Fewkes, who
followed in the tradition of Americans trained by Franz Boas.

Formative years

In the 1950s, the comparative method fell under attack. One prominent researcher, Mieczyslaw
Kolinski, argued that nature of their work was more than simply comparing two different fields;
much of the work, particularly fieldwork, is descriptive. [10] Scholars also believed that comparing
musics of different cultures would inherently invoke biases and wrong conclusions due to differing
cultural contexts.[15] To complicate matters further, scholars faced the dilemma of defining their
field of study, for as Willard Rhodes mentions, the general perception held by the public was that
their research was obscure and not easily accessible. [16] As a response, the entire field underwent a
radical shift by the 1960s, transforming from a field of comparative musicology into what is now
known as ethnomusicology. In this process, the research became more fieldwork driven, and began
to incorporate various anthropological theory and techniques. [17] In 1960, leading pioneer of
American ethnomusicology, Mantle Hood, established the Institute of Ethnomusicology at the
University of California at Los Angeles.

1970s

In the 1970s, ethnomusicology became a known word in the general lexicon. The influence of
ethnomusicology spread to composers, music therapists, music educators, anthropologists, and
musicologists, and ethnomusicology substantiated world music projects with its name and label.
Alan Merriam described the participators in ethnomusicology at the time in four groups: 1) Those
who use ethnomusicology for broad interests such as education, making money, or pleasure of
performance, among others. 2) Professionals who act as brokers to persuade other professionals to
share their knowledge with popularizers of the first group. 3) The musicology contingent that study
the music in terms of sound and also the cultural context. 4) The anthropology contingent that
focused on human beings with the stance that “music is culture” and “what musicians do is
society.” With the advent of the influence on anthropological researchers within ethnomusicology,
the discipline became less data oriented and more of a theoretical discipline. [18] This led to the
blossoming of employing other fields such as linguistics and psychology in helping anthropologists
observe the cognitive processes and human behaviors in music making.

1980s

The 1980s saw a period of bias and representation awareness in ethnomusicology. Historically
Western field workers quickly dubbed themselves experts on foreign music traditions, but ignored
differences in worldview, priority systems, and cognitive patterns, and thought that their
interpretation was truth.[19] This type of research had contributed to a larger phenomenon called
Orientalism. Edward Said claims that in Orientalist literature, Western scholars claim expertise on
other peoples lives and thus the right to represent them, which negatively impacts how these
cultures are treated.[20] It also allows musical appropriation and fetishization, which essentializes
and reduces a culture and its music.[21] Ghanaian ethnomusicologist Kofi Agawu details how the
concept of “African rhythm” has been misrepresented this way as an example of this phenomenon –
“African” music is not a homogenous body like it is often called, its differences from Western
music are often considered deficiencies, and Western notations have ignored important nuances in
rhythmic performance, among other complaints.[22]

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Misrepresentation can also occur when a researcher does not pay attention to the validity of their
sources. The very presence of an observer in the field can change what s/he is observing, like
quantum uncertainty in physics. The meaning of a particular song is also distorted with every
person it passes through, like a game of telephone. A performer may intend a certain meaning, but
once that song is originally interpreted by the audience, recalled later in memory when recounting
the performance to a researcher, interpreted by the researcher, and then interpreted by the
researcher’s audience, the song can take on a completely different meaning. [23] The 1980s can be
classified by the emergence of awareness of cultural bias, source unreliability, and a general
mistrust of the concept of “true” meaning and representation.

1990s

By the late 80s, the field of ethnomusicology had begun examining popular music and impact of
media. Several definitions of popular music exist but most agree that popular music is characterized
by having widespread appeal, association with urbanization, and relationship with media. Peter
Manuel adds to this definition by distinguishing popular music by its association with different
groups of people, performances by musicians not necessarily trained or intellectual, and dispersion
through broadcasting and recording.[24] Theodor Adorno defined popular music by contrasting it
from serious music, which is purposeful and generally cooperates within strictly structured rules
and conventions. Popular music can operate less deliberately and focuses on creating a general
effect or impression, usually focusing on emotion.[25]

Although the music industry developed over several decades, popular music drew
ethnomusicologists’ attention by the 90s because a standardizing effect began to develop. The
corporate nature surrounding popular music streamlined it into a framework that focused on slight
deviations from the accepted norm, creating what Adorno calls “pseudo-individualism”; what the
public would perceive as unique or organic would musically comply with standard, established
musical conventions. Thus, a duality emerged from this standardization, an industry-driven
manipulation of the public’s tastes to give people what they want while simultaneously guiding
them to it. In the case of rock music, while the genre may have grown out of politicized forces and
another form of meaningful motivation, the corporate influence over popular music became integral
to its identity that directing public taste became increasingly easier. [26] Technological developments
allowed for easy dispersion of western music, causing the dominance of western music into rural
and urbanized areas across the globe. However, because popular music assumes such a corporatized
role and therefore remains subject to a large degree of standardization, ambiguity exists whether the
music reflects actual cultural values or those only of the corporate sector seeking economic profit.[27]
Because popular music developed such a dependent relationship with media and the corporations
surrounding it, where record sales and profit indirectly shaped musical decisions, the superstar
person became an important element of popular music. From the fame and economic success
surrounding such superstars, subcultures continued to arise, such as the rock and punk movements,
only perpetuated by the corporate machine that also shaped the musical aspect of popular music.

Musical interaction through globalization played a huge role in ethnomusicology in the 1990s.[28]
Musical change was increasingly discussed. Ethnomusicologists began looking into a 'global
village', straying away from a specialized look at music within a specific culture. There are two
sides to this globalization of music: on one hand it would bring more enrichment to cultures, but on
the other hand it could homogenize music. Ethnomusicologists have approached this new
combination of different styles of music within one music by looking at the musical complexity and
the degree of compatibility. This Westernization and modernization of music created a new focus of
study; ethnomusicologists began to look at how different musics interact in the 1990s.

2000s

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By the 2000s, musicology, too, was looking into the notion that connections exist between social
groups and characteristics.[29]

Ethnomusicologists continued to deal with and consider the effects of globalization on their work.
Bruno Nettl identifies Westernization and modernization as two concurrent and similar cultural
trends that served to help streamline musical expression all over the world. While creeping
globalization had an undeniable effect on cultural homogeneity, it also helped broaden musical
horizons all over the world. Rather than simply lamenting the continuing assimilation of folk music
of non-western cultures, many ethnomusicologists chose to examine exactly how non-western
cultures dealt with the process of incorporating western music into their own practices to facilitate
the survival of their previous traditions.[30]

With the ongoing globalization of music, many genres influenced each other and elements from
foreign music became more prevalent in mainstream popular music. Diaspora populations such as
the Punjab population in England were studied due to the characteristics of their music showing
signs of the effects of global media. Their music, like many other music of displaced cultures, was
made up of elements from the folk music of their culture along with the popular music of their
location. Through this process the idea of transnationalism in music occurred.[31]

Ethnomusicology in Popular Culture

Ethnomusicology is not limited to the study of music from “exotic” cultures; Western music and its
influences is also a topic of interest. The influence of the media on consumerism in America is a bi-
directional effect, according to Thomas Turino.[32] A large part of self-discovery and feeling
accepted in a group is related to common musical taste, which leads to music producers catering to
these certain groups. The statement Turino makes that “the sounds and imagery piped in over the
radio and Internet and in videos shape adolescent sense of gendered selves as well as generational
and more specific cohort identities“ is only half the story; the influence works in both directions to
shape modern American popular music culture. The culmination of identity groups, and teenagers
in particular, across the country represent a significant force that can shape the music industry based
on what is being consumed. A 1973 episode of Sanford and Son featured an ethnomusicology
librarian, possibly inspired in part by the Ethnomusicology department library at UCLA, who
authenticates the Sanford collection of "Blind Mello Jelly" records.[33]

Theories and methods


Ethnomusicologists often apply theories and methods from cultural anthropology, cultural studies
and sociology as well as other disciplines in the social sciences and humanities. [34] Though some
ethnomusicologists primarily conduct historical studies, the majority are involved in long-term
participant observation. Therefore, ethnomusicological work can be characterized as featuring a
substantial, intensive ethnographic component.