Ethnomusicology Essay Examples
Ethnomusicology is defined from the society of ethnomusicology to be the study of music in its own context of culture. People who practice ethnomusicology are called ethnomusicologist and they are said to approach music as a social process with an aim of understanding what music is and why it exists. What music means is put on focus of the practitioners and audiences with meanings conveyed. Ethnomusicology involves taking a global approach to music regardless of genre, area of origin and style. The ethnomusicology aim to understand music as a social practice views music as an activity of humans and is shaped by its cultural context (Bruno, 67). Ethnomusicology is also said to engage in ethnographic fieldwork. This means the participating in and observing the music that is being studied. Further, engaging in ethnographic field work involves the frequent gaining of facilities in other music traditions as a performer or theorist and basing the historical research of music.
Ethnomusicology from the thesaurus is defined as the scientific study of music as an aspect of culture. The definition is based on traditional or in other words non-western music and modern music is not discussed in the aspects (Bruno, 87). The thesaurus further defines ethnomusicology as the comparative study of music of music based on different cultures. The major basis in this case is on traditional cultures and not any modernity. Another definition of ethnomusicology from the thesaurus still is that ethnomusicology is the study of music of a particular people or region with a viewpoint of its cultural and social implications. The viewpoint here is still similar with the rest because the ethnomusicology study bases on social and cultural implications of the studying of the music. Ethnomusicology is further the study of the music of more than one such people or region.
The oxford dictionary defines ethnomusicology to be the study of cultural and social aspects of music and dance in the global and local contexts. From the Greek words, ethnos means nation and music means entertainment. Ethnomusicology is thus often considered to be the anthropology or ethnography of music. A scholar, Jeff Todd Titon has mentioned the definition of ethnomusicology to be the study of people making music. Although ethnomusicology is often sees as the study of non-western music, ethnomusicology in real sense also includes the study of Western music. The studying of Western music is based on the anthropological and sociological perspectives. A belief comes that it is a product of the western thinking that ethnomusicology is claimed to be among the western cultures. Those who proclaim ethnomusicology as a western phenomenon are believed to have the western thinking with no basis on the tradition of the music available (Bennet, 90). Others do not involve the western culture in ethnomusicology and this comes up with contradictions. Different theoretical frameworks and research methodologies give limits to the extraction of the meanings of ethnomusicology. Ethnomusicology should have a culture’s music since the western observers have the perpetual distance from culture. The growing number of scholars however comes in to study their own traditions in music. This increases the range of different theoretical frameworks and available methodologies of research to cater for criticisms that may come up when defining ethnomusicology.
Encyclopedia 69.com defines ethnomusicology as the study of music with a range of different cultures. Ethnomusicology was coined as a more appropriate name for the area of scholarly investigation that was previously known as comparative musicology. The issue of comparative musicology was then understood as the study of exotic music of musical cultures especially outside the European tradition (Bennet, 41). The urge to know more about music led to the thought of music as a primitive and oriental branch of historical music. The existing idea of universal definition of ethnomusicology is that that the society is what raises the problem of line thus it is evident that when defining music the society is important with its cultures.
Nettl, Bruno. The Study of Ethnomusicology: Thirty-one Issues and Concepts. Urbana, Ill. [u.a.: University of Illinois Press, 2005. Print.
Nettl, Bruno. Nettl's Elephant: On the History of Ethnomusicology. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2010. Internet resource.
Zon, Bennett. Representing Non-Western Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2007. Print.