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Chapter 1 Notes

by: Amy Turk

Chapter 1 Notes MUS-22121-001

Amy Turk

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About this Document

Intro to World Music
Music As A World Phenomenon
Dr. Priwan Nanongkham
Class Notes
Music, semiotic, folk, Classical, popular, ethnomusicology, comparative, Musicology, Fieldwork, Anthropology, musicological, ethnomusicologist
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Amy Turk on Friday May 20, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to MUS-22121-001 at Kent State University taught by Dr. Priwan Nanongkham in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 7 views. For similar materials see Music As A World Phenomenon in Music at Kent State University.


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Date Created: 05/20/16
WORLD MUSIC CHAPTER 1 ● difficult to define ● music is a conceptual phenomenon that exists only in the mind ○ that is where the distinctions between noise and music occur ● music is a series of sonic vibrations transmitted to the brain, where we begin the process of making sense of and finding meaning/order in these sounds ● our sense of difference between noise and music comes from a lifetime of conditioning ● definitions of music are ultimately culturally determined ● music is not a language ● a semiotic view of music asserts that the musical sound itself has no meaning ○ must be interpreted ■ process called the poietic - the creator of the music encodes meanings and emotions into the “neutral” composition or performance which is then interpreted by anyone listening to the music ● process called esthesic ● each individual listener’s interpretation is entirely the result of cultural conditioning and life experience ○ meaning is not passed from the creator through the music to the listener ■ the listener applies an interpretation that is independent of the creator ● when both creator and listener share similar backgrounds; there is a greater likelihood that the listener’s interpretation will be consistent with the creator’s intended meaning ● when the creator and listener are from completely different backgrounds, miscommunication is almost inevitable ○ miscommunication inevitably contributes to the problem of ethnocentrism - the assumption that one’s own cultural patterns and understandings are normal and that all others are strange, exotic, or abnormal ● whenever we encounter something new, we subconsciously compare it to all previous experiences ○ we are strongly inclined to associate each new experience with the most similar thing we have encountered previously ● people with a narrow range of life experience have less data in their memory bank, and when something is truly new, none of us has any direct way to compare it to a known experience ○ misunderstandings easily occur ○ we attempt to rationalize the unfamiliar in terms of our own experience and often assume the unknown is consistent with what we already know ● knowing about this potential pitfall is the first step in avoiding the trapdoor of ethnocentrism Beware Of Labels ● for identification purposes, but they can also mislead ● folk, classical, and popular are the 3 words most commonly used to categorize and distinguish among various types of music ● the world classical has several meanings ○ connection with or interference from the styles of Ancient Greece and Rome ○ epitome of a style or type ■ classic car ○ suggests value: the highest form; the best ● in economic terms… ○ classical = when there is enough surplus wealth to release musicians from providing food and shelter ■ require specialized training and years of practice ○ folk = limited time for practice ■ little money for expensive instruments ■ simpler in process and less demanding ■ usually learned through observation, recordings, and informal instruction ○ popular = needs to appeal to a broad spectrum of the population to achieve financial success ● traditional music is assumed to change little overtime and preserve values long held by the community Knowing the World’s Musics ● Ethnomusicology - the study of music within its contemporary cultural context ● Folklore - the study of orally transmitted folk knowledge and culture ● comparative musicology - an early term of the field that became ethnomusicology ● fieldwork - the 1st hand study of music in its original context, a technique derived from anthropology ● ethnomusicology has long been pulled in two directions… ○ anthropological = the study of human behavior and cultural context ○ musicological = emphasizes the sonic artifacts of human music-making ● ethnomusicology today has been influenced by postmodernism = establishment of truth based on verifiable facts ○ de emphasizes description and the search for absolute truth in favor of interpretation and the acceptance of the relativity of truth ● the study of popular music has led to an apparent decrease of interest in fieldwork among ethnomusicology The Life of an Ethnomusicologist ● phases of research: ○ preparation = learn as much as they can about the area, the kinds of music they will encounter, and the conditions under which they will do their study ■ needs lots of expensive recording equipment ○ analysis ○ dissemination ● seek to acquire first hand experience through participation in rituals, festivals, and other events ○ photography ○ videography ○ audio recordings ○ interviews ● fieldwork phase = can last anywhere from a few days to several years ● after the material is collected, it must be analyzed and interpreted


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