Monday, March 5, 2012

Review on Music and the complex whole

I was quite pleased to see right from the beginning that this reading finally addresses the difference or rather the contrasts between anthropologists and musicologists. The line seemed have been pretty blurred already after studying around terminologies like “ethnography”, “ethnomusicology”,”culture”, anthropology” for almost half a semester. What the true relationship between “culture” and “music” was complicated by their each variant and ambiguous definitions and by their inseparable influences on each other in nature. And this reading aims to explain this relationship in clear shapes.
First, the author illustrated that “the study of music in its cultural context” approach,music by studying where, who, why and how the music is played in a culture. Then he contrasted that “the study of music in culture” rather emphasizes on how people in a culture perceives their music. Lastly he stated that “the study of music as culture” tries to prove how the music is inherently parallel to its social structure.
The author then made his point that an anthropological way of studying music has faults of neglects and misinterpretation, by giving a few examples. He followed by trying to explain why past anthropologists gave so little concern to music: how music is treated so much like science and professionalized in western world that non music professional anthropologists hesitate to comment on music behaviors on non-western musics too. He also illustrated four models for ethnomusicologists in further exploring the music/culture relationship:1)to study each components separately with no previous assumptions 2)to see how music contributes to culture 3)find a way of establishing central values of culture 3)envision a line of relationships leading from a major value of a culture to music.
At this point of reading his paper, I found his writing style rather “educational”, because he lists out his opinions in sections named under “Four models”,”Three stresses”, “Five studies” in almost like a propaganda way. But I liked it for clarity’s sake. Though I would have to say that instead of detailed theory about the actual relationship between music and culture, he was actually giving directions/instructions about how to find out about it. still helpful in its own sense though.
Question I kept thinking about: if the problem is the gap between anthropologists and musicologists, I have rarely seen collaborations between the two. Are there any studies made by partnership of both professions? Would such collaboration bring complex issues as well such as how to categorize the final product...

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