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Ethnomusicology: A Very Short Introduction [#376]
Ethnomusicology: A Very Short Introduction [#376]

Ethnomusicology: A Very Short Introduction [#376]

Timothy Rice
  • Includes a brief history of the attempt to understand the deep cosmological, social, and psychological significance of music
  • Considers how ethnomusicologists are dealing with the role of music in a modern world of war, violence, disease, and climate change and on ethnomusicologists' role in academia and public service
  • Examines how music is embedded in society and culture, how individuals create and experience music, and how and why music, even so-called traditional music, constantly changes

Ethnomusicologists believe that all humans, not just those we call musicians, are musical, and that musicality is one of the essential touchstones of the human experience. This insight raises big questions about the nature of music and the nature of humankind, and ethnomusicologists argue that to properly address these questions, we must study music in all its geographical and historical diversity.
In this Very Short Introduction, one of the foremost ethnomusicologists, Timothy Rice, offers a compact and illuminating account of this growing discipline, showing how modern researchers go about studying music from around the world, looking for insights into both music and humanity. The reader discovers that ethnomusicologists today not only examine traditional forms of music-such as Japanese gagaku, Bulgarian folk music, Javanese gamelan, or Native American drumming and singing-but also explore more contemporary musical forms, from rap and reggae to Tex-Mex, Serbian turbofolk, and even the piped-in music at the Mall of America. To investigate these diverse musical forms, Rice shows, ethnomusicologists typically live in a community, participate in and observe and record musical events, interview the musicians, their patrons, and the audience, and learn to sing, play, and dance. It's important to establish rapport with musicians and community members, and obtain the permission of those they will work with closely over the course of many months and years. We see how the researcher analyzes the data to understand how a particular musical tradition works, what is distinctive about it, and how it bears the personal, social, and cultural meanings attributed to it. Rice also discusses how researchers may apply theories from anthropology and other social sciences, to shed further light on the nature of music as a human behavior and cultural practice.
Reading Guide


List of illustrations
Chapter 1: Defining ethnomusicology
Chapter 2: A bit of history
Chapter 3: Conducting research
Chapter 4: The nature of music
Chapter 5: Music and culture
Chapter 6: Individual musicians
Chapter 7: Writing music history
Chapter 8: Ethnomusicology in the modern world
Chapter 9: Ethnomusicologists at work
Further reading
Suggestions for listening

About the author: 

Timothy Rice, Professor of Ethnomusicology and director, Herb Alpert School of Music, University of California, Los Angeles
Professor of Ethnomusicology, University of California, Los Angeles; editor,Ethnomusicology (1981-84); director, UCLA Herb Alpert School of MusicTimothy Rice is Professor of Ethnomusicology and the Director of the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music at the University of California, Los Angeles. His books include May it Fill Your Soul: Experiencing Bulgarian Music and Music in Bulgaria: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture. A leader in the field, he is a former editor of the journal Ethnomusicology and a past president of the Society for Ethnomusicology.

"Rice's short book delivers a well-structured and comparatively accessible look both into the development of ethnomusicology and into important areas of research, introduces influential studies and researchers, and can well be recommended as a concise alternative to Bruno Nettl's more comprehensive The Study of Ethnomusicology."-- Die Musikforschung

Product details

ISBN : 9780199794379

Timothy Rice
168 Pages
111 x 174 mm
Pub date
Dec 2013
Very Short Introductions
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Ethnomusicology: A Very Short Introduction [#376]

Ethnomusicology: A Very Short Introduction [#376]

Ethnomusicology: A Very Short Introduction [#376]