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What Is Ethnomusicology? Definition, History, and Methods

https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-ethnomusicology-4588480

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What Is Ethnomusicology? Definition, History, and Methods
Ethnomusicology is the study of music within a cultural context. Explore the history of ethnomusicology, definition, research questions, methods, and ethical concerns.

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Ethnomusicology: The Why And How Of Music

Ethnomusicology: The Why And How Of Music

Music and its creation come with a larger context of culture, ethnicity, heritage, lifestyles and habits of humans in the particular era. This study is known as Ethnomusicology, a term coined by musicologist Jaap Kunst.

Non-western music, like world music and folkloric music, is studied by ethnomusicologists who look at the wider culture, purpose, social roles and the various facets of identity to create a larger circle which encompasses comparative and historical musicology.

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Comparative Musicology

The first musical ethnography was published by the early comparative musicologist Carl Stumpf, which documented the origins and the evolution of the art.

They looked at the changing landscapes and the nomadic nature of influences. Comparative musicology also looked at the classification of musical instruments and systems.

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Modern Ethnomusicology

The 80s and 90s saw the study of ethnomusicology shift from its traditional field towards more contemporary forms of music like rap, rock, salsa, afro-pop, and Hindustani classical music.

Music started to intersect with technology, globalization, media and even social unrest, making the study vast enough to have it’s graduate programs in major universities.

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The Methods Of Ethnomusicologists

Ethnomusicologists study linguistics, social science concepts, local culture, ethnicity, sociology, and history. This includes the study of archives, ancient texts, and research with musicians, interviewing and observation of participants who indulge in the art is one of the main methods of research.

The study of music entails playing, singing and dancing to the various musical forms, feeling the music at one’s core instead of mere academic research.

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