Ethnomusicology Research Paper

Ethnomusicology Research Paper-36
This article provides an account of the response to the modern postcolonial prerogative in intercultural music research from a particular perspective and field: that of a non-Indigenous Australian ethnomusicologist (the author) who conducts research on Indigenous Australian musical traditions with Indigenous cultural performers and stakeholders.The article outlines histories and legacies of ethnomusicological research in Australia centred on two disciplinary concerns: the role of musical analysis and recording technologies in the task of understanding music in and as culture; and, a postcolonial discourse of interculturalism in applied ethnomusicology that prioritises collaboration and repatriation.In 2006 one of the leading exponents of ethnomusicology in Australia, Stephen Wild, asked if ethnomusicology in the antipodes has “a distinctive voice? 345), pointing out that while American ethnomusicology has been guided by an anthropological approach to the exclusion of the analysis of musical sound, Australian ethnomusicology was informed by a musicological approach that featured the analysis of musical sound (p. As Wild (2006) and Toner (2007) pointed out, while American Richard Waterman set forth with a distinctly anthropological approach in his study of songs from Arnhem Land in far north Australia in the 1950s, early Australian ethnomusicologists such as Trevor Jones, Alice Moyle, and Catherine Ellis, all trained in Europe, incorporated analysis of musical form in research and scholarship on Australian Aboriginal song, setting a path for following and current generations who have included substantial musical analysis and transcription in their studies of Australian Aboriginal music.

This article provides an account of the response to the modern postcolonial prerogative in intercultural music research from a particular perspective and field: that of a non-Indigenous Australian ethnomusicologist (the author) who conducts research on Indigenous Australian musical traditions with Indigenous cultural performers and stakeholders.The article outlines histories and legacies of ethnomusicological research in Australia centred on two disciplinary concerns: the role of musical analysis and recording technologies in the task of understanding music in and as culture; and, a postcolonial discourse of interculturalism in applied ethnomusicology that prioritises collaboration and repatriation.In 2006 one of the leading exponents of ethnomusicology in Australia, Stephen Wild, asked if ethnomusicology in the antipodes has “a distinctive voice? 345), pointing out that while American ethnomusicology has been guided by an anthropological approach to the exclusion of the analysis of musical sound, Australian ethnomusicology was informed by a musicological approach that featured the analysis of musical sound (p. As Wild (2006) and Toner (2007) pointed out, while American Richard Waterman set forth with a distinctly anthropological approach in his study of songs from Arnhem Land in far north Australia in the 1950s, early Australian ethnomusicologists such as Trevor Jones, Alice Moyle, and Catherine Ellis, all trained in Europe, incorporated analysis of musical form in research and scholarship on Australian Aboriginal song, setting a path for following and current generations who have included substantial musical analysis and transcription in their studies of Australian Aboriginal music.

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17): music was “humanly organized sound” (Blacking, 1973, p. This has guided rich ethnographic accounts of musics in many Global North and Global South communities, rendering understandings of humanity that were otherwise inaccessible.

Such an approach has also emerged in musicology, with new theories that emphasise embodiment and reliance on context, such as “musicking” (Small, 1998, p.

This analysis risks eclipsing embodied musical processes (Magowan, 2007, p. 14), parataxis and minimal contrast (Barwick, 2005a; Barwick, 2005b; Treloyn, 2007), amongst other techniques.

Secondly, the very task of analysis is predicated on access to recording technologies and acts of recording.

Bohlman has suggested, “an extension of colonial intervention, with the concomitant aim of locating non-Western music in the comparative framework of Western, largely European, history” (Bohlman, 2001/2016, para. The new globalism that followed World War II brought by new migrations, reorganisation of colonial boundaries and powers, and new recording technologies, prompted numerous revisions to the study of music and culture.

At Columbia University in the USA, Franz Boas espoused the importance of rich ethnographic description in the study of music.

While musical analysis provides tools to gain insight into Aboriginal musical cultural expression, its application raises a number of issues that are central to our understanding of the broader intercultural context in which research takes place in Australia.

In the first instance, due to the variability of musical systems (Barwick, 1989), analysis of Aboriginal song (particularly analysis that seeks to understand the relationships between text and rhythm, and melody and text/rhythm) inevitably becomes a complicated technical feat. the universalising aims of analysis” through irregularity and variability (Barwick, 1989, p.

In these traditions, where musical variability is a key marker of social action, fine-grained analysis of multiple songs within repertories, and multiple performances of songs, enables us to get to socio-cultural processes and the social power of musical processes.

Allan Marett, a leader in Australian ethnomusicology from the 1980s to the present explained: although analysis is not particularly fashionable within ethnomusicology today, …

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