ethnomusicological /eth'noh myooh'zi keuh loj"i keuhl/, adj.ethnomusicologically, adv.ethnomusicologist, n.
/eth'noh myooh'zi kol"euh jee/, n.
the study of folk and primitive music and of their relationship to the peoples and cultures to which they belong.
[1945-50; ETHNO- + MUSICOLOGY]

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Scholarly study of music as an aspect of culture.

Taking an anthropological approach (it was originally called "comparative musicology"), it has tended to focus on non-Western music, particularly music of oral traditions. The field's origins lie in the late 19th century with the work of scholars such as François-Joseph Fétis (1784–1871) and Carl Stumpf (1848–1936). Much work was motivated by the search for musical universals, under the assumption that prehistory could be studied through research into "primitive" cultures of the present. Recognizing that traditional societies were quickly disappearing with the modern world's encroachment, ethnomusicologists soon put their highest priority on collection (by field recording, using the new recording technology) and transcription (using newly devised pitch calibrations). A number of classification schemes for comparative analysis of different musics have been proposed, but the natural focus remains on diversity.

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      field of scholarship that encompasses the study of all world musics from various perspectives. It is defined either as the comparative study of musical systems and cultures or as the anthropological study of music. Although the field had antecedents in the 18th and early 19th centuries, it began to gather energy with the development of recording techniques in the late 19th century. It was known as comparative musicology until about 1950, when the term ethnomusicology was introduced simultaneously by the Dutch scholar of Indonesian music Jaap Kunst (Kunst, Jaap) and by several American scholars, including Richard Waterman and Alan Merriam. In the period after 1950, ethnomusicology burgeoned at academic institutions. Several societies and periodicals were founded, the most notable being the Society for Ethnomusicology, which publishes the journal Ethnomusicology.

      Some ethnomusicologists consider their field to be associated with musicology, while others see the field as related more closely to anthropology. Among the general characteristics of the field are dependence on field research, which may include the direct study of music performance, and interest in all types of music produced in a society, including folk, art, and popular genres. Among the field's abiding concerns are whether outsiders can validly study another culture's music and what the researcher's obligations are to his informants, teachers, and consultants in colonial and postcolonial contexts. Over time, ethnomusicologists have gradually abandoned the detailed analytical study of music and increased their focus on the anthropological study of music as a domain of culture. With this shift in emphasis has come greater concern with the study of popular musics as expressions of the relationships between dominant and minority cultures; of music as a reflection of political, social-ethnic, and economic movements; and of music in the context of the cultural meanings of gender. See also anthropology: Ethnomusicology (anthropology).

Bruno Nettl

Additional Reading
Alan P. Merriam, The Anthropology of Music (1964); Mantle Hood, The Ethnomusicologist, new ed. (1982); Helen Myers (ed.), Ethnomusicology: An Introduction (1992); Bruno Nettl, The Study of Ethnomusicology, new ed. (2005); Jennifer C. Post (ed.), Ethnomusicology: A Contemporary Reader (2006).

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • ethnomusicology — [eth΄nō myo͞o΄zi käl′ə jē] n. 1. the study of the music of a particular region and its sociocultural implications, esp. of music outside the European art tradition 2. the comparative study of the music of different cultural groups… …   English World dictionary

  • Ethnomusicology — This article is about the area of study. For the society and academic journal, see Society for Ethnomusicology. Ethnomusicologist Frances Densmore recording Blackfoot chief Mountain Chief for the Bureau of American Ethnology (1916)… …   Wikipedia

  • ethnomusicology — noun Date: 1950 1. the study of music that is outside the European art tradition 2. the study of music in a sociocultural context • ethnomusicological adjective • ethnomusicologist noun …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • ethnomusicology — noun The study of music and culture; the study of music as it relates to its cultural context …   Wiktionary

  • Ethnomusicology —    Music, rhythm, chant, song, drumming, and other instrumental performances are significant aspects of much shamanic work and have been studied by this branch of musicology devoted to musics rooted in particular cultures, especially indigenous… …   Historical dictionary of shamanism

  • ethnomusicology — study of comparative musical systems Sciences and Studies …   Phrontistery dictionary

  • ethnomusicology — n. branch of musicology that concentrates on researching the music of various cultural and ethnic groups …   English contemporary dictionary

  • ethnomusicology — noun the study of the music of different cultures. Derivatives ethnomusicologic adjective ethnomusicological adjective ethnomusicologist noun …   English new terms dictionary

  • ethnomusicology — eth·no·musicology …   English syllables

  • ethnomusicology — eth•no•mu•si•col•o•gy [[t]ˌɛθ noʊˌmyu zɪˈkɒl ə dʒi[/t]] n. soc ant mad the study of folk or native music, esp. of non Western cultures, and its relationship to the society to which it belongs • Etymology: 1945–50 eth no•mu si•co•log′i•cal kəˈlɒdʒ …   From formal English to slang

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