ERIC Number: EJ972733
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Jan-8
Reference Count: N/A
A Musical Intervention
Wheeler, David L.
Chronicle of Higher Education, Jan 2012
In this article, the author describes a multimillion-dollar project that aims to save traditional expressions of music from around the world and reflects a shift in ethnomusicology. The $5-million project led by Huib Schippers on "sustainable cultures for music futures" is using nine case studies, including Western opera, Balinese gamelan music, aboriginal songs in Australia's Northern Territory, Ewe music of West Africa, and Mexican mariachi to find strategies that can keep musical traditions alive. The "musical futures" project, supported by the Australian Research Council and involving at least seven universities on three continents, reflects a slow but powerful shift in ethnomusicology itself. In the past, scholars went out, recorded elderly virtuosos, and wrote academic papers about the structure of musical traditions, but they did not always bother to send recordings or academic findings back to the musicians and their audiences. Sometimes individual scholars have advocated for the music they studied, or made sure that recordings were returned to the musicians who made them, but they have rarely directly studied how musical traditions could be sustained. Today, 'applied ethnomusicology" has become a larger portion of the discipline, and efforts such as the one Schippers leads are attracting admiration. Music pervades every culture, and yet, unlike food or water, people can survive without it. Tourists go to temples in Greece, caves in Turkey, and the tops of Peruvian mountains to see the remnants of ancient cultures. Granite and bronze keep fairly well. Music does not always have the staying power of stone architecture. The day may come, though, when anyone can tour the human musical imagination, past and present. Schippers and colleagues are taking a tentative first step.
Descriptors: Music, Musicians, Foreign Countries, Music Activities, Music Education, Music Appreciation, Music Theory, Traditionalism, Research Projects, Cultural Maintenance, Indigenous Knowledge, Financial Support, Intervention, Art Expression
Chronicle of Higher Education. 1255 23rd Street NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 800-728-2803; Tel: 202-466-1000; Fax: 202-452-1033; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://chronicle.com
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia