Ethnomusicology and the African Diaspora

Posted: February 19, 2013 in Afrocentricity, American Folk lore


Author: Melvin L. Butler

Source: “Ethnomusicology and the African Diaspora” African Diaspora Studies and the Disciplines. Eds.
Tejumola Olaniyan, James Sweet, Madeleine Wong. Bloomington: University of Indiana Press


“Clearly, there is much more to say about ethnomusicological approaches to Africa and its diaspora. This essay has really only scratched the surface of inquiry into the contributions of music scholars to an enhanced understanding of black  expressive  cultures around the globe. In ethnomusicological fieldwork and writing, there remain many unresolved issues. Perhaps some of the longest-standing debates among those who endeavor to study the world’s musical traditions revolve around the issues of epistemology, fieldwork, and representation. What is required for a scholar to “know” a piece of music? To what extent can ethnomusicologists gain an “insider’s” understanding of a musical tradition? In what ways does a scholar’s national, racial, and/or gender identity impact how African diasporic musical forms are represented visually and ethnographically?”


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