Let It Be Called "Comparative Ethnomusicology"

Locke, David
2014 Analytical Approaches to World Music  
he discipline currently named "musicology" emphasizes the humanistic study of Western art music, what I call WAM. This makes good sense because the discipline emerged and operates in the West. In parallel fashion, and tinged perhaps with a dose of post-colonial irony, African scholars of African music have suggested the moniker "African musicology" for the scholarly study of their culture's music. According to this logic, the world can support multiple musicologies, each focused on the
more » ... study of a musical field defined by geo-cultural boundaries. None of these musicologies would be plagued with insoluble problems that arise from the fraught exercise of trying to be what they are not, i.e., global in a non-ethnocentric way. "Chinese musicology" could operate from a Chinese paradigm (and fight over what exactly that might entail). Within each of these culturally-bound discourses, the elegant unity "musicology" need not be modified, but none of these many musicologies should arrogate to itself the task of being supraculturally objective and free from cultural bias. In addition to looking inward, each musicology could address global issues from its own vantage point.
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