Music and Globalization

Soon the 11th international conference Musica Practica, Musica Theoretica will be held at the Academy of Music in Poznan, Poland, on the theme of “Music from the Perspective of Globalization”. I look forward to giving a keynote speech for this conference, which I have entitled “Globalization and Research Methods in Musicology” (displayed: public domain image, map of Poznan from 1617).
Following the conference in Poland, I will participate in the 7th international conference Theory for Practice in the Education of Contemporary Society in Riga, Latvia. I gave a keynote speech for that conference in 2012, and will be chairing a session and presenting a paper this year.

This travel to Poland and Latvia (sponsored by Erasmus and Nordplus programs) follows the conclusion of another fascinating project: Across the past week I have performed as a member of an opera chorus with the Edvard Grieg Choir in the Bergen National Opera production of Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s opera, The Golden Cockerel. This was presented with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra in Grieg Hall, featuring outstanding artistic directors and soloists. It was a great pleasure to work with such accomplished professionals across an array of fields: directors, choreographers, stage designers, costume makers, conductors, dancers, singers, etc. News media and critics have awarded this opera production the highest possible ratings, noting the “world class soloists with dazzling stage design and direction”. Displayed here are publicity photos by Magnus Skrede, released on the Bergen National Opera website. In these scenes from the opera, I am the Boyar in the red hat and robe, gesturing toward the dancers and gazing at our dying Tsar (played by Andrew Shore). The diverse participants in this opera demonstrate the role of globalization in music today, with soloists, directors, managers and orchestral musicians from all throughout the world. 

More information:


Music Freedom Day

The international event Music Freedom Day 2014 is nearly here.  Music Freedom Day is an opportunity to celebrate and affirm global support for freedom of expression, a fundamental principle of human rights. During Music Freedom Day 2014, I will be at a conference in Sweden where I have been invited to present a speech entitled “Artistic Freedom and Online Learning in an Era of Mass Surveillance.”

Links for Music Freedom Day:

Click HERE for information about the conference in Sweden.


Opera in Bergen

The Golden Cockerel, a spectacular opera by Russian composer Rimsky-Korsakov, will be the next major production of the Bergen National Opera, March 29-April 4, 2014. 

I look forward to performing as a Boyar, singing in the chorus of this professional opera in Norway, and over the next several weeks will be memorizing the music, reviewing Russian pronunciation, learning stage movements, and an array of other challenging requirements in preparation for performance.

Click here, and then scroll down for photos from this opera: http://sociomusicology.blogspot.com/2014/04/music-and-globalization_5.html

Here are various links for anyone interested in following the production of this opera:

Artistic Freedom and Online Learning

Time magazine is in agreement with many international news publications in suggesting that warrantless mass surveillance was the top news story of 2013, due to what they call "the most important leak of classified intelligence ever." 

The editorial boards of both New York Times and The Guardian have called for clemency for the whistleblower that revealed this uniquely valuable information to the citizenry via news media.

Mass surveillance will have enormous and enduring implications for social research, and it naturally changes the way we think about artistic freedom/freedom of expression and the nature of our participation in online environments (including online education). In the field of music, these developments are of great interest to composers and performers engaged in any creative activities that make use of the Internet, or who participate in any international projects, which applies to a large proportion of artists in the present day. For researchers, the privacy of data and our abilities to preserve anonymity in research are naturally topics of concern. 

I look forward to giving a keynote speech soon on the topic “Artistic Freedom and Online Learning in an Era of Mass Surveillance” for an interdisciplinary international conference in Sweden, entitled “Cultural Practices, Literacies and Technological Mediations. It will be held at Örebro University, March 3-5 2014. The conference is hosted by three research centers associated with the Swedish Research Council-supported national research school LIMCUL, Literacies, Multilingualism and Cultural Practices in present day society.

My speech will also become an article in a special issue of the scholarly journal Policy Futures in Education. 



What is Sociomusicology?

The interpretation of words is inevitably subjective, for meanings are constantly evolving, negotiated through discourse across each sector of society. Still, it has now been over six years since I decided to start this blog called SOCIOMUSICOLOGY, which at this point has over 72,000 page views, so it now seems a good idea to explain my understanding of what this word can mean.

Sociomusicology has been discussed in various ways by music scholars. Some view sociomusicology as a specialized subfield of sociology - essentially the “sociology of music” - while others view it as a particular form of ethnomusicology. Comparing the sociology of music with ethnomusicology, Keller observed a “difference in expertise and competence between the two disciplines” that “derives from their different historical roots” (Keller, 1986, p.179). Personally, I am equally happy with both understandings of this term, which is why I use sociomusicology here, but I also include a subtitle “musical arts – education – social sciences” on this website to suggest some more specific interests. My main fields of academic study are music teacher education and ethnomusicology, so I examine music teaching and learning (and the institutionalization of music) from a global perspective, and I am also very interested in developing new approaches to research that are informed by recent developments in philosophy and new technologies.

In my view, sociomusicology can generally be seen as a form of musicology that proceeds with the intention of producing outcomes that have a social impact, or findings of relevance to practitioners, such as musicians and music teachers (from studies of music ensembles, music learning strategies, and performance techniques, for example). Sociomusicology can also be understood as a specific form of applied ethnomusicology, marked by an openness to research methodologies that may sometimes be distinct from ethnographic fieldwork, such as historiography, computational analysis, practice-based research, and arts policy studies.  

I agree with Norman Stanfield that it is a bit regrettable ethnomusicology was not called “sociomusicology” all along, for ethnicity is merely one dimension of the array of social themes commonly explored in the field usually called “ethnomusicology”. Interestingly, it is really “musicology” - with its traditional focus on composers of “common practice” European art music - that tends to be a specific kind of ethnic-musicology, while “ethnomusicology” tends to be the more holistic field, embracing all kinds of music everywhere in the world. When viewed from the perspective of other fields – such as linguistics or drama – this situation in the academic disciplines of music surely must seem counterintuitive. Still, this is all changing nowadays, as the division between musicology and ethnomusicology now seems to be diminishing.

Here are some examples of how scholars in the past have discussed sociomusicology:
According to Barbara Lundquist (1982), “Sociomusicology focuses on the study of music in its social context. Therefore sociomusicology is closely related to ethnomusicology as well as psychomusicology and historical musicology. Its perspective affects aesthetics and criticism. It deals with concerns that often overlap one or another of these areas of study.

Lundquist also writes the following:
In general terms the bibliographical research revealed that since the early 1900s there has been a marked increase in sociomusicological research all over the world. The variety is quite overwhelming, the focus broad. Procedures range from descriptive, ethnographic studies to empirical ones; from the application of mathematical techniques to entirely speculative language. Everything from the role of song texts or particular genres in revolutions to economic manipulation in the music industry is examined. Studies analyze the social interaction between conductors and musicians in orchestras, at times using such studies to stand for similar status-bound, product-oriented relationships in society. They examine the social interaction in recording studios which affects music as business, as well as the role of music in changing the social behavior of children and adults. The use of music to control attention during television programs is studied, as is the use of music alone or with drugs in cross-cultural comparisons of ritual. The socialization of musicians has been analyzed along with elements in the acculturation and enculturation in music of groups of all sizes, from all over the world. Some studies examine aspects of music which appear to assist in creating and preserving social orders, and inspect the extent to which music is made to play a manipulative role in society.

Regarding the term “sociomusicology”, Charles Keil (1996) writes that it is “Not ‘ethnomusicology’ because the ‘ethno-’ means ‘other’ in the minds of most people and also fosters the misconception of a style or styles tied to one culture at a time, an equation no longer true if it ever was. ‘Sociomusicology’ because musicking only has definable feelings and meanings in social contexts.” Keil notes in one of his other publications that “The most basic sociomusicological idea is that interacting sounds constitute the abstraction ‘music’ in the same way that interacting people constitute the abstraction ‘society’” (Keil, 1998).

Kizinska’s discussion of sociomusicology emphasizes the role of capitalism and the “transformation of social practices into objects of economic exchange” (Kizinzka, n.d.).

Related Articles:

Steven Feld, “Symposium on Comparative Sociomusicology: Sound Structure as Social Structure” Ethnomusicology, 28/3 (1984). Retrieved from: http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/851232?uid=2129&uid=2&uid=70&uid=4&sid=21103165991331

Charles Keil, “MUSE Incorporating and Applied Sociomusicology,” MUSE (1996). Retrieved from: http://www.musekids.org/berlin.html

Charles Keil, “Ethnomusicology in Education-Skills for Children’s Liberation: An Applied Sociomusicology for Echologists,” Folklore Forum, 34: 17-27. Retrieved from: https://scholarworks.iu.edu/dspace/bitstream/handle/2022/2352/34%281-2%29%2017-27.pdf?sequence=1

Charles Keil, “Applied Sociomusicology and Performance Studies,” Ethnomusicology, 42/2 (1998). Retrieved from: http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/3113893?uid=2&uid=4&sid=21103165991331

Marcello Sorce Keller, “Sociology of Music and Ethnomusicology: Two Disciplines in Competition,” Journal of General Education, 38/3 (1986): 167-181.  

Karolina Kizinska, “Elements of Sociology of Music in Today’s Historical Musicology and Music Analysis,” Ad Alta: Journal of Interdisciplinary Research

Barbara R. Lundquist, “Sociomusicology: A Status Report,” College Music Symposium, 22 (1982). Retrieved from: http://symposium.music.org/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=1932:sociomusicology-a-status-report

Barbara R. Lundquist, “A Sociomusical Research Agenda for Music in Higher Education,” Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education, 86 (1986): 53-70. Retrieved from: http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/40317968?uid=2129&uid=2&uid=70&uid=4&sid=21103165991331

John Shepherd, “A theoretical model for sociomusicological analysis of popular music,” Popular Music, 2 (1982), pp. 145-77.

Material from a recent Wikipedia entry on the topic:
Among the most notable of earlier sociologists to examine social aspects of music were Georg Simmel (1858-1918), Alfred Schutz (1899-1959), Max Weber (1864-1920) and Theodor Adorno (1903-1969). Others have included Alphons Silbermann, Ivo Supicic, Max Kaplan, K. Peter Etzkorn, Charles Seeger (1886-1979), Howard Saul Becker, Eli Siegmeister, Jacques Attali, John Mueller (1895-1965), Kurt Blaukopf and Charles Keil.
More recently, notable sociomusicologists have included
§  Peter J. Martin
§  Tia DeNora
§  John Shepherd
§  Hildegard Froehlich
§  Christopher Small
§  Steven Brown
§  Timothy Dowd
§  Andy Bennett
§  Steve Waksman, and
§  Robert Faulkner.
Younger scholars whose work contributes to the field of sociomusicology include:
§  Shyon Baumann
§  David Hebert
§  David Grazian
§  Eric Hung, and
§  Joseph Schloss.