Music, Law, and Society

It was a great pleasure this week to give an invited lecture entitled “Language and Cultural Policy: Rethinking Music’s Significance,” for the International Law Summit in Bergen on The Language and Law. The law professors there, many of whom were from China, showed great interest in the topic and had excellent suggestions.

Law has been of increasing interest to me across recent years, and during the past few summers I have taught Cultural Policy courses for international PhD students at Bergen Summer Research School as well as law students at the China University of Political Science and Law, Beijing.

I am now developing a book with contributors from several countries that addresses how government policies can effectively support the sustainability of music traditions through various public institutions. This will most likely become part of the Deep Soundings book series with Rowman & Littlefield (Lexington), but I also mentioned it in my discussion with Routledge editors who had arranged a recent meeting with me in Bergen. Although the book is still under development, we have likely contributions from China, Vietnam, Sweden, Poland, Guyana, Nigeria, South Africa, Ethiopia, and other countries.

Public institutions, such as schools, universities, concert halls, museums, and galleries - as well as memorials and protected heritage sites - play an important role in ensuring that the arts and cultural heritage can remain viable for future generations. This is not only a local or national concern, but a global one, as recognized by UNESCO and other organizations. However, some kinds of laws and programs certainly function better than others, and there is a need for more robust, critical and comparative studies in this field.   

Below is a photo from my speech at the International Law Summit: 

Click HERE for a law-related article that I developed with Finnish scholar Marja Heimonen in an earlier phase of my career, and HERE for a later article we developed.

Some of the earliest laws in Northern Europe were written in runes on stone surfaces such as this one, which I photographed last week as part of some research on Viking Age and early Medieval times: 


Book on Ancient Musicians

The scholarly journal World of Music will soon be publishing my review of a unique book entitled The Mystery of Music: An Exploration Centered on the Lives of Thirty Ancient Musicians (by Lewis Holmes, CEK Publishing, 2018).

Author Lewis Holmes, an interdisciplinary scientist, participated in the Historical Ethnomusicology section of the Society for Ethnomusicology, during the period in which I led this group with Jonathan McCollum, and in his book develops some important extensions on theories in this specialized field. Holmes spent many years drawing on knowledge from an array of academic fields (archaeology, history, musicology, etc.) to produce the material in this book, which I think is written with unusual clarity and is likely to be of interest to musicians and music teachers working in all kinds of settings, from primary school through university.

Below are links for more information, and I will soon include a link here to the review when it is published in The World of Music toward the end of 2019: