Professor: Daniel K. Avorgbedor

Course Description
This course examines specific theoretical and analytical ideas and approaches in past and current ethnomusicological thought and practice.  The course begins with a quick survey of the  theoretical foundations of ethnomusicology as “science,” origins and diffusion of analytical types and ways in which they have been shaped by sociocultural, political, and intellectual contexts. The course focuses on select analytical types and their related theoretical purviews such as organicism, structural-functionalism, cantometrics,  notions of description-explanation, orality and improvisation, phenomenology, medical ethnomusicology, influences of semiology, linguistics (generative grammar, for example), performance and communication theories, and current directions in the analysis of “world music.” The course concludes with reviews of critical and postcolonial theories (such as feminist epistemologies and postcolonial theories of identity and difference), and contemporary analytical perspectives on migration, urbanization, globalization, diaspora,  and popular culture studies.


Course Themes
--“scientific” foundations of ethnomusicology
--Interface of theory and method/practice
-- basic and early analytical procedures: Organicism, functionalism/structural-functionalism
--linguistics, language and semiology
--orality and improvised music
 --phenomenology and performance theories
-- critical discourse and postcolonial theories
-- globalization and diaspora studies
--contemporary issues: gender; embodiment; peace and conflict mediation; medical ethnomusicology; tourism; entrainment


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Agawu, Kofi. “Representing African Music.” Critical Inquiry, Vol. 18 (1992), pp. 244-266.

Agawu, Kofi.   “Tone and Tune: the Evidence for Northern Ewe Music.” Africa, Vol. 58, No. 2 (1988), pp. 127-146.

Anderson, Benedict R. 1991. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, Revised and extended ed.  London; New York: Verso.  JC311.A48 1991.

Balme, Christopher, R. “Staging the Pacific: Framing Authenticity in Performances for Tourists at the PolynesianCultural  Center.” Theatre Journal, Vol. 50, No. 1, Theatre, Diaspora, and the Politics of Home (Mar.,1998), pp. 53-70.

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Benjamin, Walter. 1985.  "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction," in Illuminations Walter Benjamin, editor Hannah Arendt, 217-51.  New York, NY: Schocken.

Berger, Harris M. 1966. 1999. Metal, Rock, and Jazz : Perception and the Phenomenology of Musical Experience / Harris M. Berger  Music/Culture. Hanover, NH : University Press of New England, 1999.

Blacking, John. “Some Problems of  Theory and Method in the Study of Musical Change.” Yearbook of the International Folk Music Council, Vol. 9 (1977),   pp. 2-26.

Blacking, John. “Deep and Surface Structures in Venda Music.” Yearbook of the International Folk Music Council, Vol. 3 (1971), pp. 91-108.

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Bringinshaw, Valerie A. “Choreographing Difference: The Body and Identity in Contemporary     Dance  by Ann Cooper Albright; Meaning in Motion: New Cultural Studies of Dance by Jane C.  Desmond.” Signs, Vol. 25, No. 3 (Spring, 2000), pp. 977-980.


Brown, Matthew and Douglas Dempster.  Evaluating Musical Analyses and Theories: Five Perspectives.” Journal of Music Theory, Vol. 34, No. 2. (Autumn, 1990), pp. 247-279.


Brucher, Kate. “Viva Rhode Island, Viva Portugal! Performance and Tourism in Portuguese-American Bands.”


Cihodariu, Miriam. “A Rough Guide to Musical Anthropology.” Journal of Comparative Research in Anthropology and Sociology, Vol. 2, No. 1 (Spring 2011), pp. 183-195.


Clifford, James.  "Diasporas," in Routes: Travel and Translation in the Late Twentieth Century, 244-77.  Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1997.

Clifton, Thomas.  Music As Heard : a Study in Applied Phenomenology  New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1983.

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During, Jean. “Power, Authority and Music in the Cultures of Inner Asia.”  Ethnomusicology Forum, Vol. 14, No. 2, Music and Identity in Central Asia (Nov.,2005), pp. 143-164.

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Erlmann, Veit. “The Aesthetics of the Global Imagination: Reflections on World Music in the  1990s.” Public Culture, Vol. 8 (1996), pp. 467-487.


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Floyd, Malcolm,, ed. Composing the Music of Africa: Composition, Interpretation and Realisation. London: Scolar Press, 1999.


Foley, John Miles. 1995. The Singer of Tales in Performance. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Especially pp. 1-28.

Gillespie, Luke O.  1991. "Literacy, Orality, and the Parry-Lord "Formula": Improvisation and the Afro-American Jazz Tradition." International Review of Aesthetics and Sociology of Music  22(2):147-64.

Gilroy, Paul. 1993. The Black Atlantic : Modernity and Double Consciousness. Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press.

Gourlay, Kenneth. “The Necessity of Theory.” 3rd  symposium 1982, University of Natal and 4h

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Gourlay, Kenneth. "The Practice of Cueing among the Karimojong of North-East Uganda." Ethnomusicology, 16 (1972): 240-247.

Grenier, Line. “The Construction of Music as Social Phenomenon: Implications for Deconstruction.” Canadian University Music Review, Vol 10, No. 2 (1990), pp. 27-47.

Guerrón-Montero, Carla. “Can't Beat Me Own Drum in Me Own Native Land: Calypso Music and Tourism in thePanamanian Atlantic.” Anthropological Quarterly, Vol. 79, No. 4 (Autumn, 2006), pp. 633-665.

Harwood, Dane L. “Interpretive Activity: A Response to Tim Rice's ‘Toward the Remodeling of Ethnomusicology.’" Ethnomusicology, Vol. 31, No. 3 (Autumn, 1987), pp. 503-510.

Hebdige, Dick. 1987. Cut 'n' Mix:  Culture, Identity, and Caribbean Music  London: Methuen.
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Herndon, Marcia. “Analysis: The Herding of Sacred Cows?” Ethnomusicology, Vol. 18, No. 2 (May, 1974), pp. 219-262.

Horner, Bruce. “On the Study of Music as Material Social Practice.” Journal of Musicology, Vol. 16, No. 2 (1998), pp. 159-199.


Higgins, Paula. “Women in Music, Feminist Criticism, and Guerrilla Musicology: Reflections on Recent Polemics.” 19th-Century Music, Vol. 17, No. 2 (Autumn, 1993), pp. 174-192.


Kapchan, Deborah A. and Pauline Turner Strong.  1999. "Introduction: Theorizing the Hybrid." Journal of American Folklore  112(445):239-53.

Kydd, Elizabeth Roseanne. “Feminist music criticism: Derivations  and directions.” Masters thesis, McMaster University, 1992.



Koen, Ben, ed. The Oxford Handbook of Medical Ethnomusicology. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.


Kroier, Johann. “Music, Global History, and Postcoloniality.” International Review of the Aesthetics and Sociology of Music, Vol. 43, No. 1 (2012), pp. 139-186.

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Livingston, Tamara E.  1999. "Music Revivals: Towards a General Theory." Ethnomusicology  43(1):66-85.

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McClary, Susan. Feminine Endings: Music, Gender, and Sexuality. Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, 2002.


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Manuel, Peter.  1995. "Music As Symbol, Music As Simulacrum: Postmodern, Pre-Modern, and Modern Aesthetics in Subcultural Popular Musics." Popular Music  14(2):227-39.

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Monson, Ingrid. 1996. Saying Something: Jazz Improvisation and Interaction , editors. Chicago Studies in Ethnomusicology. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Nattiez, Jean-Jacques and Katharine Ellis. “Reflections on the Development of Semiology in Music.”   Music Analysis, Vol. 8, No. 1/2 (Mar. - Jul., 1989), pp. 21-75.

Nettl, Bruno. The Study of Ethnomusicology: Thirty-one Issues and Concepts. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2005.

Nettl, Bruno. “Paradigms in the History of Ethnomusicology.” College Music Symposium, Vol. 19, No. 1 (Spring, 1979), pp. 67-77.

Nettl, Bruno.  1974. "Improvisation: A Comparative Approach." Musical Quarterly  60(1):1-19.

Neumann, Dard. “Pedagogy, Practice, and Embodied Creativity in Hindustani Music.” Ethnomusicology, Vol. 56, No. 3 (Fall 2012), pp. 426-449.

Nketia, J. H. Kwabena. “
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Olteᶵeanu, Ion. “The Social Ontology of Music.”Contemporary Readings in Law and Social Justice,Volume 3(2), 2011, pp. 254–259.


Ong, Walter J. 1982. Orality and Literacy : the Technologizing of the Word, 1-83. New Accents. London, New York: Methuen.

Powers, Harold S. “Language Models and Musical Analysis.” Ethnomusicology, Vol 24, No. 1(1980), pp. 1-60.

Racanelli,  David. “Formulaic Variation Procedures in Mande Griot (Jeli) Guitar

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Racy, Ali Jihad, "
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Rasmussen, Ljerka Vidic.  1995. "From Source to Commodity: Newly-Composed Folk Music of Yugoslavia." Popular Music  14(2):241-56.

Roseman, Marina. “The Social Structuring of Sound: The Temiar of Peninsular Malaysia.” Ethnomusicology, Vol. 28, No. 3 (Sep., 1984), pp. 411-445.


Roy, William G. and Timothy J. Dowd. “What Is Sociological about Music?”

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Schellenberg. Murray. “Does Language Determine Music in Tone Languages?”

 Ethnomusicology, Vol. 56, No. 2 (Spring/Summer 2012), pp. 266-278.

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