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Against History: Defining, & Defending, Systematic Musicologies

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Paul Attinello


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When first defined by Guido Adler in 1885 in his pioneering article on the new discipline of musicology, systematic musicology simply seemed to be a good idea: after all, since music operates and is created across a number of different contexts, an articulated awareness of the various methods that could be applied to its study seemed necessary to any definition of musicology. But humanistic tradition and institutional politics intervened, and musicological studies became increasingly divided into the historical and the ethnological, with no room left for anything else. The limits of Anglophone musicology as established in the 1930s, and the unfortunate tendency of academic institutions to reproduce their own methodological patterns, created a situation where entire areas of musical study are now considered peripheral or even dubious by most musicologists. 0 0 1 230 1311 Newcastle University 10 3 1538 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-GB JA X-NONE This article will consider various definitions and studies of systematic musicology in the context of a number of related disciplines as they have been constituted in academe, as well as in light of Kerman’s 1985 critique of the possibilities and limitations of our field. After examining some of the charts presenting the possible fields of musical scholarship, I offer my own chart of the potential disciplines of systematic musicology. All these methodological divisions are invoked to recall those aspects of music that are denied by an exclusive focus on history and ethnology, as it reaches into the realms of the physical, the psychosocial, and the abstract.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Attinello P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Filigrane: Musique, esthétique, sciences, société

Year: 2010

Volume: New Musicology, Perspectives critiques

Issue: 11

Pages: 25-36

Print publication date: 01/06/2010

ISSN (print): 1773-9128

Publisher: Editions Delatour France


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