Post for 11/4/14 Class

The ethnomusicology article by Blacking was dense, but I think I understood it well enough to develop questions and points about it. Blacking seemed to be arguing for an even deeper level of analysis of music than discussed in the previous eras and articles, saying that it is impossible to analyze music independent of the culture and human beings it comes from. He also advocates avoiding making ethnomusicology a musicology of the ethnic; it should be about any and all music/cultures, not just the exotic ones. The learning from how a Washingtonian conceptualizes and performs music is just as valuable as a remote villager from South America. I wonder if this desire for increased equality of study and value is a result of the just finished civil rights movement and the increased emphasis on individual freedoms that came in the Stormy Sixties and continued into the Seventies.

Lomax’s concerns about the loss of cultural variety is easy to empathize with. As communication and the internet developed, popular music began to dominate, becoming the defining concept of music for many people, rather than what their local experience of folk songs and local culture would have been without this overbearing force. I think Lomax would be happy with the current state of affairs through, or at least the trend we are on. I think we have broken through the massive music industry and popular music machine of the 70s and 80s, allowing us to use our increased communication and electronic reach to promote our local artists and traditions. No doubt, some things were lost in the period of mass popular music, but now is a better time than ever to preserve what we can and get it out in the world. With the internet, I can google search for peruvian flute music and learn about it; this was not possible in the time Lomax wrote his article. I loved his point “nations don’t produce music; they consume it.”

I still need to watch the movies; I thought they were readings until today, only to find out they are naturally time intensive.

The Jimi Hendrix article by Blecha was a good overview. I never knew about the connection with Keith Richards that basically got him started with the British rock scene. My favorite song by him is Bold as Love. I also did not know that EMP was founded in his honor. It is a fun exercise to imagine what the music scene would be like if he didn’t die; would he be a huge star now? Would he be making some electronic music? Because of his death, his music was frozen in time, but it is interesting to think about what kind of music he would make in each recent era of musical trend.


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