What Makes Music European: Looking beyond Sound

What Makes Music European: Looking beyond Sound

by Marcello Sorce Keller


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We seldom consider how much we mistakenly presume in hewing to definitions of music that differ dramatically from the standpoint of other cultures. In What Makes Music European, Marcello Sorce Keller examines the limitations of accepted wisdom about the concept of music in Euro-Western culture. His investigations of the conclusions reached by music researchers of the past several decades considerably upsets the concepts relied upon by the concert-going public. Sorce Keller insightfully asks: Who makes the music? Should music be original, and how much can it be? Why do people identify with songs, pieces, styles, and repertoire? Why is music so ideological? Why do we misunderstand the music of different times and places, and why do we enjoy doing so? He also explores the juxtaposition of economy, society, and music making, as well as the concept of "illegal harmonies."

In What Makes Music European, Sorce Keller addresses the little-discussed matters that are essential to an understanding of how music intersects with the life of so many people. Readers are offered an approach for thinking about music that depends as much on its history as on the concepts and attitudes of the social sciences. What Makes Music European concisely demonstrates, to those familiar with Western music, how peculiar Euro-Western concepts of music appear from a cross-cultural perspective. At the same time, it encourages ethnomusicologists to apply their knowledge to Western music and explain to its public how much of what listeners take for granted is, at the very least, highly debatable.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780810876712
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 12/16/2011
Series: Europea: Ethnomusicologies and Modernities Series , #12
Pages: 332
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Marcello Sorce Keller is Board Member of the Mediterranean Institute at the University of Malta. He is the author and producer of "Note in libertà," a radio program on Swiss Italian Radio.

Table of Contents

Series Editors' Foreword vii

Preface xi

Introduction xvii

Part I Who Makes the Music (Why We All Are "Composers") 1

1 Composing as We Think of It, Composing as We Do It 3

2 Oral Transmission: More Than Playing or Singing by Ear 13

3 Improvisation and the Collective Dimension 33

4 When "We" Get the Music 59

Part II Originality, Ideology, and Taste 71

5 Should Music Be Original, and How Original Can It Be 73

6 Why People Identify with Organized Sound 85

7 Why Is Music So Ideological 113

8 How Can We Face So Many Different Musics 141

9 Why Do We Misunderstand the Music of All Times and Places: And Do We Enjoy Doing So 159

10 How Much of a Good Thing 177

11 Musical Gardens and Greenhouses versus Woods and Prairies 191

Part III The Tangible Aspects of Music Making 211

12 The Social Value of Music 213

13 Musical Value and Its Locations 225

Conclusions 251

Appendix 261

References 263

Index 289

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