May 14, 2020 in Analysis

Response to the Reading “Music Transitions and Transmission of Tradition”

The piece of writing focuses on the role that is played by music institutions in transition and transmission of musical traditions. Based on the case study of cantorial training of the Jewish, it argues that there is potentiality of institutions serving as hidden transitions as a result of dynamics that exists between institutionalization and music tradition, especially taking into consideration the fact that the above mentioned phenomena are both historical and ethnographical. Thus, the author considers music institutions to be self-effacing organizations that house flexible discourses of musical preservation and musical practice. Besides, they shape musical authenticity perceptions, even though they may appear in inauthentic discourses of practice of music.

There is a high tendency of individuals perceiving music institutions as a representation of both modernity and westernization, while musical institutions that are non-institutionalized receive increased emphasis by individuals as greater purity sites. As far as cantorial study is concerned, westernization is contrasted with traditional Jewish practices. Individuals tend to forget the role played by music institutions in transition of music, as well as transmission of music as a result of various perceptions of music institutions.


However, it is important to note that music institutions play an extremely significant role in passing musical knowledge and practices from one individual to another. Certain individuals have been awarded with different awards from music institutions after their acquisition of specific knowledge and practices in these institutions. The process of acquiring knowledge in a music institution follows different oral traditional forms. It is, therefore, undeniably true that musical institutions give primary focus to traditions of music, rather than musical institution itself. Musical institutions emphasize an established curriculum that leads to learning of music traditions through knowledge acquisition. Musical traditions are then transmitted from one generation to another. Moreover, portraying musical institutions as manifestations of western imperialism or governmental oppression that engage in violence against music traditions, as outlined in ethnomusicological literature, is highly inaccurate and disrespectful. In addition, treatment of musical institutions as political entities, as implemented by scholars, leads to obscuring the process of transmission of music that occurs in these musical institutions.

Basically, cantorial institutionalization during the 19th century in Europe was a representation of a general movement towards institutionalization, which bore deep connection with emancipation and was further followed by training in these institutions. This training involved provision of knowledge and skills for various careers, including teaching. However, with time, cantor trainers were hired in the teaching of courses which included proficiency in western music, such as sight singing and keyboard facility, as well as harmony. In America, cantorial schools were also institutionalized into musical organizations.

With reference to the article, one may reach a valid conclusion that there is much significance in musical institutionalization in regard to musical traditional ideas. Musical institutions, thus, focus on transmission of musical values and musical practices, hence serving as a key point in creation and negotiation of ideas about identity of music, as well as musical practice. Therefore, the creation of cantorial institutions, as discussed above, laid the foundation for some of methods and materials of pedagogical studies, especially those regarding musical training. However, these organizations should have given more specific and detailed consideration to musical training, including step-by-step teaching of musical values and practices, according to specific environments, rather than from the general point of view. As a result, the aspect of tradition would have been better understood.

In conclusion, musical institutions should not be viewed either as exclusively political entities or manifestations of western imperialism, or as manifestations of governmental oppression that engaged in violence against music traditions, as provided by ethnomusicological literature. These organizations should be given a positive assessment, for they are carriers of musical traditions. Because of the fact that musical institutions have played an important role in transmission of musical tradition, they are worth such significance. In this regard, they have played an extremely significant role in transmission of values, principles, and practices of music from one individual to another. Although these musical organizations began as emancipation organizations, they have become highly developed as transmitters of musical tradition, based on the fact that they hired educators and trainers who were specialized in musical traditions.

Response to the Reading “Ethnomusicology and Music Education”

The work provides an insight into influences of theory of ethnomusicology and method of ethnomusicology on various aspects of music education, namely, scholarly and practical ones. Furthermore, it studies the impact of the nature of musical education, made by ethnomusicologists, on scholarship and teaching. The piece of writing also includes a deep discussion of the manner in which music educators have influenced ethnomusicologists and vice versa. Moreover, the influence of such disciplines as ethnomusicology and music education on each other has been discussed in the work.

With reference to the article, it may be concluded that the percentage of border crossing effected by practitioners and scholars of music education into the field of ethnomusicology has never been very high, despite the fact that frequency of such crossers has been gradually increasing in the recent past. Consequently, workshops that are concerned with music world and expansion of its repertoire for long-standing school ensembles are moving into music education at an alarming rate. The discipline of academic research may be currently characterized as such that has a small number of music education professors who employ ethnomusicological methods while addressing questions that are relevant to in-depth learning of music, but not merely musical instruction. This has led to a new comprehension of music, teaching of music, learning of music, and music inquiry due to music education laying clear and short pathways across the border of ethnomusicology and vice versa.

As provided by the article, another current trend in music study concerns ethnomusicologists, who have recently ventured into various territories that traditionally belonged to music education. This is proved by the fact that some ethnomusicologists write practical articles for professional teachers’ magazines, as well as offer workshops to teachers. What is more, some ethnomusicologists are engaging teachers in techniques and repertoire development that are supposed to be used in classrooms and by teacher ensembles. Apart from this, some are working in collaboration with music educators on assorted instructional projects, curricular plans, and research papers.

Furthermore, it should be mentioned that, on the one hand, some ethnomusicologists have been entirely influenced by educators of music in all spheres of their professional activity, namely, their teaching, their scholarship, and their project services in both known and unknown ways. Consequently, they are learning the reasons lying behind music education. This implies that music educators teach both master musicians and aspiring musicians because of the tribute that is paid to their scholarships. On the other hand, ethnomusicologists have also influenced music educators in the way that the latter have been turned into beginners in studying of the musical system besides being involved into queries of pedagogy of music, music training and education system. This can be evidently termed as “cross fertilization” of the two fields, due to which music education and ethnomusicology bringing their stakeholders together.

From discussion provided in the article, one may conclude that ethnomusicologists and music educators have influenced each other in terms of scholarship and practice. Moreover, it may be agreed that the disciplines of music education and ethnomusicology can also influence each other in a beneficial way. This results from the fact that ethnomusicological methods have been borrowed into music education to help in solving burning issues of music education. In the past, students were engaged in the study of knowledge in music education and, at the same time, incorporated ethnomusicological knowledge into music education.

However, despite the fact that the article has clearly analyzed the influence of musical educators and ethnomusicologists on each other, it could have provided more specific examples of influence of music education and ethnomusicology on each other. The piece of writing merely discusses their influence from the general point of view and does not pay particular attention to specific details. It would have been more comprehensive if the paper had specified the ways in which these two disciplines have influenced each other.

In conclusion, the piece of writing clearly presents relationship between ethnomusicology and music education. Therefore, on the one hand, ethnomusicologists have highly benefited from music educators, since music educators have provided scholarships to ethnomusicologists with a view to helping them study various aspects of music education. In this regard, ethnomusicologists are showing a deep insight into the study of music education, methods of pedagogical studies, and training in music education. On the other hand, ethnomusicologists have also influenced music education by having engaged in various processes that promote music education, such as organization of workshops for music educators, involvement in pedagogical aspect of music education, holding music education training, and improving the system of education. Furthermore, the fields of music education and ethnomusicology have also shown strong influence on one another, which has various manifestations.

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