Towards The History of Ideas in Ethnomusicology. Theory and Methods Between the Late 18th and The Early 20th Century

Ulrich Morgenstern [1]

92 191

The history of ethnomusicology is the history of ideas and concepts of why and how to deal with expressive practices in social formations which are usually located outside the researcher’s primary cultural experience. Ideas in ethnomusicology (comparative musicology, anthropology of music, folk music research, folkloristics) are interlinked with other scholarly disciplines and academic fields. The history of the field is sometimes described as a shift from either a more philologically oriented study of “national” folk music or “armchair anthropology” to a modern anthropological concept expressed in context-oriented, sociological, and performer-centered research, as well as in urban ethnomusicology. However, quite a few of the issues frequently associated with English-speaking mainstream ethnomusicology of the last five decades (the “ethnographic turn”) appeared in the intellectual folk music discourses as early as the late 18th and the 19th century. In a similar way, the history of comparative musicology as a scholarly concept can be traced back at least to the Age of Enlightenment. This article traces the emergence and early history of motivations, theoretical paradigms and research methods by discussing the following key issues and conceptual oppositions:

Comparative study of musical cultures; Fieldwork experience; Aesthetic appreciation vs. value-free textual analysis; Relativism of expressive cultures: "our" and "their" concepts (emic/etic issues); The paradigm of orality vs. Kunstlieder im Volksmunde; “Living antiquities” vs. the sociology of folklore; Cultural homogeneity vs. performer-centered research; Studying songs vs. studying singing; Music in its cultural context—“uses and functions”; Standards of notation and documentation; Rural vs. urban research; ‘Cultural purity' vs. intercultural exchange.
Ethnomusicology, History of ideas, Folkloristics, Folk music research, Comparative musicology
  • Bartók, Béla. (1944) “Race Purity in Music.” Horizon 10: 403-406.
  • Belinskii, Vissarion. (1835). [Review of the book, Konek-gorbunok. Russkaia skazka by Pëtr Ershov]. Molva (IX, 9).
  • Bennett, Gillian. (1993). “Folklore Studies and the English Rural Myth.” Rural History 4(1): 77-91.
  • Bohlman, Phillip V. (1991) “Representation and Cultural Critique in the History of Ethnomusicology” Comparative Musicology and Anthropology of Music. Eds. Nettl, Bruno and Bohlman, Phillip: 131-51. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
  • Bor, Joep. (1988). “The Rise of Ethnomusicology: Sources on Indian Music c.1780–c.1890.” Yearbook for Traditional Music 20: 51-73.
  • Boyer, Troy. (1997) “The Forsaken Founder. Wiliam John Thoms - From Antiquies to Folklore” The Folklore Historian. 14: 55-61.
  • Brăiloiu, Constantin. (1970 [1931]) “Outline of a method of musical folklore.” Ethnomusicology. 14(3): 389-417.
  • Burney, Charles. (1789) A General History of Music, From The Earliest Ages to the Present Period. To Which is Prefixed, a Dissertation on the Music of the Ancients. Volume the First. (2nd ed.), London: Robson and Clark [Original work published 1776].
  • Collins, Camilla. (1975). “Bibliography of Urban Folklore.” Folklore Forum. 8(2, 3): 57-125.
  • Dobroliubov, Nikolai (1962 [1857]). Dobroliubov, N. A. Sobranie sochinenii, Bursov, B. I. et al. (Ed.) vol. 3. Moscow: Izd-vo AN SSSR.
  • Dundes, Alan. (1966). “The American Concept of Folklore.” Journal of the Folklore Institute 3(3): 226-49.
  • Erk, Ludwig. (1856). Deutscher Liederhort. Auswahl der vorzüglicheren deutschen Volkslieder, nach Wort und Weise aus der Vorzeit und Gegenwart gesammelt und erläutert. (German Song Treasury. Selection of Excellent German Folk Songs, in Text and Melody collected from Ancient Times and the Present and Explained) Berlin: Th. Chr. Fr. Enslin.
  • Fétis, François Joseph. (1864). Notice of Anthony Stradivari, The Celebrated Violin-maker, Known by the Name of Stradivarius: Preceded by Historical and Critical Researches on the Origin and Transformations of Bow Instruments; and Followed by a Theoretical Analysis of the Bow, and Remarks on Francis Tourte, the Author of its Final Improvements. (Bishop, John Trans.) London: Robert Cocks & Co. [Original work published 1856].
  • Flaig, Egon. (2007). “Levi-Strauss im anti-universalistischen Gefängnis. Zum Verenden des Multikulturalismus.” (Levi-Strauss in the Anti-universalist Prison. Towards the Perishing of Multiculturalism) Zeitschrift für Kulturphilosophie. 1(2): 325-353.
  • Gelbart, Matthew. (2007). The Invention of Folk Music and Art Music: Emerging Categories from Ossian to Wagner. Cambridge: CUP.
  • Ghrab, Anas. (2005). “The Western Study of Intervals in ‘Arabic Music’ from the Eighteenth Century to the Cairo Congress”. The World of Music. 47(3): 55-79.
  • Glassie, Henry. (1995). “Tradition.” The Journal of American Folklore, 108(430): 395-412.
  • Harrison, Frank. (1973). Time, Place and Music: An Anthology of Ethnomusicological Observation c. 1550 to c. 1800. Amsterdam: Frits Knuf.
  • Herder, Johann Gottfried. (1773). “Auszug aus einem Briefwechsel über Ossian und die Lieder alter Völker.” (Extract from Correspondence on Ossian and the Songs of Ancient Peoples) In Von Deutscher Art und Kunst. Einige fliegende Blätter. Hamburg: Bey Bode, [engl. transl. s. Nisbet 1985].
  • Hicks, Stephen Ronald Craig. (2004). Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault Cover. Tempe, Ariz: Scholargy Publishing.
  • Irving, David R. M. (2009). “Comparative Organography in Early Modern Empires” Music & Letters. 90(3): 372-398.
  • Jonathan McCollum, David G. Hebert. (2014). Theory and Method in Historical Ethnomusicology. New York and London: Lexington Books.
  • Jäger, Ralf Martin. (2011). “Der Beginn der wissenschaftlichen Erforschung osmanischer Kunstmusik im Europa der Aufklärung” (The Beginning of Scientific Research on Osmanic Art Music in Enlightenment Europe) Europa und die Türkei im 18. Jahrhundert. ed. Barbara Schmidt-Haberkamp: pp. 473-488. Göttingen: V&R Unipress.
  • Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Barbara. (1983). “The Future of Folklore Studies in America: The Urban Frontier.” Folklore Forum. 16(2): 175-234.
  • Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Barbara. (1998) “Folklore's Crisis” Journal of American Folklore. 111(441): 281-327.
  • Lind, Erica. (2008). “Captain Cook as Ethnographer: The Role of Cook's Journals in the Formation of the Ethnographic Genre” Lethbridge Undergraduate Research Journal 3(1). Retreived from (accessed 20 December 2017).
  • Lipták, Dániel. (2017). “Hungarian Ethnomusicologist Oszkár Dincsér (1911–1977) as a Pioneer of Musical Anthropology.” A National Master in International Context. International Musicological Conference on the 50th anniversary of Zoltán Kodály’s Death. [Programm Abstracts], Biographies of Speakers. Budapest: HAC.
  • McLean, Mervyn. (2006). Pioneers of Ethnomusicology. Coral Springs: Llumina Press.
  • Meier, John. (1906). Kunstlieder im Volksmunde. Materialien und Untersuchungen. (Art Songs in the Mouths of the Folk. Materials and Investigations) Halle: Max Niemeyer.
  • Morgenstern, Ulrich. (2010). “’Musicae subtilioris ignari sunt’ – ‘einen beinahe auch liebreicheren Ton’. The Western Reception of Russian Folk Instrumental Music and Dance in the 16th to the 18th Centuries.” Historical Sources and Source Criticism [ICTM Study Group on Historical Sources: Proceedings from the 17th International Conference in Stockholm, Sweden, May 21-25, 2008], Susanne Ziegler (ed.) (pp. 269-288). Stockholm: Svenskt visarkiv.
  • Morgenstern, Ulrich. (2011). “Egalitarianism and Elitism in Ethnomusicology and Folk Music Scholarship” Systematic Musicology: Empirical and Theoretical Studies (Hamburger Jahrbuch für Musikwissenschaft 28), Ed. Albrecht Schneider, Arne von Ruschkowski: pp. 249-282.
  • Morgenstern, Ulrich. (2015). “Folk Music Research in Austria and Germany. Notes on Terminology, Interdisciplinarity and the Early History of Volksmusikforschung and Vergleichende Musikwissenschaft.” Musicologica Austriaca – Journal for Austrian Music Studies. Retrieved from (accessed 22 December 2017).
  • Morgenstern, Ulrich. (2017). “Volksmusik im europäischen Diskurs zwischen. Wissenschaft, Ideologie und Aufführungspraxis. Eine Rückschau.” (Folk Music in the European Discourse between Scholarship, Ideology and Performance Practice) Positionen zur Rolle alpiner Musiktraditionen in einer globalisierten Welt, ed. Florian Wimmer: pp. 17-39. Graz.
  • Mueller, Adeline. (2012) “An Alternative History of the Volkslied, 1791–1807.” AMS/SEM/SMT Joint Meeting., 25 (accessed 12 December 2017).
  • Myers, Helen. (1992). “Ethnomusicology.” In Ethnomusicology: An Introduction, ed. Helen Myers: 3-18. New York: Norton.
  • Nebrig, Alexander. (2014) “Die Welt als Lied. Der globale Anspruch von Herders Volksliedern.” (The World as Song. The global Claim of Herder’s Folk songs) In Figuren des Globalen. Weltbezug und Welterzeugung in Literatur, Kunst und Medien, eds. Linda Simonis and Christian Moser, 315-26. Göttingen: V&R unipress GmbH.
  • Nettl, Bruno. (2005). The Study of Ethnomusicology: Thirty-one Issues and Concepts. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
  • Nettl, Bruno. (2010). Nettl’s Elephant. On the History of Ethnomusicology. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
  • Nettl, Bruno. (2015). The Study of Ethnomusicology: Thirty-Three Discussions. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. [Original work published 1983]
  • Newell, William Wells. (1884). Games and Songs of American Children. New York, Harper & Brothers.
  • Nisbet, Hugh Barr. (1985). German Aesthetic and Literary Criticism: Winckelmann, Lessing, Hamann, Herder, Schiller and Goethe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Noyes, John K. (2015). Herder: Aesthetics against Imperialism. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
  • Pettan, Svanibor. (2001). “Encounter with ‘The Others from Within’: The Case of Gypsy Musicians in Former Yugoslavia” The World of Music. 43(2,3): 119-137.
  • Porter, James. (1991). “Muddying the Crystal Spring: From Idealism and Realism to Marxism in the Study of English and American Folk Song.” Comparative Musicology and Anthropology of Music. Ed. Nettl, Bruno and Bohlman, Philip: pp. 113-130. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
  • Printz, Wolfgang Caspar. (1690). Historische Beschreibung der Edelen Sing- und Kling-Kunst. (A Historical Description of the noble Art of Singing and Playing) Dresden: Mieth.
  • Quigley, Colin. (1995). Music from the Heart: Compositions of a Folk Fiddler. Athens and Georgia: The University of Georgia Press.
  • Reyes, Adelaida. (2007a). “Introduction.” Cultural Diversity in the Urban Area: Explorations in Urban Ethnomusicology, Eds. Ursula Hemetek and Adelaida Reyes: pp. 9-14. Wien: Institut für Volksmusikforschung und Ethomusikologie.
  • Reyes, Adelaida. (2007b). “Urban Ethnomusicology Revisited. An Assessment of its Role in the Development of its Parent Discipline.” Cultural Diversity in the Urban Area […]: 15-26.
  • Richter, Pál (ed. 2012). Musical Traditions: Discovery, Inquiry, Interpretation, and Application. Budapest: HAS Research Centre for the Humanities.
  • Ringer, Alexander L. (1991). “One World or None? Untimely Reflections on a Timely Musicological Question” Comparative Musicology and Anthropology of Music. Ed. Nettl, Bruno and Bohlman Philip: pp. 187-200. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
  • Rowbotham, John Frederick. (1885). A History of Music. Vol. I, London: Trübner.
  • Said, Edward. (1978). Orientalism. New York: Pantheon.
  • Schneider, Albrecht. (1976). Musikwissenschaft und Kulturkreislehre. Zur Methodik und Geschichte der Vergleichenden Musikwissenschaft. (Musicology and the Theory of Culture Circles. Towards Method and History of Comparative Musicology) Bonn: Orpheus.
  • Schneider, Albrecht. (1984). Analogie und Rekonstruktion. Studien zur Methodologie der Musikgeschichtsschreibung und zur Frühgeschichte der Musik. (Analogy and Reconstruction. Studies on the Methodology of Music Historiography and Early History of Music) Band 1. Bonn: Orpheus.
  • Schneider, Albrecht. (1997). Tonhöhe, Skala, Klang: akustische, tonometrische und psychoakustische Studien auf vergleichender Grundlage. (Pitch, Scale, Sound: Studies in Acoustics, Tonometry and Psychoacoustics on Comparative Basis) Bonn: Orpheus.
  • Stafford, William C. (1830). History of Music. Edinburgh: Constable and Co.
  • Stählin, Jacob von. (1770) “Nachrichten von der Musik in Rußland” (News oft he Music in Russia) In M. Johann Joseph Haigold's Beylagen zum Neuveränderten Rußland: Zweiter Theil. pp. 37-192. Riga: J. F. Hartknoch.
  • Stockmann, Doris. (1985). “Musica vulgaris im französischen Hochmittelalter: Johannes de Grocheo in neuer Sicht.” (Musica vulgaris in High Medieval France. J. d. G. in a New Perspectice) Musikethnologische Sammelbände 7. Historische Volksmusikforschung, ed. Wolfgang Suppan: pp. 163-80. Graz. Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt.
  • Thoms, William John. (1858). Early English Prose Romances: with Bibliographical and Historical Introductions, Volume 1. London: Nattali and Bond.
  • Uhland, Ludwig. (1845). Alte hoch- und niederdeutsche Volkslieder: Liedersammlung mit Abhandlung und Anmerkungen. (Old High and Low German Folk Songs. A Song Collection with Studies and Comments) Stuttgart: Cotta.
  • Wiora, Walter. (1957). Europäische Volksmusik und abendländische Tonkunst. (European Folk Music and Western Art of Music) Kassel: Hinnenthal.
  • Zemtsovsky, Izaly. (2012). “Ethnic Hearing in the Sociocultural Margins: Toward the Identity of Homo Musicans Polyethnoaudiens” Garment and Core: Jews and their Musical Experiences, Ed. Eytan Avitsur and Marina Ritzarev, Edwin Seroussi: pp. 13-30. Tel Aviv: Bar-Ilan University Press.
  • Zon, Bennett. (2006). “From ‘Incomprehensibility’ to ‘Meaning’: Transcription and Representation of Non-Western Music in Nineteenth-Century British Musicology and Ethnomusicology.” Europe, Empire, and Spectacle in Nineteenth-Century British Music, Eds. Rachel Cowgill and Julian Rushton: pp. 185-199. Aldershot: Ashgate.
  • Zon, Bennett. (2007). Representing Non-Western Music in Nineteenth-century Britain. Rochester, NY: University Rochester Press.
Birincil Dil en
Konular Sosyal
Dergi Bölümü Articles

Yazar: Ulrich Morgenstern

Bibtex @araştırma makalesi { musicologist439321, journal = {Musicologist}, issn = {}, eissn = {2618-5652}, address = {Trabzon Üniversitesi Devlet Konservatuvarı}, year = {}, volume = {2}, pages = {1 - 31}, doi = {}, title = {Towards The History of Ideas in Ethnomusicology. Theory and Methods Between the Late 18th and The Early 20th Century}, key = {cite}, author = {Morgenstern, Ulrich} }
APA Morgenstern, U . (). Towards The History of Ideas in Ethnomusicology. Theory and Methods Between the Late 18th and The Early 20th Century. Musicologist, 2 (1), 1-31. Retrieved from
MLA Morgenstern, U . "Towards The History of Ideas in Ethnomusicology. Theory and Methods Between the Late 18th and The Early 20th Century". Musicologist 2 (): 1-31 <>
Chicago Morgenstern, U . "Towards The History of Ideas in Ethnomusicology. Theory and Methods Between the Late 18th and The Early 20th Century". Musicologist 2 (): 1-31
RIS TY - JOUR T1 - Towards The History of Ideas in Ethnomusicology. Theory and Methods Between the Late 18th and The Early 20th Century AU - Ulrich Morgenstern Y1 - 2019 PY - 2019 N1 - DO - T2 - Musicologist JF - Journal JO - JOR SP - 1 EP - 31 VL - 2 IS - 1 SN - -2618-5652 M3 - UR - Y2 - 2019 ER -
EndNote %0 Musicologist Towards The History of Ideas in Ethnomusicology. Theory and Methods Between the Late 18th and The Early 20th Century %A Ulrich Morgenstern %T Towards The History of Ideas in Ethnomusicology. Theory and Methods Between the Late 18th and The Early 20th Century %D 2019 %J Musicologist %P -2618-5652 %V 2 %N 1 %R %U
ISNAD Morgenstern, Ulrich . "Towards The History of Ideas in Ethnomusicology. Theory and Methods Between the Late 18th and The Early 20th Century". Musicologist 2 / 1 1-31.