Music blog

12 April 2013

Interviews with Ethnomusicologists now online!

You can now hear the recorded interviews of leading ethnomusicologists on the British Library “Sounds” website. These interviews were made by Dr Carolyn Landau from 2010 to 2012.

The interviews offer an insight into the researchers’ musical upbringing and education and what drew them to the field of ethnomusicology in the first place. The interviews also discuss the researchers’ perceptions of ethnomusicology as they began their careers and how the subject is viewed now.

Image of Bartok

Here’s a short clip of one of the interviews, from John Baily, originally a psychologist who studied under the late John Blacking at Queen's University Belfast.


In this clip, Baily talks about the influence of Blacking on his research into the music of Afghanistan. Baily goes on to discuss whether, for example, ethnomusicologists need to have “big ears” – in other words, whether they need the transcribing skills of the composer Béla Bartók (pictured). If you're interested in seeing handwritten examples of Bartók’s transcriptions, some of them can be found in the Milman Parry Collection, Harvard University.

As well as hearing the interviews, you can also hear the recordings that some of these ethnomusicologists deposited with the British Library. For example, Peter Cooke made recordings of Ugandan music and Donald Tayler & Brian Moser made recordings in Columbia.


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