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The Music RoadCoherence and Diversity in Music from the Mediterranean to India$
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Reinhard Strohm

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266564

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266564.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM BRITISH ACADEMY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.britishacademy.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright British Academy, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in BASO for personal use.date: 26 June 2022

The Middle East in Music History: An Ethnomusicological Perspective

The Middle East in Music History: An Ethnomusicological Perspective

(p.21) 2 The Middle East in Music History: An Ethnomusicological Perspective
The Music Road

Martin Stokes

British Academy

A glance at the ethnomusicology of the Muslim-majority Middle East might suggest it is peculiarly exposed to historiographical problems now familiar thanks to decades of orientalism critique. Namely, that music is understood in this part of the world via a peculiarly objectivising colonial ethnography, that it is understood in ways that deny its historical circumstances, and that it is subject to a relentless aestheticisation, which is to say, treated in analogous way to the Islamic art objects and miniatures ripped out of context and put on display in the museums of the western metropolis. The history of ethnomusicology suggests a long line of exceptions to this ‘rule’. The chapter explores the work of Villoteau, Lachmann and more recent work in and around sound archives asking to what extent we might see this work prefiguring recognisably modern and critical dispositions towards ethnography.

Keywords:   Middle East, ethnography, Villoteau, Lachmann, ethnographic sound recordings

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