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Alan P.

Alan Merriam
Born November 1, 1923
Missoula, Montana
Died February 3, 1980
Warsaw, Poland
Fields Ethnomusicology, Anthropology
Institutions Indiana University
Alma mater Northwestern University (Ph.D.,
Thesis (1951)
Melville J. Herskovits, Richard A.
Known for Study of music in Central Africa,
Native America, music and
Alan P. Merriam
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Alan Parkhurst Merriam (1 November 1923 – 14
March 1980) was an American cultural anthropologist
and ethnomusicologist. He is known for his studies of
music in Native America and Africa.
In his book
The Anthropology of Music (1964), he outlined and
develops a theory and method for studying study of
music from an anthropological perspective with
anthropological methods. Although he taught at
Northwestern University and University of
Wisconsin, the majority of his academic career was
spent at Indiana University where he was named a
professor in 1962 and then chairman of the
anthropology department from 1966 to 1969, which
became a leading center of research ethnomusicology
under his guidance.
He was a co-founder of the
Society for Ethnomusicology in 1952 and held the
elected post of president of that society from 1963 to
1965. He edited the Newsletter of the Society for
Ethnomusicology from 1952 to 1957, and he edited
the journal Ethnomusicology from 1957 to 1958.
Merriam's initial work was based on fieldwork carried
out in his native Montana and central Africa. He
undertook extensive field research among the
Flathead Indians of Montana in 1950 (for his PhD)
and again in 1958.
In Africa, he studied with the
Basongye and Bashi people of Zaïre (now the
Democratic Republic of Congo) and Burundi in the
1950s and again in 1973.
Later, Merriam proposed a
tripartite model for the study of ethnomusicology,
centering around the study of "music in culture." This model suggested that music should be studied on
three analytic levels: conceptualization about music; behavior in relation to music; and analysis of
music's sounds.
In later works, Merriam amended his original concept of "music in culture" to "music
as culture."
Merriam died in the LOT Polish Airlines Flight 007 catastrophe, on March 14, 1980.
◾ 1 Select Bibliography
Page 1 of 3 Alan P. Merriam - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
◾ 1.1 Primary Works
◾ 1.2 Secondary Works
◾ 2 External Links
◾ 3 References
Select Bibliography
Primary Works
◾ Merriam, Alan P. (1964). The Anthropology of Music. Northwestern Univ. Press.
◾ Merriam, Alan P. (1967). Ethnomusicology of the Flathead Indians
( Chicago: Aldine.
◾ Merriam, Alan P. (1974). An African world: the Basongye village of Lupupa Ngye. Indiana Univ.
Secondary Works
◾ Wendt, Carolyn Card, ed. (1981), Discourse in Ethnomusicology II: A Tribute to Alan Merriam
(, Bloomington, Indiana: Ethnomusicology Publications
◾ Nettl, Bruno (2001), "Merriam, Alan P.", The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians,
London: MacMillan
External Links
◾ Alan Merriam manuscripts at Indiana University (finding aid)
◾ Alan and Barbara Merriam recordings from Belgian Congo, 1951-1952
1. ^ Bruno Nettl, "Merriam, Alan P." in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (London:
MacMillan, 2001).
Page 2 of 3 Alan P. Merriam - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
2. ^
a b c d
Paula Morgan and Bruno Nettl, "Merriam, Alan P.," in Grove Music Online (Oxford University
Press),, accessed January 2014
(subscription required).
3. ^ Alan Merriam, The Anthropology of Music (Northwestern Univ. Press, 1964).
Retrieved from ""
Categories: Ethnomusicologists American anthropologists Africanists 1923 births 1980 deaths
People born in Missoula, Montana Victims of aviation accidents or incidents in Poland
Guggenheim Fellows Anthropologist stubs American academic biography stubs
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