History in Ethnomusicology Author(s): Ludwik Bielawski and Ludwik Wiewiorkowski Source: Yearbook for Traditional Music, Vol.

17 (1985), pp. 8-15 Published by: International Council for Traditional Music Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/768434 Accessed: 20/12/2009 07:47
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in cultural anthropology. It is the systematic musical knowledge which from antiquity has been prevailing in Europe. trying to embrace and subordinate even history. as if any music could be studied without consideration of these two perspectives. each of which has its own continuity. Indeed. An illustration of the domination of history and its theoretical consequences is the classification of musical science by Guido Adler. historians of music are now increasingly concerned with the folk music of various periods and stress its role in culture. systematic knowledge is expanding. necessarily including history. This trend towards an historical approach in ethnomusicology can be seen in the work of various scholars and has also found its expression in the activities of the ICTM study group. since the entirety of musical knowledge. set up to investigate historical sources of folk music. Levi-Strauss questioned the idea that history is continuous by pointing out. that history counted in years and decades is different from history counted in centuries and millenia. They are not simply an invention of cultural anthropology being applied to the historical sciences. history may be viewed from various perspectives. In a way. This basic truth has not always been realized.HISTORY IN ETHNOMUSICOLOGY by Ludwik Bielawski Investigations into any music require two supplementary and interdependent orders: the systematic order (of quality and quantity) and the historical order in time and space (contact and continuity). It may appear obvious. Another trend. not without foundation. has to do with the rapacity of theory. This study group was initiated by Walter Wiora and organized by Benjamin Rajeczky and Wolfgang Suppan. history itself has been criticized as being by no means a uniform continuum capable of giving an ordered picture of the whole past. Such . For instance. The stronger of the two has expressed itself in an expansion of history. Moreover. this isolates and accentuates a new specialization within ethnomusicology. less distinct. can be set in order only through a systematic approach. the theory of culture and music. For example. The group's efforts led to the two separate publications with the joint title "Historiche Volksmusikforschung". Braudel speaks of short-term and long-term history. Conversely. The turning point took place only in recent times. In other words. Much has changed since Adler's classification and two opposing trends have emerged. In the last centuries European historism had dominated the scholarship of music. but increasingly present these days. the theoretical. We can see this in the tendency to stress the historical aspect in ethnomusicology. Its characteristic feature is a division of music into two parts: one treated historically (classical music) and one treated systematically (Vergleichende Musikwissenschaft). The limits of historical perspective are of course systematic categories.

. o - ////////////////// 4 Compositions and performances 5 Ecological time u ////////////////// c " Past oo< oc 00 ////////////////// 6 Sociological time and shallow history 7 Full history and tradition /////////////// ~.1. The next four temporal zonesare experienced time. ////////////////// Future Long Slow Successive order of time and orderof time._ ////////////////// 2 Audible sounds ////////// 3 Psychological present X X X X X X I// . Sevenprincipal zonescharacterize temporal Fig.BIELAWSKI HISTORY IN ETHNOMUSICOLOGY / 9 Short Frequent 1 Visible light X ////////////////// . The last as zone is conceivedonly in traditionand history.The first two zones are not perceivedas timebut as light or of sound. Systematic successive humanactivityand existence. though from the physical point of view they are temporal/frequencies light waves and acousticwaves.

the zone of sociological time and of immediate history testified by the memory of living generations. frequency). lunar. Any review of the types of history in ethnomusicology should give special attention to the present time. The latter determines the perspective of historical processes. the mythical past and tradition. The zones in question are: 3.10 / 1985 YEARBOOK FOR TRADITIONAL MUSIC thoughts are related to a broader conception of time. it includes the past of music and of musical cultures covered by this discipline. and 7. the history of mankind and the stages in the evolution of the world's musical cultures. Let me refer to the zonal theory of time which I have been developing in recent years. Orders of succession also appear in music. 1). the musical aspects in anthropogenesis (see Fig. for instance. no matter what sources are used. tempo. of which only one is considered truly historical. no matter how complex they are and whether or not there are documents to support them. 2. 4. it retains its privileged position as it is the most comprehensive measurement of time and the one in which all others find their sense and significance. the zone of ecological time determined by daily. This systematic order can be seen to consist of a number of time zones. 3. Each time zone relates to particular ways of viewing time (see Fig. whether. those of: 1. In analyses of time at all levels. as it is in the present that views on the past are formed. Even if we exclude the zones of visible light (1) and audible sound (2). and 5. what methods are applied. 2). the complete history of a given culture or group of cultures. The immediate history of local societies varies throughout the world. and this stresses the importance of immediate history for ethno- . of which history is only a part. Immediate history. hierarchic order of time. In contrast to the orders of succession is the systematic. it is based on relative or absolute chronology. Even though history is only one of seven ways of measuring time. 4. the immediate history of local societies. held in the memory of living generations. the zone of pieces and musical performances. 6. as history must always relate to the present. an ordering of time units (duration. Historical problems in ethnomusicology can be roughly divided into five major sections. 1. One such order of succession is history (further divided into various strands). at many levels of musical organization. the impulses of man's nervous system. the zone of complete history and tradition. 5. If documented by researchers over a period of time. there appears a dualism of orders: the order of succession and the systematic order. including the succession of acoustic vibrations. it will include time which belongs to history. It may constitute the first insight into the past and is directly contiguous with the present. or how detailed and certain the results are. the zone of the psychological present. Another order of succession is the cycle of human life. I should like to stress that my concept of history in ethnomusicology is very comprehensive. there still remain five basic time zones. the cycle of days and years. and annual rhythm. etc. must be regarded as particularly important in ethnomusicology since it can be a common denominator for historical investigations into all existing musical cultures.

Let me recall in this connection a paper read by Steven Feld at the First ICTM Colloquium in Kolobrzeg. The particular features of such an immediate history should be an object of comparative studies both within separate musical cultures and within the history of music as a whole. musicology. However.BIELAWSKI HISTORY IN ETHNOMUSICOLOGY / 11 present immediate history of local society myth. The presence of myth and tradition in cultural awareness is not only a feature of undeveloped cultures. 2. as a rule. immediate history does not pass into full history in the latter's scientific sense. one must remember that history contained in living memory is not wholly objective. . 2. Beverley Cavanagh's paper at the 1984 ICTM Colloquium in Wiepersdorf. faith. then the tradition. awareness complete history of culture I deep history. going back 40 or 50 years from the present. Present and types of history in ethnomusicology. GDR. stages of cultural evolution anthropogenesis Fig. from ancient folk sources. If we want to look at the past and the sources of music not only from the point of view of present-day learning but also from the point of view of a given culture (which is one of the premises of contemporary musical anthropology). Statements by contemporary composers suggest that they are often thinking in this way. It would be unwise to ignore its significance. as a period in which culture and folk music were at their finest. tradition. in the shape of national and social myths and in music being derived from the national spirit. Poland (1981). was an excellent example of studies in immediate history. because old people tend to idealize the years of youth. and from the feeling of truth and beauty. but dissolves in tradition and myth. These views have recently come into prominence. This musical paradise is usually at the same historical distance. from the purity of race. and musical awareness which characterize the musical past cannot be ignored by us and must be an object of comparative studies. I think detailed investigation would reveal these features even in today's highly developed cultures. These years appear. In traditional folk cultures.

and others. Ethnomusicologists envy historians this particular feature of their science. which has led to contemporary music. Very valuable information can be provided by various neurobranches such as bioacoustics. characteristic of music history. and would like to adopt this approach. It should also be stressed that there is still much scope left for comparative and systematic studies of the history of various cultures. Music can be seen as resulting from a succession of periods a. This is far-reaching history. concern of traditional historical musicology. the one on which historians have been concentrating. The complete history of a given culture or group of cultures is not demonstrated simply by the memory of living generations and is therefore a traditional object of the history of music. 5. psycholinguistics. it has been the object of interest for Doris Stockmann. the most far-reaching type of history. . if not the only. attribution of some morphological qualities. From the point of view of ethnomusicology. Among the variety of musical cultures we also find the very primitive ones which are much less developed than the most ancient musical cultures that have been recorded in musical sources. specialized psychology. An attempt of this kind has been published jointly by Alan Lomax and Norman Berkowitz as a result of the Cantometrics project.12 / 1985 YEARBOOK FOR TRADITIONAL MUSIC 3. the . going back to the origins of musical culture. n. to particular stages in the evolution of cultures). One can refer to the example of Georg Knepler. being based primarily on extant documents. there is a place for a retrogressive evaluation of the past on the basis of subsequent sources. In ethnomusicology. this is a type of and not a history which is very much a concern of ethnomusicology. These stages began in primitive communities and subsequently have been determining the character of music. . there were speculative theories of the origin of music or schematically conceived evolutionism (that is. trying thus to establish a universal history of music. more complex one. In the light of ethnomusicological data. In the past. In their science. including those of the present time. 4. The history of human cultures. and is presented through a theory of evolutionary stages. an attempt has been made to recreate the image of past musical cultures from the cultures that are still with us. There is no reason why anthropogenesis. as approached broadly. psychology. in place of this far-reaching history. such a simple model is quite unacceptable. calls for classification. c. who devoted the opening chapters of his history of music to this major dimension of history. More recently. This may be true of the main course of the evolutionary process. This may seem to be the main. especially the tonal ones. should be eliminated from the sphere of ethnomusicology.. among others. An example of this approach may be found in Poland in Anna Czekanowska's research on the ethnogenesis of Slavonic music. apart from traditional history. too. Indeed. notwithstanding the fact that historical investigations are concerned with the documentation of the past of all the world's cultures. one must question the very idea of a simple succession of historical periods in which one period perishes to be replaced by a new. Once again. b.

3). and so on. The model by Alan Lomax and Norman Berkowitz is founded on the hypothesis that the historical antiquity of a culture is inversely proportional to its differentiation. hunters.b . the farther in the past are its sources.BIELAWSKI HISTORY IN ETHNOMUSICOLOGY / 13 . The less differentiated a culture. based on contemporary documents.y -z anthropogenesis x .. So far the Lomax-Berkowitz model can be interpreted only in the categories of relative chronology. with their characteristic forms of musical life can all be seen. incipient producers. arguable. It appears that contemporary cultures can tell us more about the deep past of the world's musical cultures than all the historical documents put together. of course. 0)0 OL) cu 0 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / Zn 00-4 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /an rn / / / / / / / / / /.Xn / / . The various periods of ancient history have left a mark which is still visible. It is no wonder that.///< . The remains of primitive gatherers. In contrast to the method used in traditional historical musicology. 3. / / U u S "3 '-o 0) . prehistory historical an cn a .. The present day in music is more or less a reflection of the whole history of music in the world. How much this hypothesis is well-founded remains.. conceptions have been formulated of the evolution of musical cultures in the broadest perspective. the studies of the past in ethnomusicology should be based on both historical .Yn / / V) >.c- d-e history g future ar 0) Ck Q) Fig. Historical and systematic perspectives in ethnomusicology. historical evolution is more like a branching structure than a straight line of succession (see Fig.

The internal perspective of a given culture explaining the past of music. and yet their synthesis is necessary. This is essential for our knowledge of music and particular musical cultures the world over. myth and tradition. Thus. But it would be simpler to describe the investigation of the past as a history seen from varous points of view. They may indicate that immediate history is not yet history. however. What does matter is to show the various aspects of the musical past. which also comprises ethnomusicology. Music seen from the point of view of anthropogenesis is no longer history. is not history as it cannot be verified. There are many different spheres of history which are essential in ethnomusicological research. the perspective of social awareness. they may say. For the time being. only one "true"history remains. that is. including the "true" history in its narrow sense. the one based on historical documents.14 / 1985 YEARBOOK FOR TRADITIONAL MUSIC sources and on comparative investigations into the variety of musical cultures in the world. the two lines of research seem to be developing independently of each other. To study music from various historical points of view should be the aim of contemporary ethnomusicology. we would have to assume that the various approaches to the music's past. The far-reaching history of the stages in the evolution of musical cultures is not history. In this case. since the distance is too great and anthropogenesis is more a biological. and it does not matter if professional music historians agree on a systematization of these spheres. Translated by Ludwik Wiewiorkowski . because it lacks distance and is too subjective. an exact science. Terminological considerations are here only of secondary importance. are only particular areas in a broad theory and that they are part of a systematic knowledge. because it utilizes relative chronology and appears too hypothetical.

bis 12 April 1975 in Kazimierz Dolny. Wolfgang Suppan. Warszawa." Paper given at the ICTM Colloquium in Wiepersdorf. Knepler. Fraser. Edited by J. Georg 1977 Geschichte als Weg zum Musikverstiindnis: Zur Theorie Methode und Geschichte der Musikgeschichtsschreibung. Bericht uber die 4. Ludwik 1975 Strefowa teoria czasu i jej znaczenie dla antropologii muzycznej (Zonal Theory of Time and its Significance for Musical Anthropology). IV: 173-179. F. Bielawski. Krak6w: PWM. Krak6w: PWM. Steven 1981 "Flow like a waterfall: the metaphors of Kaluli musical theory. in April. Leipzig: Verlag Philipp Reclam jun. N. Doris 1982 "Musik und Sprache in intermodaler asthetischer Kommunikation. 1971 Historia i trwanie. GDR. Cavanagh. Guido 1885 . Adler. Wroclaw: Ossolineum. Alan with Norman Berkowitz 1972 "The Evolutionary Taxonomy of Culture: A few behavioral factors account for the regional variation and evolutionary development of culture. Arbeitstagung der Studiengruppe zur Erforschung und Edition historischer Volksmusikquellen im IFMC vom 7." Polish 1980 Art Studies." Yearbook for Traditional 1982 Music. D. Stockmann." Yearbook for Traditional Music. 13: 5-21. pr6ba klasyfikacji metoda taksonomii wroclawskiej. 1978 Historiche Volksmusikforschung. 1979 Historische Volksmusikforschung. 1984. 1981 "The Zones of Time in Music and Human Activity. "The Scope. Feld. Anna 1972 Ludowe melodie waskiego zakresu w krajach slowianskich. Methode und Ziel der Musikwissenschaft." Vierteljahrsschrift fur Musikwissenschaft. Method and Aim of Musicology. 13: 60-81. "The Human Perspective of Time-at the Foundations of Music. Herausgegeben von Wolfgang Suppan und Alois Mauerhofer. 13: 22-47. Krak6w: PWM. Park." Yearbook for Traditional Music." Science. New York: Springer Verlag.T. Alois Mauerhofer. II: 133-144. Sitzung der Studiengruppe zur Erforschung und Edition historischer Volksmusikquellen. 1: 5-20.u. Czekanowska. Verlagsanstalt. Levi-Strauss 1969 Mysl nieoswojona (La pensee sauvage). Lomax. 177: 228-239. Kongress-Bericht Seggau 1977 Referate der 5. Przeglad dokumentacji ir6dlowych. Herausgegeben von Ludwik Bielawski. Braudel.BIELAWSKI HISTORY IN ETHNOMUSICOLOGY / 15 REFERENCES "Umfang. Warszawa. Lawrence." The Study of Time. Graz: Akademische Druck. Beverley 1984 "Toward an Inuit song chronology: Ethnohistory in relation to historical facts.

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