Musicology & Ethnomusicology

Novelty That Must Be Subtle: Continuity, Innovation and 'Improvisation' in North Indian Classical Music

Critical Studies in Improvisation

Napier explores a tension between received tradition and individual expression in North Indian classical music. How should improvisation be understood, he asks, in a musical culture which prizes intergenerational continuity as much as innovation? He suggests that melodic moments should be viewed in that context as attempts at reconciling tradition with contemporary concerns. In this light, Napier argues that "improvisation" should in no instance be used to validate novelty without acknowledging reproduction and continuity.

Improvised Music after 1950: Afrological and Eurological Perspectives


 Just after World War II, American composers and jazz performers were interested in indeterminacy and improvisation. Yet the composers tended to deny the influence or importance of jazz in a tacit move to keep their music "pure" of associations with racial protest then emanating from the jazz sphere. Lewis identifies John Cage and Charlie Parker as representatives of "Eurological" and "Afrological" approaches, respectively, whose differences turn on their attitude toward the expression of race, ethnicity, class, and political ideology in music.

The Legacy of Genius: Improvisation, Romantic Imagination, and the Western Musical Canon

This dissertation addresses the question of the decline of improvisation in Western classical music, investigating both its disappearance from performance practice and the scholarly neglect of this phenomenon in music histories and theories. Music historians have traditionally situated the disappearance of improvisation at the end of the Baroque, but improvisation continued to be an important part of Western classical music until well into the nineteenth century.

Monk's Music: Thelonious Monk and Jazz History in the Making


In this book, Solis looks beyond the challenges of Monk's playing and composing, and his uncompromising artistic stance, to grapple with lingering questions about Monk's life and music. He examines a wealth of documents and recordings newly available to explore these questions and to illustrate the significance of Monk's work for the study of jazz. The excerpt featured here presents a brief synopsis of Monk's life and explains the uneven trajectory of his career and public reception.

Review—Race Music: Black Cultures from Bebop to Hip-Hop

Guthrie Ramsey's Race Music: Black Cultures from Bebop to Hip-Hop explores the lationship between music and African American identity. Surveying an array of black music styles, Ramsey asks how African Americans have identified themselves in music. He draws upon his experience as a jazz and gospel pianist and his family's participation in the Great Migration to generate an ethnographic method that positions family narrative at the intersection of racial identity and musical expression.

Black Music as an Art Form


Wilson squarely confronts the challenge of defining what “black music” is in all its vastness and diversity. He argues that it should not be thought of as a set of specific characteristics, but a conceptual approach to making music, “the manifestations of which are infinite.” Wilson refers to both aesthetic theory and detailed analysis of musical works to highlight the common threads he believes run through all black music.

© 1988 Olly Wilson. Used with permission of BMRJ. All rights reserved.

Current Musicology Special Issue - Jazz Studies


In this special issue (Nos. 71-72, Spring 2001-Spring 2002), Current Musicology drew together some of the most prominent scholars in the nascent field of jazz studies to deal with important and provocative questions the subject has raised. The volume was dedicated to Columbia professor Mark Tucker, whose untimely death on December 6, 2000 robbed the field of one of its leading lights. This JSO special feature presents selected articles from the issue. © Used by permission of Current Musicology and the authors of specific excerpts.

Brazilian Popular Music Bibliography


Brazilian Popular Music History and Performance Practice
Professor Cliff Korman


Appleby, David P. The Music of Brazil (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press,1983)

Cancado, Tania Mara Lopes. An Investigation of West African and Haitian Rhythms on the Development of Syncopation in Cuban Habanera, Brazilian Tango/Choro, and American Ragtime, 1791-1900 (unpublished doctoral thesis, Shenandoah University, 1999)


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