Representing Non-Western Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain

November 2007
19 black and white, 17 line illustrations
366 pages
9x6 in
Eastman Studies in Music
ISBN: 9781580462594
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
University of Rochester Press
BISAC LIT011000, HIS010000, MUS024000

Representing Non-Western Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain

Bennett Zon

out of stock

Explores the influence of anthropological theories, travel literature, psychology, and other intellectual trends on the perception of non-Western music and elucidates the roots of today's field of ethnomusicology.
Bennett Zon's Representing Non-Western Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain is the first book to situate non-Western music within the intellectual culture of nineteenth-century Britain. It covers many crucial issues -- race, orientalism, otherness, evolution -- and explores the influence of important anthropological theories on the perception of non-Western music. The book also considers a wide range of other writings of the period, from psychology and travel literature to musicology and theories of musical transcription, and it reflects on the historically problematic term "ethnomusicology."
Representing Non-Western Music discusses such theories as noble simplicity, monogenism and polygenism, the comparative method, degenerationism, and developmentalism. Zon looks at the effect of evolutionism on the musical press, general music histories, and histories of national music. He also treats the work of Charles Samuel Myers, the first Britain to record non-Western music in the field, and explores how A. H. Fox Strangways used contemporary translation theory as an analogy for transcription in The Music of Hindostan (1914) to show that individuality can be retained by embracing foreign elements rather than adapting them to Western musical style.

Bennett Zon is Reader in Music and Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Study, Durham University UK and author of Music and Metaphor in Nineteenth-Century British Musicology (Ashgate, 2000).

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Table of Contents

Cultural Anthropology from the Late Eighteenth Century to the 1850s
The Interplay of Anthropology and Music: Nineteenth Century to the 1850s
Music in the Literature of Anthropology from the 1780s to the 1860s
Cultural Anthropology After Darwin
From Travel Literature to Academic Writing: Anthropology in the Musical Press from the 1830s to the 1930s
Non-Western Music in General Music Histories: Progression Toward Evolution
Histories of National Music (1): Henry Chorley and the Anthropological Background
Histories of National Music (2): Carl Engel and the Influence of Tylor
Overcoming Spencer: Late-Century Theories of the Origin of Music
Charles Samuel Myers and the General Movement Toward Individualism
From Individualism to Individual Differences
The Psychological Writings and the Place of Evolution and Individual Differences
Myer's Ethomusicological Writings
Transcription and the Problems of Translating Musical Culture
A.H. Fox Strangways and Attitudes Toward Song Translation
Fox Strangways and The Music of Hindostan


Richly documented. . . . Draws upon sources from an impressive array of disciplines: biology, psychology, anthropology, ethnomusicology and history. . . . The history of the discipline of ethnomusicology, . . . is told in this fascinating monograph with admirable verve and clarity. JOURNAL OF THE ROYAL MUSICAL ASSOCIATION [Ian Woodfield]

The message is clear: even in its beginning ethnomusicology was, on balance, a force for the good in a world awash with racism. . . . Zon produces an impressive body of evidence for his case. . . . A feast of discourses and sources. . . . A revelatory history. MUSIC & LETTERS [Shay Loya]

[Brings] to the fore a sense of both the foreignness of the nineteenth-century disciplines and their familiarity, grappling as they did with many of the same problems of method and theory that continue to engage modern music scholarship. . . . Representing Non-Western Music shows Zon to be at the forefront of research on the history of music scholarship. VICTORIAN STUDIES [Grant Olwage]

A comprehensive and meticulously researched piece of scholarship that is all the more impressive for its vast scope. . . . An admirable accomplishment that is sure to engage scholars interested in the history of the British Empire, British perceptions of music and race, and the role of the social sciences in articulating both. . . . Compellingly demonstrates how the practices of the previous century made [the work of Myers and other pioneering scholars of non-Western music] possible. NORTH AMERICAN BRITISH MUSIC STUDIES ASSOCIATION NEWSLETTER [Eric Saylor]

Zon has done us a great service. . . . [His] history of a discipline [ethnomusicology] before it was even a discipline . . . bring[s] to light a vast array of primary source material that will be relatively unknown to most readers. . . . Intertwines nicely with currents in other disciplines, especially anthropology. CURRENT MUSICOLOGY

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