The four all-India music conferences that were organized between 1916 and 1925 by Vishnu Narayan Bhatkhande were seminal events in the formation of a nationally based urban middle class and a predominantly Hindu-oriented music culture that encompassed performers, patrons, and audiences.
The conferences were the first modern gatherings on a national scale to combine discussion and analysis of musical practice and theory with a showcase of musical performance. A close examination of the reports generated by the conferences offers an opportunity to examine the conflicting social and political ideologies that were shaping north Indian classical music over a critical decade, as the aristocratic music of the courts was transformed into a national music.
Bhatkhande believed that music had to be taken over by the Western-educated, nationally conscious middle class, and that the patronage of the wealthy princes formerly given to support their private music establishments should be transferred to national institutions supporting music. Through the medium of the conferences he took the initiative of bringing together these disparate groups: traditional musicians, traditional patrons, and the new, primarily Hindu intelligentsia.
A number of topics recur through all four conferences: discussion of śrutis and rāga variations; a call for adoption of a uniform, systematic notation for Indian music; and a proposal for the creation of a national academy of music. The extent to which agreement and action on these proposals proved elusive can be read as indicating the degree of cross-cultural conflict that underlay the conferences, and gives a sense of the extent to which Bhatkhande’s vision resonated with the broader concerns of his day.
This according to “The All-India Music Conferences of 1916–1925: Cultural transformation and colonial ideology” by David Trasoff, an essay included in Hindustani music: Thirteenth to twentieth centuries (Nai Delli: Manohar, 2010 331–56; RILM Abstracts 2010-15196).
Today is Bhatkhande’s 160th birthday! Below, a documentary on the Music Institute that he established.
Filed under Asia, Musicology
The African pianism developed by the Nigerian composer Akin Euba (above) is not well-suited to the research style of traditional musicology, and the limitations of conventional musicological perspectives and analytical models for research on this cultural phenomenon are obvious.
Ethnomusicology and other disciplines such as cultural anthropology may provide approaches and viewpoints that can be adopted in musicological research on African pianism.
This according to “My understanding of African pianism/我对非洲钢琴艺术研究的一些认识” by Li Xin, an essay included in Dialogues in music: Africa meets Asia/亚非相遇： 中非音乐对话 (Richmond: MRI, 2011, pp. 59–68, 345–353).
Below, Kingsley Otoijamun performs an excerpt from Euba’s Scenes from traditional life.
In December 2017 Karadeniz Teknik Üniversitesi launched Musicologist: International journal of music studies, a peer-reviewed, English-language, open-access online journal.
Musicologist presents original research articles, reviews, publicity, field notes and ethnographic writings, and translations related to musicology. The journal aims to make a major contribution to musicological discourse worldwide by presenting high-level and original scholarly research, theoretical discussions, and up-to-date methodological studies, and to thus become an effective locus for scholarship around the world.
Below, Ş. Şehvar Beşiroğlu, the subject of the lead article in the first issue.
Launched by Editions Lugdivine in 2017, Musicologies nouvelles: Agrégation aims to provide a framework for incorporating past achievements in musical analysis into today’s research on the social, cultural, and psychological worlds that surround musical sound. The journal is edited by Isabelle His and Nahéma Khattabi.
Below, Liszt’s Von der Wiege bis zum Grabe, the subject of an article in the inaugural issue.
On 23 June 2015 a group of distinguished academics and editors gathered in New York City for a conference organized by the International Association of Music Libraries, Archives and Documentation Centers (IAML) and the International Musicological Society (IMS). The panel “Referencing music in the twenty-first century: Encyclopedias of the past, present, and future” was chaired by RILM’s own Tina Frühauf.
The fruits of the three-hour double panel, which focused on encyclopedias, historiography, and music research in the digital age, are now available in printed form: Fontes artis musicae invited Dr. Frühauf to serve as guest editor and write the introduction for the July-September 2016 issue, which presents the conference papers. The table of contents is here.
Below, an excerpt from the conference discussion.
Filed under RILM, RILM news
In 2013 the Centro Argentino de Información Científica y Tecnológica (CAICYT) launched El oído pensante, an open-access, peer-reviewed online journal that aims to promote the discussion of theoretical, methodological, and epistemological dilemmas faced by various kinds of music research.
Unpublished articles in Spanish, Portuguese, and English dealing with ethnomusicology, anthropology, sociology of music, popular music studies, musicology, and cultural studies, among other disciplines, are received. Particularly welcome are writings that address theoretical paradigms, methodology, transdisciplinarity, knowledge validation, research ideologies, representation resources, narrative strategies, ethic and esthetic research perspectives, relationships during the fieldwork experience, social and political research significance, the researcher’s perceptive and conceptual baggage, new technologies, and their ways of spreading and sharing knowledge.
Since the intention of the journal is to promote critical thought aimed to dismantle usual concepts and to open new approaches, papers restricted to analyzing particular cases will not be accepted. However, it is expected that authors bring some cases into the text in order to support their main ideas. All articles are abstracted in Spanish, Portuguese, and English.
Below, Um a zero by Pixinguinha and Benedito Lacerda, a work discussed in the inaugural issue.
Zoomusicology is an area of intellectual endeavor that developed outside of music studies, among scholars interested in animal behavior.
Although this field is almost 30 years old, people operating in ethnomusicology, who are potentially the better equipped to understand the goals and challenges of zoomusicology, are often not aware of how compatible the two fields are.
Zoomusicology and ethnomusicology have much to gain from each other. Moreover, if ethnomusicology indeed has the ambition to be a field that brings together musical knowledge in a worldwide perspective, then one would have to maintain that zoomusicology should be seen as part of ethnomusicology.
This according to “Zoomusicology and ethnomusicology: A marriage to celebrate in heaven” by Marcello Sorce Keller (Yearbook for traditional music XLIV  166–83). Above and below, lupine group vocalizations.
In 2012 Praesens Verlag launched the series Wiener Veröffentlichungen zur Theorie und Interpretation der Musik with Im Schatten des Kunstwerks. I: Komponisten als Theoretiker in Wien vom 17. bis Anfang 19. Jahrhundert, edited by Dieter Torkewitz.
The book’s articles discuss Viennese composers from the 17th through the 19th centuries who were also theorists; future publications will cover other topics in Viennese music theory and interpretation.
In 2013 Springer launched the series Current research in systematic musicology with Sound—perception—performance, edited by Rolf Bader.
The collection covers recent concepts of synchronized systems, evolutionary concepts, the basic understanding of performance as Gestalt patterns, theories of chill as performance goals or historical aspects, the neurocognitive basis of motor action in terms of music, musical syntax, and therapeutic aspects.
Also presented are state-of-the-art applications in performance realizations, such as virtual room acoustics, virtual musicians, new concepts of real-time physical modeling using complex performance data as input, and sensor and gesture studies with soft- and hardware solutions.
Launched on 19 March 2012, Trio: DocMus-tohtorikoulun julkaisu is the journal of the doctoral program in musicology at Sibelius-Akatemia, Helsinki.
Ranging widely through the field of Western musicology, the first issue included analyses of selected works, a study of the composer Déodat de Séverac, and an inquiry into connections between improvisation and psychoanalysis.