This panel took place at the ninth annual meeting of the Society held in New Orleans, Louisiana, December 26-28, 1966.

The members of the panel were asked to discuss

  1. non-western music as an aspect of area studies,
  2. the possible function of non-western music in enriching general musicianship, and
  3. the function of non-western studies in broadening the total view of music.

Summary of Panel

The principal topic before the panel was the role of ethnomusicology in the American University, with special emphasis on how to begin a program in ethnomusicology.

The panel established the necessity of having courses offered in ethnomusicology, by quoting Bukofzer's statement of some 11 years ago that every graduate student in music should have a course in the field. The reasons for this are manifold: it broadens the horizons of the student; it gives him new insights into western music; and it makes the student aware of the kinds of music that the greater part of the world's peoples enjoy.

Concerning the degree program, it was not felt that an A.B., M.A., or Ph.D., would have to be offered in ethnomusicology. Since a student will probably be principally responsible for teaching western music in the American university, his primary training must prepare him to do this. However, it was emphasized that several courses in ethnomusicology should be taken so that one could teach a course in the subject.

On the basis of their discussion, the panel established the following prerequisites necessary to begin a program in ethnomusicology:

1. A professionally trained ethnomusicologist who has had experience in the field.
2. An adequate library facility, preferably staffed with a bibliographer in the field.
3. A general course should be offered to both music and non-music majors under the following guidelines:
  a. 3 lectures per week.
  b. 2 listening sections.
  c. a "posthole" study of a single culture for an assigned paper.
  d. practical instruction in playing and participating in non-western music.
4. Courses and labs in specialized areas as appropriate.

These problems were cited as obstacles to establishing such a curriculum:

1. Difficulty in finding adequately trained faculty to develop the program.
2. Lack of adequate cultural information to present a thorough picture of ethnic music.
3. Lack of reliable information with respect to recordings and tapes.
4. Difficulty in finding support for beginning the program within an established music department framework.

The panel discussion concluded with questions from the floor.

(tape of panel discussion transcribed
and summarized by John Tanno, Music
Librarian, Harpur College)

2745 Last modified on November 14, 2018