Shadows In The Field

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Shadows in the Field
Second Edition

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Shadows in the Field
New Perspectives for Fieldwork in Ethnomusicology
Second Edition

Edited by

Gregory Barz & Timothy J. Cooley



Oxford University Press, Inc., publishes works that further Oxford University’s objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education. Oxford New YorkAuckland Cape Town Dar es Salaam Hong Kong Karachi Kuala Lumpur Madrid Melbourne Mexico City Nairobi New Delhi Shanghai Taipei Toronto With offices in Argentina Austria Brazil Chile Czech Republic France Greece Guatemala Hungary Italy Japan Poland Portugal Singapore South Korea Switzerland Thailand Turkey Ukraine Vietnam

Copyright # 2008 by Oxford University Press
Published by Oxford UniversityPress, Inc. 198 Madison Avenue, New York, New York 10016 Oxford is a registered trademark of Oxford University Press All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior permission of Oxford University Press. Libraryof Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Shadows in the field : new perspectives for fieldwork in ethnomusicology / edited by Gregory Barz & Timothy J. Cooley. — 2nd ed. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-0-19-532495-2; 978-0-19-532496-9 (pbk.) 1. Ethnomusicology—Fieldwork. I. Barz, Gregory F., 1960– II. Cooley, Timothy J., 1962– ML3799.S5 2008 780.89—dc22 20080235301 3 5 7 9 8 6 4 2 Printed in the United States of America on acid-free paper

bruno nettl


Fieldworker’s Progress
Shadows in the Field, in its first edition a varied collection of interesting, insightful essays about fieldwork, has now been significantly expanded and revised, becoming the first comprehensive book about fieldwork in ethnomusicology. Because ethnomusicologists thinkof fieldwork as the defining activity of their endeavor, one may be surprised to find, looking through our literature, not much that tells what it was really like to work in the ‘‘field,’’ nor much about the methods employed in gathering data for any particular project in ethnomusicology. But one does get a sense that fieldwork meant—means—many different things to different scholars; many differentthings, indeed, in the career of any one scholar. As the history of ethnomusicology proceeded through the twentieth century, fieldwork changed radically, and many times, in its basic assumptions and execution; it has changed, as well, in my own several decades of attempts—and surely in the life of any of us who have been at it for several years. In North America through the twentieth century (and, forthat matter, in my own experience since 1950), the configuration, very, very roughly, went somewhat like this. Starting with simple ‘‘collecting’’—we found an ‘‘informant’’ and asked him or her to sing for our recording devices, posing such questions as ‘‘What do you use this song for?’’ and ‘‘Where did you learn it?’’—we proceeded to more general ‘‘hanging out’’ in a distant community, spending asummer, a year, attending events as they occurred and asking random questions. We began to engage in fieldwork by participating in the music we were studying—learning how to play and sing it—first often at our home institutions, then continuing in the culture’s home ground, putting ourselves as pupils in the hands of competent teachers, joining local groups or classes. We moved on to the idea ofprojects to answer specific questions. For example, in my research, I tried to figure out how the minds



of improvisers of Persian music worked, by making and collecting many recordings of one dastgah, or ‘‘mode,’’ and getting help from the musicians in analyzing how they had used the basic material of the radif. We came to realize that we should do field research in our own...
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