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Music in Culture and Society

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Every musical system around the world is a complex cultural phenomenon. The culture underlie a series of concepts which impart the musical system into the other basic cultural activities of the society. It is then defined and conceptualized by the society at large and then ingrained in the cultural phenomena. Thus, in order to fully understand a specific music of a particular culture, we must examine it in its cultural context along its musicological context. There could not exist any real understanding of a specific music culture without firstly examining its concept and meaning of music. It is clearly agreed that every human society has music but the definition differs widely in many cultures. Bruno Nettl presents three ways in finding the definition of a society’s term of music. These are by asking an “expert”, who is the trained scholar of the society, or even a dictionary; by asking the members of society at large; and by observing people with the aid of fieldworking. He claims that dictionaries often avoid the explanation of music, and there are others who do explain it, but having their own Western concept in sight. Secondly, the other alternative is by asking the members of society at large. This approach could also be somehow supernatural as the people being asked could have a plenty of time to consider the question and modify their natural answers. Nettl claims that the third approach, which is performed by getting information from an informal conversation of some friends, is the most reliable one. With the help of a conversation with friends in a cocktail party, Bruno Nettle discovers that they define music as something which must have certain characteristics in order to be accepted as true and proper music. His frien... ... middle of paper ... ...ol needed by a society in order to project an identity. With the aid of the studies of different musics, we could achieve a balance between understanding the differences between the cultures around the world, and the recognizing our common character of our humanity. Works Cited Excursions in World Music [Book] / auth. Nettl Bruno. - New Jersey : Prentice Hall Inc.. Harvard Dictionary of Music [Book] / auth. Apel Willi. - Cambridge : Harvard University Press, 1969. The Anthropology of Music [Book] / auth. Merriam Alan. P. - Northwestern : Northwestern University Press, 1980. The Study of Ethnomusicology - Thirty-one Issues and Concepts [Book] / auth. Nettl Bruno. - Champaign : University of Illinois Press, 2005. Worlds of Music: An Introduction to the Music of the World's Peoples [Book] / auth. Titon Jeff Todd and Mark Slobin. - New York : Schirmer Books.
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