Before the Trip Begins: Fundamental Issues
Questions to Consider
When ethnomusicologist say that “Music is universal, but it is it not a universal language” they are telling us that music may be created and heard around the world, but it is not something that everyone can describe in one way. They are saying that every place has its own interpretation of what music is and no one interpretation will suit another, plus, music could never really be used to convey a direct message that text and actual conversations would; music is not a language because it does not requires specific symbols that must be structured by law in order to convey a message.
Classifying music as “classical,” “folk,” or “popular” is saying that everyone can agree on one definition of what they understand ...view middle of the document...
Thus, an ethnomusicologist might approach the study of Western classical music differently from a musicologist because an ethnomusicologist follows precise steps to ensure their findings. They first prepare to research, this includes gathering ideas of what they will research and where would be the best place to do so. Next, they conduct fieldwork by visiting or experiencing the culture of a specific place they are interested in researching. Then, they analyze their findings by gathering what they've recorded, what they've experienced, and what they've learned resulting in them forming a conclusion. Lastly, they share their findings.
Fieldwork is the second step in the stages an ethnomusicologist follows and consists of the ethnomusicologist visiting or experiencing the cultures of the place they are researching. This gives relevance to any information an ethnomusicologist may bring forth in musicology.
Music must be looked at through different lenses considering that no one person has the “right” definition of what music is. It is a wide topic and should be analyzed with an opened mind in order to better grasp what others understand music to be while still keeping in mind our own analysis.
Ethnocentrism is forming the conclusion that one’s culture is better or normal based on their cultural understandings and judging that another culture is abnormal or weird not by first learning or experiencing that culture for oneself, but by being closed minded and praising what they are used to. I have not experienced ethnocentrism. I understand that the definition of music varies and although one may not be what I am used to, I have to respect that people have their own understanding. I could see why others may be capable of saying that they have experienced ethnocentrism because it is often very easy to judge or to make conclusions about what we don't know or understand.