Introducing "Historical Perspectives"

Welcome to the newest sounding board “Historical Perspectives”: a space dedicated exclusively to the study of historical music topics. “Historical Perspectives” is intended as a space for works in progress, newly hatched ideas, and more colloquial conversations about ongoing research than afforded in formal publications.

Currently there appear to be two veins of historical research in the field of ethnomusicology. The first and most common appearance of historical research is the use of history as a means of contextualizing musical ethnographies. In these ethnographies, history frequently contributes to the narrative created by the author and aids in the temporal placement of the ethnographic account. The second variety of historical music research is the study of exclusively historical topics. In a discipline developed around the ethnography, those researching historical topics are generally the exception rather than the norm; however, there are increasing opportunities for scholarship in this area as the field of ethnomusicology continues to amass historically applicable data. “Historical Perspectives” is intended for discussions regarding both variants of historical studies as well as how history and ethnography engage with each other.

This sounding board is available for any number of historical musical topics including, but not limited to:

  • Biographical sketches
  • Case studies
  • Historical comparisons
  • Historical organological studies
  • Discussions of historical methodology
  • Relating current practices to historical practices with a particular emphasis on:
    • How current music draws from and interprets the past
    • Musicians as historical commentators
  • Relationship between fieldwork and history
  • Archival research

Research is welcome from any region and epoch. If you feel you have anything you would like to contribute or know anyone who might be interested, please contact us and spread the word.


"Sounding Board" is intended as a space for scholars to publish thoughts and observations about their current work. These postings are not peer reviewed and do not reflect the opinion of Ethnomusicology Review. We support the expression of controversial opinions, and welcome civil discussion about them. We do not, however, tolerate overt discrimination based on race, sex, gender, sexual orientation, or religion, and reserve the right to remove posts that we feel might offend our readers.