Historical Perspectives

Curated by Gabriel Lavin

Doing it Backwards: My Unexpected Goldberg Variations (Part I)

As I look back over the last ten years, and the peculiar journey with J.S. Bach that the time represents for me, it’s sometimes hard to believe that I’m here, now, playing the Goldberg Variations in their entirety, from memory, for sometimes sizeable audiences, well enough apparently to get enthusiastic approval from the classical section of the New York Times.

Historical Narratives of the Akonting and Banjo

I travelled to The Gambia in the summer of 2012 to learn to play a stringed instrument called akonting, not knowing then that it would spark my current dissertation research.

Review | Wandering Stars: Songs from Gimpel’s Lemberg Yiddish Theatre, 1906-1910

Wandering Stars: Songs from Gimpel’s Lemberg Yiddish Theatre, 1906-1910. Renair Records 2013. Compiled by Julian Futter and Michael Aytward. One compact disc (25 tracks) with liner notes (40 pp.).

Reviewed by Jana Mazurkiewicz

The Role of Interpretation in Determining Continuity in Danza Azteca History

Danza Azteca includes a diverse and amalgamated repertoire––a pastiche of various indigenous music and dance traditions subsumed under the umbrella of danza.

Preview | Theory and Method in Historical Ethnomusicology by Jonathan McCollum and David G. Hebert (eds.)

The Ethnomusicology Review Sounding Board is pleased to offer an overview from Jonathan McCollum and David G. Hebert of their forthcoming edited volume Theory and Method in Historical Ethnomusicology (Rowman and Littlefield/Lexington Books).


Review | Revival and Reconciliation: Sacred Music in the Making of European Modernity by Philip V. Bohlman

Revival and Reconciliation: Sacred Music in the Making of European Modernity. By Philip V. Bohlman. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2013. [xxxiv, 285 p. ISBN 9780810881839. $85.] Music examples, illustrations, bibliography, index.

Reviewed by Nicholas J. Chong


Through the Lens of a Baroque Opera: Gender/Sexuality Then and Now

William Faulkner once famously wrote, "The past is never dead. It's not even past" (1950:73). This idea that the past is always present is at the heart of this paper. Nothing is created in a vacuum, and while the cultural constructs of historical eras differ vastly from those of the present, they crucially inform the here and now, being not dead, or even completely past.

The Origin of the European Folk Music Scale: A New Theory

Over a century ago, musicians noticed that European folk music seemed to exhibit certain uniform traits. They tried to analyse the music based upon the vast musical knowledge that they believed they had. The result was that folk music was described as tetratonic (four notes per octave), pentatonic (five notes per octave), or hexatonic (six notes per octave) because the music seemed to be “gapped” in some way.

History as Mediated by Culture

As researchers interested principally in contemporary issues, ethnomusicologists necessarily devote a substantial amount of ink to events in the past.


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