The Moral of the Story
Making Ethnomusicology Matter in the Twenty-first Century
Keywords:tradition, world music pedagogy, George Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic, gamelan, autism, Jewish music, re-presentation vs. representation, ethnomusicology definitions
How can we make ethnomusicology truly matter and, more specifically, how can we at once build upon and transform its traditions in order to make it a more relevant, impactful, and humane discipline? These are the central questions addressed in this article, which was originally presented as the keynote lecture at the British Forum for Ethnomusicology’s (BFE) annual conference in 2017. The work is organized in four sections. The first deals with world music pedagogy, the second with the music and culture of Balinese gamelan beleganjur, the third with the author’s collaborations with funk music legend George Clinton, and the fourth with his research on the ethnomusicology of autism. “Tradition today”, the conference theme of BFE 2017, provides the conceptual groundwork for this wide-ranging exploration, which is further unified by Bakan’s choice of topics and issues deriving from his principal areas of research, teaching, and musical activity. The examples set forth are used to advocate for more engaged, activist, and representational (as opposed to representational) approaches in ethnomusicology.
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TEDx Talks. 2017. Making Change: Music, Meaning, and Autism. Michael Bakan at TEDxFSU. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COKHgUPVrgw&t=19s (accessed 17 May 2017).
Weir, Ian Edward. 2017a. Rainbow Concert of World Music—George Clinton, Danny Bedrosian & Omnimusica—“Funkentelechy”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=unuPA19jWJg (accessed 17 May 2017).
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