Some Notes on Popular Music in my (Professional) Life


  • Bruno Nettl School of Music, University of Illinois, 1114 West Nevada Street, Urbana, IL 61801



Charles Hamm, ethnomusicology, George Herzog, Indiana University, University of Illinois, Society for Ethnomusicology, taxonomy of music


This article sketches the author’s experience with popular music as a student of music and ethnomusicology in the United States, and as a professional in this field. Principally it is a personal meditation on the role of popular music in the history of ethnomusicology, particularly in the Society for Ethnomusicology, in the history of American musical academia, and the reasons for its initial neglect. It recalls some incidents witnessed by the author that were turning points in the eventual acceptance of popular music by both ethnomusicologists and historical musicologists.

Author Biography

Bruno Nettl, School of Music, University of Illinois, 1114 West Nevada Street, Urbana, IL 61801

Bruno Nettl is Professor Emeritus of Music and Anthropology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he has been on the faculty since 1964. He is the author of several books, including Heartland Excursions: Ethnomusicological Reflections on Schools of Music (1995); The Study of Ethnomusicology: 33 Discussions (3rd edn, 2015), and an edited volume on urban ethnomusicology, Eight Urban Musical Cultures (1978).


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How to Cite

Nettl, B. (2017). Some Notes on Popular Music in my (Professional) Life. Journal of World Popular Music, 4(2), 280–289.



Disciplinary Perspectives on Popular Music