The Musical Human

Rethinking John Blacking's Ethnomusicology in the Twenty-first Century

The Musical Human

The musical human: without a doubt, this vision of the human species as naturally musical has become the most enduring legacy John Blacking bequeathed to ethnomusicology. The contributions in this volume have been written by people who worked closely with or have been inspired by John Blacking. Each essay draws upon distinct aspects of Blacking's writings but complements them with quite different sets of sources. This volume provides fresh assessments of Blacking's work, taking up his challenge to push the boundaries of ethnomusicology into new territories.

The Musical Human

A History of Life on Earth

The Musical Human

A world-leading musicologist tells the extraordinary story of humankind's relationship with music across evolutionary time. 165 million years ago saw the birth of rhythm. 66 million years ago was the first melody. 40 thousand years ago Homo sapiens created the first musical instrument. Today music fills our lives: it is in our homes and on our streets. How we have created, performed and listened to this music throughout history has defined what our species is and how we understand who we are. Music is an overlooked part of our origin story. Here, the fascinating history of the musical human is told for the first time. The Musical Human takes us on an exhilarating journey across the ages – from Eminem to Mozart and back through the millenia – to explore the vibrant relationship between music and the human species. Integrating insights from a wealth of disciplines, world-leading musicologist Michael Spitzer brings together the three great realms of music to render a global history of music on the widest possible canvas: music in our everyday lives; music in world history; and music in evolution, from insects, birds and whales through apes, hominins, people and AI. Through this journey we begin to understand how music is situated at the crux of distinctly human experiences of cognition, feeling and even biology, widening, and sometimes closing, the evolutionary gaps between ourselves and animals in surprising ways. The Musical Human boldly puts the case that music is the most important thing we ever did; it is a fundamental part of what makes us human.

The Routledge Companion to Embodied Music Interaction

The Routledge Companion to Embodied Music Interaction

The Routledge Companion to Embodied Music Interaction captures a new paradigm in the study of music interaction, as a wave of recent research focuses on the role of the human body in musical experiences. This volume brings together a broad collection of work that explores all aspects of this new approach to understanding how we interact with music, addressing the issues that have roused the curiosities of scientists for ages: to understand the complex and multi-faceted way in which music manifests itself not just as sound but also as a variety of cultural styles, not just as experience but also as awareness of that experience. With contributions from an interdisciplinary and international array of scholars, including both empirical and theoretical perspectives, the Companion explores an equally impressive array of topics, including: Dynamical music interaction theories and concepts Expressive gestural interaction Social music interaction Sociological and anthropological approaches Empowering health and well-being Modeling music interaction Music-based interaction technologies and applications This book is a vital resource for anyone seeking to understand human interaction with music from an embodied perspective.

The Ethics of Ontology

Rethinking an Aristotelian Legacy

The Ethics of Ontology

A novel rereading of the relationship between ethics and ontology in Aristotle.

The Music of Jōji Yuasa

The Music of Jōji Yuasa

Over the last fifty years, the music of Jōji Yuasa has attained the zenith of international musical standards. A study of this great Japanese composer is long overdue. Persuasive and captivating, less “easy” than that of his lifetime friend Tōru Takemitsu, Yuasa’s music has also been a model for many young composers, both from Japan and further afield, thanks to the long period he spent teaching composition at the University of California, San Diego (1981–1994). This book serves to illuminate aspects of Yuasa’s work, intricately linked to deep, native roots which tend to be more opaque for western (and other) ears. It focusses on various aspects of Yuasa’s music as well as on the social, anthropological, aesthetic and critical contexts that have informed his compositional practice in the context of the postwar Japanese musical world. In a continual interior dialogue which includes Jean-Paul Sartre and Daisetzu T. Suzuki, Matsuo Bashō and William Faulkner, Henry Miller and Motokiyo Zeami, Yuasa’s avant-garde aesthetic project, western in conception, encounters the productive thought of an unambiguously Japanese aesthetic, i.e. that of Zen. An analysis of Yuasa’s main works will illustrate and complete the picture of Yuasa’s world. Yuasa’s works are placed at the centre of the most original of creative forces in the contemporary music world – a place where, for Yuasa, “in the same idea of creativity, there has to be an avant-garde component”.

The Musical Representation

Meaning, Ontology, and Emotion

The Musical Representation

How human musical experience emerges from the audition of organized tones is a riddle of long standing. In The Musical Representation, Charles Nussbaum offers a philosophical naturalist's solution. Nussbaum founds his naturalistic theory of musical representation on the collusion between the physics of sound and the organization of the human mind-brain. He argues that important varieties of experience afforded by Western tonal art music since 1650 arise through the feeling of tone, the sense of movement in musical space, cognition, emotional arousal, and the engagement, by way of specific emotional responses, of deeply rooted human ideals. Construing the art music of the modern West as representational, as a symbolic system that carries extramusical content, Nussbaum attempts to make normative principles of musical representation explicit and bring them into reflective equilibrium with the intuitions of competent listeners. The human mind-brain, writes Nussbaum, is a living record of its evolutionary history; relatively recent cognitive acquisitions derive from older representational functions of which we are hardly aware. Consideration of musical art can help bring to light the more ancient cognitive functions that underlie modern human cognition.

Classical Arabic Philosophy

An Anthology of Sources

Classical Arabic Philosophy

This volume introduces the major classical Arabic philosophers through substantial selections from the key works (many of which appear in translation for the first time here) in each of the fields--including logic, philosophy of science, natural philosophy, metaphysics, ethics, and politics--to which they made significant contributions. An extensive Introduction situating the works within their historical, cultural, and philosophical contexts offers support to students approaching the subject for the first time, as well as to instructors with little or no formal training in Arabic thought. A glossary, select bibliography, and index are also included.

The Musical Order of the World

Kepler, Hesse, Hindemith

The Musical Order of the World

In the disastrous years before and during the Second World War, when confidence in a harmonious future was as difficult as it was crucial for spiritual survival, two German artists in exile wrote what would become their late masterpieces. The composer Paul Hindemith conceived an opera on the famous astronomer Johannes Kepler's mature life and theories, The Harmony of the World; the poet and novelist Hermann Hesse wrote a complex literary collage, i>The Glass Bead Game. Both works address the topic of universal harmony in the fabric of creation and culture, as well as the urgent problem of how such harmony can heal the spiritual, mental, and emotional developments of individuals and of society at large. The two quests are mirrored into circumstances that are almost equidistant from the mid-20th-century period in which their stories are being told. Hindemith's opera centers on an outstanding intellectual in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, while Hesse's work focuses on this intellectual's counterpart projected into a fictional world of the early 23rd century. In both cases, the quest for harmony and truthful proportion manifests at all levels of the stories told and of the works telling them. Siglind Bruhn's thought-provoking interdisciplinary study is organized along the lines of the seven areas in which scholars of the Pythagorean tradition from Plato to Kepler and beyond found universal harmony paradigmatically realized music, arithmetic, geometry and astronomy (the quadrivium of the medieval liberal arts) complemented by metaphysics, psychology, and art.

The Musical Standard

A Newspaper for Musicians, Professional and Amateur

The Musical Standard


The Musical Ear

Oral Tradition in the USA

The Musical Ear

The Musical Ear: Oral Tradition in the USA provides a wide-ranging look at the role played by music that is passed on orally without the use of notation, in the folk, popular and art musics of North America. In order to study the process and to find the common elements, McLucas provides an overview of recent research on the brain and memory in order to help the reader understand the inner workings of oral tradition.