Is Music a Language? (the seed)

A brief thought. I am reminded by a discussion two years ago with a well known ethnomusicologist and a brilliant music composer-theorist, about whether music is a language or not.

The ethnomusicologist said no, because there wasn’t a system of semantic meaning in musical expression.

The composer said yes, because music expresses meanings. Continue reading

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Laurie Anderson: musings of an admirer

Laurie Anderson: post-modern Renaissance woman, Houdini of artistic stereotype and 21st century iconoclast.

There is no ‘frame’ or ‘box’ in which Laurie Anderson may be contained – she is an idiosyncratic artist with a powerful, dynamic persona projected through her eclectic melting-pot of talents as visual artist, musician, poet, storyteller, dramatist, dancer, performer, philosopher, political commentator, producer, electronic gadgetry wizard and inventor. Continue reading

Thoughts on Music and Culture – a discussion

Thoughts on Music and Culture: a discussion with reference to “Music and Culture: Historiographies of Disjuncture” by Philip V. Bohlman and “Music and Social Categories” by John Shepard, both essays from “The Cultural Study of Music – a critical introduction”. Continue reading

Discussing Music and Race – a response

Discussing music and race – a response to the Introduction to “Music and the Racial Imagination”, edited by Ronald Radano and Philip V. Bohlman, University of Chicago Press (2001).

If modern musicology is reluctant to properly recognize or address music’s intrinsic role in human culture and history, does this imply, then, that the study of music in the context of race and racial identity is so much more taboo in the hallowed grounds of musical academia? Continue reading