Ecology and music research in the twenty-first century: Facing the challenges of diversity and sustainability in a globalised world

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Schippers, Huib
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Chan Suet Ching, C. & Penny, M.J.
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2014
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Abstract

Globally, music research has gone through exciting conceptual and practical developments over the past few decades. The discipline seems to be gently moving away from a heavily Eurocentric approach inherited from the nineteenth century, driven by the place of music in the academy (with music practice and thinking about music institutionally separated). Now, the cluster of subdisciplines we refer to as music research is finding its feet in the twenty-first century, with increased attention to cultural diversity, community and education, the impact of technology on virtually every aspect of creating, performing, learning and disseminating music, and the role and potential of artistic practice as research. Each of these have raised far-reaching questions on the topics of our studies, the approaches we choose, and how we work with industry, communities, and individuals as music researchers in the networked, globalised, and mediatised world of music today. Related to each of the areas above, issues of sustainability and the potential role of the researcher in that realm have emerged since the early 1990s. Applied (ethno)musicology is rapidly developing as a subdiscipline, perhaps even as a vision of the future of music research as a whole. In this chapter, I will endeavour to elucidate the rise of applied ethnomusicology as it relates and could relate to the sustainability of music cultures, using the five-year international research collaboration Sustainable futures for music cultures: Towards an ecology of musical diversity (2009-2014) as an example. From the data of that study, I will propose a framework to increase our understanding of the complexities of sustainability in music, its contribution to music scholarship, and most importantly its potential to empower communities to forge musical futures on their own terms.

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Sustainability in music and the performing arts: Heritage, performance and education
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Musicology and Ethnomusicology
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