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Musics Lost and Found - Song Collectors and the Life and Death of Folk Tradition
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Musics Lost and Found - Song Collectors and the Life and Death of Folk Tradition (Hardback)

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This ground-breaking and highly readable book is the first-ever study of the role played in musical history by song collectors. It examines their extraordinary lives, how they set about their task, and the music they have collected. In showing the forces which have driven them to travel and explore, it reflects movements in cultural and political history. It is in some respects the sequel to Michael Church's book The Other Classical Musics, which Boydell published to universal critical acclaim in 2015.

Church begins with an overview of song collecting's development from the seventeenth century until the age of recording. He devotes major biographical chapters to Komitas, Cecil Sharp, Percy Grainger, Bela Bartok, and to John and Alan Lomax who collected work songs in Mississippi penitentiaries; he examines field recording in Russia, Central Asia, and China. One of his most colourful chapters looks at throat-singing in Tuva, one follows the trail of gamelan in Bali, while another investigates song collecting among the Pygmy communities of Central Africa.

The development of recording technologies is chronicled, as is the dawn of ethnomusicology. Church follows the growth of the great sound archives - the Berlin Phonogramm Archiv and its counterparts in Vienna, London, and Washington; he looks at the role of the record industry - big in the mid-twentieth century, but now waning to almost nothing - in 'capturing' indigenous musics. This book is a piece of serious musicology by a man who has worked as a song collector himself, but his erudition is lightly worn.

Church casts a critical eye over the so-called "world music" boom, and over well-meaning musical-conservation schemes, but he concludes with a stark warning. He argues that globalisation, urbanisation, and Westernisation are leading to an irreversible erosion of the world's musical diversity: in this respect he aligns himself with the Extinction Rebellion movement. We may be seeing 'the end of history' for folk music, with old forms dying as the conditions for their survival (or replacement) disappear; the death of villages necessarily means the death of village musical culture. Dying folk-music traditions mirror what is happening with spoken languages, as their multifarious richness dwindles to a few privileged and pervasive tongues.

While noting that folk music still thrives in some parts of the world, Michael Church checks off the forms which are now under threat, a

Music & DanceMusic BooksMusic: styles & genresFolk & traditional music Publisher: Boydell & Brewer Ltd Publication Date: 15/10/2021 ISBN-13: 9781783276073  Details: Type: Hardback Format: Books
Availability: Pre-order for despatch on publication. Pre-Order

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