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John Danz Lectures 6 How Musical is Man?, The

Blacking, John

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ISBN 10: 0295953381 / ISBN 13: 9780295953380
Published by University of Washington Press, Seattle, 1977
Used Condition: Very Good; Fine Soft cover
From Past Pages (Oshawa, ON, Canada)

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About this Item

Light Creasing on Front, Rear Covers, Spine; Front, Rear Covers, Spine Lightly Chipped; Edges Lightly Soiled; Slight Yellowing Due to Age. SERIES: In October, 1961, Mr. John Danz, a Seattle pioneer, and his wife, Jessie Danz, made a substantial gift to the University of Washington to establish a perpetual fund to provide income to be used to bring to the University of Washington each year " . . . distinguished scholars of national and international reputation who have concerned themselves with the impact of science and philosophy on man's perception of a rational universe." The fund established by Mr. and Mrs. Danz is now known as the John Danz Fund, and the scholars brought to the University under its provisions are known as John Danz Lecturers or Professors. Mr. Danz wisely left to the Board of Regents of the University of Washington the identification of the special fields in science, philosophy, and other disciplines in which lectureships may be established. His major concern and interest were that the fund would enable the University of Washington to bring to the campus some of the truly great scholars and thinkers of the world. Mr. Danz authorized the Regents to expend a portion of the income from the fund to purchase special collections of books, documents, and other scholarly materials needed to reinforce the effectiveness of the extraordinary lectureships and professorships. The terms of the gift also provided for the publication and dissemination, when this seems appropriate, of the lectures given by the John Danz Lecturers. Through this book, therefore, another John Danz Lecturer speaks to the people and scholars of the world, as he has spoken to his audiences at the University of Washington and in the Pacific Northwest community. SYNOPSIS: How Musical is Man? Explores the role of music in society and culture, and of society and culture in music. The author, an anthropologist and ethnomusicologist, draws examples from Western music and from the music of the Transvaal Venda people. John Blacking is professor of social anthropology at the Queen's University of Belfast, Northern Ireland. In 1970 he was appointed professor of anthropology at Western Michigan University, where he first taught courses in anthropology and ethnomusicology in 1971. Born in England on October 22, 1928, he was educated at Salisbury Cathedral and Sherborne schools, where he received his early musical training. During a period of compulsory military service, he was commissioned in H.M. Coldstream Guards and spent the year 1948-49 in Malaya. He learned the Malay language and, while on military operations in the jungle, visited settlements of the Sakai and Senoi tribesmen who lived there. These experiences, together with many encounters with Malay, Chinese, and Indian people and their cultures, changed the direction of his career and forced a gradual reassessment of his own culture and its values. In 1953, Dr. Blacking graduated from King's College, Cambridge, with a bachelor's degree in social anthropology. During the summer of 1952 he had studied ethnomusicology at the Musee de l'Homme, Paris, under Andre Schaeffner. An appointment as Government Adviser on Aborigines in Malaya lasted six days, until he was dismissed after a disagreement with General Sir Gerald Templer in November 1953. Thereafter, he did some anthropological research, taught at a secondary school in Singapore, broadcast on Radio Malaya, accompanied Maurice Clare on a concert tour, returned to Paris for piano lessons in June 1954, and went to South Africa as musicologist of the International Library of African Music. He worked with Dr. Hugh Tracey on recording tours in Zululand and Mocambique, and transcribed and analyzed music in the library's collection. During 1956-58 he undertook fieldwork among the Venda of the Northern Transvaal, and in 1959 he was appointed lecturer in social anthropology and African government at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg . . . Siz. Bookseller Inventory # 001749

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Bibliographic Details

Title: John Danz Lectures 6 How Musical is Man?, ...

Publisher: University of Washington Press, Seattle

Publication Date: 1977

Binding: Trade Paperback

Book Condition:Very Good; Fine

Edition: First Thus 2nd Printing.

About this title


This important study in ethnomusicology is an attempt by the author -- a musician who has become a social anthropologist -- to compare his experiences of music-making in different cultures. He is here presenting new information resulting from his research into African music, especially among the Venda. Venda music, he discovered is in its way no less complex in structure than European music. Literacy and the invention of nation may generate extended musical structures, but they express differences of degree, and not the difference in kind that is implied by the distinction between ‘art’ and ‘folk’ music. Many, if not all, of music’s essential processes may be found in the constitution of the human body and in patterns of interaction of human bodies in society. Thus all music is structurally, as well as functionally, ‘folk’ music in the sense that music cannot be transmitted of have meaning without associations between people.

If John Blacking’s guess about the biological and social origins of music is correct, or even only partly correct, it would generate new ideas about the nature of musicality, the role of music in education and its general role in societies which (like the Venda in the context of their traditional economy) will have more leisure time as automation increases.

From the Back Cover:

'How Musical Is Man?' explores the role of music in society and culture, and of society and culture in music. The author, and anthropologist and ethnomusicologist, draws examples from Western music and from the music of the Transvaal Venda people.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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