Toward an ethnomusicology of sound experience

Clayton, Martin (2008). Toward an ethnomusicology of sound experience. In: Stobart, Henry ed. The New (Ethno)musicologies. Lanham, MA: Scarecrow Press, pp. 135–169.



This article argues that ethnomusicology would benefit from taking more account of the ways in which human beings experience and interpret sound. Ethnomusicologists have tended to work at a meta-discursive level (writing words about others' words), leaving the gap between musical experience and paramusical discourse under-explored. This chapter asks whether that situation can be changed and what may be gained by doing so, and is illustrated with an example of north Indian raga performance.

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