Comparing music, comparing musicology

Clayton, Martin (2003). Comparing music, comparing musicology. In: Clayton, Martin; Herbert, Trevor and Middleton, Richard eds. The Cultural Study of Music: A Critical Introduction. New York: Routledge, pp. 57–68.


My aim in this chapter is to offer some observations on the past, present and future of comparison in musicology. These comments concern the necessity of comparison, but also the profound difficulties it presents: understanding both the importance and problems of comparison is an important part of any cultural study of music. In order to introduce and to illustrate these observations, I make reference to a couple of quite different examples, both of which include an autobiographical element. The first of these concerns a particular performance event, my experience and reaction to it. The second example refers to my own research on the temporal organisation in North Indian classical music, which I published in the book Time in Indian Music (2000).

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