Global Music History

23rd April 2018


What would 'Western music' look like in an account of music history that is truly global?

  • Wadham Emeritus Fellow, Reinhard Strohm

    Wadham Emeritus Fellow, Reinhard Strohm

This is one of the questions addressed in Studies on a Global History of Music edited by Wadham Emeritus Fellow Reinhard Strohm.

The book is the first in a series of three volumes resulting from a four year long research project Towards a global history of music, supported by the 2012 International Balzan Foundation prize.

The studies presented in this volume are based on the idea that a global history of music cannot be one single, hegemonic history, but is instead a history of many different voices.

The chapters address historical practices and interpretations of music in different parts of the world, from Japan to Argentina and from Mexico to India.

Many of these narratives are about relations between these cultures and the Western tradition; several also consider socio-political and historical circumstances that have affected music in the various regions.

The book addresses themes and ideas that Western musical historiography has tended to neglect even when looking at its own culture: performance, dance, nostalgia, topicality, enlightenment, the relationships between traditional, classical, and pop music, and the overlapping of European, Asian, and Latin American interpretations of each other’s musical traditions.

“A global history of music may never be written in its entirety, but will rather be realised through interaction, practice and discussion in all parts of the world”, commented Reinhard.
The research was carried out in collaboration with the music departments and faculties of the Universities of Oxford, London, Berlin, Jerusalem, Zurich and Vienna. A second volume, to be published in the British Academy Proceedings, is awaiting a green light for production with the third scheduled to be published in Berlin in 2019.

Published by Routledge, the book is part of the SOAS Musicology Series.