The World’s Music: General Perspectives and Reference Tools - Volume 10 of The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music

    -- Edited by Ruth Stone; New York & London: Routledge, 2002. 1017 pages

The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music has been 15 years in the making, from planning to writing to editing to publishing. As the editor says, this project “points to a new level of maturity for ethnomusicology, which can now present a more comprehensive view of music in the world than has ever been available in the past.”

This final volume is in two parts: “Ethnomusicologists at Work” and “Resources and Research Tools.” Part 1 presents autobiographical tales from thirteen eminent scholars who describe in their own words how they entered the profession, and how they have carried out their research, teaching, and publication. Most of them have done fieldwork in two or more parts of the world. These scholars follow various models, and this diversity is reflected in their chapters. They are written on a personal level, full of interesting fieldwork stories. Sample sub-section titles include “Hitchhiking as a Technique of Anthropological Fieldwork” by Gerhard Kubik, “Stumbling into the Field” and “Life after the Dissertation” by Ellen Koskoff, “The Ordinary Knows No Boundaries” by Philip Bohlman, “Life as a Researcher” by Jacqueline Djedje, and “Ethnomusicology in the Real World” by Kay Shelemay. These chapters provide a behind-the-scenes look at the multitude of ways in which ethnomusicology work (from research through publication and teaching) has been carried out. If you know someone who is interested in becoming an ethnomusicologist but wants to know, “what do they really do?” just point them to these pages for illumination.

Part 2 of the book begins with a 156-page integrated glossary (terms and short definitions) for the first nine volumes. Each entry is referenced to volume and page numbers of the encyclopedia set. Following this, a comprehensive guide to publications, recordings and films is presented, arranged by the nine geographic areas. (These guides are taken from the nine previous volumes.)

Finally, there is a general index to the encyclopedia set which takes up about half of the volume. This very helpful index directs you to specific pages in different volumes that are related to a single topic. For example, under “hymnals” you will find more than 40 references scattered throughout the earlier nine volumes. For the word “hymn” there are close to 300 entries in the nine volumes. What a wealth of information! When I get time, I want to look up all these references in the encyclopedia set and try to draw some comparative conclusions about “hymns.”

If you look up “improvisation” in the index, again there are hundreds of references that cover the world. If you examine the entries under “Islam,” you will find all sorts of interesting links to follow, including surprising ones such as “Islamic music and Canadian Prairie communities.” “Christianity” has enough references to fill up more than a page, with dozens under the sub-topic of “missionaries.”

When I first saw this volume I thought that it would be most suitable for a library, and that not too many individuals would want a copy. However, after having used it for awhile, I see its usefulness and significant help in drawing together the earlier 9000 pages of the set. This is a fitting conclusion to a set of world-class, world-coverage masterful materials on music and culture.

    --reviewed by Paul Neeley

Published in Vol.2, No.2 of

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Artists in Christian Testimony