p a p e r s
The proposed two-hour organized panel draws directly upon Volume XII of Selected Reports in Ethnomusicology (SRE), "Perspectives in Systematic Musicology" (2005, UCLA Department of Ethnomusicology). The studies comprising the SRE volume provide both the rationale and the starting point for an in-depth discussion of the intersections, both realized and potential, between empirical and philosophical perspectives in systematic musicology and historical and current perspectives in ethnomusicology. The central tenet of this panel, "What we know is based on what we ask and how we ask it," reflects the participants' focus on the assumptions underlying music research endeavors. Therefore, each panel presentation traces the theoretical framework of an empirical or philosophical approach in terms of its assumptions, epistemological potential and limitations, methods, and models. It then applies this theoretical framework to a research question about music in/as culture. The methodological perspectives presented in this panel, including phenomenological and hermeneutic approaches to aesthetics and philosophy of music, psychoacoustics, semiotics, and perception and cognition, are discussed within the context of ethnomusicological research. Rather than espousing one paradigm over another, the goal of the panel is to demonstrate the utility of multiple disciplinary perspectives in answering fundamental questions about interpretation and meaning in music. In summary, this organized panel will (1) showcase some of the latest efforts on cross-disciplinary musicological and ethnomusicological research and (2) challenge presenters and audience members to revisit the theoretical assumptions that drive their research and to consider anew the intersection of philosophical and empirical methods with the goals of ethnomusicology.
Attaching meaningful and emotional qualities to instrumental pieces of music relies partially on experiencing musical tension/release patterns, set up using various sonic and sonic-organization devices. Performance practices outside the Western art musical tradition place increased importance on one such device, “auditory roughness” (or “sensory dissonance”), for communicating expressive intent. For example, the Middle-Eastern mijwiz is constructed and performed in ways that highlight the importance of narrow harmonic intervals, fast trills, and their corresponding rough sounds. We examine systematically the claim that cultural learning and context significantly influence our use of and emotional reaction to musical sounds, infusing them with meaning and significance.
We estimated the roughness time-profile of a stylized improvisation on the
mijwiz, based on a previously-published roughness estimation model, and compared it to musical tension/release patterns indicated by