For the final post on the blog of the course I wanted to reflect a little on the course as a whole and how is may shape the future.
I didn’t quite know what to expect of the course when I signed up. All I knew was that I had to complete the WRI 101 requirement and that I was a musician… so why not complete the requirement in World Music. If I am honest, I didn’t exactly understand the spectrum of World Music before the course even though I like to think of myself as a good well-rounded and knowledgeable musician. I didn’t really know what an ethnomusicologist does or how/what he or she studies. But the course has definitely opened my eyes in that regard. I learned much about the principles of how to study non-Western music and obviously how to write about it.
But what struck me the most was how many types of music there is that nobody will ever learn about unless they are literally aiming to study it. There is no way I would have been exposed to the Peruvian musical culture in Conima or find out about the extreme nature of riaz. To learn about these cultures you have to want to learn about them because it is very unlikely that you will be exposed to that type of music and practices on your “discover weekly” on Spotify. It is kind of sad to conclude this statement and I was thinking about ways to change the nature of world music. However, I wouldn’t exactly know how the different musical cultures would get greater exposure, especially because many are based in small-communities with very diverse practices.
Furthermore, there is another element that I noticed that I do not approve of: I don’t like the absence of female ethnomusicologists. I believe there were one or two chapters written by women but it was generally very male dominated. The only conclusion that I could reach to explain the absence of women is that in many cultures, that are not Westernized, women are not regarded equal to men, which is why women researchers may not be allowed to follow the different musical cultures. I remember that riaz is only male dominated and women aren’t even allowed to participate. Or perhaps women are not taken seriously when they want to learn about the different musical cultures, which is reflected in the way they may interact with them.
So, now that the course is almost over I have to say goodbye to world music for a while. I did not realize how unrelated world music was from my understanding of music. But this doesn’t mean that I haven’t been exposed to the different nature of music but simply that I never understood the concept. For example, a couple of years back I went to Namibia and Botswana and listened to the music produced by the Bushmen that would constitute part of the world music. Now that the course is over, I hope that in future I will draw those connections to world music and ethnomusicology much sooner and discover the field that I only just learned about.