Music on the Move
Danielle Fosler-Lussier, Ohio State University
Copyright Year: 2020
ISBN 13: 9780472901289
Publisher: University of Michigan Press
Conditions of Use
While it is impossible for any music textbook to cover all areas and ideas of any subject (unless that subject is very narrow), Music on the Move nonetheless provides a wide and varied coverage of music as a mobile art. The Table of Contents... read more
While it is impossible for any music textbook to cover all areas and ideas of any subject (unless that subject is very narrow), Music on the Move nonetheless provides a wide and varied coverage of music as a mobile art. The Table of Contents provides an easy-to-read overview of each part’s general focus and each chapter’s particular focus. There is a comprehensive index, and (most/all) bolded terms are given descriptions or definitions.
Content is well-researched, with endnotes provided extensively throughout the book and a rich bibliography of sources is provided. Part of the purpose of the textbook, as I read it, is to help readers (students or otherwise) to break down or set aside their own biases in order to better understand music as part of culture and cultural groups as it moves, with or without people, from place to place.
First published in June 2020, the textbook includes an extensive selected bibliography of source material from 1967 to 2019, including several that can be considered “state-of-the-art” in terms of content and currency. Given the topical nature of the parts and chapters, it will be relatively easy for the author to update the content and related resources.
The text is engaging, accessible, and provides context and/or descriptive definitions for any jargon or technical terminology.
The framework of the textbook is consistent throughout, not only in terms of organization but also in terms of content and terminology.
Presented in three parts with 2-3 chapters per part and sub-sections within chapters, the text is clearly intended to be presented as written, as each part and chapter builds upon what came before and could be easily divided into smaller reading assignments. Parts could conceivably be assigned in a different order than presented (although probably unwise) as long as the Introduction comes first.
Beginning with an introduction that expertly and thoroughly sets the stage for the content and purpose of the textbook’s approach, the book is presented in three parts: migration, mediation, and mashup. Migration makes clear sense given the thrust of the book—music on the move—and considers colonialism and diasporic movement in Europe and the United States, i.e., the movement of people and their music. Mediation focuses on the media and technology through which music moves—is presented, recorded, and distributed—including how geopolitical relationships can cause music to move across international boundaries in the service of groups of people (such as states, nation-states, nations, etc.). The last Part, Mashup, guides the reader to consider the impact of easy transmission of and access to music (addressed in Part 2) as a possible force in transforming people—how they think and behave, their preferences and opinions—as well as issues of ownership, including mixing (blending, sampling, borrowing) in new local uses with newly formed ideas of cultural property.
The text is available in multiple formats, including web and pdf, with easy navigation of the web-based version making a good case for its use. The pdf version does not have live anchor links, making it more unwieldy to navigate. The images, including maps, are clear on computer and tablet screens. YouTube video links, links to images (such as maps, score examples, charts, tables, etc.), and links to streaming audio examples are all embedded in the text of the online version. The web-based version includes easy access to these same Resources, all presented in the order encountered in the text and labeled accordingly, including the source chapter. For my own use, I would recommend students use the online version, with a pdf saved for offline work.
The text is beautifully written and presented in engaging and readable prose. Given that the author worked with other college-level instructors to “test drive” the textbook, it is likely that it benefited from multiple eyes contributing to its accuracy.
Given that the textbook presents a variety of races, ethnicities, and background and deals with their responses, reactions, uses, transmissions, and changes, the cultural representation is very sensitive of issues of tradition, heritage, and ownership. The Conclusion (in fact, probably better labelled as the last chapter) addresses “Violence, Difference, and Peacemaking in a Globalized World,” providing an apt capstone to the entire textbook’s explorations.
As a contingent faculty member (having “retired” from full-time teaching), I don’t always get to choose my courses. I can say, though, that I hope to use this textbook at some point in the near future, most likely for “Musics of the World.” In the past, my approach to that course has been to guide students to explore traditions and origins, look at music’s movement (diaspora and via transmission), and consider cultural, social, political, etc. forces at work. This text does all that and more in a beautiful, carefully written and presented, and well-research package. The fact that it includes extensive documentation of sources also makes it appropriate as a source for research papers, which cannot be said of most textbooks.
Table of Contents
Part I: Migration
- Chapter 1 Colonialism in Indonesia: Music Moving with an Occupying Force
- Chapter 2 The Romani Diaspora in Europe: Mutual Influences
- Chapter 3 The African Diaspora in the United States: Appropriation and Assimilation
Part 2: Mediation
- Chapter 4 Sound Recording and the Mediation of Music
- Chapter 5 Music and Media in the Service of the State
Part 3: Mashup
- Chapter 6 Composing the Mediated Self
- Chapter 7 Copyright, Surveillance, and the Ownership of Music
- Chapter 8 Localizations: Mediated Selves Mixing Musics
About the Book
Music is a mobile art. When people move to faraway places, whether by choice or by force, they bring their music along. Music creates a meaningful point of contact for individuals and for groups; it can encourage curiosity and foster understanding; and it can preserve a sense of identity and comfort in an unfamiliar or hostile environment. As music crosses cultural, linguistic, and political boundaries, it continually changes. While human mobility and mediation have always shaped music-making, our current era of digital connectedness introduces new creative opportunities and inspiration even as it extends concerns about issues such as copyright infringement and cultural appropriation.
With its innovative multimodal approach, Music on the Move invites readers to listen and engage with many different types of music as they read. The text introduces a variety of concepts related to music's travels—with or without its makers—including colonialism, migration, diaspora, mediation, propaganda, copyright, and hybridity. The case studies represent a variety of musical genres and styles, Western and non-Western, concert music, traditional music, and popular music. Highly accessible, jargon-free, and media-rich, Music on the Move is suitable for students as well as general-interest readers.
Citable link: https://doi.org/10.3998/mpub.9853855
About the Contributors
Danielle Fosler-Lussier, Ohio State University