Thesis: The best approach to ethnomusicology

Anthropologist Helene Trafford of the University of Nairobi, Kenya holds that the best approach to ethnomusicology is by establishing the value of a given musical piece to the community producing it. Understanding the extent to a culture values their music in turn prevents one’s cultural bias from affecting an objective evaluation.

Ms Trafford holds that “…it would be ethnocentric of cultural outsiders to utilize our musical standards by judging other musical cultures.” Our cultural heritage, customs and traditions differ considerably; “thus, if we try to understand their music using our own common (cultural) knowledge, we will err in describing the community in a meaningful way and may instead develop bias because of our own cultural proclivities.” (Heffeman, 2009 pg 1)

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