NOTE: The following, from the archive, are position statements by noted music scholars for the symposium “Music in Higher Education in the 1970's,” held at the University of Toronto on 7 November 1970. The event was jointly sponsored by the College Music Society and the American Musicological Society (36th Annual Meeting, 5-8 November 1970, Toronto). The resultant papers were subsequently published in College Music Symposium, the journal of the College Music Society, vol. 11 (October 1971) and now available online; see the citations below. The panel was chaired by William J. Mitchell, whose summary appears at the close of this document.
Musical Literacy in the 1970's
In the conviction that three overworked and sometimes misapplied words—change, innovation, and relevance—will continue to keynote the demands of students, I want to consider their implications in what might be termed a broader concept of musical literacy in the 1970's. Based on more than fifteen years' experience, with an ethnomusicological approach to the study of music, I believe there are some changes and innovations overdue in both the undergraduate and graduate curricula. The relevance of these proposed changes, in the experience of a small but growing number of students and faculty, has already been demonstrated.
All music—eastern or western, ancient or contemporary—is quite naturally imbedded in a rich sociocultural context: 1) the inclusion of such a context should obtain not only in the specialized period course but also in courses in musicianship, theory, performance, surveys of literature, pedagogy, composition, bibliography, and research methods; 2) literacy in music, somewhat analogous to literacy in language, should include deep and extended exposure to major foreign tongues (the music of one African and one Asian culture should be included throughout the
spread of undergraduate and first-year graduate study in all the courses mentioned above); 3) institionalized study of the arts in the Western world has long since suffered from an artificial separation of the naturally interrelated arts, a condition that not only obscures their relatedness but also encourages an exaggerated proliferation and fragmentation within each of the so-called disciplines thereby derived (general university and college requirements should be revised to include required courses in dance, theater, fine art, and creative writing as well as clearly related courses in the humanities and social sciences); 4) the materials of theory and literature courses should be coordinated with correlative musical performance; 5) seminars with a Gestalt approach to
music in its sociocultural context should be instituted in both the lower and upper divisions of the undergraduate program; 6) existing core curricula in music should be greatly compressed to accommodate these changes; 7) in all modes and at all levels of instruction the oralization of music (the making of it) should be clearly recognized as the sine qua non of musical literacy; 8) and, finally, qualification for candidacy for the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees should be assured in terms of this order of musical literacy rather than extensive but unilateral acquaintance with the musical literature of the European art tradition.
University of California at Los Angeles
–2005) was an ethnomusicologist who specialized in the music of Indonesia. He established, at UCLA, the first program in ethnomusicology at an American university.
A Needed Change in Attitude
I cannot see how anyone who has contact with this generation of students can be unaware and untouched by some of the new currents running with such force through their minds. The term “New Age of Humanism” has been used to acknowledge the obsession of so many of them, and so many of the best of them, with the relationship of man to his surroundings, both his physical environment and the people who populate his world. This is in contrast with the fascination with abstract research and technology that dominated the several decades after World War II, the period, incidentally, of the greatest growth of musicology in America.
It is not my intention to suggest that members of our profession whose training and orientation and taste are strongly rooted in Baroque or Renaissance or Romantic music should suddenly teach and write about rock. That would be disastrous, for everyone. Nor am I suggesting that scholars whose talents lie in archival work, or detailed abstract analysis, or manuscript descriptions, or bibliography
should abandon this useful work. Again, there would be no point to that. What I am suggesting is that we should not be surprised and resentful if many of today's students, including inevitably some of the brightest, find the “scientific” approach to the study of music that has characterized so much musicological research unattractive and even objectionable; we should not be surprised at the
“credibility gap” that is beginning to show up when we tell students that we can teach them things they should know about music, but are unwilling or unable to deal in any way with music that they know perfectly well is so rich and so significant. We should not reject these people who want to do serious work, as students or teachers, with such bodies of music as rock and contemporary folk music, and make their ideas and findings available through articles, lectures, and courses.
We should not discourage these who know that the problems and ills of our society are reflected in, commented on, and sometimes even answered by the music of today; and who want to pursue this point within the framework of academic study and teaching. I am not suggesting subtractions or alterations, merely additions.
Nor am I suggesting that we yield to any sort of pressure. There has been none, certainly not at the national level. Disruptions, even major disagreements, have played no part in the recent history of our discipline. I am not altogether proud of this; it may indicate how unimportant musicology has become for our more spirited young people. I am merely suggesting that we should make place in our society, i.e., our Musicological Society, for studies of a wider range of music, and for more humanistic studies of music of all times. Two major benefits are possible: we may insure a continuing flow of the best students into our field-without this, we may find ourselves drying up, cut off from the energy and imagination of youth; and it may prove invigorating for present members of our society to be reminded that music, after all, can be an art as well as a science.
University of Illinois
–2011) helped establish the study of popular music as an academic discipline. He taught at the University of Illinois and (from 1976) Dartmouth. Hamm served as president of the American Musicological Society, 1973–74. PAPER HERE.
A Reassertion of Traditional Educational Values
In whatever ways graduate education in musicology may change in the coming years, the training of men and women whose principal activity will be the pursuit of scholarly interests ought to continue
to be of real importance. Obviously not all of those who have received, or are now working towards, a Ph.D. degree are scholars in this sense. Possibly there should be fewer recipients of the Ph.D.
in our field; but, present economic and sociological conditions to the side, it is hard to see how the number is to be regulated. Encouragement of scholarly promise ought to be, perhaps can be
increased. Somewhere between the loudly repeated demands for better teaching and the whispered hints that early and frequent publication is necessary for the success, even the survival of everyone in the academic profession, there must continue to be present a quiet but insistent voice recommending devotion to scholarship and demanding that high standards be met.
New York University
He served as president of the American Musicological Society, 1977–78. PAPER HERE.
Opportunities for Intracultural and Interdisciplinary Study
For thirty years American historical musicology has diligently tended its own garden. We have developed along with our European colleagues a methodology of descriptive analysis, of editorial
practice, of historical writing, and of bibliography; and we have made a rather thorough search of musical sources, at least for the period up to the eighteenth century. There is still much to be done
along these lines; but it is clear that a base has been reached from which to explore some new methodologies and researches of neighboring fields. We should accept, with ethnomusicologists, all levels of musical culture—art, popular, folk—as relevant for any period of history. Deep forays into regional, social, and diplomatic history will unlock many secrets of history. Much can be gained from the history of ideas, science, technology to interpret stylistic change. Such interdisciplinary studies were once common; they gained a bad reputation because authors too often pretended to possess universal culture or attempted to construct naive historical models. The time is ripe for a new interdisciplinary attack on the problems of music history and musical culture that is solidly based in fact and method.
Claude V. Palisca
He served as president of the American Musicological Society, 1971–72. PAPER HERE.
Graduate Education of the Musician-Teacher
The position taken here is that most musicians probably spend a major part of their professional careers in the area of “communication” or “teaching.” Therefore, the graduate training of the
musician should incorporate into its rationale the development of means for communicating about the entire art of music, at many levels. Both graduate and undergraduate curricula should reflect
the four professional components of a comprehensive musical education—namely the synthesizing of listening or analysis, performance, composition or writing skills, and communication, thus destroying the artificial compartmentalization between majors in performance, music education, theory, etc. This approach places a great responsibility on the graduate professor himself to exemplify an appropriate model which the graduate student can identify and emulate in his future professional career. This type of graduate education stresses not only the substance but also the quality and method of developing concepts, skills, understanding and sensitivity to all musics. A graduate colloquium of all students and faculty is suggested as one of the avenues that should be considered in fostering an approach in which faculty members are charged with the responsibility for developing a climate of comprehensive communication about music by all "musicians” no matter in which component of musicianship they may focus their graduate studies.
Robert J. Werner
Contemporary Music Project
–78). PAPER HERE.
Music and Higher Education in the 1970's
For those of us who are still congratulating ourselves on having made it through the 1960's, it must come as a shock to learn that we are now faced with the task of deciding how best to make it through the 1970's. As chairman of the panel discussion that will be based on the abstracts contained herein, I consider myself doubly fortunate: First, because I will not be obliged to state or defend a position; second, because my fellow panelists, many of whom I have known since the 1950's, have over the years demonstrated a kind of wisdom and foresight from which I stand to be one of the major beneficiaries. Their abstracts already give short augury of this.
William J. Mitchell
State University of New York - Binghamton
With the arrival of William J. Mitchell (1906–71) in 1941, Columbia University established itself as a leading research center in music theory. From 1968 Mitchell taught at SUNY Binghamton. Known especially for his translation of C. P. E. Bach's Essay on the True Art of Playing Keyboard Instruments, Mitchell also established and edited, with Felix Salzer, The Music Forum (1967–73). He served as president of the American Musicological Society, 1965–66.
Addendum: Neal Zaslaw of Cornell University also participated in this panel. PAPER HERE.