Sociomusicology refers to both an academic subfield of sociology that is concerned with music (often in combination with other arts), as well as a subfield of musicology that focuses on social aspects of musical behavior and the role of music in society. Sociology (from Latin: "socius", "companion"; and the suffix "-ology", "the study of", from Greek λόγος, "lógos", "knowledge" Online Etymology Dictionary [] ] ) is the scientific or systematic study of society, including patterns of social relations, social stratification, social interaction, and culture ["Dictionary of the Social Sciences", Article: Sociology] . Musicology (Greek: "μουσική" = "music" and "λόγος" = "word" or "reason"), on the other hand, is the scholarly study of music; However, the term is often used in a narrow sense, confined to the music history of Western cultural elites.

Since the field of musicology has tended to emphasize historiographic and analytical/critical rather than sociological approaches to research, sociomusicology is still regarded as somewhat outside the mainstream of musicology. However, with the increased popularity of ethnomusicology in recent decades (with which the field shares many similarities), as well as the development and mainstreaming of "New Musicology" (coinciding with the emergence of interdisciplinary Cultural Studies in academia), sociomusicology is increasingly coming into its own as a fully established field.

ociomusicological issues

The work of scholars in sociomusicology is often similar to ethnomusicology in terms of its exploration of the sociocultural context of music, however sociomusicology maintains relatively less of an emphasis on ethnic and national identity, and is not limited to ethnographic methods. Rather, sociomusicologists use a wide range of research methods and take a strong interest in observable behavior and musical interactions within the constraints of social structure. Sociomusicologists are more likely than ethnomusicologists to make use of surveys and economic data, for example, and tend to focus on musical practices in contemporary industrialized societies.


Among the most notable of earlier sociologists to examine social aspects of music were Georg Simmel (1858-1918), Alfred Schutz (1899-1959), Max Weber (1864-1920) and Theodor Adorno (1903-1969). Others have included Alphons Silbermann, Ivo Supicic, [ Max Kaplan] , K. Peter Etzkorn, Charles Seeger (1886-1979), Howard Saul Becker,
Eli Siegmeister, Jacques Attali, John Mueller (1895-1965), [ Kurt Blaukopf] and [ Charles Keil] .

More recently, notable sociomusicologists have included
* [ Peter J. Martin]
*Tia DeNora
* [ John Shepherd]
* [ Hildegard Froehlich]
* [ Christopher Small]
* [ Steven Brown]
* [ Timothy Dowd]
* [ Andy Bennett]
* [ Steve Waksman] , and
* [ Robert Faulkner] .

Younger scholars whose work contributes to the field of sociomusicology include:
* [ Shyon Baumann]
* [ David Hebert]
* [ David Grazian]
* [ Eric Hung] , and
* [ Joseph Schloss] .

See also

*Music psychology
*Cultural studies
*Music education
*Appropriation (music)


* Adler, Guido (1885). Umfang, Methode und Ziel der Musikwissenschaft. Vierteljahresschrift für Musikwissenschaft, 1, 5-20.
* Honing, Henkjan (2006). "On the growing role of observation, formalization and experimental method in musicology." "Empirical Musicology Review", [ 1/1, 2-5]
* Kerman, Joseph (1985). "Musicology." London: Fontana. ISBN 0-00-197170-0.
* McClary, Susan, and Robert Walser (1988). "Start Making Sense! Musicology Wrestles with Rock" in "On Record" ed. by Frith and Goodwin (1990), pp. 277-292. ISBN 0394564758.
* Middleton, Richard (1990/2002). "Studying Popular Music". Philadelphia: Open University Press. ISBN 0-335-15275-9.
* Pruett, James W., and Thomas P. Slavens (1985). "Research guide to musicology." Chicago: American Library Association. ISBN 0-8389-0331-2.

External links

* [ Popular Music and Society]
* [ International Review of the Aesthetics and Sociology of Music]
* [ Action, Criticism, and Theory for Music Education]
* [ The American Musicological Society] (Wikipedia entry)
* [ Doctoral Dissertations in Musicology Online]
* [ AMS: Web sites of interest to Musicologists]
* [ The Society for American Music]
* [ Graduate Programs in Musicology]
* [ Conference on Interdisciplinary Musicology]
* [ Society for Ethnomusicology]
* [ Wikiquote - quotes about musicology]
* [ American Sociological Association (ASA)]
* [ British Sociological Association (BSA)]
* [ European Sociological Association (ESA)]
* [ International Sociological Association (ISA)]

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