From Library Journal
With the current world focus on Islamic nations and culture, the appearance of the sixth volume of Garland's celebrated series of world music studies could hardly be timelier. Western Europe's musical traditions are probably more deeply rooted in ancient Semitic cultures than in Greek and Roman ones, and readers with an interest in Western music history should welcome the essays covering historical writings on Arab music. Mainly, the book focuses on contemporary music cultures, most of which have only recently been studied systematically and have not been extensively described in Western languages before. There are some articles on nations (e.g., Turkey, Iran, Israel), but most of the approximately 120 main entries cover broad geographic areas (the Arabian peninsula, North Africa, Central Asia), and readers must use the index to find mention of Afghanistan and Iraq, for example. Entries range widely from Middle Eastern melody and music in religious expression to Berber popular music, women's music in the Arabian peninsula, and music of the Jews of Djerba, Tunisia. In contrast, the seventh volume in this series, on East Asia, attempts a one-volume summary of music that has enjoyed a vast amount of scholarship in many languages as well as self-aware cultural chronicling, though for mainly political reasons, results of modern ethnomusicological explorations in China and North Korea have not yet reached a wide audience in the West. The 76 articles cover not just music but its relation to history, theater, dance, and the visual arts, with topics ranging from Chinese opera, gagaku, and Confucian ritual music to cultural interaction in East and inner Asia and nationalism, Westernism, and modernization. Both volumes contain articles on music from Tuva, an autonomous republic of the Russian Federation overlapping Siberia and Mongolia that is famed for its "throat singers." In addition, both treat popular music, but the Far East volume deals more with Western music influences on both popular and concert music in that region. Like other volumes in the series (e.g., Europe and South Asia, both LJ 6/1/00), these books are collaborative efforts, with dozens of contributors and multiple editors with diverse backgrounds (e.g., Danielson is Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Librarian at Harvard University, and ethnomusicologist Provine teaches at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, Univ. of Maryland, College Park). The factual presentations are variously straightforward ("The Armenian nation, its language, and its music originated in the third millennium B.C.E.") and engaging ("Korea is filled with singers"), and though many of the writers have scholarly backgrounds, some are evidently eyewitnesses of the tourist variety. Still, when for religious or political reasons a culture cannot be formally lived in and studied, we must be grateful for the observant amateur who attends a wedding, funeral, or concert and is willing to report. Highly recommended for large libraries and specialized collections on these geographic areas. Bonnie Jo Dopp, Univ. of Maryland Libs., College Park
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
A major reference resource wends its way toward completion. Following the standard Encyclopedia of World Music
format, these volumes (numbered 6 and 7 out of an eventual 10) provide in-depth and scholarly treatment of an amazing array of musical traditions and styles, from Palestinian wedding songs to synthesized music for science fiction animation in Japan. RBBCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved