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How Musical Is Man? (Jessie and John Danz Lectures) Reprint Edition
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In the first chapter of his small yet very powerful book, Blacking writes that when he began to live with and study the Venda, he believed that music began and ended with Western classical music, but, that after two years of living and studying the Venda and their music, he no longer understood Western music. Put differently, his experience living with and studying the Venda forced him to question all prior beliefs he had both about Western music and assumptions underlying them. The Venda taught him that all people have talent or musical ability. It is only Western values or myths that create hierarchies of talent and ability. And that these underlying Western values and myths subjugate countless people, causing them to dismiss key aspects of their inherent human potential, because of widespread belief that it is pointless to pursue musical ambitions only a fortunate few possess, but most do not.
Blacking's book is important not only as an ethnomusicological study, but has, I think, universal application because its underlying theses directly question Western assumptions and myths that adversely affect people regardless of musical preference. The book forces one to think, to challenge values one might previously have taken for granted.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
Western Michigan University Professor John Blacking (1928-1990) prefaces his intended answer to the titular question, How Musical is Man? Read morePublished on January 31, 2006 by Gary Galvan
This book is an amalgam of flaws and flawed thinking. For starters, the title is a complete misnomer: only two musical traditions are extensively analyzed while hundreds of musical... Read morePublished on November 6, 2002 by Victor Cresskill
The book is great if you really want to do a research paper on the musical history of Europe.Published on November 17, 1999