Empirical Musicology: Aims, Methods, Prospects

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The study of music is always, to some extent, "empirical," in that it involves testing ideas and interpretations against some kind of external reality. But in musicology, the kind of empirical approaches familiar in the social sciences have played a relatively marginal role, being generally restricted to inter-disciplinary areas such as psychology and sociology of music. Rather than advocating a new kind of musicology, Empirical Musicology provides a guide to empirical approaches that are ready for incorporation into the contemporary musicologist's toolkit. Its nine chapters cover perspectives from music theory, computational musicology, ethnomusicology, and the psychology and sociology of music, as well as an introduction to musical data analysis and statistics. This book shows that such approaches could play an important role in the further development of the discipline as a whole, not only through the application of statistical and modeling methods to musical scores but also—and perhaps more importantly—in terms of understanding music as a complex social practice.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"With Cook's emphasis on humanist values and DeNora's emphasis on social conscience, this book goes a long way to exposing the fallacy of this presumed association. In distinguishing empirical methods from positivist philosophy, this volume makes an essential and welcome contribution to the development of music scholarship. While Empirical Musicology is not without its seams, editors Eric Clarke and Nicholas Cook have succeeded in assembling a whole cloth. Given the increasing interest in systematic and observation-based musical research, this book has appeared at just the right moment in time." —Notes
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195167498
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 9/2/2004
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 6.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Eric Clarke, Professor of Music at the University of Sheffield, has published on the psychology of performance, the study of rhythm, and musical meaning. He was Chair of the Society for Research in Psychology of Music and Music Education from 1994-2000.

Nicholas Cook is Professor of Music at Royal Holloway, University of London. His books include A Guide to Musical Analysis; Music, Imagination, and Culture; and Music: A Very Short Introduction. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and editor of the Journal of the Royal Musical Association.

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Table of Contents

1 Introduction : what is empirical musicology? 3
2 Documenting the musical event : observation, participation, representation 15
3 Musical practice and social structure : a toolkit 35
4 Music as social behavior 57
5 Empirical methods in the study of performance 77
6 Computational and comparative musicology 103
7 Modeling musical structure 127
8 Analyzing musical sound 157
9 Data collection, experimental design, and statistics in musical research 197
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