May 26, 2008

Sustainable Music

Here is a new, month-old blog from Jeff Todd Titon, familiar to you as the major and ever-interesting ethnomusicologist working on old time music (fiddling in particular) and also on blues and old time gospel in the South. Now he is writing a blog on music and sustainability. The intriguing concept behind it, as he posted last month (hey, its new to me, I just happened on it) is:

Sustainable Music: "Welcome to 'sustainable music.' The term 'sustainable' has been doing a lot of heavy lifting lately. We hear of sustainable energy, sustainable agriculture, sustainable forestry, even sustainable clothing. Everyone seems to want to live a sustainable life. We are concerned about global warming, aka climate change. Sustainable means so many things these days that some claim that no one knows any longer what it really means. In my view, that is the mark of a powerful idea: that it does mean many things. Here I explore sustainable in relation to music.

When I speak to colleagues in ethnomusicology, I speak in academic language. It is the language of the university world. And so in this research blog I theorize various ways that music can be thought about as a human cultural resource. In a nutshell, I will critique the currently prevailing sustainability strategies aimed at encouraging musical diversity by embracing economies through commodified products. Instead, I favor community partnerships encouraging collaborative, small-scale, amateur, face-to-face music-making without mediation or display. I believe that insights from applied ecology and from organic gardening will help in thinking about music and sustainability."

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