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«You don’t dissect a bird to find the origins of its song: what should be dissected is your ear.»

(Joseph Brodsky. Less than One, 1986, 356).


Among a few books which I enjoy rereading as often as I can, there is «The Study of Ethnomusicology,» a book of Bruno Nettl. One can find here numerous points to stimulate our creative thinking as we pursue the answers to the most vexing questions of the discipline. Thinking of our today’s discussion, I also found something for my profit here — the aphorism essential for the very beginning of my reasoning. Here it is: «… the definition of music also determines the definition of ethnomusicology.» (Bruno Nettl. The Study of Ethnomusicology. University of Illinois Press, 1983, p. 23). Indeed, if we would like to say something about integration of disciplines dealing with music, we have first to define our object and, consequently, subject — the music. Certainly, I do not pretend to invent a new definition to the general or particular esthetics or to discuss the boundless sea of musicological literature on the matter. My only intent is to show that a slightly refreshed definition of music should help us not only to redefine our disciplines but also to have a deeper understanding of the way of its desirable reintegration. Simply, it should help us to understand each other better.

In brief, the workable definition of music which, I believe, might help us today, should take into account not only the world of musical sound as such but those who are able to make this world their own — homo musicans — because music practically exists within the grasp of its listeners. All participants of the process of music-making — be it composer, performer, listener, be they known or unknown, — are listeners first and foremost. We have a very peculiar object which practically does not exist without its consumer and therefore we must include in the very definition both music and ear-minded human being alike, i.e., two basic and indissoluble components of the living phenomenon. Homo musicans is surely part and parcel of music itself.

This idea of the unity of music and human being and specifically music and human ear as the basically essential unity has already been noticed and formulated more than a century and half ago by …Karl Marx. Yes, indeed, it was neither musicologist Adolph Bernard Marx nor musicologist and composer Joseph Marx, — it was the founder of Marxism himself — Karl Marx in his early writings. Allow me to remind you a curious fragment from his «Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844»:

«To the eye an object comes to be other that it is to the ear, and the object of the eye is another object than the object of the ear. The peculiarity of each essential power is precisely its peculiar essence, and therefore also the peculiar mode of its objectification, of its objectively actual living being. Thus man is affirmed in the objective world not only in the act of thinking, but with all his senses.

On the other hand, looking at this in its subjective aspect, …music

alone awakens in man the sense of music, and …the most beautiful music has no sense for the unmusical ear — is no object for it, because my object can only be the confirmation of one of my essential powers and can therefore only be so for me as my essential power is present for itself as a subjective capacity, because the sense of an object for me goes only so far as my senses go (has only sense for a sense corresponding to that object)…» (Robert C. Tucker, ed. The Marx-Engels Reader. N.Y., 1972, p. 74).

A remarkable passage. It is well known that since about the end of the 19th century, first in Germany, within both philology and musicology, a serious methodological conflict took place between so-called Augen and Ohren approaches, in our case between music for the eyes and music for the ears. (Apropos, in terms of musical transcription, this kind of opposing had always and everywhere has a place). Meantime, the world of music is the world of the ear. Music is an art which is heard. As Boris Asafev pointed out, «Music lives for the ear, not for the eye, and is comprehended by the intellect through the hearing» (As, 926).«The ear becomes the measure of things in music» (561), «many people listen to music, but a few hear it» (609), «to hear is already to understand» (622), and so on, and so forth.

However, to say just like this would be too general. I think we must somehow narrow the meaning of «two sides of a coin» — music and homo musicans — in order to make them more specific and hereby more like «hard currency,» being stylistically closer to the used terminology.

To cut a long story short, I am offering to reduce or, better, to condense, first, music to intonation and, second, homo musicans to musical hearing. As for intonation, I prefer to use this word with the Russian ending intonatsia in order to stress the peculiarity of the chosen concept. As I have already explained it in another paper («An Attempt at a Synthetic Paradigm,» Ethnomusicology, 1997, no. 2, see especially p. 189-192), intonatsia means the source and the essence of music, a unique activity of human intellect, a musical thinking and, at the same time, a process of disclosure of the human consciousness in specific forms of musical art. In this rich in content sense music, indeed, is «the intonational language utterly and completely» (Asafev, 1931, 28). Now it is time to explain a little bit the second notion, no less crucial for our concept, — the hearing.

Regrettably enough, musical hearing (and its theory) is the Cinderella discipline of musicology and ethnomusicology alike, whereas, I believe, the faculty of hearing should be even studied at the special university faculty, if you allow me to make a pun with respect to such a serious matter.

It is an interesting fact that in ancient Indo-European languages (according to Prof. UC-Berkeley Martin Schwartz) there is a remarkable semantic correlation between ’ear’ and ’intellect’. For instance, the Iranian ’hoosh’ means ’intellect, awareness, consciousness’ and goes back to Avestan ’ushi’ which means again ’intellect’ and — ’two ears’ (exactly like in Russian, by the way). The same in Sumerian language where ’ear’ and ’wisdom’ had identical ideogram ’ngeshtu’. Thus, even in this ancient etymology the core idea of Asafev might be seen, namely — musical hearing operated by intellect and at the same time it is an invisible operator of all musical activity. Human beings create the endless variety of tuneful ear, i.e., a myriads of musical hearings, and all of them are working out for our artistic and identity profit. Indeed, hearing is like DNA — «Tell me what you hear, and I will tell you who you are.»

«We see and hear and otherwise experience very largely as we do because the language habits of our community predispose certain choices of interpretation» — this classical statement of Edward Sapir (1884-1939) may be well addressed to musical hearing. Unhappily, the evidence for the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis has been equivocal. However, we do hear music as we do because musical hearings, both traditional for our community and our personal alike, in a way predispose certain choices of perception, selection, and interpretation. Indeed, the «real musical world» is to a large extent unconsciously built up on the musical hearing habits of the group and the person. As again Bruno Nettl rightly pointed out, «it almost seems that ethnomusicologists are the victims of an analogue of the Whorfian hypothesis, according to which thought is regulated by the structure of language; musical hearing on the part of Westerners may be profoundly affected by the characteristics of Western notation.» (1983, 78), and, let me add, by all well-tempered music around.

Meantime, musicology — according to Asafev, and I fully share this opinion, — has to study an ability not only to hear but «to act by inner hearing,» to think musically by almost «tangible» hearing, to study the hearing as a builder of music, as something that is in a very structure of our musicality, as well as «the formation of the human ear and — I like this notion very much — as the culture of human hearing» (931). Asafev wrote also on the «auditory memory» of mass perception (793), on the evolution of the human, «public» ear (929), and so on. John Blacking almost echoes these Asafev’s appeals: «All to hear [music] but in reality they are not» (1995, 229); «Music can express social attitudes and cognitive processes, but it is useful and effective only when it is heard by the prepared and receptive ears of people who have shared, or can share in some way, the cultural and individual experiences of its creators» (1973, 54).

Thus, music is the art of intonatsia, and as such it does not exist without the musical ear. Intonatsia and hearing (like, let us remember, music in general and homo musicans) are two sides of a coin, and exactly and only their living unity should be taken as a suitable definition of music. This is our first step — to accept these preliminary statements as the workable basis for discussion.

Once Asafev coined an important currency image: «Music is natural wealth, but words are very often currency bills. Words may be spoken without intoning their quality, their true meaning; music is always intonational, or otherwise it is ’inaudible’» (631). I see here the crucial for us link between intonatsia and musical hearing. There is no ’inaudible«substance in music, and even Ernst Kurth who beautifully pointed out that «musical hearing is more and something else than bare hearing with the ear,» had been mistakenly trying to search for that more in somewhat mysterious psychic «processes whose forces spin around in the inaudible» (quote after M. P. Baumann, 1992). (Unfortunately, the whole Russian translation of Kurth, which came out in 1931 with the excellent introductory article by Asafev, is still unknown to the West. There this outstanding Russian musicologist was able to formulate the most topical ideas about musical hearing — the ideas which he addressed to music of the oral and written traditions alike. As he declared there, all his fundamentals have been discovered on the basis of two main types of music — Russian folk songs and J.-S. Bach, i.e., equally oral-folk and written-art music alike. I believe, someday it will be eventually translated into English and then you will enjoy it enormously but …almost a century late).

Yes, «the definition of music determines the definition of ethnomusicology» and, let me add, it determines the definition of all music studies (1) and, in its turn, our understanding of music depends on our musical hearing (2). Indeed, general hearing takes just sounds on the whole, any sounds whatsoever, whereas musical hearing, a tuneful ear takes intonatsia — this is precisely its real food. Musical hearing is working with intonatsia, with these «ear»-marks which were developed in the oral tradition — the ear-marks by which music is recognized. As Abraham Zvi Idelsohn deciphered it, <"ear"-marks, i.e., signs for musical patterns learned by ear> (see his «Jewish Music: Its Historical Development» [1929]. N.Y: Dover Publications, 1992, p. 27). Besides, hearing is not only a tool of perception and comprehension in a music-making. This is the only inseparable basis, the only everyday musical experience of full value, and even deeper than that — the psychological set of all musical activity whatsoever. Indeed, our audible expectations correct our actual hearing. There is no comprehensible hearing without a psychological set or, as Boleslav Yavorsky put it in the 1920s-30s, without inner auditory tuning that is present in all human beings. This is a very deep phenomenon, and I see in it the essential analogue to a psychological «set theory» developed by Dmitri Uznadze (1886-1950, founder of the Georgian school of psychology). «Yavorsky makes us consider how and what we hear» (Gordon McQuere, 159).

Having set forth this basic premise, we next move to the second step. Now we have — again, for the practical purpose, — to precise the phenomenon of musical ear. It sounds too broad for our discussion. It was enough for Karl Marx, but not enough for us. My suggestion is to prelimit it by a new working notion of ethnohearing. Let us understand ethnohearing as ethnically marked hearing (perception) of music; or, putting it another way, ’cultural anthropology of musical hearing’ or the innate instrument of both human perception and musical creativity.

I am aware how complicated that issue is in general and especially at the midst of today’s musical intersections but it does might turn out for good — such limitation will actually broaden our horizon. The reason is simple — as ethnophores, we are all inevitably ethno- we are all ethnics and hereby we are all equal and no one group is superior to another. Ethnohearing in a way is almost similar to such domains as ethnic food and odor, as Tony Seeger has once wittily described («Anthropology and Odor,» Perfumer & Flavorist, vol. 13, Aug./Sept. 1988, p. 41-48). When you prefer, for instance, Indian-Mexican food and ignore a Japanese one, you demonstrate your ethnic hearing in dining. Cultures differ in odor, vision and audition but all of them has that cultural phenomenon as their cultural identifier. Ethnohearing culturally divides us and at the same time conceptually unites us as something relevant that belongs to all of us as ethnophores without exception.

After all, as you see, I base myself on three ideas and, consequently, three notions of my theoretical article (Ethnomusicology, 1997, no. 2), namely (1) intonatsia which implies the quality of the musical content, (2) ethnophore as an authentic bearer of a tradition, and (3) melosphere as the musical aura of the Earth, its «intonational field,» a living musical treasury. Being musicians, we all have a deal with intonatsia; being representatives of this or that ethnic tradition, we all are ethnophores; having this or that musical memory and this or that musical thesaurus, we all consciously or unconsciously know or feel the melosphere. Keeping these three essential concepts, I am moving further offering the working definition of ethnomusicology as anthropology of hearing and naming ethnomusicology by musicology of ethnohearing. I am doing this in search of a new and appropriate basis for a desirable reintegration of musicology.

It is not a secret that not everyone is thinking like this. It is not a secret that for many scholars ethno-prefix is an ambiguous one, if not a humiliating or embarrassing. I may recollect, for instance, a memorable motto of Claude Palisca who wrote in 1976: «Not all music has an ethnic orientation — certainly much contemporary music is in an international style that does not land itself to an ethnomusicological approach» («Should be ethnomusicology abolished?» see in discussion). Frankly, I do not think so — I do not believe in an abstract «international style» — it certainly does not feet so much the variety of musical trends outside Europe and Northern America and even within modern Europe one can tell one music from another. Besides, as James Porter noted, ethnomusicology is a discipline defined «by its recognition that the conceptual basis of music making on the one hand, and the social value of music on the other, make its perspective suitable for analyzing any music whatsoever» («Verdi’s Attila, an ethnomusicological analysis,» Budapest, 1993, 53). As a result, I rather incline to an opinion of David McAllester who claims that «all music is ethnic music» (Ethnomusicology, 1979, p. 183). Ethnicity is a universal category of humankind. All of us we have this or that ethnohearing because we all are ethnophores, i.e., bearers of some ethnic predilections, customs, habits, favorite tastes and smells, taken for granted common knowledge, community’s memories, even sound ideals and, of course, music. Ethnohearing as much as articulation is always ethnically specific and in a way unique. It represents the difference between ethnic traditions and therefore belongs to all traditions without exception as their water of life. Ethnohearing is a key to the knowledge of all variety of human languages in music — music as a live activity. Ethnohearing, as a creative and syncretic phenomenon, is a tool of the very existence of music. It is an ethnic identifier, i.e., a kind of reliable machinery of ethnic identification. There is no musical faculty without ethno. Living ethnohearing is in charge of the inter-ethnic dialogue in music — there is no such a phenomenon as «out-of-ethnicity hearing» if we are talking about real full-blooded life. In the presence of ethno all of us are equal — there is none without ethno. The ethno, this is exactly what connects us: you and I are different but ethno: we are united and at the same time differentiated by ethno. My logic is simple: there is no music without ethno, there is no hearing without ethno, therefore should be no musicology without ethno.

We all remember reassuring words by John Blacking: «Ethnomusicology is not only an area study concerned with exotic music, nor a musicology of the ethnic — it is a discipline that holds out hope for a deeper understanding of all music» (How Musical Is Man? Seattle, 1973, 31). Before that, in 1969 Charles Seeger pointed out something similar: «Ethnomusicology is an approach to the study of any music, not only in terms of itself but also in relation to its cultural context.» Taking into account what had to be said here about ethno, we do not see any discrepancy between two notions given by Blacking — ’ethic music’ and ’all music’: for us they are simply equal because all musics are more or less ethnic, and all of us are more or less «exotic» in our own way and in the eyes of the others. If Clifford Geertz was right, and «art and the equipment to grasp it are made in the same shop» (1976), this shop for all branches of musicology is nothing but musical ethnohearing.

However, Blacking who had been so very much concern with our reintegration, believed that «we may be able to take the ’ethno’ out of ethnomusicology before long. Then we may once more have a unified musicology, a musicology truly fertilized and enriched by the contribution of ethnomusicology.» His idea was clear — to take ’ethno’ out and then to unite. What I am going to propose here is quite opposite — to add ’ethno’ (to musicology) and then to unite. A scholarship of the future which must unite musicology and ethnomusicology, Blacking called «a human science of the tonal art.» I prefer to call it, after all, «a science of musical hearing.»

The very idea of our reintegration is not so modern, after all. I would remind you a credo of a Russian musical thinker Aleksandr Serov (1820-1871) who in 1869, a far cry ago, had such a conceptual dream: «We have to consider …as a field of one common enormous science of „humanology“ („anthropology“ in a general sense) the science of folk music art, i.e., the folk song. This future ’musical embryology’ is closely related… with physiology…, ethnography…, history of people’s culture…, with the philology…, chiefly, in the unwritten, traditional monuments, since the musical embryos in each nation precede its ’written language’…». Now, at the turn of the 21st century, this dream sounds much more realistic than back in the 1860s but still we have a good deal to consider and discuss in order to find a methodologically appropriate mutual language.

As for me, I am ready to consider my term ’ethnohearing’ as a temporary building timber for the concept under discussion. Time will come when this term will be naturally abandoned — its part will be done. However, I am totally certain that only through ’ethnohearing’ we would be able to come to general notion of musical hearing in full its meaning and capacity.

The oral presentation is not a right place to clarify and develop these arguable questions completely in the way that they need. I am not speaking, for instance, how exactly ethnohearing is coming into being in general and in each of us. I have another concern. I do not claim that each of us has just one and the only one ethnic/cultural hearing. That claim should be ridiculous in present time. This is similar to a linguistic situation — many of us speak not just one language and feel at home with two and sometimes more languages. The same if not more we have in music. For instance, I personally adore Beethoven and Schubert, Chopin and Tchaikovsky, New Orleans jazz and Yiddish melody, Russian and Gypsy romances — I am a musical polyglot but my ethnohearing is not a boundless or, let me say, stretch. There is music that speaks me nothing and there is music that I do not want listen to at all — it makes me sleepy or irritable. And the same, I believe, more or less with all of us. Our ethnohearing selects, governs and creates. We are hearing what we are — apparently who we are — what we potentially can articulate ourselves. If we have, for instance, a heavy Russian accent speaking English, it means we have a heavy Russian ethnohearing. In principle, hearing and articulation are closely connected. Musically we are what we are able to hear, what our hearing can digest with joy and bliss.

I am quite aware of the regrettable fact that using the «ethno-hyphen» in modern terminology tends to be associated with values. Being far away from this belittling habit myself, I do hope that my notion of ethno-hearing will be taken simply as related to ethnicity in a broad sense, to ethnic identity and to ethnic groups. I proceed from the conviction that all of us, we are ethnic. However, I do not narrow that notion to a straightforward ethnicity — first of all, many of us are bi-musical and even more musical even if we are not bi-ethnic and more ethnical ourselves, and second, our ethnicity might be realized not just directly but very much indirectly as well. For instance, when Felix Mendelssohn wrote in 1842 that «the thoughts which are expressed to me by music that I love are not too indefinite to be put into words, but on contrary, too definite,» [Leo Treitler, general ed. Source Readings in Music History. New York: Norton, 1997, p.?] the crucial moment for me concentrates here not in the well-known esthetic statement of the composer but in his very personal reservation «that I love» — that love had, as its basis, if not ethno- but certainly culturally definite hearing; that love is a sign of his audible selectivity and preferability, i.e., a sure sign of truly deep perception and understanding. And when Bruno Nettl rightly wrote that «in order to learn a new mazurka by Chopin, one must read his notes with an aural knowledge of how Chopin is supposed to sound,» (Nettl, 1983, 69), again I interpret it as a recognition of inner hearing stylistically and culturally determinate.

Ethnohearing and inner auditory tuning (I insist to reintroduce this notion, created by Boleslav Yavorsky [1877-1942], to our scholarship but have no time here to reveal it properly) are interconnected (1), and they are in a constant process of transformation and developing (2). Both phenomena — as the ethnos itself — is an organic combination (the unity) of stable and mobile — historically and personally alike.

Ethnohearing, in a way like language, cut music up, organizes it into different domains which we are partly accepting, partly rejecting. Therefore I would add to the well-known triad of Alan Merriam — concept, behavior, and sound as three areas equally central to ethnomusicological work, the fourth one — musical (ethno/cultural)hearing, and this one, as I believe, should be seen as the central issue of music study in general. If we dare to repeat that in the beginning was the Word — and consequently, in the beginning was Sound, it means that in the foundation of human’s sensitivity should be Hearing. Exactly this phenomenon could help us to explain why researchers of world music can not study all of the world’s music «on its own terms» and why they can not «avoid injecting certain of their own values» (Nettl, 1983, 315), and, as a result, as Bruno Nettl rightly pointed out, «ethnomusicologists sometimes appear to be hypocritical» (ibid.). This is a serious reason why John Blacking’s legacy is so important today — it was him who studied the musicologist’s perception of a musical structure as «only one of a number of perceptions that must be taken into account in arriving at an explanation of the musical product» (John Blacking, The Problem of «Ethnic» Perceptions in the Semiotics of Music, in: «The Sign in Music and Literature,» ed. by Wendy Steiner. Austin: Univ. of Texas Press, 1981, p. 184).

However, we are different not only personally. Even within one and the same ethnic culture there are several subcultures which are differentiated from auditory perspective and, consequently, by musical hearing.

According to Bruno Nettl, «each culture has its musical strata» (1983, 310), and «each culture has its own way of classifying music,» «each culture tends to have some kind of hierarchy in its musical system» (305). At the same tome, he gives the most widely used grouping — 1/ primitive, 2/ popular, 3/ folk, and 4/ art or classical music (304). What I am trying to do, proceeds from a somewhat another criteria. This is what I put forward for a further consideration.

Musical culture of every nation consists (at least today) of several layers, several inalienable and coexistent strata: 1/ folklore (i.e., totally oral), 2/ religious as first professional (oral and sometimes written; church and shamans are alike included), 3/oral professional (for example, classical maqamat in Central Asia, Gypsy wedding music in Eastern Europe, all kinds of minstrels up to the oral-written French chanson, and so on, and so forth — a huge variety of historical forms), 4/ written professional (as a rule, it goes from the West-European «new» musical tradition rooted primarily in Germany, France and Italy; all composers of modern European type of compositions are included; and so-called «third trend» in Russian music of today as well- I mean compositions which are stylistically between classic and light music), 5/ pop-, rock- etc. mass culture as a creation of modern technology (radio, phonograph, tape recorder, turntable, record player, film-movie, TV, amplifier, and so on, and so forth) and mass media, which is completely a child of the 20th century.

What is essential, all five strata pretend to be the only stratum for those who cultivate this or that stratum, for those who chose this or that one, for those who select this or that stratum as their own and their only window to the world — at least, for the time being (for it might be a case of a generation only, not a whole class/stratum of a society). Besides, each type — for their consumers and «public» — reflects the whole world. It means, all of them have a particular type of musical hearing of their own as well. Each culture consists of several ethnohearings — typologically of these five huge groups. It is extremely important to understand — not in order to bridge these hearings for the sake of hasty and practically meaningless integration — but in order to take them in consideration all the time. It does not mean that each of us today may not have several different hearings which are depending on our ability to accommodate different styles of life and cultural environments. We do have several hearings and do select them accordingly to situation — being, for instance, in a restaurant, at the concert hall, or listening to an opera.

Before we will turn to figures to illustrate the model I am going to propose, let us sum up the gist of our premises and reasoning.

1. Twentieth-century musicology is divided. Its reintegration is a mission for the twenty-first. The domains we need to integrate include musicology (with all its historical and theoretical branches), ethnomusicology, and anthropology (with all its approaches — historical, sociological, cultural, biological and psychological). The last is the key, because the most effective way to integrate all music-centered disciplines would be the «anthropologization» of musicology: in other words, its transformation from a text-oriented discipline to one oriented toward human culture.

2. The prefix «ethno» ought eventually to be recognized not as a contentious term, but as a universal category for all fields in the humanities. To ensure equality in the process of reintegration, we must not omit «the ethno» but, by contrast with John Blacking, add it to the theoretical base of all music studies. This is the best way to achieve a synthesis of musicology and anthropology.

3. The key concept for such a synthesis is «ethnohearing.» I am introducing this term to denote the way we inevitably perceive and make music according to our own auditory experience. Ethnohearing, which is a foundation of music-ethnic identity, belongs to all of us as ethnophores (bearers of ethnicity) and therefore can be a unifying force in music studies rather than a badge of difference.

4. In order to avoid the oversimplification that two-dimensional diagrams entail, I am proposing a pyramidal or three-dimensional table to encompass the model of reintegration that my paper serves to introduce.


Here is my illustrations.

1. In order to understand the correlation of all disciplines under consideration, I suggest to group them first in three big «sections»:

a/ musicology (in a broad sense including all branches of music theory, history, esthetics, acoustics etc.);

b/ ethnomusicology (including the European «musical folkloristics»);

c/ anthropology (again in a broad sense including all human-being-centered disciplines and first of all folkloristics, history, sociology, psychology, linguistic anthropology etc.).


2. If we put them on the list as is [see figure 1], they will show a centrifugal tendency — in fact, they strive to infinity. We have to confine them somehow. Let us make a triangle with a centripetal tendency. [See figure 2]. This is an important moment. At the center we would have the object of all disciplines under consideration, i.e., music in all its world-wide variety, or music-culture, if you wish. Of course, you remember Charles Seeger’s lovely answer to the question: «What is the middle in musicology?» — «… music, in the middle of thing.» (Seeger, 1970; ed. 1977, p. 103).

Let music again be in the middle of all reintegrated disciplines, now and for ever.

3. This is a right time to remind of a melosphere concept. Figuratively speaking, music-cultures on the earth and melosphere in the heavens are connected as well as all human-centered disciplines are deeply united between themselves, music and melosphere. Here is a three-dimensional figure which called upon the concept of the pyramidal building for music and musical disciplines alike, with a melosphere at the top of a picture. (See Fig. 3).

You may ask me, why there is no ethnohearing in the final model? First, because it is …everywhere: Ethnohearing — mentally and operationally, it is Us. Besides, and this is more important for the question, ethnohearing IS in the model — look at all these sides of the triangle and at all the sides of the pyramid: exactly these sides tend to show the (ethno)hearing which solely unites all of essential points in my scheme.

As you well remember, Charles Seeger, who in the end of the 1960s intensively worked on a unitary field theory for musicology, pointed out:

«… two-dimensional drafting dangerously oversimplifies. Three dimensions would be better, but that is beyond my ability» (1977, 125).

To overcome this obstacle, one has to take into account all «hypostases» of music, music-cultures and thinking about music both — as I told, figuratively speaking, — on the earth and in the heavens. Indeed, what we are not able to accomplish as humble human beings, our musical hearing definitely can. Such is the imaginative absolute (Ya. Golosovker) of music-making in action. As Victor Zuckerkandl beautifully phrased, «…as the tones become melody, in the midst of the audible world a door opens; we enter, as though in a dream or a fairy tale, not so much into another world as another mode of existence within our familiar world» (Man the Musician, 1973, 87).

After all, John Blacking was absolutely right: only anthropology «provides the best reasons for developing an essentially musical theory that is not ethnocentric» (1991, 62). Fortunately, it is not ethnocentric, indeed, but happily it is still ethno-oriented. There is no discrepancy here, and our inner auditory tuning which is always with us — as terrestrial gravitation while we are on the earth — is the best token for that. If to hear means to be, then to hear ethnically/culturally means to be — and to survive — ethnically/culturally. After all, isn’t this what we all so fervently desire?


[Toronto, 2000]