Listening to the Dead: Toward 21st-century Music Histories

Suzanne G. Cusick


This paper assumes as a premise that music histories, like all histories, result from a conscious choosing of one’s cultural ancestors. By asking who ‘the ancestors’ would logically be for musicians active in the contemporary United States, it implies the connections between institutional music histories and the ideological formation of local or national identities, and acknowledges the increasing difficulty of managing those connections in an era of widespread migration and the oft-proclaimed decline of nation-states in favor of globalizing entities. Determinedly recommending neither universal or global adjustments to music historical pedagogy, it asserts profound structural changes in music history curricula as inevitable, names the network of economic and ideological interests against which curricular reformers struggle, and reaffirms the relevance of music history as a way to learn from the dead how it could be to be human. 

Parole chiave

History; Diaspora; Empire; Consumption

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DOI: 10.6092/issn.2039-9715/6566

Copyright (c) 2016 Suzanne G. Cusick

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