Marin Marian-Bălașa (Romanian Academy of Sciences, Bucharest)

On the Ideological Fundaments of Ethnomusicology-Making
(from candid ideals to political designs)

Vortrag in englischer Sprache

DATUM: Montag, 13. Mai 2013

ZEIT: 18.00 - 19.30 Uhr

ORT: Seminarraum des Instituts für Volksmusikforschung und Ethnomusikologie

           1030 Wien, Ungargasse 14, 2. Stock

Although we knew since ages that music was never far from power, authority, and control, for decades and centuries we’ve sold it as a candid, refining social instrument. The same way, we developed discourses and analyses about music, we forgot the intellectual realm called musicology, and we passed it down to generations of theorists and careers. Yet, is musicology, and particularly the ethnomusicological branch, unfamiliar to subjective drives, ambitious projects, acquiring forces, political agendas, power-targeted designs? Can musicological intellectualism be free of/from mechanisms of seduction/desire, coercion/acquiring? And if not, can it be profitable to more people than certain group?
Naturally, this lecture relies on factual data and exploits cases from the history of folk music studies in East-Central Europe (mainly Romania). A major topic that will be presented and discussed now is the systematic/analytic work of typology (“National Collection of Folklore”), which was seen during communism as a quest for musical archetypes that, actually, would prove ancestry and trans-historical/eternal identity.
To a large extent, the lecture reveals common grounds for historical ethnomusicology worldwide: from the desire to provide raw materials to composers and educators, up to the desire to please nationalist politics by providing arguments for the ancestry, continuity, superiority and homogeneity of preferred/privileged ethnicities or nations. Such aspects are sensitive and debatable, yet they can still be found –  within consistent layers of the contemporary ethnomusicology-making. Finally, this lecture speaks of political inner drives, as they are reflected in – and also take advantage of – ethnomusicological studies.


Marin MARIAN-Bălașa, C. Brailoiu Institute of Ethnography and Folklore, Bucuresti, Romania
University of Theatrical Arts, Targu Mures, Romania, Bucuresti, Romania

Graduated from the Conservatory of Music in Cluj-Napoca. Dr. of Philosophy (University of Bucharest, 1995). Field research and postdoctoral studies in Romania, India, China, Iran, Scandinavian countries, Hungary, USA. Fulbright Fellow (associated with the University of Chicago, 2001-2002). President of the „Romanian
Fulbright Alumni“ Association (2004-2011). Founder of the academic journal „European Meetings in Ethnomusicology“ (from 1993), senior editor of the „Revista de etnografie si folclor / Journal of Ethnography and Folklore“ (from 2007).