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date: 25 June 2022

Abstract and Keywords

Beginning in the late 1970s, ethnomusicologists began to engage with ideas from phenomenology (a movement within continental European philosophy). This article discusses key concepts from phenomenology and explores how ethnomusicologists developed them to address fundamental issues in the study of music and culture—the problem of musical meaning and musical interpretation, the nature of the performance event, and questions of music and being. Tracing the intellectual history of phenomenological ethnomusicology, the article synthesizes findings from research on a broad range of world areas and offers new insights into a variety of topics of interest to contemporary music scholars, including embodiment, self-reflexivity, flow and musical involvement, trance, time and temporality, and research methods. The article closes by discussing the explosion of phenomenological work in ethnomusicology that has occurred in the last seven years and suggests new directions for research, including ethnomusicological inquiry into the politics of music.

Keywords: ethnomusicology, phenomenology, hermeneutics, experience, embodiment, flow, musical meaning, interpretation, performance, temporality

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