Steven Feld, professor of anthropology and music, University of Texas, Austin; author of Sound and Sentiment: Birds, Weeping, Poetics and Song in Kaluli Expression (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1990):
Marina Roseman, Healing Sounds from the the Malaysian Rain Forest (University of California Press, 1991). This book "about the role of music in shamanistic healing rituals among the Temiar [people] in the Malaysian rain forest...quite skillfully and evocatively links issues of music and gender and healing and ritual and ecology," says Feld. "There's never been a study of the way in which music not only reflects healing properties but implements them.... An extremely significant contribution."
Kay Kaufman Shelemay, professor of music, Wesleyan; author of A Song of Longing: An Ethiopian Journey (1989):
Ruth Finnegan, The Hidden Musicians: Music-making in an English Town (Cambridge University Press, 1989). This "study of a local musical tradition" is "ambitious in its scope and sophisticated in its method," says Shelemay. "It cuts across what are too often seen as separate worlds: the classical world, the brass band world, the folk music world, the worlds of musical theater, of jazz, of rock and pop... It's urban ethnomusicology at its best."
William Malm, professor of musicology, University of Michigan; author of Music Cultures of the Pacific, the Near East and Asia (1967; reprint, Prentice Hall, 1995):
Steven Feld, Sound and Sentiment: Birds, Weeping, Poeties and Song in Kaluli Expression (University of Pennsylvania Press, second revised edition, 1990): Malm calls Feld's study of New Guinea music "very powerful...one of the first books to show how music theory operates in an oral tradition, and how it reflects its environment." According to Malm, Feld ferrets out an extensive vocabulary for musical concepts and traces its metaphors back to local surroundings: bird calls, or the region's plentiful waterfalls. "We tend to look out there and see people in the jungle singing, and think there's no intellectual context," says Malm. "But if you deal with people long enough you realize they have the words for scales, for intervals, for chords. Then the question is, where did the words come from?"
Bruno Nettl, professor of music and anthropology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; author of The Study of Ethnomusicology (University of Illinois Press, 1983):
Stephen Blum, Philip V. Bohlman, and Daniel M. Neuman, eds., Ethnomusicology and Modern Music History (University of Illinois Press, 1991). The fifteen "excellent" essays gathered here, says Netti, look at "the interaction of [different] musics, largely in the twentieth century." Some studies delve into pop music, "the way Western and non-Western musics have combined to create Juju music in western Africa, or panpipe music in Peru." Others analyze the cross-pollination of Western and nonwestem art music, "Ravi Shankar...or [the musical obsessions of] German-speaking Jewish immigrants in Israel."
Daniel M. Neuman, director of the School of Music and professor of music, University of Washington; author of The Life of Music in North India: The Organization of an Artistic Tradition (University of Chicago Press, 1990):
Bruno Netti and Philip Bohlman, eds., Comparative Musicology and the Anthropology of Music (University of Chicago Press, 1991). This anthology of essays, an "accessible intellectual history of the cross-cultural study of music," marks what Neuman deems an "historic occasion: the first occasion when a group of ethnomusicologists got together and thought about their discipline in historica1 terms...in all its ethnocentric limitation."
Are there any great books you think we missed? Let us know.