Although I was born in Chicago, I was raised in New Jersey. I grew up at the end of a dead end street. As a kid in Plainfield , NJ in the late 1960′s and early 1970′s, my friends and I ran around the neighborhood visiting our neighbors, many of whom were first or second generation immigrants from around the world. Being a skinny kid, my friends mothers wanted to fatten me up. Every place I went I was fed. And every house had different music being played. So I heard music from many places in the world. I remember enjoying traditional Irish music, Louis Armstrong, Top 40, R&B, Motown, Tito Puente, The Beatles, Tom Jones, Wes Montgomery, Bossa Nova, Swedish folk songs, Allen Toussaint, Dr. John, classical music, 1950′s Doo-Wop and rock and roll, and more.
As a teenager, now living in a rural area of NJ, I visited local libraries to read about and listen to more jazz than I could ever find at nearby stores. Additionally, I also borrowed music anthologies released by The Library of Congress and The Smithsonian Institute. These anthologies focused on music from various parts of the world. I enjoyed these recordings and learned a bit about the music from the liner notes and learning songs by ear. Some of these recordings were engineered by scholars trained in ethnomusicology. However, most of these recordings were older than the established field of ethnomusicology and thus were made in a predecessor discipline such as comparative musicology or folk song studies. Although the distinctions are significant with respect to the scientific and cultural conditions employed during the learning and transmission of the research, it is not the purpose of this paper to delve into those distinctions here. Future essays will.
This is the first of three papers originally written in the fall of 2011 for a course called, “Native American Perspectives in Music”. As a prerequisite for this course I studied Anthropology. My ‘go to” text was Anthropology: A Global Perspective by Raymond Scupin and Chris...Read More