AN EXPLORATION OF THE AESTHETIC COMMONALITY AND DIVERSITY FOUND
IN SIGNIFICANT MUSIC ASSOCIATED WITH SELECTED RELIGIOUS RITES
Dr. Richard K. Weerts, Research Mentor
While some ethnomusicologists believe that it is not possible to make trans-cultural comparisons in musical aesthetics, there is a body of research that suggests such analysis is meaningful, if one uses the music associated with religious rites as the standard. Through this means, music from widely diverse cultures can be meaningfully compared. Using the term “significant music” to describe any culture’s “highest form” or most stylized ritual music facilitates conceptual scrutiny, even when the mechanical aspects of the music, such as instrumentation and formal construction, are radically dissimilar. Division of the world’s great religious diversity into the two broad categories of “Traditional Religions” and “Religions of the Book” may seem simplistic, but it does provide a clear system for a study in trans-cultural musical aesthetics.
[69 pages, plus handouts and audio clips]