1. Introduction

In the course of its history ethnomusicology has come to include a whole series of different areas of scholarship. In the classical sense of the word it is generally understood to mean the study of the music of illiterate peoples and social groups which pass down their music orally. It encompasses all the musical expressions of the so-called primitive races, together with what we in the Western hemisphere term traditional folk music. But, from its very beginning, ethnomusicology has also included the study of the music of the non-European high cultures. However, its scope is not limited merely to music in its narrower sense. It also takes in dance, as well as other quasi-musical means of communication such as by drum language. Some of its proponents see ethnomusicology as a branch of musicology, while other scholars lay particular stress not only on the question of musical forms, but also on the view of music as a form of human action within a particular socio-cultural context.

The widening spread of communications across the whole globe, progress in the field of electronics and the boom in the media, particularly since the Second World War, have brought a wider crossfertilization of various cultures as well as the growth of entirely new sub-cultural areas. While one group of ethnomusicologists might feel particularly bound during such a period of change to seek so-called 'authentic, traditional music', another group is conducting research into the products of acculturation or into the types of music common to much broader population bands. It is this latter group of researchers which is beginning to leave behind the traditional areas of music research and more and more is making the focal point of its increasingly sociologically rooted studies city-based musicians and their reciprocal relationship with 'hits', pop music, classical music and 'genuine' folk music.

The different routes being taken in research might be seen as a quadripolar field of tension between tradition and progress, musicology and anthropology or sociology. Running alongside, above and even right through them, there is also an area of research which is essentially rooted in psychomusicology and psychoacoustics and which seeks to investigate the psychosomatic effects of music. The reason why this type of research and its practical applications, such as musical therapy, are expanding so rapidly· lies above all in the speed with which the relevant electronic apparatus for acoustic analysis and synthesis is being developed.

All areas of ethnomusicology, however, share as their common base, and regard as by far and away their most important source, the sound recording. It is easy to explain the reasons for its dominant role. In the case of historical musicology, dedicated as it is to the study of the musical products of the West which have been handed down in written form, source material comes in the shape of musical notation of compositions which can be visually studied and, therefore, analysed and described. In the case of music passed down by oral tradition, however, this written, visual record has first to be made before analysis and description become possible. In the past, trained scholars might well have been able to produce extraordinary transcriptions of music directly after hearing it, but it was only with the invention of sound recording techniques that a medium became available with which scholars were offered an opportunity to examine the music in detail by the means of a play-back after the event. Just how essential sound recording was to become, was demonstrated by J.A. Ellis' studies of various musical scales which are generally regarded as the beginning of ethnomusicology. He showed that the Western tonal system was definitely not a 'natural' one, let along the only valid one, but rather that the vast majority of non-European tonal systems differed enormously from it and from each other.

Thus the European system of notation which serves perfectly for performing artists familiar with our culture, was suddenly shown to be inadequate for the detailed work of transcription of musics of foreign origin. Despite certain adaptations, this drawback continues to exist. Consequently, aural transcriptions ceased to be of central importance to many scholars who, instead, gave greater credence to automatic transcriptions (see also section 7) as a basis for objective analysis.

But sound recording provides more than just the basis for the transcription of a melody. It provides a more or less accurate picture of all the physical phenomena which come under the heading of music, and reproduces music in all its complexity of melody, harmony, rhythm and timbre. It has become, therefore, the basis of a musicology which goes well beyond the study of melody and it is interesting to observe how Western historical musicology, which for so long had used notation as its basic source, has only recently discovered the value of sound documentation and has begun to conduct systematic studies of interpretation.

The history of ethnomusicology is, therefore, inseparably bound up with that of sound recording and sound archives.

In 1890 the anthropologist Jesse Walter Fewkes pioneered the use of the phonograph when he recorded songs of the Passamaquoddy Indians. In Europe, the Hungarian Béla Vikár is regarded as its pioneer for his work in recording traditional folk music and dialects. With the opening in 1899 of the Phonogramrnarchiv (Phonographic Archive) of the Academy of Sciences in Vienna, the first scientific sound archive in the world was established, having as its aim the systematic collection of this new type of source material by the production, acquisition and preservation of sound recordings for all areas of scholarship. This was followed in 1900 by the Société d' Anthropologie in Paris; in 1900-05 by the Phonogrammarchiv in Berlin, whose first director was the ethnomusicologist Erich M. von Hornbostel; and in 1902-03 by a sound archive in Leningrad. Alongside these archives, collections of sound recordings were built up in museums and libraries and later by radio stations which, especially in England and Japan, paid particular attention to traditional folk music.

While in the early days phonographs were used for field recordings, from the 1920s onwards the gramophone also came to be used. But it was not until the 1950s and the development of transistorised tape recorders that devices were introduced which made phonographic field research possible on a grand scale.

Throughout Eastern Europe the systematic phonographic documentation of each nation's musical wealth has been conducted on an enormous scale and in most of these countries the total number of ethnomusicological recordings exceeds the 100,000 mark. In the West, in the meantime, many regional research institutions were directing their efforts towards recording the musical folklore of their countries. Again, it was the great centres of ethnomusicology at Berlin, Vienna, Paris, Amsterdam, Washington, Bloomington and Los Angeles, to name but a few, which paid particular attention to recording the musical cultures of non-European countries. Happily, these have been joined in recent times by a growing number of research centres in African and Asian countries. Encouraged not least by UNESCO policy, with programmes such as The Ten Year Plan for the Preservation and Promotion of the Performing Arts and Music in Africa and Asia, African and Asian ethnomusicologists are increasingly receiving the support of their governments which, more than ever, are taking an interest in the study and preservation of their national cultural wealth as an essential component of the heritage of the whole of humanity.