History of Music – A Further Approach


  • Carmen Chelaru "George Enescu" National University of Arts Iași




history, music, global, Oxford, Strohm


This essay emerged from an article in the press this year, regarding the ‘infamous’ decision of Oxford University to ‘give up teaching classical music in the name of political correctness’! My first thought was to take this journalistic excess seriously. However, knowing the prestige of this famous university, I wanted to know the real facts that caused this piece of news… and I soon found out the true data. Firstly: It is not – it cannot be! – about the elimination of classical music from the current academic and artistic activity. It is about the globalisation of musicologists’ interest and efforts toward the contemporary musical phenomenon. Secondly: The project called ‘Towards a Global History of Music’ was indeed initiated by the University of Oxford, but it was adopted and carried out by five other European universities, along with several internationally renowned musicologists outside the academic sphere. Thirdly: The project took place between 2013-2017, and in the years that followed, the main coordinator, Professor Reinhard Strohm, edited and published three volumes of studies on music from all over the world, in the past and nowadays, signed by researchers of the most diverse ages and backgrounds. Fourthly: They admit that the idea about a global musical history is not new - it goes back to more than two centuries ago, to the time of the Enlightenment of the 18th century. Fifth: What the historians, musicologists, ethnomusicologists, sociologists in question firmly and constructively assert is the correlation of the data provided by the observations and findings on the musical phenomenon of humanity. They thus insist on overcoming Eurocentric conceptions, in other words, approaching the musical phenomenon from anywhere in the world, without automatically relating it to models or units of measurement exclusively generated by European values or history. Moreover, a comparison between various musical phenomena in the world can help to explain and understand some realities, circumstances and, consequently, the elimination of some prejudices.