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Welcome, O life! I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race.
James Joyce
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Musicology is the scholarly study of music. The word is used in narrow, broad and intermediate senses. In the narrow sense, musicology is confined to the music history of Western cultural elites. In the intermediate sense, it includes all relevant humanities and a range of musical forms, styles, genres and traditions. In the broad sense, it includes — at least potentially — all musically relevant disciplines and all manifestations of music in all cultures.


  • It is important to remember that there really is very little resembling criticism of any sort in musicology.
  • Considering how readily musicologists criticize one another — witness the merciless footnotes (and reviews) of so many books and articles — the innocent bystander must find it strange that they remain unwilling to venture judgments about the quality of the music around which they work... But it is hard to see what can be the purpose of musicology if not to advise people on what to hear and how to hear it. Separating out the good, the bad and the indifferent, and helping listeners enjoy the best, is surely the least we can offer society in return for our keep.

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