Published on 29.04.2019

Call For Paper - JUDGING MUSIC

Music isn’t intrinsically beautiful, ugly, outstanding, or vulgar. These adjectives emerge due to judgement. This judgement is the result of a biased evaluation that reflects the individual and societal identity of the listener. We see ourselves most of the time while interpreting music as an observer independent from status or society. But our musical judgements are significantly affected by events in our society and environment. However, we have a musical world that sets us apart to an extent from our surroundings and that is connected to our personal experiences. Music thus confronts us as a phenomenon that has become relative in terms of its value and meaning between different societies and between individuals of the same society. No matter the extent to which people’s variable states of mind spontaneously separate individuals from one another, at the foundation of musical judgement lies a process of interpreting the world for society, culture, or their idealized philosophy a person considers as belonging to himself or herself. Each state of mind finds its provision within this process.

What we hear as music is not the clear regulation of sounds but the agglomeration of sounds to produce clear meaning for us. When this doesn’t occur, it becomes difficult to make a judgement and to separate music from noise. Therefore, our music world covers only genres of music that express meaning for us even though there are a wonderful plethora of genres of music. Our musical judgements are shaped over these meanings. Because musical meaning is dependent on the individual and societal interactions that create itself, it is difficult to discuss a judgement when these interactions are not present. This is the reason why some genres of music appear entirely incomprehensible and weird. But regardless of how odd or ridiculous it appears to those looking from the outside, each genre of music is meaningful for its listener. The relativity of musical judgement lies here. People judge music that has no corresponding value in their worlds of meaning differently than the listeners of that music. Comparison and hierarchies are asserted, and claims of superiority emerge. It comes to the fore how simple or complex music is and how much it “developed” over time. But what we judge regarding music is not the order of the sounds but what they represent.

Musical judgements show our personalities and the values we represent. They determine our relationship with music. They restrict our musical experience. Thought on every level from the words of simple admiration for music to academic analyses gets its share from these judgements. Therefore, it is one of the primary problems of all types of studies regarding music.

The fourth issue of the Ethnomusicology Journal discusses the relativity of music, musical meaning, and the value of music under the heading of judging music. It includes ideas regarding issues such as the foundation of musical judgement, the role of an individual, society, or culture in musical judgements, the meaning and judgement relationship in music, judgements regarding musical genre, performance, and representation, perspective on different genres and cultures of music, the validity of musical hierarchy, and the objectivity of comparisons.

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Final sending date: August 19, 2019

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