Music Endangerment: How Language Maintenance Can Help

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Oxford University Press, 2014 - Music - 206 pages
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In response to increased focus on the protection of intangible cultural heritage across the world, Music Endangerment offers a new practical approach to assessing, advocating, and assisting the sustainability of musical genres. Drawing upon relevant ethnomusicological research on globalization and musical diversity, musical change, music revivals, and ecological models for sustainability, author Catherine Grant systematically critiques strategies that are currently employed to support endangered musics. She then constructs a comparative framework between language and music, adapting and applying the measures of language endangerment as developed by UNESCO, in order to identify ways in which language maintenance might (and might not) illuminate new pathways to keeping these musics strong. Grant's work presents the first in-depth, standardized, replicable tool for gauging the level of vitality of music genres, providing an invaluable resource for the creation and maintenance of international cultural policy. It will enable those working in the field to effectively demonstrate the degree to which outside intervention could be of tangible benefit to communities whose musical practices are under threat. Significant for both its insight and its utility, Music Endangerment is an important contribution to the growing field of applied ethnomusicology, and will help secure the continued diversity of our global musical traditions.

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chapter 1 What We Know and What Weve Done
chapter 2 Language and Music Vitality
chapter 3 Learning From Language Maintenance
chapter 4 How to Identify and Assess Endangerment
chapter 5 Measuring Up
chapter 6 Where to From Here?

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About the author (2014)

Catherine Grant is Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the School of Creative Arts, University of Newcastle, Australia. Grant's academic publications relating to music endangerment include articles in the International Journal of Intangible Heritage, the International Journal of Social Sustainability in Economic, Social and Cultural Context, and the entry on 'Music Sustainability' in Oxford Bibliographies Online. She has presented widely on the topic of music endangerment and vitality, including at conferences and symposia in Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Cambodia. In 2014, she was awarded a fellowship by the Australian Academy of the Humanities to continue her research into endangered Cambodian musical traditions. For details of publications, visit

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