How Musicology Became That Town in Footloose

By: Sara Haefeli (Ithaca College) // The eleventh century music theorist Guido d’Arezzo is best known for his innovations in musical notation. But he also made a clear distinction between those who could contemplate music’s theoretical complexities and those who actually sang or performed. Guido called those in the first category musicus (musicians), and those … Continue reading How Musicology Became That Town in Footloose

The Problem with Geniuses

By: Sara Haefeli (Ithaca College) // Our monolithic history of Western classical music is largely a story about the great composers, many of whom are described as geniuses. The label has convinced many that we can’t enter the inner circle of musicians and composers. It is an elite cadre, and the chances that a new … Continue reading The Problem with Geniuses

Does Music Evolve?

By: Sara Haefeli (Ithaca College) // The founding fathers of musicology had a tremendous impact on the shape of Western music history. The “victors” craft the historical narrative in order to make their victory seem inevitable. But how has our traditional study of music history made it seem like Western classical music is inevitably the … Continue reading Does Music Evolve?

If History Is Written by the Victors

By: Sara Haefeli (Ithaca College) // At the very beginning of the music history survey, right before diving into the music of the early Christian church, I play examples of chant from all over the world: a Ramayana Monkey Chant from Bali, a Muslim devotional chant from Ethiopia, and a Native American Pow Wow Grand … Continue reading If History Is Written by the Victors