1st Edition

Music Studies and Its Moment of Truth: Leading Change through America's Black Music Roots CMS Emerging Fields in Music

By Edward Sarath Copyright 2024

    Music Studies and Its Moment of Truth: Leading Change through America’s Black Music Roots presents a new framework for racial justice discourse in the context of music studies and education. Centering on Black American Music, the book issues challenges to both the conventional music studies paradigm and decades-old reform efforts.

    While Black American Music ranks high among America’s contributions to world culture, and offers musicians powerful tools for musical practice and understanding, this musical legacy remains remarkably marginalized even in activist conversations. The author argues that this reflects lingering and unexamined racist patterns that persist even among the most fervent voices for anti-racist interventions, and addresses the need for a higher-order activist framework within music studies.

    Delving further into the transformative changes needed to pursue racial justice, the short pieces collected in this book discuss topics including a shift from multicultural ideology to a transcultural model of musical pluralism, analysis of the multi-tiered nature of musical racism, the whitewashing of music studies activism, K-12 music teacher education as the locus for paradigmatic change and the potential for a transformed model of music studies to catalyze an overarching revolution in creativity and consciousness in both education and society at large. Critiquing the failures of progressive reform efforts and conventional reaction, this book argues that major changes are needed to the discourse on racism in music studies, and envisions new paradigms for the future.

    PART I: Critiquing the Critique 1 Initiation 2 Music of the Common Tongue 3 From Multicultural Slumber to Transcultural Awakening 4 The Whitewashing of Musicking: More Than a Small Thing 5 Philosophical Malpractice 6 Lifting the Veil on Linguistic Racism 7 The Word Jazz 8 From Deficit to Evolutionary Narratives 9 The Structure of Musical Racism: Anatomy of a Third Pandemic. PART II: Elevating Change Leadership 10 Dismantling Activist Homogeneity 11 Juxtapositional Activism 12 K-12 Music Teacher Education as Ground Zero 13 Epitaph for a Core Curriculum That Never Was 14 White Music Matters 15 Musicology Next: Improvisation, Sound, Soul, Cosmos.


    Edward Sarath is Professor of Music at the University of Michigan, USA, and Founder and Co-Director of the University of Michigan Program in Creativity and Consciousness Studies. He was Founding Chair of the University of Michigan Department of Jazz and Contemporary Music Studies.