Experience culture through music in Library Ethnomusicology resource!

Experience culture through music with Ethnomusicology: Global Field Recordings, the Library’s new online resource! Immerse yourself in the music and culture of societies far and near. Hear and see traditional music from China performed on the xiao (bamboo flute) and erhu (two-stringed fiddle), West African music on the gyil, Jarocho music from Veracurz played on the wooden arpa jarocha, or hear conversation and slide guitar in a 1961 field recording of Texas blues master Mance Lipscomb.

Photo of gyil instrument: a set of rectangular, vertical, wooden blocks, decreasing in size from left to right,.

[The West African gyil] is a gourd-resonated wooden xylophone played with two sticks. The gourds have holes that are covered with a spider web to make a buzzing sound when played. Some have extended frames so that the instrument can be hung from the neck and played in a parade.

These provide only a sampling of the thousands of audio field recordings, interviews, educational recordings, videos, field notebooks, images, correspondence and ephemera available from 60 field collections dating from the mid-twentieth century to the early twenty-first century.

Compiled and produced in collaboration with the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive and the Ethnomusicology Archive at the University of Washington, this resource documents more than music; it studies how music and culture interact. From Alaska to the Pacific Islands, West Africa to Indonesia, you can experience music performed at celebrations, rituals, religious ceremonies, rites of passage, funerals, and more. Some collections feature finding aids, notes, and dissertations made alongside the recordings, providing further insight into cultural context.

Ethnomusicology: Global Field Recordings is one of the many online resources which you can find on the Library’s A-Z Databases page. Also, check out our list of new online resources. It’s updated regularly as the Library’s collection expands!

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