In this highly praised and seminal work, Alan Merriam demonstrates that music is a social behavior—one worthy and available to study through the methods of anthropology. In it, he convincingly argues that ethnomusicology, by definition, cannot separate the sound-analysis of music from its cultural context of people thinking, acting, and creating.
The study begins with a review of the various approaches in ethnomusicology. He then suggests a useful and simple research model: ideas about music lead to behavior related to music and this behavior results in musical sound. He explains many aspects and outcomes of this model, and the methods and techniques he suggests are useful to anyone doing field work. Further chapters provide a cross-cultural round-up of concepts about music, physical and verbal behavior related to music, the role of the musician, and the learning and composing of music.
The Anthropology of Music illuminates much of interest to musicologists but to social scientists in general as well.