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The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music by Various

Volumes currently available: Africa (872 pp.); South America (1,104 pp.); The United States and Canada (1,390 pp.); Southeast Asia (1,050 pp.); South Asia (1,104 pp.); Europe (1,176 pp.); Australia and the Pacific Islands (1,116 pp.). Scheduled for late 2001: East Asia; Middle East; World's Music. $250 per volume. Garland/Routledge

I am awed by the Garland Encyclopedia of World Music's phenomenal reach. Garland has the goods to achieve its goal of becoming "every scholar's first place to search," but its articulate and accessible style will appeal to audiences much broader than those steeped in ethnomusicology.

Any of the regions it covers could merit multiple volumes. Within one encyclopedia, though, you're not going to find better. It's beautiful to look at, while meeting the challenge of representing the regions' musical complexities. It spans traditional styles to movie and pop music.

These folks know what they are doing. They've made these monster volumes useful by employing reader "guideposts" such as well-constructed headings, offset glossary, and thematic boxes. You don't have to dig through fine print to eke out a concept. Ample white space, used for example to set off song lyrics, gives the authors room to lay out their ideas. Volumes are packed with drawings, photographs, maps, charts, song texts, and ample listings of resource and research tools. Each regional volume comes with an audio CD indexed to the text.

Look for the Garland Encyclopedia at your library. If they don't have it, ask them to get it. Or treat yourself. The cost may be a reach, but if you have an interest in any region's music, I can't recommend a better buy.

" In the Shona language, no word precisely translates the Western concept of "music." The Shona have separate words for singing (kuimba) and for playing an instrument (kuridza 'cause to cry out'). Since dancing includes both instruments and songs, the word for dancing (kutamba 'play') implies the combination of these three elements. The Shona describe particularly good musical performances as causing people to run off and allow their cooking pots to boil over.

?"Music of the Shona of Zimbabwe," in Africa

" We do not usually associate such expressive aspects of culture as music and dance with technology, let alone medical technology, but this is exactly how Tumbuka speak of vimbuza music. Many nchimi and lay Tumbuka relate the music to the batteries in radios: as batteries provide energy for radios to sound, so does music provide the energy for diviner-healers to "see." One produces electricity through chemical reactions, the other produces heat through music and dance. ?"Tumbuka Healing," in Africa

" Other African pop styles have deliberately maintained an indigenous sound through the use of traditional instruments (in an otherwise contemporary instrumental lineup) to appeal to Western audiences whose need for roots reflects their own sense of cultural loss. The growing demand for "authentic" African music by the world-music market has profoundly affected the nature of the production of music....

?"Popular Music in Africa," in Africa

 

ISBN: 0415972930

Order it now from Amazon.com!