Insider or outsider? Exploring some digital challenges in ethnomusicology

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Egan, Patrick
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Taylor & Francis
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This paper considers debates that have taken place in ethnomusicology as a result of engagement with the classification of data. Landmark projects over the past century introduced various classification systems and initiated important debates within the field. From the author’s perspective, classification of data is understood as a necessary precursor to computation in these projects. Classificatory thinking is used here as a theme to explore debates that have arisen when abstractions of musical practice have been suggested for use with ethnomusicology. The paper proposes that a recent approach to research practice for embedding computation adds to ongoing interdisciplinary work, demonstrating novel ways of contextualizing archival materials with ethnography alongside computation. The approach attempted to strike a balance for engaging large amounts of data in ethnomusicology. The paper argues that some resulting tensions arising from classification lead to insights, which cannot be drawn by ethnomusicological methods alone.
Historical ethnomusicology , Ethnomusicology , Digital humanities , Computation , Metadata , Classificatory thinking , Classification , Seán Ó Riada Collection
Egan (Pádraig Mac Aodhgáin), P. (2021) ‘Insider or outsider? Exploring some digital challenges in ethnomusicology’, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, 46(4), pp. 477–500. doi: 10.1080/03080188.2021.1872144.