Ursula Hemetek and Adelaida Reyes (eds.): Cultural Diversity in the Urban Area: Explorations in Urban Ethnomusicology. Vienna: Institut für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Wien, 2007, 160 pp + 2 accompanying CD, ISBN 978-3-902153-03-6.
Although the term "Urban ethnomusicology" has already been one of the relatively standard terms for several decades, it is not frequently a topic of publications or scholarly meetings. One of them was the international symposium Cultural diversity in the Urban Area, held in Vienna in March 2006, organized by the UNESCO Working group Vienna and the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna. The annotated publication contains the proceedings of this entire symposium.
The first two texts were written by one of the pioneers of urban ethnomusicology, Adelaida Reyes. In the introduction she discusses the key question of the meaningfulness and/or content of the term "urban ethnomusicology" "...urban in urban ethnomusicology transcends the matter of geography, size, demography... It stands ... for a dynamic organism the character of which derives from the density of human interactions that it engenders and that, in turn, shape it. ..It defines the subject of urban ethnomusicological study by invoking the reciprocal relations between matrix and product, and by showing the object to be a product of that reciprocity" (p. 2) In that interpretation, urban ethnomusicology appears not as a curious field, but as an essential one: In the current world which is so dynamic and changing the city is a place where mutually connected cultural and musical data are expressed most clearly. "Urban Ethnomusicology Revisited. An Assessment of its Role in the Development of Its Parent Discipline" is actually a glance into the history of urban ethnomusicology (in which its author played an important role) by means of a look at changes in ethnomusicological paradigms.
"Almost all of the papers are case studies or allude to case studies. The majority are the result of fieldwork in Vienna. There are two examples of collaborative field-based research which together underscore the importance of collaboration in complex situations where the challenges are of a magnitude that can easily overwhelm a single fieldworker. In other respects, these examples provide interesting contrasts and juxtapositions that can stimulate ideas for future work
"One example consists of a set of three articles dedicated to studies of immigrant groups in Vienna. In her article, Ursula Hemetek outlines the background of the project as a whole and provides the theoretical underpinnings of a structure designed to accommodate individual studies and provide them with common ground so that, potentially, the structure becomes more broadly applicable. Hande Sağlam's study focuses on Turkish immigrants in Vienna. Sofija Bajrektareviæ seeks insights into the musical lives of immigrants from the former Yugoslavia by concentrating on their wedding customs.
"The other example is a joint project undertaken by Philip Bohlman, Sebastian Klotz and Lars-Christian Koch. It contrasts with the above in its choice of locale and in the way its findings are presented. While the Hemetek- Sağlam- Bajrektarević research takes place in a single city, Vienna, and presents its findings in three reports, the Bohlman-Klotz-Koch project takes on three cities - Chicago, Kolkata, and Berlin - and presents its findings in one article. Their study is explicitly comparative, stipulating bases for comparison that not only draw from the musical, the sociocultural and the historical, but answer to the transcultural and transnational aspects of their data.
"Along with Gerda Lechleitner's article on the Bukharian Jews and Barbara Kostner's and Paolo Vinati's on Italian music, the first set exemplifies the different ways in which groups respond to and interact with the same city - Vienna - and the ways in which those interactions find expression in each group's musical life. The three-city joint project, in contrast, aims for a framework out of which dramatic differences in the music of cities located in three separate continents can yield if not generalizations applicable to a wide range of urban musical lives, then linkages between the specificities of culturally and physically distant musical lives.
"The sheer volume of information that urban ethnomusicological studies generate and which the articles in this volume can only hint at, itself poses significant problems. Documentation, storage, delivery systems (to mention only the more obvious), all require criteria for selection based on careful attention to ethnographic and musical information collected prior to, during, and following fieldwork. While the data collected may differ according to the uses for which they are intended (e.g., for archival purposes or for writing a monograph), fieldwork is shown to be an important research component. In her field research on the Bukharian Jews, Gerda Lechleitner's concern is with the archival, and her article demonstrates the service that fieldwork can render to archival work. Regine Allgayer-Kaufmann, Christoph Reuter, Silke Aichberger, Eva Anzenbacher, Flora Königsberger, and Carolin Ratzinger, on the other hand, focus on the service that archives render to data and to those who use them. They show how a growing stream of data might be handled using the Online Content Management System currently in development for Vienna Music Institutions but open for use by scholars in general. Web-based with various search possibilities, this CMS is remarkable not only for its expandability but also for its versatility.
"In all of the articles in this volume, complexity is assumed; it informs field strategies, the collection, ordering and analysis of data, their storage and conservation for use by today's scholars and those of future generations. In the exposure that the authors give to the wealth of opportunities for scholarly work in urban areas; for the challenges that the articles bring to light; and for the invitation implicit in all these to test the boundaries and limits of orthodoxy the better to respond to emergent methodological needs, this volume and the symposium from which it derived opens wide the door to a debate that cannot but benefit all who are interested in ethnomusicology, in urban areas, and in the music that emanates from and animates them. For so doing, the organizers, in particular Ursula Hemetek and Gerlinda Haid, their partners and sponsors, the Institute of Folk Music Research and Ethnomusicology at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, and the UNESCO Working Group Vienna deserve the gratitude of the scholarly community." (p.11-12)
Table of Contents: Adelaida Reyes: Introduction; Adelaida Reyes: Urban Ethnomusicology Revisited. An Assessment of Its Role in the Development of Its Parent Discipline; Philip V. Bohlman, Sebastian Klotz, Lars-Christian Koch: Tale of Three Cities - Berlin, Chicago, and Kolkata at the Metropolitan Musical Crossroads; Ursula Hemetek: Musical Practice of Immigrants from the Former Yugoslavia and Turkey in Vienna I". Methodology, Concepts, Background, Structuring; Hande Sağlam: Musical Practice of Immigrants from the Former Yugoslavia and Turkey in Vienna II: Musical Identification and Transcultural Process among Turkish Immigrants in Vienna; Sofija Bajrektarević: Musical Practice of Immigrants from the Former Yugoslavia and Turkey in Vienna III: The ex-YU immigrant population in Vienna and its wedding customs; Gerda Lechleitner: The community of Bukharian Jews in Vienna - a preliminary report; Barbara Kostner, Paolo Vinati: "Volare, cantare...". Italian Music in Vienna; Regine Allgayer-Kaufmann, Chritoph Reuter, Silke Aichberger, Eva Anzenbacher, Flora Königsberger, Carolin Ratzinger: The Online Content Management System for Vienna Music Institutions; Ursula Hemetek, Hande Sağlam, Sofija Bajrektarević: Documentation of the Concert „Unexpected Viennese Musical Worlds" (Wiener musikalische Welten der anderen Art); List of Audio Examples on CD 1 and 2.