Archaeology of Music

Kenny Jenkins, Folk Musician and Historian, Lecturer, and Consultant for the Performing Rights Society wrote this article following a 2 hour session where we looked through a box of old discarded records and chose 2 of them to discuss:

It all demonstrates the central premise of cultural studies: a study of any cultural artefact will reveal all sorts of truths about the society in which it was produced. It's a bit like archaeology.

It seemed that we got into some very interesting territory regarding history and memory. History involves the study of documents, which are always accounts of memory, and the historian must always be allowing for the falsification, intentional or otherwise, of records.

The archaeologist, on the other hand, is concerned with the extraction of meaning from objects. Proverbially, that which cannot speak cannot lie. The archaeological artefact has not usually been produced to communicate a meaning or memory to posterity. It is for this reason that it can be trusted over an archived historical record which has been made in order to direct historical understanding in a particular direction.

It has frequently been said that the histories of wars are written by the winners. I think we have been looking at the culture of some of the defeated tribes who were comprehensively crushed in the cultural wars of conquest in the 20th century.

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