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About the Book

Breaking with a tradition in ethnomusicology of ethnographic and fieldwork-based studies, Music Endangerment: How Language Maintenance Can Help explores the global phenomenon of endangered music genres, and investigates ways in which the field of language maintenance may inform efforts to support them. The book is a response to the increasing sense of international urgency to address the wide-scale endangerment of intangible cultural heritage across the world, including music.

Through the concepts, practical tools and recommendations it presents, Music Endangerment serves as a point of reference and departure for better supporting endangered music genres, particularly those of indigenous and minority peoples. Ethnomusicologists, policy-makers, cultural heritage workers, and culture-bearers themselves will find this book useful. The author expresses her hope that ultimately, Music Endangerment will benefit the communities whose music genres are facing challenges to their viability.

The distinctive features of the book include:

  • a comparative framework that articulates for the first time the theoretical, philosophical, and practical similarities and differences between languages and music genres, specifically in relation to their viability;

  • a systematic identification of five key areas in which theory and practice relating to music sustainability needs to be improved, along with carefully constructed suggestions of how language maintenance may provide pathways to this end;

  • a twelve-factor Music Vitality and Endangerment Framework (MVEF), which represents the first in-depth, standardized, replicable tool for gauging the level of vitality of music genres;

  • a case study of a specific music genre (Vietnamese ca trù) demonstrating how the innovative MVEF might function in practice, and how it may be employed to further support genres whose viability is under threat; and

  • a set of six key recommendations to progress efforts in music sustainability, which may guide the future development of approaches, initiatives, and policies in this area.


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