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Community

The community of cultural musicologists, or the community of participants in this website? This is not a club, society or sect. By community we mean people sharing a common interest. I may have very specific ideas about cultural musicology but that doesn’t mean everybody else has to. In that sense it could be a non-constructible set of perspectives and approaches. Orientations Charles Seeger would say.

One of the objectives of this site is for cultural musicologists to share ideas about the methods, aims and content (Adler…) of the field. We have no ready-made definition of cultural musicology, just a number of perspectives, and the dynamics of this platform may clarify what we are doing and why. Cultural musicology, music sociology, anthropology of music, new musicology, critical musicology, historical musicology, ethnomusicology, cultural history of music all share a lot. But we are really interested in what is special to cultural musicology, what makes it stand out. At the same time we are really not interested in the type of debates we have seen around ethnomusicology or new musicology, debates about whether those terms should be abandoned, or what they really do and do not mean. Let us instead do the needful and get cracking, and in the process, as Webster’s 1828 suggests, enjoy…


COMMUNITY, n. (Webster’s 1828)

  1. Properly, common possession or enjoyment; as a community of goods. It is a confirmation of the original community of all things.
  2. A society of people, having common rights and privileges, or common interests, civil, political or ecclesiastical; or living under the same laws and regulations. This word may signify a commonwealth or state, a body politic, or a particular society or order of men within a state, as a community of monks; and it is often used for the public or people in general, without very definite limits.
  3. Commonness; frequency.

etymonline.com
community (n.)
late 14c., from Old French comunité “community, commonness, everybody” (Modern French communauté), from Latin communitatem (nom. communitas) “community, society, fellowship, friendly intercourse; courtesy, condescension, affability,” from communis “common, public, general, shared by all or many,” (see common (adj.)). Latin communitatem “was merely a noun of quality … meaning ‘fellowship, community of relations or feelings,’ but in med.L. it was, like universitas, used concretely in the sense of ‘a body of fellows or fellow-townsmen’ ” [OED].

An Old English word for “community” was gemænscipe “community, fellowship, union, common ownership,” from mæne “common, public, general,” probably composed from the same PIE roots as communis.

common (adj.)
c.1300, “belonging to all, general,” from Old French comun “common, general, free, open, public” (9c., Modern French commun), from Latin communis “in common, public, shared by all or many; general, not specific; familiar, not pretentious,” from PIE *ko-moin-i- “held in common,” compound adjective formed from *ko– “together” + *moi-n-, suffixed form of root *mei- “change, exchange” (see mutable), hence lit. “shared by all.” Second element of the compound also is the source of Latin munia “duties, public duties, functions,” those related to munia “office.” Perhaps reinforced in Old French by the Germanic form of PIE *ko-moin-i– (cf. Old English gemæne “common, public, general, universal;” see mean (adj.)), which came to French via Frankish.

mutable (adj.)
late 14c., “liable to change,” from Latin mutabilis “changeable,” from mutare “to change,” from PIE root *mei– “to change, go, move” (cf. Sanskrit methati “changes, alternates, joins, meets;” Avestan mitho “perverted, false;” Hittite mutai– “be changed into;” Latin meare “to go, pass,” migrare “to move from one place to another;” Old Church Slavonic mite “alternately;” Czech mijim “to go by, pass by,” Polish mijać “avoid;” Gothic maidjan “to change”); with derivatives referring to the exchange of goods and services as regulated by custom or law (cf. Latin mutuus “done in exchange,” munus “service performed for the community, duty, work”).

mean (adj.1)
“low-quality,” c.1200, “shared by all,” from imene, from Old English gemæne “common, public, general, universal, shared by all,” from P.Gmc. *ga-mainiz “possessed jointly” (cf. Old Frisian mene, Old Saxon gimeni, Middle Low German gemeine, Middle Dutch gemene, Dutch gemeen, German gemein, Gothic gamains “common”), from PIE *ko-moin-i– “held in common,” a compound adjective formed from collective prefix *ko– “together” (P.Gmc. *ga-) + *moi-n-, suffixed form of PIE root *mei– “to change, exchange” (see mutable). Cf. second element in common (adj.), a word with a sense evolution parallel to that of this word.

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