Home Archives & Manuscripts Archive Contents Ethnomusicology Committee A79 ETHNOMUSICOLOGY COMMITTEE (A79 – 01 of 05)

Minutes, correspondence and papers. 1953-76.

On 11 June 1953 Council appointed a committee ‘to consider what action [should] be taken for the encouragement of this branch of anthropology’. Dr A.A. Baké, John Blacking, H.J. Braunholtz, Raymond Clausen, Revd A.M. Jones, Dr John Layard, Dr Otto Samson, and Prof. A.N. Tucker were appointed ‘to examine ways of promoting the scientific study of tribal music’. The first meeting of the Committee was held on 6 Aug. 1953 and Dr Layard was elected Chairman of the meeting. Prof. R.W. Firth succeeded as Chairman in 1956 and on his resignation in 1959 Dr K.P. Wachsmann was appointed. The latter resigned in 1963 on his appointment to the Chair of Music at UCLA. Dr A.A. Baké then became Chairman. Raymond Clausen was Hon. Secretary from 1954-60; he was succeeded by D.K. Rycroft. In 1954 Corresponding Members were appointed all of whom were resident overseas. The British Institute of Recorded Sound started to build up a collection of ethnomusicological recordings and in 1956 the Committee recognising the need for a central depository recommended that the British Institute of Recorded Sound should be recognised as such. Council approved. (see minutes, 19 Apr. and 10 May 1956, Ethnomus. /85/1-2). The collecting of folk music and other ethnomusicological material was a joint venture with the International Folk Music Council during 1956-7 (published 1958). During the next two years preparation of a gazetteer of British Ethnomusicologists on cards commenced in 1960 and a three-day symposium, ‘Music and history in Africa and Asia’, was held from 19-21 Mar. 1962 with Dr Wachsmann in the Chair. The last meeting of the Committee appears to have been on 12 Nov. 1963 although minutes were either not kept or do not survive. The Report of the Council, 1964 lists members’ names only with J. Okell as Hon. Secretary. The Ethnomusicology Panel was constituted in the autumn of 1965 with Jeremy Montagu as Hon. Secretary (see Council minutes, 2 Dec. 1965, Item 5iv, f. 38). Meetings, usually fortnightly, were held until 1974 despite continuing difficulties with accommodation. The last reference to the Panel is in the Report of the Council, 1974. See ‘The work of the Ethnomusicology Committee of the RAI’ by Raymond Clausen, Ethnomusicology, vol. 2, no. 1, Jan. 1958, pp. 22-6 and ‘Ethnomusicology in Britain’ by D.K. Rycroft, Man, Dec. 1962, no. 291.

Members of the Committee between 1953-63: Dr A.A. Baké, Mrs Honor Beattie, Dr P.J. Bohannan, H.J. Braunholtz, Dr G.H.S. Bushnell, R. Clausen, P. Crossley-Holland, Dr S.D. Cudjoe, W.B. Fagg, Dr H.G. Farmer, Prof. R.W. Firth, Prof. M. Fortes, Prof. C. Fürer-Haimendorf, Frank Howes, N.A. Jairazbhov, Revd A.M. Jones, Miss Maud Karpeles, Dr J. Layard, J. Marr, J.P.S. Montagu, H.K. Penniman, Dr L.E.R. Picken, D.K. Rycroft, Dr O. Samson, Patrick Saul, J. Spillius, Prof. A.M. Tucker, Dr K.P. Wachsmann, Miss Beryl de Zoete.


BIRS        British Institute of Recorded Sound

GHSB        G.H.S. Bushnell, Curator, University Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Cambridge

AHC        A.H. Christie (Hon. Sec. RAI 1961-70)

RC            Raymond Clausen (d. 1993), Hon. Sec., 1954-60

WBF        W.B. Fagg, CMG (1914-92), Keeper, Dept. of Ethnography, British Museum, 1967-74; RAI Hon. Sec., 1939-56, Honorary Editor of Man, 1947-65

RWF        (Sir) Raymond Firth, FBA (1901-2002), Prof. of Anthropology, University of London, RAI Hon. Sec. 1936-9, President, 1953-5

MK            Miss Maud Karpeles, Hon. Sec., International Folk Music Council (IFMC)

JM            Jeremy Montagu, Member of Committee 1953-63; Hon. Sec. of Panel from 1965

JO            John Okell, Secretary, Executive Committee of Ethnomusicology Panel

LERP        Laurence Ernest Rowland Picken (d. 2007)

DKR        D.K. Rycroft, Hon. Sec. from 1960

PS            Patrick Saul, Secretary, British Institute of Recorded Sound

KPW        K.P. Wachsmann (1907-84), Curator, Uganda Museum, Kampala, 1937-57, Prof. of Music, University of California, Los Angeles, 1963-8, Prof. of Music and Linguistics, Northwestern University, 1968-75; Chairman of the Committee, 1959-64

  1    1953. General correspondence

  2    July – Aug. 1953. Invitation to serve on Committee accepted

  3    1954. General correspondence

  4    1954. Prepared to serve on the Committee

  5    1954. Refuse to serve on the Committee

  6    1954-5. Corresponding members

  7    1955-63. Ethnomusicology Committee, general correspondence, papers etc.

  8    1961-62. Symposium: Music and history in Africa and Asia

  1    Correspondence etc. prior to the Symposium

  2    Symposium programme and papers presented

Papers presented

Other documents associated with the presentation of papers

  3    Correspondence etc. after the Symposium and relating to publication of the papers

  9    Minutes 1953-63

 10    Memoranda etc. referred to in the Minutes

 11    Ethnomusicology Panel 1967-76

  1    Notices of meetings

  2    Reports etc. on the activities of the Panel

  3    1967 – 71 Correspondence etc. relating to speakers at meetings

  4    1965-76 Correspondence etc. not relating to speakers at meetings

 12    1957-60 Manual for collectors of ethnomusicology – correspondence and papers

 13    1962-63 RAI/Galpin Society Survey

 14    1960-78 Miscellaneous ethnomusicology correspondence, papers etc.

 15    1924-27 Correspondence relating to the notes and records of Rev. E. Raff

 1/    1953. General correspondence

  1    AM Jones, SOAS, to WBF, 15 Apr. – sends him a copy of his book ‘The Icila Dance’ (autogr.)

  2    Draft invitation to serve on the Committee by WBF, [July 1954] (autogr.)

  3    WBF to prospective Committee member, 14 July – invitation to serve; notes names of those already appointed; refers to KPW’s lecture on 6 Aug. and first meeting of Committee on that date (tp.)

  4    KPW to RAI, Biarritz, 15 July – on his lecture of 6 Aug. 3 leaves (autogr.)

  5    Ibid., Paris, 20 July – wishes to accept invitation to attend the meeting of the Committee on 6 Aug. and to adjust lecture accordingly (autogr.)

  6    RAI to GHSB, 28 July – sends copy of letter circulated to Committee members; hopes he will attend the meeting and lecture (tpc.)

  7    RAI to KPW, 28 July – invitation to attend the dinner after his lecture as the guest of honour from the Dining Club (tpc.)

  8    RAI to Mme H. Subandrio, 28 July – invitation to attend the meeting and lecture (tpc.)

  9    Mme H. Subandrio to RAI, 30 July – hopes to attend the meeting and lecture (tp.)

 10    Ibid., 8 Aug. – regrets she was unable to attend meeting and lecture (tp.)

 11    John Blacking (1928-90), later Prof. of Social Anthropology, University of the Witwatersrand and then of Queen’s University, Belfast to WBF, 21 Sep. – encloses bibliography of ethnomusicology (see Minutes, 15 Oct. 1953, Item 3); asks about possibility of duplicating it (autogr. with annotation by WBF)

 12    Bibliography by John Blacking (tp. with autogr. corrections)

 13    Ibid., (mimeo.)

 14    WBF to L. Farrer-Brown, Secretary, Nuffield Foundation, 19 Oct. – writes in support of Hugh Tracey’s proposed Library of Recorded African Music (tpc.)

 15    L. Farrer-Brown to WBF, 26 Oct. – Trustees wish to help; will be discussed with Hugh Tracey (tp.)

 16    Institute of Contemporary Art to WBF, 18 Nov. – encloses notice of Alain Gheerbrant’s lecture, ‘Music of the Orinoco Indians’ (tp. with autogr. note by WBF)

 17    Notice of Gheerbrant’s lecture (mimeo.)

 18    WBF to members of the Committee, 23 Nov. – encloses notice of lecture (tpc.)

 19    Beatrice Blackwood, Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, to WBF, 30 Nov. – encloses letter received from Paul Collaer, Institut National de Radiodiffusion, Brussels, which might interest Committee; has replied that she does not know of any records from Solomon Islands or New Guinea (tp.)

 .1    Paul Collaer to Beatrice Blackwood [enclosed with A79/1/19] – as an ethnomusicologist has a large collection of recorded music; has music from New Guinea, New Caledonia and Australia, but not from the Solomon Islands or Fiji; does she know of any recordings from those places; how could he get hold of some (tp., in French)

 20    A.A. Baké to RAI, 1 Dec. – much regrets he cannot attend Gheerbrandt’s lecture; committed elsewhere (tp.)

 2/    July – Aug. 1953. Invitation to serve on Committee accepted by:

  1    John Layard, 14 July

  2    John Blacking, 15 July

  3    Douglas H.F. Wilson, Hon. Treasurer, 16 July

  4    A.A. Baké, 17 July

  5    RWF, 17 July

  6    O.W. Samson, Curator, Horniman Museum, 18 July

  7    Prof. A.M. Tucker, 20 July

  8    Revd A.M. Jones, 20 July

  9    RC, 4 Aug.

 3/    1954. General correspondence

  1    Draft letter from WBF to PS, 13 Jan. – regrets delay in writing since last Committee meeting; Council has agreed the expansion of the Committee; would welcome two members from BIRS (autogr.)

  2    Draft notes by WBF on objectives of the Committee. 2 leaves (autogr.)

  3    PS to WBF, 19 Jan. – BIRS wishes to be associated with Committee; will send names of representatives (autogr.)

  4    Leader from The Times, 15 Jan., ‘Tunes and dances’ (clipping)

  5    Letter to The Times, 20 Jan., from RWF ‘Study of folk music’ (clipping)

  6    MK to RWF, 20 Jan. – encloses copy of letter to The Times; interested in Committee (tp. copy)

  7    Letters to The Times, 11 Feb., from Douglas Kennedy, Director, English Folk Dance and Song Society and MK, IFMC (clippings)

  8    Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia to RAI, 30 Mar. – Mme Subandrio, with the Ambassador, has left; for Moscow (tp. with autogr. notes)

  9    Dr Kenneth Little, Dept of Social Anthropology, University of Edinburgh, 20 Apr. – notes the appointment of Frank Howes and PS to the Committee; suggests the appointment of Dr S.D. Cudjoe (autogr.)

 10    RWF to WBF, 13 July – reports his meeting with J.K. Thompson and a colleague at the Colonial Office; both interested in social significance of music and dance in Africa; suggests Committee might prepare a memorandum; Thompson may get in touch (tp. with attached note dated, Jan.12 1955, by WBF)

 11    Inter-American Expedition, NY to Adrian Digby, Dept of Ethnography British Museum, 28 Sept. – outlines objectives of the expedition including the recording of folk music; inquires whether the Committee would be interested in receiving copies of tapes (tp. with autogr. notes)

 12    Invitation to serve on the Committee sent to DKR, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London from WBF, 6 Oct. (tp.)

 13    Invitation to serve on the Committee sent to Profs E.E. Evans-Pritchard, C. Daryll Forde, M. Fortes, and C. von Fürer Haimendorf from WBF, 6 Oct. (tpc.)

 14    RAI to RC, 15 Oct. – encloses letter from Inter-American Expedition (/11 above) (tpc.)

 15    RAI to A.A. Baké, 26 Oct. – encloses letter of refusal from Prof. A.J. Hutchings; suggests he may wish to talk to him (tpc.)

 16    A.A. Baké to WBF, 5 Nov. – has written to Prof. Hutchings; does not think he will change his mind; he is interested in influence of the music of the ‘lesser advance strata in India’ upon European medieval music (tpc.)

 17    RAI to RC, 9 Nov. – encloses letter from Robert Black [not present]; and notes of informal meeting (tpc.)

 18    RAI to Robert Black, 9 Nov. – acknowledges letter about Committee (tpc.)

 19    WBF to P.J. Bohannan, Institute of Social Anthropology, University of Oxford, 9 Nov. – invitation to serve on the Committee (tpc.)

 20    Inter-American Expedition to RAI, 30 Nov. – acknowledges letter of 2 Nov. [not present]; will write again when recordings are completed; see also /11 above

 /4    1954. Prepared to serve on the Committee

  1    T.K. Penniman, Curator, Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford to WBF, 12 Oct. – willing to serve; refers to material obtained for Ancient Mining and Metallurgy Committee (autogr.)

  2    DKR to WBF, 13 Oct. – willing to serve (autogr.)

  3    PS to WBF, 13 Oct. – ibid; BIRS starting to create a library of records and a central depository of information (tp.)

  4    M. Fortes, William Wyse Professor of Social Anthropology, Cambridge University to WBF, 13 Oct. – ibid; hoping to develop musicology in the Faculty (tp.)

  5    Frank Howes, Music Correspondent, The Times to WBF, 14 Oct. – ibid (tp.)

  6    GHSB to WBF, 14 Oct. – willing to serve; thought he was already on the Committee (autogr.)

  7    Beryl de Zoete, author of Dance and drama in Bali (with Walter Spies), 1938, Dance and magic drama in Ceylon, 1957, and The other mind, 1953 to WBF, 17 Oct. – ibid; refers to correspondence about the ‘Nayars’ self defense technique & the Kalaris’; wishes to know names of those on the Committee and who proposed her (autogr. pc.)

  8    Prof. C. von Fürer-Haimendorf, School of Oriental and African Studies; RAI President, 1975-6 to WBF, 18 Oct. – willing to serve but has no specialised knowledge (tp.)

  9    Dr S.D. Cudjoe to WBF, 24 Oct. – willing to serve (autogr.)

 10    Dr P.J. Bohannan to WBF, 18 Nov. – ibid (tp.)

 11    Dr Henry G. Farmer, author of Oriental studies: mainly musical, 1953 to WBF, [Nov.] – ibid (tp.)

 5/    1954. Refuse to serve on the Committee

  1    Prof. E.E. Evans-Pritchard (1902-73), Prof. of Social Anthropology, University of Oxford; RAI President, 1949-51 to WBF, 9 Oct. – knows nothing about the subject; suggests Dr P.J. Bohannen (see /4/10 above) (tp.)

  2    Prof. A.J.B. Hutchings, Department of Music, University of Durham, 23 Oct. – declines invitation; interested in ‘technical changes in Western medieval music’; not an authority on ethnomusicology (tp.); see also /3/14-15

 6/    1954-5. Corresponding members

  1    WBF to Dr Norlind [and others], 6 Oct. 1954 – invitation to serve as a Corresponding member; notes aims of the Committee; minutes and other documents will be circulated (tp.)

  2    Dr Karl Gustav Izikowitz, Director, Etnografiska Museet, Göteborg to WBF, 11 Oct. – qualified acceptance of invitation to serve (tp.)

  3    Dr E. Emsheimer, Director, Musikhistoriska Museet, Stockholm to WBF, 13 Oct. – willing to serve (tp.)

  4    Prof. Erich Seemann, Deutsches Volksliedarchiv, Freiburg i. Br. to WBF, 15 Oct. – ibid (tp.)

  5    Mrs C.J.A. Kunst-van Wely, Amsterdam to WBF, 16 Oct. – accepts provisionally for her husband, Jaap Kunst who is in USA (autogr.)

  6    Dr Andre Schaeffner, Musée de 1’Homme, Paris to WBF, 20 Oct. – willing to serve; refers to meeting of musicologists with ethnologists in Wégimont near Liège (tp.)

  7    Jaap Kunst, author of Music in Flores, 1942, Music in Java, 3rd edition, 1973 etc., Chicago to WBF, 23 Oct. – willing to serve (autogr.); see also /5 above

  8    WBF to Mme H. Subandrio, 24 Oct. – informed by the Indonesian Embassy she was now in Moscow; hopes she will continue as a Fellow; and invitation to serve as a Corresponding member (tpc.)

  9    Dr H. Hickmann, Cairo to WBF, 2 Nov. – willing to serve (tp.)

 10    Prof. Melville J. Herskovits, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois to WBF, 2 Nov. – ibid; suggests two other additions as Corresponding members (tp. with autogr. note by WBF)

 11    Hugh Tracey, Hon. Secretary, African Music Society, Roodepoort, Transvaal to WBF, 2 Nov. – hopes work of his society will assist the Committee; John Blacking will be joining staff (tp.)

 12    Dr Curt Sachs, New York University to WBF, 4 Nov. – willing to serve (tp.)

 13    Prof. Percival R. Kirby, Grahamstown to WBF, 4 Nov. – ibid; has retired from his Chair at the University of Witwatersrand; now resident in Grahamstown; refers to his current research (autogr.)

 14    [WBF] to Prof. M.J. Herskovits, 10 Nov. – pleased he is willing to serve; may be possible to extend Corresponding membership (see /10 above); is flying to NY (tpc.)

 15    Mme H. Subandrio to WBF, Moscow, 15 Nov. – willing to serve; may have suggestions after receiving minutes (tp.)

 16    H. Pepper, Institut d’Etudes Centrafricaines, Brazzaville to RAI, 25 Nov. – willing to serve (tp.)

 17    KPW, Uganda Museum, Kampala to WBF, 29 Dec. – willing to serve (tp.)

 18    John F. Carrington, BMS Missionary, Basoko, Belgian Congo to WBF, 17 Jan. 1955 – hesitates to accept, acts in same capacity to African Music Society, has many demands on time; would like to accept if it would be helpful (tp.)

 7/    1955-63. Ethnomusicology Committee, general correspondence, papers etc.

  1    MK to WBF, 10 Jan. 1955 – interested to hear the Committee is collecting recordings of traditional music; suggests meeting (tp. with autograph note)

  2    [WBF] to RC, 17 Jan. – inquires about next Committee meeting; refers to MK’s letter and suggested meeting (tpc.)

  3    KPW to WBF, 11 July – is in London until middle of Aug.; hopes to meet; enquires after Committee (tp.)

  4    RC to WBF, 2 May 1956 – refers to meeting on 10 May; refers to suggestion that Revd. Jones’ outline information to be supplied by field worker collecting music; encloses copy of discussion with Mr & Mrs Lane (tp.) [see A79/10/1 & A79/10/2]

  5    PS to WBF, 6 May – encloses draft of announcement which Committee asked him to prepare; hopes it will serve as basis for announcement to be published in Man (tp.)

  6    [PS?] to Dr Sansom, Director, Horniman Museum, 6 May – encloses draft of his announcement (tpc.)

 .1    Draft announcement that RAI has recognized the BIRS as central depositary for records of ethnological value; Council of RAI endorses BIRS’s appeal to collectors to offer discs, tapes or records; BIRS will endeavor to maintain a register of work in progress; BIRS will circulate a Bulletin including information about records acquired (tp.) [enclosed with A79/7/5 & A79/7/6]

 .2    Draft announcement that Horniman Museum has become centre for collecting musical instruments; Museum would be glad to acquire any single instruments or collections nd (tp.)

  7    WBF to RWF, 29 June – hopes he will be able to attend Committee meeting on 6 July; wishes to propose him as permanent Chairman (tpc. with autogr. note)

  8    Me. Salah El Dine Fadel, Président, Musica Viva, Cairo, Egypt to [RAI?], 15 Oct. – encloses short note on the activities of the musical director; asks for this to be inserted in the Journal (tp., in French)

 .1    Note on the activities of Dr. Hans Hickmann, member of the Institute of Egypt; lists his conferences and broadcasts on Egyptian music; lists his particular interests in the field (tp., in French) [enclosed with A79/7/8]

  9    Colin M. Turnbull, Magdalen College, Oxford, to WBF, 8 Nov. – wrote to Secretary of Committee but has had no reply; encloses list of recordings made in the Congo and West Africa in 1954; in response to article in Man gladly offers his recordings for Committee to make copies; could also send list of titles of legends (tp.)

 .1    Summary of recorded African music (tp.) [enclosed with A79/7/9]

 10    PS to WBF, 13 Nov. – encloses notices of AGM; of two joint meetings of BIRS with RAI; and second of their Bulletins (tp.)

 .1    Notice of AGM of BIRS, to be held 4 Dec. (tp.) [enclosed with A79/7/10]

 .2    Notice of two joint meetings of BIRS and RAI, to be held 15 Nov. and 5 Dec. (tp.)[enclosed with A79/7/10]

 .3    BIRS Bulletin No. 2, Autumn 1956 [enclosed with A79/7/10]

 .4    BIRS Bulletin No. 1, Summer 1956

 11    G.E.S. Turner, Secretary, University Museum, Oxford to M.W. Smith, Hon. Sec. RAI 1956-61 (MWS), 18 Oct. 1957 – would like to have a lecture from a member of the Committee to address the Oxford University Anthropological Society (tp.)

 12    MWS to G.E.S. Turner, 23 Oct. – suggests names of possible lecturers (tpc.)

 13    Ibid. to Mrs Honor Beattie, 13 Jan. 1958 – invites her to take the place of Dr Bohannan on the Committee (tpc.)

 .1    Notice from Committee, nd – Dr P.J. Bohannan has returned to America; vacancy has occurred; Mrs Honor Beattie recommended as replacement (tp.)

 14    Mrs Honor Beattie to MWS, 20 Jan. – honoured to accept (tp.)

 15    MWS to RC, 24 Jan. – on Dr Bohannan’s replacement by Mrs Beattie; Dr Bohannan transferred to list of Corresponding Members (tpc.)

 16    GHSB to MWS, 13 Apr. – refers to letter advertising RAI at San José; feels RAI cheapening itself grubbing for members; refers to Adrian Digby; some time ago wrote to RC resigning from Committee; had no reply; his decision stands (autogr.)

 17    H.K. Sambrook, Thomas Nelson & Son Ltd. Publishers to MWS, 3 June – has manuscript on Akan Drumming by J.H. Nketia; seeks the name of an expert on African musicology to assess the merits of the manuscript (tp.)

 18    MWS to H.K. Sambrook, 10 June – suggests DKR (tpc.)

 19    H.K. Sambrook to MWS, 11 June – thanks her; has written to DKR (tp.)

 20    RWF to MWS, 16 June – tenders resignation as Chairman of Committee; will be away from the country; thinks Committee should have Chairman who can give more time to its important work (tp.)

 21    MWS to RWF, 7 July – Committee accepts his resignation with deep regret; has asked Prof. von Fürer-Haimendorf if he would serve as Chairman; he resigned from Committee and suggested Dr Baké (tpc.)

 22    Hugh Tracey, Director, International Library of African Music, Johannesburg, South Africa, to Secretary, RAI, 8 July – thanks him for Minutes of meeting of 25 Apr.; hopes to be in London for a few days after conference in Liège; will try to call at Bedford Square (tp.)

 23    RWF to MWS, 9 July – sorry that Fürer-Haimendorf will not serve; has been told that running a committee not Dr Baké’s forte; suggest KPW (tp)

 24    MWS to RC, 23 July – informs him of RWF’s resignation; informs him of Fürer-Haimendorf’s unwillingness to serve and resignation; with his agreement she will write to KPW (tpc.)

 25    Ibid., 3 Nov. – refers to letter of 23 July to which she has had no reply; matter must be settled soon; asks for his views; asks for minutes of last meeting (tpc.)

 26    Hugh Tracey to WBF, 12 Nov. – having campaign to raise funds to distribute sets of recordings of African music; asks him to write to say that RAI would like to obtain the recordings but cannot afford to buy them; has 40 discs published (list enclosed); a further 90 in preparation. 2 leaves (tp.)

 .1    ‘International Library of African Music, New Issues of ‘AMA’ Long Playing Records’ (printed pamphlet) [enclosed with A79/7/26]

 27    MWS to Hugh Tracey, 19 Nov. – in WBF’s absence she answers; notes intention to raise a grant to finance recordings; RAI purchasing funds diverted to Library; however the discs would be useful; RAI would welcome them as a gift (tpc.)

 28    MK to MWS, 20 Nov. – encloses list of books which she will deliver (tp.)

 .1    List of books enclosed with A79/7/28 (tp.)