The Making of the Musical World - A Story in Sound - Andrew Killick

The Making of the Musical World - A Story in Sound - Andrew Killick

Western Europe: The Familiar Stranger

The Making of the Musical World - A Story in Sound - Andrew Killick

Andrew Killick [+-]
University of Sheffield
Andrew Killick has been teaching and writing about the world’s music professionally since 1998. His passion for all forms of music has led him literally around the world, including studies at the University of Edinburgh, the University of Hawaii, and the University of Washington, periods of fieldwork in India and Korea, and teaching at Illinois State University and Florida State University before taking up his current position at the University of Sheffield in 2003. Originally trained as a classical pianist, he also plays the Korean gayageum zither and an English bagpipe, the Northumbrian smallpipes. His academic publications include two books on Korean music topics, about twenty refereed journal articles and book chapters, and substantial contributions to the Garland Encyclopedia of World Music and the Continuum Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World. In his spare time he likes to compose “rounds” in a wide variety of musical styles.


One could, of course, also say that American music can be differentiated from African music primarily by its European American elements, and these now provide our entry point to the musical cultures of Europe itself. Although people came to America from all parts of Europe, it was immigrants from Northern and Western Europe (and especially the British Isles) that had the greatest influence initially, even if they brought musical practices that they had themselves acquired from elsewhere. Western European forms and concepts of music have become so familiar worldwide that they are often taken for granted as just “the way music is,” but for that reason, paradoxically, they remain little known at the level of conscious awareness. This chapter approaches the Western European musical heritage as a “stranger” whom we get to know anew as someone with a particular set of habits and idiosyncrasies shaped by particular experiences. Among these characteristics is the view of music as consisting of fixed “pieces” created by individual “composers,” as taking different forms for purposes of “art” and “entertainment,” and as being in a “key” (which, however, may change in the course of a piece). European ways of structuring music, including strophic and verse-refrain song forms, melodic structures with balanced strains and varied contours, and the use of “functional” harmony, are explained both musically—introducing terms for discussing aspects of pitch organization rather than rhythm—and culturally, in relation to the prevalent values and practices that produced them. Classical and popular music are discussed as well as folk, and this categorization itself is shown to be the product of a particular kind of society and history. Particular attention is paid to the role of Jewish musicians in bringing particular European melodic and harmonic techniques to America and combining them with syncopated African American rhythms to create the Tin Pan Alley songwriting tradition whose legacy endures to this day.

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Killick, Andrew. Western Europe: The Familiar Stranger. The Making of the Musical World - A Story in Sound. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. Sep 2022. ISBN 9781781793411. Date accessed: 27 Oct 2020 doi: 10.1558/equinox.27323. Sep 2022

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