Reflections: Unity and Diversity in the World’s Music
Andrew Killick [+]
University of Sheffield
While the story of the world’s music continues to unfold and does not admit of a “conclusion,” we end with some general observations on what we have learned about the big questions of human musicality. Is there, after all, a thing called “music” that we can say is common to all humanity? If there is, why do all human societies seem to need it? What aspects of it are the same or similar in all its manifestations, and how different can it be before it ceases to be music? Do similarities necessarily reflect historical influences, or could different peoples have come up with the same musical ideas independently? Ultimately, why do particular people and groups have the particular forms of music that they do? Such questions may never be answered definitively, but what I hope the story told in this book has shown is that cross-cultural influences in music are nothing new, that “world music” is not just the music of other cultures, and that whatever music we know and love today is in a real sense an outgrowth of all the world’s music.