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Music Scholarship in Languages Other Than English

Hi everyone,

I've read lots of scholarship in English, and I'd like to learn from people who write in other languages, too.  The trouble is that I'm generally not sure how to find their work.

For example, JSTOR is great for discovering articles and books in English, German, and French.  Not so much for, say, Russian, Norwegian, Hebrew....

The AMS does a fabulous job of announcing new books in English on its Facebook page, and I'm learning through experience who the major academic publishers in English are.  But how would I learn about new books in other languages?

Surely, I'm not the only one.

So, I thought that maybe we could crowdsource information about music-related journals, publishers, databases, etc, in whatever languages we happen to work in.

I'll start, with a few journals that I've skimmed and found intriguing:

 

Russian

Music Scholarship / Проблемы музыкальной науки -- quarterly journal in Russian, with English-language abstracts.  Free online access.

Opera Musicologica -- quarterly journal in Russian, with English-language abstracts.  Free online access.

 

Norwegian

Studia Musicologica Norvegica / Norwegian Journal of Musicology - annual journal in a mix of Norwegian and English.  Issues from 2017 and later available for free online.  Older issues have free abstracts and can be purchased digitally.

 

Portuguese

The Portuguese Journal of Musicology new series (Revista Portuguesa de Musicologia nova série) -- twice-annual journal in Portuguese and English, and occasionally Spanish, Italian, and French.  Free online access.  (I don't know Portuguese, but now I wish I do, after seeing a recent announcement on AMS-Announce about this journal's new issue on topic theory...)

 

What resources have you found useful?

All best,

Sam Zerin

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Comments

  • 7 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • Dear Sam,

     

    thank you very much! This can be the beginning of a longer list. I am very glad that Music Scholarship / Problemy Muzykal'noi Nauki is present here. There are the journals of Moscow Conservatory, Gnesin's Academy, St. Petersburg Conservatory, and the online journal of Russian Society for Theory of Music. We can post the links here, if necessary. In general, musicology and music theory have always been multi-lingual. There is not enough information, though. Thank you again for initiating this long-overdue discussion.

  • @samzerin. Many thanks for the question, and for the interest it implies for publications in other languages.

    The Belgian Society for Music Analysis (SBAM) maintains on its website two pages that may be of interest:


    • A (perfectible) list of journals in free access on Internet, http://www.sbam.be/Revues.html. The ones that you quote are missing in this list and will be added very soon. Many of these journals are in English but, even so, might be unknown in the US. We were discussing this at an international conference in Tunis today and we agreed that our publications are not much more read (nor quoted) when in English than when in other languages.

    • Links to the websites of the European societies for music theory and/or analysis, http://www.sbam.be/Societes.html. Additional links could be found on these sites. Several of the European societies have their online journal (like the Russian Society already mentioned by Ildar).

    We would also like to maintain a list of recent publications (and of links to those freely available on the Web), but this remained wishful thinking up to now – maintaining the necessary watch is a lot of work.

    This might perhaps become a project for the SMT?

     

     

  • Ildar, thank you for the additional sources!  I found them online, and there are quite a few articles I'm excited to read.  Natalya Rusanova's article on "musical dedications" in the Russian Society for Theory of Music journal is already helping me rethink my research on Joseph Achron.  Looking forward to exploring these journals in more depth.

  •  

    We would also like to maintain a list of recent publications (and of links to those freely available on the Web), but this remained wishful thinking up to now – maintaining the necessary watch is a lot of work.

    RILM does something like this, but you're right - it's a massive undertaking to cover everything in real time.  The other problem is that citations alone aren't necessarily helpful if the journals themselves are difficult to acquire.  Perhaps this complaint betrays my youth and my dependence on "immediate" digital resources (I'm 31), but it's frustrating when non-Anglophone journals are unavailable at major American universities, even through a digital repository such as JSTOR.  So I appreciate open-access journals, while recognizing their financial burden on publishers.

    This might perhaps become a project for the SMT?

    I hope so!  Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this.

  • Many of these journals are in English but, even so, might be unknown in the US. We were discussing this at an international conference in Tunis today and we agreed that our publications are not much more read (nor quoted) when in English than when in other languages.

     

    I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on this, either publicly or privately.

  • @samzerin. You quote me saying that we (Europeans) are not more often read when writing in English than in other languages; and you ask:

    I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on this, either publicly or privately.

    Our recent discussion was at lunch during a conference: it cannot be considered fully documented or argumented ;–)).

    We first discussed the fact that it is difficult for us to be accepted in American (or British) publications, and we agreed that this was due to a difference in style of writing, of quoting references, and also in dealing with matters of concern in new musicology. I remember having proposed (and eventually published) a paper dealing with semiotic technicalities, about which the reviewers asked me to add comments on social contexts (e.g. gender studies). One might indeed argue that musical signification cannot be isolated from its context, and I bowed to the reviewer's suggestion, but my paper was not at all about such signification.

    Because of this difficulty of being accepted in American publications, a growing number of journals in Europe publish papers in English, in the hope to gain some readership in the US. We agreed (again in our discussion at lunch) that these papers in English did not seem to have had a significant impact on the number of readers.

    There are people in the US who read other languages, obviously, and you are one of them. For you, whether a paper is in, say French, German, Italian or English, may not make an important difference.

    In the field of music theory, European journals mainly or partly in English include

    • the Dutch Journal of Music Theory, later Music Theory and Analysis;

    • the Zeitschrift der Gesellschaft für Musiktheorie;

    Analitica Online and the Rivista di Analisi e Teoria Musicale;

    Eunomios;

    The Journal of the Russian Society for Music Theory;

    The Journal of Music and Meaning;

    Gli spazi della musica;

    • etc. etc.

    We wondered (and I wonder) how many of these are regularly read or even looked at by SMT members.

     

     

  •  

    Thank you, Sam, for asking this question. I use RILM to find literature in other languages besides English. But I also find books and articles of an older vintage through bibliographies in books. I believe the current climate in North American music theory is that young scholars don't need to learn languages other than English, much less engage with texts in those languages. It is a sad state of affairs. My own undergraduate training required me to have reading  competence in three languages other than English. Few graduate programs nowadays really hold students to that standard and, consequently, students pretty much focus on whatever has been written in English. The exception tends to be the student who does a dissertation on the history of music theory, and who usually has to dig into texts in languages other than English.