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The Past in Music: Introduction

Routledge (Taylor & Francis), Abingdon
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  • The Past
  • History
  • Collective Memory
  • Archaeology
  • Musical Heritage
  • Musical Performance
  • Oral Tradition
  • Ritual
  • Fieldwork
  • Early Music.
  • Anthropology
  • Archaeology
  • History
  • Musicology


In this introduction to a selection of case studies on the theme “the past in music” I offer a few thoughts on the nature of the past and the role of memory in constructing historical narrative, with reference to the way in which these concepts have been theorised by historians, archaeologists, anthropologists and ethnomusicologists. In reviewing the different ways in which echoes of the past can still be heard in the music of the present, I consider the capacity of music to evoke, embody and transform the past and, by so doing, to act as a medium for history and its interpretation.

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