Musical World Map
With the invention of applications like Google Earth it is now easier to access geographical information and it is crucial to include this data into our learning and teaching processes. My starting point in proposing the Musical World Map is to provide a tool or framework for students and scholars to build upon. The Musical World Map will look at audio examples taken from free archives and sources from around the world like the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institution. This teaching tool will enable users to navigate online while listening to the music of the country or city associated with that particular location. It will be modifiable to look at many historical periods and the music associated with these periods. The project will use and/or create an interface similar to Google Earth, and the music examples will be linked to each city, country, or region.
The project’s first focus will be the Middle East, where the music and sound of each city and country will be selected according to certain criteria. For example, the selection of music could be chosen according to historical, popular, or other genres. The musical examples will demonstrate a different set of musical and cultural boundaries and will point out the fluidity of the Middle East. The selection criteria will be based in the current scholarship of Ethnomusicology, comparative analyses, and the availability of musical examples. The audio maps will highlight sonic commonalities in neighboring countries — what is common to different soundscapes. I also believe in challenging assumptions; the project will not be a popular music map project such as Gracenote, which emphasizes national boundaries and provides top ten album download rankings within each country. As the program develops, it will explore the concept of audio boundaries, as opposed to national borders and provide a teaching tool that will be applicable to other countries and regions as well as other disciplines.