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Avior Byron will present a paper 'Huberman as Beethoven' in the 2010 Israel Musicology Conference.   
 

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Avior Byron

My name is Avior Byron and I am a musicologist, blogger and composer. I write books, articles and a blog about music, performance, research, and theory. Read more at my about page

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Hans Eisler, Good listening and the isolation of composers and musicologists from public

In 1957 Hans Eisler wrote an essay titled ‘On Good Listening’. He claimed that there ‘could be no musical culture without good listening and without ear training.’ (Hans Eisler, *A Rebel in Music: Selected Writings*, ed. Mafred Grabs (Berlin: Seven Seas, 1978), p. 175) He claims that despite of the great musical tradition there is a lack of musical knowledge in Germany ‘due to fatal heritage of class privilege in the musical life of capitalist society’.
 
What Eisler means by knowledge is not completely clear. Does he have in mind the score-obsessed academic ear training that aims that the student will recognize certain chords, intervals and learn to sing notes? No. It seems that he merely wants the masses to be acquainted with ‘high culture’. In other words, what he has in mind is the so called ‘listening appreciation’. Yet Eisler is not naïve. He admits that it will be impossible to change the contemporary peasant or worker. He aims ‘educating the grandchild of this worker’!
 
The problem that bothers him is the gab between the public and the composers: the almost empty concert halls. It seems that this was a life long concert, since in 1928 he wrote another essay called ‘On the Situation in Modern Music’ where he complained against art that is ‘frightfully isolated’ and composers who work ‘merely for the sake of writing’ (Ibid., p. 27). At that year he suggested a solution: ‘Choose texts and subjects that concern as many people as possible. Try to understand your own time and do not get caught up in mere formalities. Discover the people, the real people, discover day-to-day life for your art, and then perhaps you will be re-discovered’.
 
Whether the workers are the ‘real people’ as Eisler seems to suggest, I do not know. Nevertheless, it is clear to me that the problem of isolation between composers and the public is true not only in the 1920s and 1950s, but also in our times. Communism did not solve this problem. Classical music, so it is claimed, seems to be in a decline (at least in America).
 
I must admit that as a musicologist and composer I am concerned by the same problem. What is the solution? This website is perhaps one solution. Yet I have no illusions that my academic writings or my music will suddenly compete with popular music. Nevertheless, the internet has the ability to connect people of similar interests from around the globe.
 
What do you think? Comment on this post in the form below. 
 
Eisler wrote in a variety of musical geners. Here are two videos that manifest this variety:  
 
    

 

06 Hanns Eisler — Elegie 1939, poem by Bertolt Brecht


 

 

Hanns Eisler - Nonett nr.1, Variationen


A social site for people who love books: librarything.com

I just found a very interesting social site for people who love books: www.librarything.com
Here is what they say:

LibraryThing is an online service to help people catalog their books easily. You can access your catalog from anywhere—even on your mobile phone. Because everyone catalogs together, LibraryThing also connects people with the same books, comes up with suggestions for what to read next, and so forth.

LibraryThing is a full-powered cataloging application, searching the Library of Congress, all five national Amazon sites, and more than 80 world libraries. You can edit your information, search and sort it, “tag” books with your own subjects, or use the Library of Congress and Dewey systems to organize your collection.

If you want it, LibraryThing is also an amazing social space, often described as “MySpace for books” or “Facebook for books.” You can check out other people’s libraries, see who has the most similar library to yours, swap reading suggestions and so forth. LibraryThing also makes book recommendations based on the collective intelligence of the other libraries.

McClary on analysis, historical conditions and rationality

Yesterday I read again Susan McClary’s chapter “Excess and Frame: The Musical Representation of Madwomen” in Feminine Endings. One of the subchapters in this book deals with Erwartung by Arnold Schoenberg. During my recent research trip in Berlin I did not have time to read the whole chapter, so I returned to it now, and I was amazed by McClary’s virtuosity, her breath of knowledge in music and other contemporary theory, and the way she builds her arguments. This chapter is a good example to authoritative writing.

Due to some of the issues that I have spoke about in recent posts (such as The difference between a poor critic and a good scholar, Musicology, Science and Postmodernism, Performance and Analysis: a response to Zecharia, and Heinrich Schenker and his followers) I thought it would be useful to quote the following from McClary’s chapter:

“That analysis is an indispensable ingredient in out study of music is beyond question. Yet we need to supplement bare formal analysis with information concerning the historical conditions that give rise both to particular repertories and also to the metatheoretical discourses that serve and explain away the ‘problematic’ aspects of music. If – as clearly is the case – a fascination with madness and transgressive behavior motivates much of the music we care about, then surly we need to take that into account before we jump into our graphs. Otherwise, what precisely are we doing? Whose rationality are we attempting to establish, and why?” (109)

What I love about this passage is that is does not go against analysis. It states clearly that analysis is “an indispensable ingredient in out study of music”. However, it suggests that scholars must go beyond the score in order to reach a more comprehensive understanding of music.

Moreover, it suggests that some of the motivation behind formal analysis is to demonstrate a supposed rationality of music that is actually motivated by irrational things (such as madness and transgressive behavior). Western culture celebrates rationality as one of its highest values and goals. It is postmodern authors (such as Michel Foucault) that demonstrate that this is nothing but a myth.

This is one of the things that I find extremely attractive about the epoch after modernism. Irrational issues such as madness, gender, identity and religion can be discussed in the open. These are the things that touch most of us and make us, at least partly, obsessed about the music that we love.

Van Leer conference on Zionism and Lebensphilosophie

Last Wednesday I went to a conference in the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem on Zionism and Lebensphilosophie. I was especially interested in a paper given by Philipp Theisohn from University of Tübingen called “The Body Politic of Zionism: Klages, Beitar, Schönberg”. I guess you know which keyword attracted me in the title…

The paper was very interesting, although I am not sure that I agree with all the connections Theisohn made between Schoenberg and Zabotinsky. Schoenberg’s position towards mechanical music was very ambivalent as can be seen in his article “Mechanical Musical Instruments” that can be found in his book Style and Idea.

After the lecture we saw the the film Children of the Sun by Ran Tal. It was the first time I saw the film and I must say that it was nothing less than amazing. My mother lived for two years in an Kibbutz and was three months every years there thereafter. One of the reasons that my grandmother left the kibbutz was because it was not permitted that children will sleep with their parents (the children slept together and were raised by nannies). It was shocking what the kibbutzim did in order to create what they saw as the “new man”. This film is a must for anyone interested in the history of Israel.

The music of the film was by Avi Belleli. It was very good.

Let us hear your voice: vote now on Hebrew-music-books problem!

I created a poll on the right side (scroll down) of my site where you can vote on the question:
“Almost no scholarly books in Hebrew in shops because…”
You have 7 options to choose from (if you have other options in mind that I forgot please write to me and I will add them).

Join the debate and influence! Vote now!

Heinrich Schenker and his followers

I am no Schenkerian. My knowledge of Schenker is limited and I never really did any analysis using his methods. I read criticism on Schenker’s theory, I read about his method and I know quite well several books and articles that are highly influenced by his theory. It is quite clear that Schenker is the most influential music theorist since the second half of the twentieth century. He has fanatic followers who believe in his theory and spread it. He has admirers that are influenced by him, yet are also critical to his thoughts. And there are people, like me, who highly respect his work yet feel far from it. Perhaps in the future, if I learn more about his work, I might be converted.

Recently, a book on Schenker call The Schenker Project was written by Nicholas Cook. I read parts of it and I think that it is very good. Cook has extensive knowledge on Schenker in particular and music analysis in general (he has a very good book which is ‘a must’ for anyone interested in Musical Analysis). Here is part of the abstract of the book: ‘This book aims to explain Schenker’s project through reading his key works within a series of period contexts. These include music criticism, the field in which Schenker first made his name; Viennese modernism, particularly the debate over architectural ornamentation; German cultural conservatism, which is the source of many of Schenker’s most deeply entrenched values; and Schenker’s own position as a Galician Jew who came to Vienna just as fully racialized anti-semitism was developing there.’

It is well known that Schenker’s theory ignores things such as rhythm and orchestration. Some of Schenker’s followers continued his work in very interesting ways. When I was young and naïve, I wrote a negative review on Harald Krabs’s book on Schumann (Fantasy Pieces). I still stand behind most of the criticism that I wrote at the time (a different version of part of this review can be found in my PhD in one of the chapters on Pierrot lunaire). Yet today I am capable of appreciating even more his achievements in this book.

John Rink, who was my Ph.D. supervisor, is influenced by Schenker. His is one of the theorists that include quazi-Schenkerian methods in research on performance. A fascinating article that he wrote doing this is: ‘Analysis and (or?) performance’ in Musical Performance: A Guide to Understanding, ed. John Rink (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002). It is interesting that this article in meant to assist performers. It advocates a middle way between those who think that one must do comprehensive Schenkerian analysis in order to perform and those who are against any kind of analysis before performing. He uses the term ‘informed intuition’.

Apart from the problems mentioned above, Schenker’s theory in misguided in the following (this is not meant to be a comprehensive list):

1) It claims to be the only truth.
2) It suggests that a work of Genius is based of certain structural definitions.
3) It claims that works of Genius are German.
4) It ignores the cultural and social aspects of music making.
5) It is based on the concept of organicism which is anachronistic.

It is important that every serious musician learns about Schenker. However, this must be conducted in a critical manner.

Since this blog deals alot with issues if performance, I would like to mention an important book that was published lately: Heinrich Schenker, ed. Heribert Esser, The Art of Performance (USA: Oxford University Press, 2002) This book includes unpublished writings on performance by Schenker. It is facinating and not expensive.

Do you have any comments? Please use the form below to add them to this post.

A response to Lady R: am I really monologic?

Lady R (who wishes at the time being, not to reveal her real identity) wrote: “I enjoy reading all your arguments (with some of which I also agree, but not with the ‘monologic’ tone…) […] you tend to suggest that there is one correct way, which is the so called “new” one. I do agree with you that there is a lot to correct and improve, but that - in addition to the “old” ones, not instead (you should be in a dialogue with the others). Anyhow, it’s good that you steer the minds a little…”

Dear lady R,
Thank you for your comment. I am glad to steer the minds a little. I hope that also other will contribute comments to my posts and to the comments of others, so that a discussion will move forward. I am glad that many people decided to subscribe to my blog. However, I hope to convert more people to be active participators and not just passive readers. I think that the internet gives all of us a precious stage which could contribute to everyone – no matter what your opinions are.

We both know and respect each other for sometime now and we are interested in many similar things. As you know from reading some of my publications, the tone that I use there is different than the one that I use in the blog. The way I see blog writing, is that one can afford to express oneself in a more provocative manner than in an article. A blog is like a diary. One is not expected to be as “politically correct” as in formal publications. My aim is my several last posts, was to question the way Israeli musicologists think about their goals and methods.

What should we write? There can be several answers to this question and mine is not necessarily the right one. I have attacked Schenkerian research although my one PhD supervisor (Prof. John Rink) and one of my PhD examiners (Prof. Jonathan Dunsby) are highly influenced by Schenker’s work. It is a pity that the young Schenkerians in Israel did not respond to my posts. Perhaps they agree with every word… (-; Perhaps they are simply scared or are unable to debate issues of methods publicly. There are up-to-date research methods that are influenced by Schenker. Why no one came to defend them? It seems to me that this is a symptom to the sleepiness in our local quarters.

I do not think that “there is one correct way, which is the so called ‘new’ one” (although I must admit that Prof. Dalia Cohen too, suggested that I am monologic (she did not use this exact term) on our phone call). There are many ways. Yet we should be careful from cheap relativism. Not all ways are equal and they do not all lead to Rome. Some lead to Jerusalem and some lead to boring results. This is way I insist that the most important question is “what are our goals?” After one knows that, one can think about how to get there. The call for papers does not reflect a concern with this question. Perhaps I am wrong and we will see a live discussion on this matter in the forthcoming conference.

If books in Hebrew are supposed to make a lasting effect on Israeli culture than they should be present in the book shops and they should be up-to-date as in other fields.

Don’t forget to vote in the poll on the left side and subscribe to this blog by entering your email in the upper-right form. Is Byron “monologic”? Please feel free to comment on this issue.

What should we write: comparison of “A Great Joy Tonight” and “Music-Mission and Message” (part 1)

We went this morning to a small trip to Tel-Aviv. I went to buy Susan McClary’s book Feminine Endings which I ordered. This is one of the books that that every music lover should have at home. I left the store with this book and with two other books: Inbal Perlson, A Great Joy Tonight: Arab-Jewish Music and Mizrahi Identity (Tel-Aviv, Israel: Resling, 2006), and Michal Smoira-Cohn and Herzl Shmueli, Music: A Mission and Message (Or Yehuda, Israel: Kinneret, Zmora-Bitan, Dvir, 2007).

In the post Call for papers “What there is and what there is not to read about music in Hebrew” I wrote that “I hope that the Israeli Musicological Association annual meeting will discuss not only what is not written, but also what should be written. Do we need more Schenkerian books in Hebrew that almost no one reads, or is there a more desperate need for books that might be of interest to a larger amount of readers?”

In this post I will compare the introductions of the two books in order to demonstrate the different goals of the writers and their relation to up-to-date research in other fields in Israel and music research in the world.

Music: A Mission and Message claims that “music is communication”. Michal Smoira-Cohen suggests that “the music moves from the producer [mashmia] and and listener [shomea]” The listener, she argues, feels a feeling of spiritual elevation if the got the “message”. She suggests that “music is in its entirety: emotional intelligence”. The music has a “mission”: it must reach the listener so that he or she could “internalize it and enrich his spiritual world”. The book, it is claimed, “is written out of a concern for the day of tomorrow and the fate [no more and no less] of music, which stands, this day, before a cross road.”

The argument presented in Music: A Mission and Message is problematic. Nicholas Cook wrote: “To understand music as performance means to see it as an irreducibly social phenomenon, even when only a single individual is involved… This observation derives its force from the extent to which the manifestly social practice of music has been conceptualized in terms of a direct and private communication from composer to listener. Because of this hierarchical communication model (one that reflects the traditional alignment of divine and human creation), even the everyday fact of divided authorship has been problematic for the musical academy.” [14], ‘Between Process and Product: Music and/as Performance’

For Michal Smoira-Cohn and Herzl Shmueli Music is received “as if from a higher force, uplifted from man” (I guess she is speaking here about God although she if careful by using the words ‘as if’). For them, music is a message that is not being interpreted and influenced in any significant way by social and cultural circumstances. They suggest that music is an a-priori objective message that should be transmitted securely from God via the composer and performer, to the listener. It is very clear here who is active and who is passive; who is on top and who is under; who is ejaculating “the music” (the composer) and who is receiving it passively. In other words, music is not really being interpreted (in a sense that its “message” significantly changes as a result of this interpretation) it is transmitted. Its essence is left intact.

Performance becomes a passive act which has little affect on the “message” that should be transmitted faithfully to the listener. Otherwise, how can we save the world (or at least “the fate of music”)?

Inbal Perlson’s aim is slightly more modest. She wishes to reveal the mechanisms that turned the Jewish-Arab music in Israel to “Mizrachi” (eastern) music. She claims that by doing so, the Israeli Zionist hegemony neutralized the Arab component and made the music Israeli. This way the popular folk music (Zemer) could be kelp under control and it did not threat the development to the Israel-Jewish-Askenazi-white musical establishment.

I will review this book in a separate post, however, here, I will to demonstrate how the research questions are so different in these two projects. Perlson’s research is part of a postmodern project that was initiated by authors like Michael Foucault. It is dealing with power forces that control the music establishment, and affect the lives of all Israelis. Michal Smoira-Cohn and Herzl Shmueli project is pretending to be objective, dealing with “the music itself” (whatever that means). Most important: it is ignoring the cultural and social context that music is written and performed in.

Reading only the introductions of these two books, it is clear that the aims, research questions, relation to updated research on music in Israel and in the world, is completely different.

This is why I think anyone who cares why there are almost no books on music in Hebrew in the books shops, must first think what kind of books should be there. Musicologist have limited power. Yet, I saw how musicologist in England and USA were able to raise funds in order to create amazing research projects (see CMPCP and CHARM). We can do the same here. First we should make clear to ourselves and others where we are heading to. Will musicology in Israel in ten years from now will look like it was ten years ago, or will be somewhere else? What are our aims?!

If you care, comment on this post now.

A phone call from Prof. Dalia Cohen

I just received a phone call from Prof. Dalia Cohen. She was very upset. She claimed that I completely misunderstood her (she was refering to my last post We seem to fail doing the very same thing in music).

I do not think that I misunderstood her. In this conversation she claimed that “the composer thinks more than the performer about the music”. These were not her exact words but – more or less.

She continued to say interesting things about “absolute” things in music and I encouraged her to comment on my music Blog post. I hope she will decide to do so. She asked me not to quote certain things that she said and I will, of course, respect her wish.

I would not write these last blog post if I would not think that these issues must be debated in public. If almost all the people that commented on my recent blog posts are right (I have in mind Elisheva Rigbi, Bat-Sheva Shapira, Yossi and others who wrote to me via email), than most of us in Israel are a bit old-fashioned (to put it in a nice way). The only way that things can change is by discussing these issues that are an imprtant part of the discourse in the academic world today.

What creates musical meaning? I am not sure why thought or an idea (Gedanke) is the most important thing in music. This common place notion makes the composer the originator of ideas (or the “prophet” who receives ideas from God) and the performer a more or less passive instrument - almost a “tube” that the idea passes through.

An alternative paradigm is that musical “ideas” are a result of mutual acts by performers and composers. A metaphyore could be a Valse where both dancers pull to various directions (the metaphore is not perfect since you have also the listener and other people such as the music producer, critics and even musicologists who affect the creation of musical meaning). Musical meaning is created by interpretation. To pretend that performers are idle or not really “thinkers” is to underestimate the influence of their interpretations.

I have much respect to Prof. Dalia Cohen who is one of the most experienced musicologists in Israel. She is one of the last people of the older generation. Disagreement about fundamental issues in music should not be interpreted as disrespect.

What made me sad was that she sounded very upset. She said something like: “how can you say what you say when I wrote six books in Hebrew!” It is a pity that she misunderstood me. There are books in Hebrew. But you will find usually one or two of them (total sum!) in most of the book shops in Israel. We agreed that perhaps it is because they are out of print. But this also says something, I think…

Why is there always one or two shelves of books on each of the following subjects: philosophy (one thinks of the many recent books by the publication house Resling), psychology, history, etc. In music you will find one or two books from scholarly work. Why? Israeli musicologists should not take all of the blame on themselves. Nevertheless, there should be a thorough rethinking of what we teach in our institutions, what research questions we ask (in relation to other places in the world and other fields in Israel and in the world) and where we want to be in ten years from today.

In a decade from now, will there still be two books about music in the book shops? If the answer is positive, then it is very sad. We are celebrating the 60th independece day in Israel today. When Israel was 50 years old I was a BA student in the Tel-Aviv University. At that time there where too, an average of only two books about music on the music shelves of book shops.

If you will take the time to read carefully my posts you will note that they are not that provocative as some people claim. They do not suggest that there is only one way to do research (Dalia’s claim).

Another thought: it is funny to see that even people who react very strongly to my post Call for papers “What there is and what there is not to read about music in Hebrew” agree that most (not all – but most) musicologists in Israel are old-fashioned and not really updated with recent research. At least we agree about one thing. The only thing that is left is to discuss what the criteria are, for determining what ‘up-to-date’ research on music is.

We seem to fail doing the very same thing in music

Dear Yossi,

Thank you very much for your comment on my post Call for papers “What there is and what there is not to read about music in Hebrew”. I found it very interesting.

Yossi wrote: ‘if you mean that this methodological shift has left little imprint on studies published in Hebrew, then perhaps you are right. But this might owe more to the paucity of publications in Hebrew in our domain (as you yourself point out), than with a colossal unawareness of “what’s going on out there” in terms of scholarship.’

During an evening on the occasion of the retirement of Prof. Judith Cohen, a certain experienced professor used his speech to simultaneously praise Cohen as a scholar who creates score editions (among other things), and attack Joseph Kerman’s famous criticism that musicology should move away from positivistic research (such as creating seemingly objective Urtext editions – when in fact the are often very subjective) towards musical criticism. The silence in the room, after the speech ended, seemed to me less in respect of Cohen, which all the people present there admire, than part of ignorance towards the essence and the strength of what actually was said there.

It is well known today that the Urtext concept is a fiction and that one cannot avoid taking a position and chose between options how to edit a musical score. Pretending that this process is objective is part of a naïve (in the good case) or un-honest game (in the worst case) where people pretend to be scientists in the name of reaching an often untenable objective truth. Kerman’s call for a musicology which is critical is still important today, both in Israel and elsewhere. By the way, Kerman too acknowledges the importance of much positivistic work. However, he suggests that musicologists should have different aims. This is why the issue of research questions (that I raised in my last post) is so important.

Another occasion that made me think that many Israeli musicologists are not updated with recent research in the world is a lecture given by Prof. Roger Kamien in a conference on performance. It was surprising to see the gap between Kamien’s accessible and interesting popular book Music: An Apreciation and his Schenkerian lecture on performance. Kamien presented complicated Schenkerian graphs that very few people where able to follow. However, this was less troubling than the basic premise behind his whole lecture. He seemed to argue that one should do such an analysis in order to perform the music. So you could see his complicated graphs, and then hear his wonderful piano playing, and you asked yourself: is it really necessary to do such analysis in order to play Beethoven? Wallace Berry, Eugene Narmore and others would argue that ‘yes’. John Rink, Nicholas Cook, William Rothstein, Edward T. Cone, Joel Lester and others would give a different answer. Yet after his paper ended, Kamien asked: “any questions?” There was deep silence in the room. This would never happen in England or USA. Someone would react by asking a polite question that would question Kamien’s notion that performance must be subordinated to analysis.

Yossi wrote: “And if indeed scholars are less conversant with the latest academic shifts – how should this affect the way we view their scholarship, if we still value it as solid?”

I agree with you that there is much to learn from scholars who are less conversant with the latest academic shifts. A scholar that I value his research as not only ‘solid’ but also very interesting is Ethan Haimo. Much of what I know about Schoenberg is from reading his articles and books. It is true that Haimo can be seen as a formalist. However, he too is well aware of how society and culture affect a composer (and not only the other way around).

Moreover, there are ‘New’ musicologists who write in an unclear manner, do not conduct thorough research, and their arguments don’t stand scrutiny.

There are various levels of scholarship both in ‘new’ and traditional musicology; however, it would be misguided to assume from this that everything is relative and that the shift in the academic world (that happened almost twenty years ago!) is merely fashion.

Joseph Kerman wrote: ‘Certainly the original masters of analysis left no doubt that for them analysis was an essential adjunct to a fully articulated aesthetic value system. Heinrich Schenker always insisted on the superiority of the towering products of the German musical genius. Sir Donald Tovey pontificated about “the main stream of music” and on occasion developed this metaphor in considerable detail. It is only in more recent times that analysts have avoided value judgments and adapted their work to a format of strictly corrigible propositions, mathematical equations, set-theory formulations, and the like - all this, apparently, in an effort to achieve the objective status and hence the authority of scientific inquiry. Articles on music composed after 1950, in particular, appear sometimes to mimic scientific papers in the way that South American bugs and flies will mimic the dreaded carpenter wasp. In a somewhat different adaptation, the distinguished analyst Allen Forte wrote an entire small book, The Compositional Matrix, from which all affective or valuational terms (such as “nice” or “good”) are meticulously excluded. The same tendency is evident in much recent periodical literature.’

Yossi wrote: ‘Finally, what shifts do you have in mind—from the 1970s?—that the Israeli academia has not caught up with yet?’

The shifts in musicology occurred at the early 1990s. In other fields in the world they can be tracked back to the 1970s.

Thank you, Yossi, for your comment on ‘The issue of Hebrew vs. English’. It is especially enlightening to see how the academy can discourage people from writing in Hebrew since ‘you must publish in peer-reviewed journals, and those, alas, tend to be in English’. I hope that this issue will be discussed in the conference.

Yossi wrote: ‘The cliché that the young hold the promise to the future needs no further beatings from me’

It is of course true that not all young scholars are promising. Writing good musicology is a serious and hard struggle. Yet, it is true that the younger scholars are more open to assimilate changes than older scholars. There are exceptions to this, Jonathan Dunsby and Eric Clarke are good examples for scholars who changed during the decades and kept themselves at the forefront of academic research.

I accept your criticism concerning Elisheva. It would have been better to approach her personally. Yet what was done was done (as we say in Hebrew). What she wrote was not that terrible: “4)If you were better acquainted with Israeli research, in musicology or other disciplines,you wouldn’t make such a sweeping claims about the poor quality of Israeli research. Anyone even remotely familiar with Israeli science and scholarship can find ample examples that we are not all as negligible or outdated as you claim. Not yet , considering the financial difficulties of ISraeli academia.” I felt that it would be more productive to discuss the issues themselves than attacking this or that person. Individuals (including those that I mention) are not the issue. We should discuss the greater cultural trends in Israeli research on music.

Elisheva is right that I have much to learn about Israeli research. This does not change the troubling fact that one can find in Israeli book shops amazing books such as Boaz Neumann’s Being-in-the-Weimar-Republic (Tel-Aviv: Am Oved Publishers, 2007 (in Hebrew!)) which deals with the history and culture of Germany in the 1920s in a highly original, professional and updated way; while in music one cannot find such books. Noiman’s book is better, I argue, than the English books written of the subject (at least those that I have read).

Why academic scholars from other fields than music are able to publish in Hebrew albeit the difficulties of budget and other scholarly limitations, and we seem to fail doing the very same thing in music?

Copyright Avior Byron 2017 .