Joaquina Labajo

Musical ethnography under Spanish colonial power in the modern age


The addition of a historical dimension to Western ethnomusicology has permitted the birth of a new kind of research. This focuses on the authors of what one might call an "integrated and unpremeditated ethnomusicology", a kind of research engaged in the colonial project for three centuries or more during the modern period. My purpose is to emphasize the complexity of thought manifested by travelers from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment. Far from restricting their own worldview to the conventional notions of this period, some of them left accounts remarkable for the plurality of their convictions and methods, as well as the irreverent doubts they express about their culture and way of looking at the world. Such a wide diversity of attitudes problematizes the extent to which the view of the observer is conditioned by his or her time and place.

  1. The observation of musical behavior as a survival and conflict resolving practice
  2. Considerations on the gathering of data
  3. Discourse as an ideological postulate
  4. Conclusion
  5. Endnotes
  6. References
  7. List of images and audio examples
  8. Spanish translation (added on 3/18/98)

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