Commentary on Huovinen's "Varieties of Musical Empiricism"
Creators:Clarke, Eric F.
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Citation:Empirical Musicology Review, v1 n1 (January 2006), 28-32
Erkki Huovinen’s “Varieties of Musicological Empiricism” provides a valuable analysis of some of the theoretical predicaments raised by pursuing an empirical musicology. But in this commentary, I argue for a less programmatic, and more pragmatic, approach to the term than he does. Empirical approaches in musicology have been around in one form or another for a long time, and the purpose of the label is less to identify a new ‘brand’ of musicology than to bring together a diversity of approaches that in different ways capitalise on the opportunities that data collection (in the broadest sense of the term) may provide. If programme is set aside in favour of pragmatism, and a looser relationship between theory and observation accepted, then empirical musicology can be a productive way to rub ideas up against a stimulatingly resistant world.
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