University of Pittsburgh

Dr. Victor Grauer Speaks on “Music in Deep History”

132, Music Building, free Reception to follow Update: This event has been moved from Feb. 6 to Feb. 13. Abstract: Dramatic new developments in population genetics, genetic anthropology and archaeology suggest that our earliest fully "modern" ancestors originated in Africa between 150,000 and 200,000 years ago, and that a small band migrated from that continent to Asia between 90,000 and 60,000 years ago, destined to populate the rest of the world with its descendants. This, the so-called "Out-of-Africa" paradigm, has opened the door to all sorts of new possibilities for research on human culture during a period that is increasingly being referred to as "deep history." Drawing on experience gained during my years of involvement, with Alan Lomax, on the Cantometrics project, supplemented by extensive independent research on the cultural practices of indigenous peoples from many corners of the world, I will attempt to demonstrate how the new genetic findings could lead to a general re-evaluation of the origins, development, and significance of some of humankind's earliest musical traditions. Dr. Victor Grauer, based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is a composer, musicologist, film maker, media artist, poet and dramatist. He holds a Masters Degree in Ethnomusicology from Wesleyan University (1961), with additional studies in that field at UCLA (1961-62), and a PhD in Music Composition from SUNY Buffalo (1972). He was co-creator, with Alan Lomax, of Cantometrics, a systematic methodology for the comparative analysis of musical style, and worked on the Cantometrics Project as Research Associate, under Lomax's supervision, from 1963 through 1966. His writings on musicology and the arts have been published in journals such as Semiotica, Art Criticism, Music Theory Online, Other Voices, Millennium Film Journal, The World of Music, Musical Traditions, and Ethnomusicology. Grauer has taught at the University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Filmmakers, the Pittsburgh High School of the Creative and Performing Arts, and Chatham College. Currently semi-retired, he is engaged in research linking his work with Lomax on Cantometrics with current developments in genetic anthropology and archaeology, a project documented in several recent publications, and on his blog, entitled Music 000001.

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