Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Music theory

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WikiProject Music theory (Rated NA-class)
WikiProject iconThis page is within the scope of WikiProject Music theory, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of music theory, theory terminology, music theorists, and musical analysis on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
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\include ""Edit

Putting '\include "" ' in a Lilypond file enables archaic notation used in of a lot of public-domain music. Such notation often can't be translated one-for-one to modern notation (for instance, some of it does not indicate absolute pitch at all). Including the file is not possible in Mediawiki; obviously it would be highly undesirable for editors to be able to include arbitrary files in Lilypond rendering, security for Lilypond seems to be hard enough as it is. This particular functionalty would be really useful, though, especially on Wikisource. Does anyone know if there is an alternate way to enable it? HLHJ (talk) 18:31, 12 February 2022 (UTC)

@HLHJ: Sadly, I think this is a result of the new implementation of lilypond on Wiki (it had previously been disabled due to security issues). Don't think it can be resolved that easily, although you could try filing a task at the Phabricator to see if something can be done about it. Alternatively, you can always compile lilypond examples locally on your own computer and export them as svg or something and include the picture along with the audio (which can also be created as a midi file by lilypond if need be, although custom treatment might result in a more palatable result). Cheers, RandomCanadian (talk / contribs) 19:28, 12 February 2022 (UTC)
Thank you, RandomCanadian. I've made a feature req on phab: T301624. Comments, criticisms, and additions from anyone reading this are very welcome. HLHJ (talk) 22:37, 12 February 2022 (UTC)
I have no idea about Lilypond, but I am quite surprized to read above that it "does not indicate absolute pitch at all." I know of no musical notation that does – it is not a matter of the software used, it is staff notation itself (or, for that matter, any other type of notation) that does not indicate absolute pitch. Even if the composer gave an indication to this effect (saying for instance that A4 should be 440 Hz), I fail to see how that could be achieved unless perhaps on an instrument of fixed pitches. On any other type of instrument, pitch varies rather widely during the performance. This was not the question, of course, but I couldn't refrain commenting this point. — Hucbald.SaintAmand (talk) 10:09, 13 February 2022 (UTC)
You're quite right, Hucbald.SaintAmand, and in the phab ticket I said absolute pitch/note name. I was trying to say that some historic notation (especially for vocal music) apparently only indicates relative pitch changes between notes, without the conventions we have for the approximate pitches at which we expect to find A4 etc.. Granted that most scores don't indicate the frequency in Hertz, if people pick up, say, a part from an orchestral piece, they will have certain expectations as to what pitches the notes are. Though the conventions vary by cultural context and shift over time; I have an instrument that simply cannot be tuned to anything approaching tunings others are likely to play similar modern instruments at. HLHJ (talk) 16:37, 13 February 2022 (UTC)

User script to detect unreliable sourcesEdit

I have (with the help of others) made a small user script to detect and highlight various links to unreliable sources and predatory journals. Some of you may already be familiar with it, given it is currently the 39th most imported script on Wikipedia. The idea is that it takes something like

  • John Smith "Article of things" Accessed 2020-02-14. (John Smith "[ Article of things]" ''''. Accessed 2020-02-14.)

and turns it into something like

It will work on a variety of links, including those from {{cite web}}, {{cite journal}} and {{doi}}.

The script is mostly based on WP:RSPSOURCES, WP:NPPSG and WP:CITEWATCH and a good dose of common sense. I'm always expanding coverage and tweaking the script's logic, so general feedback and suggestions to expand coverage to other unreliable sources are always welcomed.

Do note that this is not a script to be mindlessly used, and several caveats apply. Details and instructions are available at User:Headbomb/unreliable. Questions, comments and requests can be made at User talk:Headbomb/unreliable.

- Headbomb {t · c · p · b}

This is a one time notice and can't be unsubscribed from. Delivered by: MediaWiki message delivery (talk) 16:01, 29 April 2022 (UTC)


Does the music theory project include ethnomusicology ? I couldn't find any answer in the music theory project page so i don't know...

Also, i'm a bit new here; in order to join a project, do i have to apply somewhere or do I just edit some articles related to music theory ?

Regards Vincent-vst (talk) 17:47, 7 August 2022 (UTC)

I don't know whether ethnomusicology is in this project's scope. The last line of the project's description of its scope might indicate that it isn't. I also note that Talk:Ethnomusicology doesn't carry this project's banner, {{WikiProject Music theory}}. Maybe the project's creator, User:4meter4, can clarify this. As for joining: there is no application process; you just add your username to Wikipedia:WikiProject Music theory/Members, but many other users edit music theory articles, too. Cheers, Michael Bednarek (talk) 04:20, 8 August 2022 (UTC)
Vincent-vst and Michael Bednarek Good question. No ethnomusicology is not under the scope of this project, although there are places where the two academic disciplines may overlap. Ethnomusicology is an interdisciplinary field and is therefore a much broader area of study which examines music through many lenses (depending on the researcher and their interests) including cultural anthropology, psychology, cultural studies, queer theory, feminist theory, gender studies, sociology, ethnographic research, music history, geography, etc.
While musicologists (of which ethnomusicologists are a subset) may employ aspects of music theory in their discipline in some instances, it is not the primary focus of the field. Music theory is about understanding the mechanics of music and how it is functioning much in the way one studies the grammar of language and the construction of writing in language studies. It’s also about understanding the theories and philosophies informing the construction of music, in the same way that we might study the theories informing the writings of a novelist.
Ethnomusicology on the other hand is interested in music’s place and function within a culture/ society. It’s the study of music as a societal practice. What is this music doing for the people who are listening to it or performing it? How is the music being used within a culture? How is the music changing society? Is it political? Is it meeting some sort of communal or societal need? Etc.
That said, traditional music theory courses in the West have privileged Western music theory to the exclusion of other organizational structures. It’s often been left to ethnomusicologists studying the music of other cultures to do the work of understanding the mechanics of those different musical languages (particularly in music traditions without a prior existing formal written theory). As such, theory does come into the work of ethnomusicology. However, many ethnomusicologists do not engage with music theory at all within their work; choosing instead to look at music through the other lenses mentioned above.4meter4 (talk) 18:45, 8 August 2022 (UTC)
Seems odd that there was never a WikiProject Musicology (or WikiProject Ethnomusicology). - kosboot (talk) 19:21, 8 August 2022 (UTC)
@Kosboot Yes, it is a deficit in our WikiProject coverage in some ways. However, when one considers that musicologists write most of the academic literature on popular music genres (jazz, rock and roll, hip hop, rap, folk etc.) we do cover much of the published literature in various projects. There’s also Wikipedia:WikiProject Music/Regional and national music taskforce which would be closest thing we have to an editing group dealing with the work of ethnographic research. So really, we do cover much of the field elsewhere, but the larger big picture articles within musicology don’t necessarily fall neatly into any of these niche projects or editing groups.4meter4 (talk) 20:00, 8 August 2022 (UTC)
There remains something unclear in the question itself, IMO. If the question is whether our music theory project also covers the theories of other cultures, the answer obviously is "yes" – the Music theory article, in its historical section at least, covers the whole world and it would be up to people from these cultures to expand that. If on the other hand the question is about ethnomusicology, then it may be necessary to first inquire about the nature of the discipline, as 4meter4 already did above. Isn't ethnomusicology mainly a Western point of view, in that it involves considering cultures, so to say, from outside?
The historical section of the Music theory article makes it rather clear (even if it was not its intention) that theories outside the West mainly are theories of the scales or of the systems. This also appears obvious in the earliest music notations, most of which are of the alphabetic type even in countries that have no alphabetic writing for their verbal language. It may also be noted that in many cultures the actual notation of music postdates the invention of notation by centuries. Music theory, in many countries, appears "pitch-centric," with notation denoting pitches, even in cultures where music itself isn't particularly pitch-centric. One may conclude that some distance always existed between music theory and music itself. I suspect that early music theory, like the writing of language itself, may have been a somewhat esoteric discipline belonging to limited castes of initiates.
But what we call "theory" today is a consideration of the music itself, which is an entirely different affair. Even in some non Western countries that I know, present-day theory heavily relies on Western ideas more than on local historical theories (and students in theory come get their degrees in Western countries). This raises fundamental questions that it would be most interesting to discuss – at a professional level rather than here. However, this American guy who complained about "white supremacy" in music theory and who advocated the need to "reframe" theory never enough considered what he was speaking of (or didn't know enough) to realize any of this. As a result, this much needed discussion cannot take place at the moment in the US. (It does take place at this very moment in some non European countries, though.)
The description of the scope of the project on the main page clearly says that it "covers Western music only" and the time may be ripe to change this. But this may be somewhat different from including ethnomusicology as such. And it deserves an in-depth reflexion. I for one believe that "Music theory" as a discipline mainly is a Western affair, even when applied to non Western cultures and musics. — Hucbald.SaintAmand (talk) 08:26, 10 August 2022 (UTC)
@Hucbald.SaintAmand, I think you have some misconceptions about the research paradigm that is employed in ethnomusicology. The core research approach in ethnomusicology is ethnography which aims to “ explore cultural phenomena from the point of view of the subject of the study”.
The goal of the researcher in ethnomusicology is not to provide an outside opinion or analysis of the music of other cultures but to document the lived experiences and perspectives of the people within the culture from their own perspective. This means lots of interviews and recordings doing long term field work and allowing people from inside the culture to provide the narrative and contextual framework for understanding (not the researcher). The researcher should not be giving their own opinions but merely reporting what was done and said in interviews of people in the culture or within field observations (which should be interpreted/ contextualised by people from the culture and not the researcher).
In other words, ethnomusicology is not meant to be from an outsiders perspective but a reflection of the perspective of insiders in order to accurately represent the culture. The goal of the researcher is to remove themself as much as possible from what is reported. Ethnomusicologists are interested in what people inside cultures have to say about their music and music making within their culture, and what that music is doing for them and their society. Ideally, any sort of theory or analysis employed of the music of other cultures should come from within the culture itself and not be superimposed by the researcher. However, identifying themes and patterns through coding of the documents generated through interviews and fieldwork can bring about analysis in ethnographic research. This type of research is employed by both Western and non-Western academics in the field of anthropology. I can’t say whether non-Western researchers have specifically applied ethnography to studying music. I am not aware of any researchers outside the west working in this area, but they may exist. I can confirm that ethnography is widely used by non-Western researchers in anthropology. Best. 4meter4 (talk) 09:27, 10 August 2022 (UTC)