The study of diffusion of musical cultures is related more to the level of individual and social life than to such topics as the level of musical language, performance, composition and musical environment studies. While the latter emphasizes more stable elements, cultural diffusion brings out the elements of dynamics and change. History is always connected with the ideologies dominant at the time, there are also many levels of history, and each presents the problem of differentiation and mutual diffusion of cultures. Research programmes dealing with these subjects - the one by Alan Lomax, as well as the studies of Polish ethnomusicologists (Anna Czekanowska, Bozena Muszkalska) are discussed. It is noted that researchers have abandoned the idea of grand syntheses, tending to study small ethnic groups and cultural changes. The author points out that the diffusion of cultures has often been linked to violence and to the resistance to it. He also expresses hope that European heritage in music will be considered beyond the often artificially enforced national divisions.
Ludwik Bielawski, Instytut Sztuki PAN, ul. Dluga 26/28, 00-950 Warszawa, Poland
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