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A soundtrack to life: What can the study of music tell us about global cultural identities?

September 10, 2019

Adam Matthew Digital today announces the publication of its latest digital collection: Ethnomusicology: Global Field Recordings. Music has always been a central and vital part of communities and cultures around the world, the study of which can tell us a great deal about the history, development and values of each society. An increasingly popular area of academia, with close ties to both musicology and anthropology, the field has grown in relevance and influence in recent decades with dedicated undergraduate and postgraduate study offered at institutions around the world.

This collection, including more than 3,000 hours of recordings from around the world, has been carefully curated and produced in collaboration with the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive, with materials also supplied by the Ethnomusicology Archive at the University of Washington.

Focusing on the social and cultural study of music, the content within this collection provides a route into the lives of the source communities represented within the recordings, allowing users a unique insight into their musical traditions.

Of particular interest are recordings and correspondence from Mantle Hood, the Founder and Director of the UCLA Institute of Ethnomusicology. Hood pioneered an innovative approach to the study of music, requiring that his students not only learn about the music they studied but also play it. A leading name in this field, this collection benefits from the rich Hood collection of documents about the development of Ethnomusicology as a discipline.

“This exciting new digital resource from Adam Matthew Digital features a huge range of musical traditions – from Uganda to Alaska to Panama to China – as recorded by researchers working over more than half a century. It’s unique in that, because it brings together not just the audio and video recordings and photographs but also the field notes and correspondence, we learn something about the people doing the research, about their methods and thus about Ethnomusicology as a discipline. With this project these priceless records are not only safeguarded but are also taken out of the vaults and made available for new research and circulation of knowledge.”--Janet Topp Fargion, World and Traditional Music, Sound & Vision, British Library

To find out more about this collection, or to arrange your free trial visit our website or contact


Adam Matthew, an imprint of SAGE Publishing, is an award-winning publisher of digital primary source collections for the humanities and social sciences. Sourced from leading libraries and archives around the world, their unique research and teaching collections cover a wide range of subject areas from medieval family life to twentieth century history, literature and culture.  @AdamMatthewGrp

Established in 1961, the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive is one of the largest global ethnographic music archives in North America. It includes traditional folk, popular, and art musics from Africa, Asia, Australia and the Pacific Island, Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas.

The University of Washington Ethnomusicology Archives has been collecting and curating unique ethnographic music recordings, videos and films since 1962. Its holdings include recordings and films documenting music traditions of all kinds from around the world.



Yearly archive
2020 (12)
2019 (45)
2018 (83)
2017 (97)
2016 (133)
2015 (150)
2014 (145)