Study Group History Print

The Study Group was founded in 1992, during the conference "Anthropology of Music in Mediterranean Cultures" (Venice, 10-12 September 1992), organized by the ICTM Italian Committee with the support of the Fondazione Olga e Ugo Levi, in Venezia. The title of that conference became the name of the Study Group that the Executive Board of the ICTM recognized in 1993 . The SG was chaired at the time by its founder, Professor Tullia Magrini and had its official seat in Venice, at the Levi Foundation. which generously supported its activity for several years. After Tullia's untimely passing away in 2005, the SG had in Venice, in 2007, its 7th Meeting, in her memory, with the participation of many of her friends. It was devoted to a theme she had herself defined: "Cosmopolitan Cities and Migrant Musics". That seems to have been the closing of the "Venetian era" because, on the one hand, the Levi Foundation changed its cultural policy and, on the other, the Mediterranean Institute of University of Malta volunteered to host our future meetings. In 2010 we had in fact our 8th meeting in Malta, on the theme: "Musical Translations across the Mediterranean" (a detailed summary of it can be read in this website under the link devoted to "Mediterranean Study Group Activities").

Not only did Tullia Magrini found the SG, but also the web journal Music and Anthropology, conceived as an organ of the SG itself. This journal has now its continuation in the present website MMS.

The principal aim of the SG has been the promotion of research and discussion about music considered as a human and social phenomenon, without distinction among art, traditional, and popular repertoires. The SG fosters co-operation among ethnomusicologists, historical musicologists, and scholars from all other disciplines who can contribute to Mediterranean music studies. In keeping with Tullia's approach the 'Mediterranean' signifies for MMS "not merely a geographical and historical region, but also a metaphorical entity with constructed and contested boundaries, cultures, and identities."

In July 2011, at the ICTM World Conference held in St. Johns, Nefoundland (Canada), a business meeting of the SG took place. On that occasion it was decided that from now on its name would be "Mediterranean Music Studies". The new name signals how much we feel that the study of music in this area needs not only anthropology, but history as well, and possibly a host of other disciplines willing to help to understand the very complex patterns of musical interactions that characterize it.

Marcello Sorce Keller