It is released by the publisher Carocci Filmare la musica. Il documentario e l’etnomusicologia visiva. The author is Leonardo D’Amico, ethnomusicologist and artistic director of the festival Musica dei Popoli and Festival del Film Etnomusicale of Florence.
The book offers a reflection on the “visual communication in ethnomusicology” and faces “issues relating to the history, guidelines, issues and status of the studies of ethno-musical film”. Then, by proposing the subject of research as a central passage of the analysis, focuses on the visual documentation in ethnomusicology as a means to make a “significant amount of information and, in some cases, essential to the interpretation of the musical context”.
As suggested by D’Amico in a recent interview, “ethnomusicology has always favored the concept of “orality ” neglecting the visual dimension of music making. Very often we interview a traditional musician and to the question “How did you learn to play?” the answer is “watching” the master. There are many documentaries in which is represented the dynamic teaching/learning: the young balafon players observes the movements of the hands of the master and which bars are struck, the apprentice of a traditional lute or launeddas view the fingering of the master. Look, before listening, is the action that is the basis of the transmission of styles, techniques, musical repertoires that are not handed down “from mouth to ear” but traditionally oral-aural-visual, or through observation, first still imitation and memorization. In some cases, such as the construction technique and execution of ethnic and folk musical instruments, the audio-visual documentation is not only useful but necessary in ethnomusicological research. ”