Library and Information Services, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Lomax Cantometrics

Cantometrics - The Lomax Tapes

For years, our Scottish Music people have praised - and fruitfully used - "the Lomax tapes", a set of cassettes that we obtained from the USA.  It's great that the cantometric system is now available online, via the Cultural Equity website.

Here's the sound recordings page.  For more about cantometrics, search the homepage of the Cultural Equity website, inserting 'cantometrics' into the search box.  There's a talk by Alan Lomax about the cantometrics system, which begins like this:-
Talk on Cantometrics by Alan Lomax
"We have learned that the Vikings, not Columbus, discovered America. We are all descendents of the Norman Vikings, who went all through Europe in small boats, and after learning just enough about countries to control them, took possession of trading outposts down the coast of France and from Sicily to Russia. Vikings had plans to own and operate America before the Italians every thought of it. On the Cantometrics graph the Norman Vikings have the following style: ?I speak, you listen. I sing (solo), you be quiet. After I speak, you may ask questions and then be very competitive and ask make your own speech." (According to Cantometrics, you/we are all Vikings.) 
"Cantometrics breaks down the world into 31 musical style-divisions, with further subdivisions. Our Western culture learns music, through musical notation, the way it runs our factory system, breaking it down and putting our system on top. We take over the command system. Our culture is also carrying another system, the African style. The purpose of Cantometrics is to look at the deep structure of the musical communications system and not just tones and words, like symphonic and film composers who study folk music in order to find a use for these fragments ?"  Read the rest of the talk ...

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