Alan Parkhurst Merriam (1 November 1923 – 14 March 1980) was an ethnomusicologist during the last half of the twentieth century. He is remembered primarily for his book, The Anthropology of Music, in which he promotes the study of music from an anthropological perspective and with anthropological methods.

In The Anthropology of Music, Merriam proposed a tripartite model for the study of ethnomusicology, centering around the study of "music in culture." This model suggested that music should be studied on three analytic levels: conceptualization about music; behavior in relation to music; and the sound of music. In later works, Merriam amended his original concept of "music in culture" to "music as culture."

Merriam also gave an early report about the mancala game of Kubuguza in Ruanda, in which he mentioned for the first time that there are players who play blindfolded.

Alan Pankhurst Merriam died in the LOT Polish Airlines Flight 007 catastrophe, on March 14, 1980.

External LinksEdit


Merriam, A. P.
The Game of Kubuguza among the Abatutsi of North-East Ruanda. In: Man 1953; 53 (11): 169-172.
Merriam, A. P.
The Anthropology of Music. Northwestern University Press, Chicago (USA) 1964.
Wild, S. A.
Alan P. Merriam: Professor.In: Ethnomusicology 1982; 26 (1): 91-98.


Adapted from the Wikipedia article, "Alan P. MerriamStewart Culin", used under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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