False note about music

July 4, 1997

IT IS misleading to state that the new department of world music at Thames Valley is the first of its kind in a British university (THES, June ).

The centre of music studies, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London has been teaching degree courses in the music of Asia and Africa, from both practical and analytical perspectives, for over a decade. And contrary to what your report suggests, practical music-making is a central part of most university ethnomusicology programmes: at SOAS, performance lessons are offered on Javanese, Balinese, Indian, Thai, Japanese, Korean, Chinese and African instruments and in Persian classical singing.

Keith Howard

Chair, centre of music studies

Richard Widdess

Senior lecturer in ethnomusicology, SOAS

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