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In response to increased focus on the protection of intangible cultural heritage across the world, Music Endangerment offers a new practical approach to assessing, advocating, and assisting the sustainability of musical genres. Drawing upon relevant ethnomusicological research on globalization and musical diversity, musical change, music revivals, and ecological models for sustainability, author Catherine Grant systematically critiques strategies that are currently employed to support endangered musics. She then constructs a comparative framework between language and music, adapting and applying the measures of language endangerment as developed by UNESCO, in order to identify ways in which language maintenance might (and might not) illuminate new pathways to keeping these musics strong. Grant's work presents the first in-depth, standardized, replicable tool for gauging the level of vitality of music genres, providing an invaluable resource for the creation and maintenance of international cultural policy. It will enable those working in the field to effectively demonstrate the degree to which outside intervention could be of tangible benefit to communities whose musical practices are under threat. Significant for both its insight and its utility, Music Endangerment is an important contribution to the growing field of applied ethnomusicology, and will help secure the continued diversity of our global musical traditions.
Catherine Grant is Research Fellow at Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University. She has engaged in various capacities with communities whose cultural expressions are under threat, and has written and presented internationally on the topic of music endangerment and sustainability.