Five Domains

The Sustainable Futures for Music Cultures project examined music cultures from the point of view of five domains  that are part of the ecosystem of any music genre. Looking at these five domains together can give a good indication of the sustainability of a music genre. You can take a look at how these five domains have been applied in the Case Studies section. The analysis of each domain is based on a 200+ questionnaire that guided researchers and practitioners in their assessment.

Domain 1: Learning and Teaching Music

Systems of learning and teaching are central to the sustainability of most music cultures. This domain assesses balances between informal and formal training, notation-based and aural learning, holistic and analytical approaches, and emphasis on tangible and less tangible aspects of ‘musicking’. It explores contemporary developments in learning and teaching (from master-disciple relationships to systems based on technology and the world wide web), and how non-musical activities, philosophies and approaches intersect with learning and teaching. These issues play a key role from the level of community initiatives to elite institutionalised professional training.

Domain 2: Musicians and Communities

This domain examines the role and position of musicians and the basis of the tradition within the community.  It looks at the everyday realities in the existence of creative musicians, including the role of technology, media, and travel, and issues of remuneration through performances, teaching, tenured employment, freelancing, portfolio careers, community support, and non-musical activities. Cross-cultural influences and the role of diasporas are also examined, as well as the interaction between musicians within the community.

Domain 3: Contexts and Constructs

This domain assesses the cultural contexts of musical traditions. It examines the realities of and the attitudes to recontextualisation, cross-cultural influences, authenticity and context, and explicit and implicit approaches to cultural diversity resulting from travel, migration or media, as well as obstacles such as poverty, prejudice, racism, stigma, restrictive religious attitudes, and issues of appropriation. It also looks at the underlying values and attitudes (constructs) steering musical directions. These include musical tastes, aesthetics, cosmologies, socially and individually constructed identities, gender issues, as well as (perceived) prestige, which is often underestimated as a factor in musical survival.

Domain 4: Infrastructure and Regulations

This domain primarily relates to the ‘hardware’ of music: places to perform, compose, practise and learn, all of which are essential for music to survive, as well virtual spaces for creation, collaboration, learning, and dissemination. Other aspects included in this domain are the availability and/or manufacturing of instruments and other tangible resources. It also examines the extent to which regulations are conducive or obstructive to a blossoming musical heritage, including grants, artists’ rights, copyright laws, sound restrictions, laws limiting artistic expression, and averse circumstances such as obstacles that can arise from totalitarian regimes, persecution, civil unrest, war or the displacement of music or people.

Domain 5: Media and the Music Industry

This domain addresses large-scale dissemination and commercial aspects of music. Most musicians and musical styles depend in one way or another on the music industry for their survival. Over the past 100 years, the distribution of music has increasingly involved recordings, radio, television and internet (e.g. Podcasts, YouTube, MySpace). At the same time, many acoustic and live forms of delivery have changed under the influence of internal and external factors, leading to a wealth of new performance formats. This domain examines the ever-changing modes of distributing, publicising, and supporting music, including the role of audiences (including consumers of recorded product), patrons, sponsors, funding bodies and governments who ‘buy’ or ‘buy into’ artistic product.

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