• Jonathan P. J. Stock Department of Music, University College Cork


The article provides a critical review of a wide cross-section of ethnomusicological research into violence, conflict, and music, leading to proposal of a new model for field researchers. The article begins with a contextualization of selected analytical positions, as offered by theorists of violence and conflict. The main body of the essay then assesses notable contributions from the already substantive ethnomusicological literature on music and violence. Music is not inherently peaceful: instead, it frames and commemorates conflict, making its impacts resound. Music is put to contrasting, and even conflicting, usages by those in, or recovering from, situations of hurt, hostility, or overt conflict. The article provides examples from research carried out in many parts of the world and in the shadow of numerous types of violence, from the re-imagining of a heroic individual to the systemic antagonisms of colonization or poverty, and from the recruitment of extremists to the selfregulation of inmates. Finally, a new model for applied ethnomusicological involvement in the area is briefly presented. Its component parts – naming, witnessing, intervention, and survival – are briefly explained and discussed, showing how an ethnomusicologically trained researcher can contribute to peacebuilding via musical research, listening, and participation.

Author Biography

Jonathan P. J. Stock, Department of Music, University College Cork

Jonathan P.J. Stock is Professor of Music at University College Cork, Ireland. An ethnomusicologist whose work focuses mainly on the transformation of musical traditions in the modern era in China and Taiwan, he has also written articles on music analysis, biography, bromance, English folk music, and on one of the founders of comparative musicology, Alexander Ellis. He is currently co-editing the Oxford Handbook of the Music of China and the Chinese Diaspora and has recently completed a book on everyday musical life among the indigenous Bunun of Taiwan. Email: