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Summary of Activities, 1984

Barry S. Brook, President de la Commission Mixte du RILM
Nanna Schiødt, Secretary

Report No. 19: 1984

Forty-six participants from sixteen countries attended the RILM session

Report by the President

Volume XIII of RILM Abstracts is virtually complete and work on volume XIV has begun. Becoming current—that is, narrowing the time gap between the date of the material and the date of publication—remains a pressing problem, one that could be solved with a small increase in staff. With the raise in price for volume XIV, RILM’s no-frills budget is balanced, but, like all no-frills budget, it allows for no extras such as more staff. A solution may come from the proposal to establish a local finance committee, whose function will be to find money for special projects, in particular the hiring of another editor. In the meantime, we will continue our policy of printing every abstract within the appropriate year, so that information, even if not altogether current, is as complete as possible.

The local finance committee will also undertake the task of finding money for the equipment with which to computerize our authority file. This equipment will be either in the form of a hard disk to be attached to the large computer at the Graduate Center or in the form of a small independent computer system; the latter would have the disadvantage of less storage space but the decided advantage of unimpeded, constant access to the database, a condition not guaranteed in the case of the hard disk. A committee at the Graduate Center is investigating the practicability of both possibilities.

Special reports

Japan: Gen’ichi Tsuge reported in detail on the efforts of the Japanese committee, headed by Professor Shigeo Kishibe, to find a classification system which does not relegate non-Western music to an ethnomusicological category, thus ignoring its historical component. He feels that the present RILM classification system is causing a lack of recognition of valuable scholarly work and that it distorts the perspective of musicological research, presenting a Eurocentric picture where there should be universality. Accordingly, he suggested a revised system which divides historical musicology into time periods rather than into Western style periods and also reports performance practice according to continent rather than centuries. Following Dr. Tsuge’s presentation, there was wide agreement on the need for a positive step to be taken, as well as on the need to seek suggestions from several other representative cultures. A report concerning the revision will be presented next year.

Sweden: Veslemöy Heintz spoke about her visit to the International RILM Center in New York last winter and made a plea for whole-hearted cooperation from the national committees, including the sending of shorter abstracts. She suggested [to objections from the floor] that a good way for RILM to become current would be to print only citations (plus key words for the index) for the years the journal has fallen behind and to start with abstracts again after the catch-up period.

USA: Under the supervision of Lenore Coral, a new US-RILM office has been established at Cornell University to collect abstracts from authors and editors in the United States. Jean Harden will act as coordinator.

Commission Internationale Mixte

Harald Heckmann, Israel Adler, János Kárpáti, Barry Brook, Melva Peterson, and Nanna Schiødt (secretary) were present at the meeting. Particular attention was given to the implementation of Dr. Tsuge’s suggestions for revising RILM’s classification system. The Commission also approved the establishment of two committees for RILM—one a local finance committee, to concentrate on funding for special projects, and the other an international committee to generate on-going support, the latter to be chaired by Harald Heckmann. Names were suggested for the membership of both committees.