Really useful refection point on the place of key words in our music classrooms

Music Education Now

In 1976 Raymond Williams, the Welsh cultural theorist, published the book ‘Keywords, A vocabulary of culture and society’. (1) It was revised and expanded in 1983. It is shortly to be republished. Raymond Williams had gathered his keywords and researched their provenance over a period of thirty years following the Second World War. The word ‘culture’ unsurprisingly has one of the longest entries. Each entry is in effect a mini essay through which Williams shows how words change their meaning over time and across contexts. Others have asked: how is it that words can have meaning? After all, many words can only be defined in terms of other words. (2) Rarely can definitions provide the meaning of a word or term. In this view reducing words to labels is the final act of meaninglessness.

In England it was about 1995 that words started appearing on music room walls. When asked…

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