Description: Alan Lomax, George Murdock, and Conrad Arensberg discuss Cantometrics and Murdock's Ethnographic Atlas classifications
Note: Murdock explains methodology for division of world into culture areas of comparable size: Oceania, Asia, North America, South America, and Africa. Each was then subdivided into sub-areas based on anthropological research. In his Ethnographic Atlas of North America he followed Kroeber and others. Gross studies of Eurasia are somewhat lacking. He was unsure where to place Madagascar, linguistically it goes with Indonesia. Arensberg notes that Murdock's criteria are judgemental rather than statistical. Lomax: Linguistic criteria don't always work. Cantometrics puts Madagascar in Africa. Indian urban villages fit with Mediterranean| Burmese border is real border of Asia. Murdock: Yes, Indian populations originated farther west. But Dravidians? Arensberg: The South Indian area is extremely complex, but goes with theNear East not Southeast Asia. Near East is similar to Europe. Murdock: North Africa? Arensberg: Europe. Lomax: The Bardic world stretches from Middle East to Southern Spain and Portugal, and south to Egypt and the Tuareg in Africa. Arensberg: A special category - Mediterranean. Murdock: Balkans? Lomax: The Balkans belong to what I call the Old European Heartland - Russia, Georgia, Lithuania, up to Latvia. We include North Italy and the Basques and northern part of Sardinia in that. Murdock: Is distinction between old Europe and new Europe a temporal one? Lomax: At first I thought it was the Oriental influence, but now I agree with Arensberg that Northern and Western Europe represent a survival of Arctic hunters. Murdock: I think this is very significant. I have always remarked on the basic kinship - the preference for hot baths and tailored clothing (trousers). Lomax: The main [musical] trait is that it is an area of solo singers. Most hunters in Arctic Asia, north Europe, and backwoods margins of South America (not North America) sing solo. The African style is quite homogeneous except for the Pygmies. Arensberg: Our coding system is not adequate for Australia. Recent article indicates they use fat from insects. They are a very different kind of collector. Murdock: Why include culture as well as music? Lomax and Arensberg: Anthropologists have asked us to prove correlations. We are now doing statistical maps on areas showing greater areas of similarities. Not coding on such traits as persistence or absence of fiddles, but social interactions. So far, correlations on basis of familial stability are only so-so. Vocal stress and sexual tension more promising. Social stratification and formalism of expression is a straightforward correlation. Number of instruments and social complexity (layering) also very good. Tight correlation between amount of verbalization in the singing and social complexity. Other parameters include social integration versus social diffusion| organization of the work group| wordiness versus forcefulness| presence or absence of females in the work group| and polyphony in the singing group. Large singing groups peak with collectors and simple tillers. Solo singing peaks in opposite. Murdoch: You have so many threads it is hard to know which to pick up. Lomax: I am still preoccupied with layman's questions of why I get similar singing styles. Arensberg: Performance delivers cultural integration summation.