Anthropocentric and Ecocentric Perspectives on Music and Environment

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Aaron S. Allen, Associate Professor of Musicology and Director, Environment & Sustainability Program (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:

Abstract: In both French and English, the word “environs” means near, in time and/or in space: be it an approximate amount of chronology, some roughly measurable distance, or a place near a specific or general location. This idea of being “around” or “circumscribing” is fundamental to the term “environment,” which is the topic of this special issue of MUSICultures. Environment is context — context for someone, some thing, or some place. The environment constitutes the physical surroundings that contribute to the person, thing, or place’s existence, characteristics, and growth (or lack thereof): not only food, water, and oxygen, but also nurture, stimulation, and protection. The environment is physical and cultural, random and ordered, safe and perilous. For humans, the Earth is our environment, and the Earth contains countless environments and relationships between them. Even as it is impossibly vast for a single human to grasp as a singular context, and even as the Earth is too immeasurably complex in its workings for one person to understand, we still exist only in nearness — to each other and to the Earth, its other life forms, and its abiotic features. It may seem simplistic, but it is nevertheless worthwhile to emphasize the following: without the Earth near, we humans don’t exist.

Additional Information

MUSICultures, vol. 46/2 (2019): 1-6
Language: English
Date: 2020
ecomusicology, environment, ecocentrism, ecologies

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