Working from the premise that music as a cultural abstraction is vitally conditioned by political thought, these essays are presented in the spirit of the so-called 'new musicology', which looks to other disciplines for new impetus and technique. Rather than abstracting music from the environment that created it, the essays seek to study the relations between music and nationalism in different national contexts. Although music and nationalism have been topics of research for a number of years this is the first time that commissioned essays have been published in a volume devoted to this area of interest. The editors have focused on countries that have received less attention in musicology and have drawn together international experts in a variety of national contexts to contribute. These include Stephen Downes and Mikulas Bek who treat different aspects of the ancient/modern dichotomy of musical nationalism. Robert Vilan and Annegret Fauser provide fascinating new interventions on reception history. Although not intended to be a country-by-country survey, most European countries receive an essay.
Professor Harry White holds the chair in the Department of Music, University College Dublin. He is a well-known musicologist and author of The Keeper's Recital: Music and Cultural History in Ireland 1770-1790 (Cork, 1997) Dr Michael Murphy lectures in the Music Department, Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick.