chapter  4
36 Pages

The World Song Style Map

A PRIME aim of cantometrics, as a scheme of descriptive and systematic com­ parison» is the establishment of a structurally and historically meaningful taxonomy of the world's folk song styles. Early in the development of the research, when less than half the working sample of 2,557 songs had been coded, Lomax and Grauer discovered, from simple inspection of modal pro­ files, that cantometric descriptions of song style mapped the world in a way clearly congruent with the major cultural distributions. Proceeding from this discovery and from our ruling hypothesis, that song style reinforces and ex­ presses the major abiding themes of culture, we set out to show that the pat­ terning of similarities and dissimilarities among contemporary styles re­ produces a faithful picture of world ethnohistory.