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Music Ethnomusicology

Taking a Stand

Essays in honour of John Beckwith

edited by Timothy McGee

University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
Dec 1995
Ethnomusicology, Essays, History & Criticism
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    Publish Date
    Dec 1995
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As Timothy McGee says in his introduction, ‘It is not an exaggeration to say that John Beckwith has been the single most important influence on Canadian music over the past forty years.’ Beckwith’s career as a composer, performer, teacher, administrator, author, editor, and promoter of Canadian music is unparalleled. It is fitting, then, that this group of papers, organized as a tribute to him, reflects not only his contribution, but also the current major directions of Canadian music.


The contributions fall under the headings of composers and compositions, music education, comparative studies of music in Canada and the United States, and general views of music in Canada. The composers discussed include Bruce Cockburn, Istvan Anhalt, John Hawkins, and of course, John Beckwith. One essay looks at the way in which music was taught in nineteenth-century Toronto; another deal with music education in Canada today. The comparative studies include a consideration of sacred music in the early years and a look at the different ways in which American and Canadian composers treat native music. One essay probes what is typically Canadian about our study of own music. Another examines the role played the private patrons in supporting our cultural institutions.


The essays reflect the variety of musical culture in our country. The music of Canada – past and present; popular, folk, and classical; its creator, collectors, and educators – is presented, discussed, and analysed by prominent scholars. Collectively the essays summarize the current state of research on Canadian music; individually they provide standards, patterns, approaches, and directions for future research.

About the author

Timothy J. McGee is a professor emeritus of the Faculty of Music at Scarborough College in the University of Toronto.

Timothy McGee's profile page