Music Theory and White Supremacy

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Music theorist is kinda racist. Debate me, Ben Shapiro’s MUSIC THEORIST father who went to music school.
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Thanks to Phil Ewell and his paper:


0:00 Introduction
2:53 Part I – The White Racial Frame of Music Theory
8:28 Part iim – North Indian Theory and Perspectives
16:52 Part IIIm7b5 – Alternative Perspectives to Western Theory
22:04 Part IVmaj7 – Music isn’t a Universal
28:24 Part V7(b9,#9,b13) – Heinrich Schenker
36:16 Part vim – Responses to Phil Ewell
40:19 Part viio – Coda


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Cynthia Wang says:

32:23 "Western Music Theory has developed a language that attempts to show white culture's superiority over non-white cultures under the guise of objective analysis"

Eidan Schachter-Brooks says:


Life As A Dream Records says:

interesting video although i think something needs to be stated that hasnt been. youre analysing the society of 100+ years ago through the lens of today's social attitudes. europe at that time was highly nationalist, the history of europe/america of the last 200 years is built on racial/class supremacy, and very much still is, maybe even more so in terms of the class struggle (look at whos making money during a 'pandemic') you go into detail and its interesting to learn about people i dont know about, and sure history should be acknowledged, and the people who contributed to it should be understood. i just dont see the need for saying 'lets not adopt their world view'…. its already outdated… todays society, at least the people who live in 'real' society, not the millionaires who float above the rest of us so to speak, we already get this. this idea in general applies to all the arts, for example hollywood is hollywood, and everything else is 'world cinema', whatever that means. take the good stuff – that is in this case the analysis of music, put it into the wider context of world musics/cultures/peoples, and build on it, in this case youre referring to music education. it just seems to me that this trend of explicitly stating how the world view of people living in essentially another time, or another reality to put it more broadly, is kind of a dead end eventually. make art. put your soul in it. all the rest is just passing attitudes….

Marcus says:

If you have to admit the fact that Ben is a Jew and that his father played jazz shows you don’t have a legitimate argument.

Kevin N says:

Maybe I don't get what people mean by "cancel culture" but it still looks like a rally to shoehorn inclusivity at the cost of relevance. Yes, I watched the video. No, I'm not a fascist. Bach gang

Jim Deferio says:

Adam, you obviously identify as "white" but please explain in scientific terms what "white" is and what "white" is not?
Most of India is Caucasian, as is the Middle East, western Asia and all of North Africa (especially before recent migrations of people from Sub-Sahara Africa).
Are the Portuguese "white"? How about actress Alicia Vikander (see movie Tomb Raider 2018)? She has a dark complexion but she is 3/4 Swedish and 1/4 Finnish.
Would the "POC" that you featured in this video ever learned to play musical instruments and develop musical skills and ability to analyze music outside of European influence? Do you know anything about Sub-Sahara African culture, accomplishments & development before Europeans began influencing this continent?
YOU are a white supremacist and because of it you have taken upon yourself, due to your white privilege and superiority, the task of rectifying everything you see wrong in society that you think is the result of "white supremacy". You're one messed up guy but that was clever race hustling.
Btw, Am I "white"? I am 100% Caucasian (according to 23andMe) but my ancestry in European (mostly southern European), North African, Levantine and Western Asia.
Oh you race hustlers!

Fu_k the Zeitgeist says:

This was so good. Thanks, man! Your work here just gets better and better.

MD 98 says:

This is why the 60s, in terms of pop music and maybe all time, was the golden age IMO. Plenty of borrowing, open-mindedness, innovation, a true enthusiasm to learn and incorporate all the possibilities. And people of all races and genders contributed.

Tom Belknap - Drums and Rhythm says:

There's so much to talk about here. But one simple observation which isn't about race, yet shows just how our European focus hurts us: I took a year of music theory in college. I didn't finish with a degree, but still. I learned an entire year of music theory from an accredited college. And I left with even less idea of how a song like Jane Says gets written than I had when I went in. I went in believing music was limitless and left believing in major and minor keys, exclusively. Could it be that the drug-addled members of a punk rock band from California were really music theory savants? Did that even sound right? I'm still suffering from that shortsighted teaching, even now.

MrFolder says:

thanks mr white guilt you got my click and ad revenue

Marc Hoffman says:

who is the pianist?

Simply Okay says:

and now to scroll for the white fragility comments lol

Marcus says:

Sounds like the world appropriated our scales that were developed in the west lmao.

Snakez29 says:

this video is phenomenal on god

Jack Michalski says:

Killer video Adam, one of your best

Son Dialer says:

Now that you brought it up, any modern perspectives on picking chords, or putting chord ls to melody?

Gus Bovona says:

Excellent! I have a few nitpicks, but you've made a great point and brought a lot of things together coherently.

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