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Canadian University Music Society publishes demands to 'decolonize' music, including abolishing 'rudiments of music' and scales

"White supremacist" structures include "learning scales," which the authors say "perpetuate and solidify the hegemony of Euro-American repertoire, music history, and analysis."

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Roberto Wakerell-Cruz Montreal QC
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Queen's University professors Margaret Walker and Robin Attas wrote a guest editorial for the Canadian Music Society, in which they argue for "decolonizing" music.

In their editorial, addressed "to all who should be concerned," the co-authors argue that Canada's music education systems contain "white supremacist and settler colonial structures."

"As the continuation of anti-Black and anti-Indigenous violence of the past months, years and lifetimes has made evident, the time has ended for further working groups and "Equity, Diversity and Inclusion recommendation committees on how we as educators across all scholarly disciplines must work toward systemic forms of change that are decolonial and anti-racist," they write.

In a section labeled "Instructions for structural change," the pair write that the current configuration of entrance requirements, including the "entrance audition," are "white supremacist forms of gate-keeping."

Other "white supremacist" structures include "learning scales," which they say "perpetuate and solidify the hegemony of Euro-American repertoire, music history, and analysis."

Similar attempts to remove white supremacy from music have been reported elsewhere. In March of this year, the University of Oxford said that a rethinking of sheet music, notation, and classical music was necessary.

Musical notation, the Telegraph reported, is now considered "too colonial," while Beethoven and Mozart, and music curriculums in general, are believed by professors to have "complicity in white supremacy."

Attas and Walker are described in their biographies as "white settler music theorists" who explore "decolonized music history."

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