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Abstract

This essay examines historical research in music education in connection with historiography and the writing of history, using the works of three exemplary writers recently reviewed in book-length studies. Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) representing classic, enlightenment philosophy as it pertains to historiography was primarily a philosopher who wrote tangentially on history. Oswald Spengler (1880-1936), a modernist German historian and philosopher famous for his pessimistic tome, The Decline of the West (1924-26), was primarily a historian with an interest in philosophy. Michel Foucault (1926-1984), who stated the case for post-modern historiography from a French perspective, seems to have been interested in history and philosophy more or less equally. Each of these three had important things to say to music education historians about the nature of history itself. All three addressed fundamental questions on the nature and value of history: What is it? What good is it? Twenty-first century commentators have made interesting applications of their ideas to present concerns of historians in general, which music education historians may well extrapolate to their own concerns.

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