Starting from the last century, musical scholarship and anthropology have combined to formulate new areas of scholarly research, realized primarily, though not exclusively, by the field of ethnomusicology. In the last decades of the 20th century approaches drawn from anthropology have spread also to other fields, and new perspectives toward the study of music have come to challenge the authority long exerted by more traditional canons.
Music and Anthropology (M&A) serves as a forum for studies which approach music as an essentially human and social expression. The journal is interdisciplinary and welcomes dialogue not only among the different fields of musical scholarship and the domains of social scientific scholarship, such as cultural and social anthropology, but also between music and psychology, folklore, feminist and gender studies and so forth. The journal seeks to explore the contributions offered by different disciplines through the investigation of fundamental questions concerning the human and social dimensions of music.
The primary geocultural focus of M&A is the Mediterranean. The 'Mediterranean', however, signifies not merely a geographical and historical region, but also a metaphorical entity with constructed and contested boundaries, cultures, and identities. Mediterranean musics offer special challenges to disciplines situated at the intersection of music and anthropology: in this crucial region, musics of all kinds and throughout the world found their origins, came into contact, underwent changes, and often were dispersed, despite maintaining a distinctive identity and evolving as a symbol of difference, local history, and cultural values. By drawing attention to the complex phenomena that characterize Mediterranean musics, M&A aims to foster research in the region and to broaden the range of approaches to music and musical practices beyond the region's borders.