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Arom, Simha


AROM, SIMHA (1930– ), Israeli-French ethnomusicologist. Arom studied the French horn at the Paris Conservatoire with Jean Devémy and received first prize there in 1954. From 1958 to 1963 he played horn in the Israel Broadcasting Authority Symphony Orchestra in Jerusalem. However, Arom received international recognition first of all as ethnomusicologist. In 1963, Arom was sent to the Central African Republic, where he did extensive fieldwork, founded the Musée National Boganda at Bangui, and was its director until 1967. Subsequently he studied musicology at the Sorbonne and received his Ph.D. in 1985 with a thesis on polyphony and polyrhythmic in the instrumental folk music of Central Africa, based on his African experience. After a long stint as researcher at the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (cnrs) in Paris, he was appointed Directeur de Recherche de Classe Exeptionelle there in 1993. In Israel he was made associate professor at Tel Aviv University (1979–83) and music director of the Israel Broadcasting Authority (1980–82).

Arom's main research interests are connected with Central Africa's folk music (polyphonic and polymetric structures) as well as with Jewish liturgical music of the Yemenite and Ethiopian communities. In 1972 he devised new methodological procedures for analytical recording of oral traditional music, enabling such music to be transcribed and analyzed; in 1989 he developed an interactive experimental method for the perception of the organization of musical scales in orally transmitted music. His fundamental monograph, Polyphonies and Polyritmies instrumentales d'Afrique Centrale. Structure et méthodologie (1985), was translated into English in 1991. Among his awards are the Grand Prix International du Disque de l'Académie Charles Cros (1971, 1978, and 1985), and the Silver Medal of the cnrs (1984). In 1992 he won the ascap Deems Taylor Award for excellence in music literature.


ng2; mgg2.

[Yulia Kreinin (2nd ed.)]

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