In Bruno Nettle's Piece Heartland Excursions; Ethnomusicological Reflections on Schools of Music, Nettle says, "Ethnomusicologists have contributed to the understanding of the classical music culture of our century in several ways: They try to comprehend the musical culture through a microcosm, to provide an even-handed appraisal without judgment, to look was well as possible at the familiar as if one were an outsider, to see the world of music as a component of culture in the anthropological sense of that word, and to view their own music from a world perspective."
My question is, is it ever possible to comprehend musical culture through a microcosm without judgment? People often tell you to 'go with your gut', meaning go with your instinct. Do we not all have instinctive reactions to the music we hear? If so, would this necessarily mean you are listening to music judgmentally because our instincts arise from our own past experiences and exposure to specific kinds of music? While ethnomusicologist aim to look at the familiar as if they were an outsider, is that truly possible? We can't just suddenly forget what we know - our knowledge and experience is always with us. So while you may be trying to look at something subjectively, wouldn't you objectively be trying to ignore certain things you already know?