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date: 04 April 2020

Gilman, Benjamin Iveslocked

  • Sue Carole DeVale


(b New York, Feb 19, 1852; d Boston, March 18, 1933). American psychologist and ethnomusicologist. He studied at Williams College (AB 1872) and did postgraduate work as a Fellow in Logic at Johns Hopkins University (1881–2); he then attended the University of Berlin (1882), was a graduate student in psychology at Harvard (1883–5) and in 1886 studied at the University of Paris. He lectured at Princeton, Columbia and Harvard on the psychology of music (1890–92) and was assistant professor of psychology at Clark University (1892–3). He then became secretary of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts until his retirement in 1925.

Much of Gilman’s musical research was given impetus by Mary Hemenway, who commissioned an expedition to study the Pueblo Indians; in 1890 she entrusted the study of the songs to Gilman, who was the first to scientifically analyse Amerindian melodies through recordings. He held that the Amerindians had their own set of conscious norms for intervallic relationships and, in his article on Zuñi melodies (...

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