This book is unique in its comprehensiveness and its recognition of cultural diversity and community. In Dr Whiteoak's words: "Instead of taking a 'Who's Who' approach it will emphasise the what, when and how of music and dance in Australia as a more effective way of revealing the breadth, complexity and rich variegation of these related performance cultures. In creating a contents list that expresses this breadth and diversity, we considered the fact that all forms of music and dance activity in Australia have cultural significance or commonly appreciated meanings for one group or another." The book not only covers the history of concert music, opera and ballet in Australia; of music teaching, composition, instruments, venues, union activity; of Aboriginal music and dance and its appropriation, and all forms of popular and folk music and dance, but embraces the wide variety of immigrant influences from Europe, America and particularly the Pacific; sound art, computer music and electroacoustics; belly dance, debutante balls, subcultures, music videos -- and much more.
Over 200 researchers contribute to each volume -- academics, practitioners and private researchers from all parts of Australia and beyond. The general editors are respected Melbourne musicologists. Dr Whiteoak's field is the history of popular music-making; and Dr Scott-Maxwell's doctoral thesis was in Asian and Pacific musical influences.