John Blacking was born October 28, 1928, in Guilford, Surrey, England. With his family he moved to Salisbury, Wiltshire, at age three, where he received his early education and exposure to music at the Salisbury Cathedral Choir School. Blacking obtained a degree in archaeology and anthropology from Kings College Cambridge in 1953. He spent a large part of his life doing fieldwork in countries around the globe. In addition to being a well-known and well-respected professor of social anthropology and gaining professorships in England and Africa before eventually settling in the United States, Blacking was also an ethnomusicologist: He was interested in the relationship between music and biology, psychology, dance, and politics. He believed that making music is fundamental and universal to humans. Blanking stated that through music people express the human condition, transcend class boundaries, and improve the quality of life. He spent 22 months with the Venda people in South Africa. He wrote Venda Children's Songs (1967) based on this experience. Blacking's best known work is How Musical Is Man? (1973) Blacking died in 1990.