This question already has an answer here:

Can you please tell me what "working out of" means in this context?

"African composers working out of European-based choral and instrumental art music traditions are gaining recognition, as are the varied roles that women play in making music."

Google Books: 'The Harvard Dictionary of Music' By Don Michael Randel

marked as duplicate by Hot Licks, user140086, tchrist, Community May 28 '16 at 12:06

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • 1
    What part of it do you find confusing? Asking overall concept is not a good question unless you mention the part that confuses you. – NVZ May 27 '16 at 21:06
  • Meaning of "working out "? and also does this statement concept that "African composers are known because they are not working on European-based choral and instrumental art music traditions" or so what? thanks. – Shahandeh May 27 '16 at 21:15
  • 2
    It means that African composers are successfully using European-based choral and instrumental ...traditions – ab2 May 27 '16 at 21:25
  • This could be a good question, as the expression "working out of" is potentially confusing, and I can't see anything else in ELU that specifically covers this context. Here, "out of" means "from within", i.e. the composers are working from within specific traditions - as @ab2 nicely rewords. – Chappo May 28 '16 at 2:34
  • 2
    @Scott: similar, but I don't think an exact duplicate, as "based out of" is very much a geographic usage, whereas this particular context ("working out of a tradition") is semantically different. I think it's a useful question, and I'd love to hear an erudite answer that delves into the expression itself. For example, is it a specific usage in its own right, or is it using the place-based usage metaphorically? – Chappo May 28 '16 at 2:58

The idiom "working out of" is usually used to refer to a physical base of operations. Eg, one might say that a mobile appliance repairman, who spends his entire day in his truck, is "working out of" an office in East Podunk (as that East Podunk office is where his paperwork is handled, etc).

However, the usage quoted in the above question is using the idiom somewhat metaphorically, saying that the African composers being discussed have conceptually based their work on the referenced European musical traditions.

It is a somewhat unusual usage of the idiom.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.