Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC will host a 7-week celebration of John Cage’s centennial birthday from September 28–November 13. The University CAGEFEST kicks off with a Musicircus, followed by a discussion on October 4 by Brian Butler, Chair of the Philosophy Department at University of North Carolina-Asheville, who will discuss Richard Rorty, Buckminster Fuller and John Cage and their respective methods of “artistic” production as part of the WFU Department of Philosophy’s Philosophy Forum. The following week, musicologist and Cage specialist Rob Haskins of the University of New Hampshire and the author of Anarchic Societies of Sounds: The Number Pieces of John Cage will give a lecture, perform one of Cage’s mesostic poems, and join WFU faculty Louis Goldstein in a performance of the concert-length Two2 for two pianos. Haskins’ new biography of John Cage will be used as a text in this semester’s Department of Music course on Cage.
On Sunday, October 14, the internationally acclaimed pianist Stephen Drury will perform an all-Cage recital. Drury will also conduct a Master class the following morning. Marjorie Perloff will lecture on “John Cage as a Conceptual Poet” on October 22. Perloff is widely acknowledged as one of the foremost American critics of contemporary poetry. Her work has been especially concerned with explicating the writings of experimental and avant-garde poets and relating them to the major currents of modernist and, especially, postmodernist activity in the arts, including the visual arts and cultural theory.
The art show “Cage Rocks” will open on October 29 in the Hanes Art Gallery. Works by Cage to be displayed include drawings, prints, and watercolors on loan from the John Cage Trust and from Ray Kass, who worked closely with Mr. Cage in making some of his last works of visual art at Mountain Lake Workshop in Virginia. Kass, a nationally recognized artist and writer and the author of The Sight of Silence: John Cage’s Complete Watercolors, will lecture as part of the official show opening on October 30.
David Patterson, author of Appraising the Catchwords and editor of John Cage: Music, Philosophy, and Intention, 1933–1950, will begin his residency on November 3–5. Patterson will lecture and also introduce the music on the John Cage Student Concert November 6. This concert will be a major student production, featuring solos and ensembles for piano, voice, percussion, and radios. On November 8, WFU Professor David Phillips of the Interdisciplinary Humanities Program will speak about Ryoan-ji, the Zen rock garden in Kyoto, Japan, followed by a performance of Cage’s Ryoan-ji for String Bass by alumnus Jorge Mendez Estrada in the Hanes Art Gallery, where several of Cage’s Ryoan-ji drawings will be on display.
To wrap up the festival, Kay Larson, author of Where the Heart Beats: John Cage, Zen Buddhism, and the Inner Life of Artists will be in residence from November 13–15. Larson will lecture on the Zen sources of John Cage’s most significant post-1950 musical inventions: chance operations, sound installations in space-time, 4’33”, and indeterminacy. She will also introduce a special, late-night performance by Louis Goldstein of Cage’s Sonatas and Interludes.
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
I write in the middle of August as someone (like many of you) who is acutely aware of the summer slipping away and the first days of fall semester looming–despite the unfinished nature of many projects. I always start the summer confident that this time I will actually finish all the tasks I am working on. But it never happens, for one reason or another (does this sound familiar?). Some things get wrapped up, while others continue to simmer on the back (or maybe a middle) burner. And then there all the new tasks that emerge from who-knows-where. My quick survey of the SAM-related news that I’d like to share with you in this message suggests that the situation is similar on the Society level: there are some activities that have been successfully completed, a lot of tasks that are on-going, and a number of endeavors that have emerged since my last column. As a result, this communication will consist of a smattering of this and that—which actually feels rather appropriate for mid-August.
SAM members at the 17th Biennial Conference on Nineteenth-Century Music
In the missive that I wrote in March, I mentioned the successful co-sponsorship by the Society of a conference on nineteenth-century melodrama and 20th- (and 21st-) century film music that was held at California State University/Long Beach. Since that time SAM has not been a co-sponsor of any other regional or topic-specific conferences—although I reiterate the Board’s interest in future collaborative ventures, so please submit proposals or make suggestions. But we have nevertheless been well represented at two meetings that took place this summer. The first was the 17th Biennial Conference on Nineteenth-Century Music, held in late June at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. Almost twenty SAM members were on the program, and several others attended the meeting but did not read papers. In addition, there were a handful of presentations on Americanist topics read by scholars who are not part of the Society (although a number of us did some proselytizing, and SAM will perhaps gain a few members as a result). On the final evening of the conference former president John Graziano and I hosted an impromptu reception for the SAM members who were present in Edinburgh. Not everyone could come, but it was a pleasant evening of socializing. The second scholarly assemblage that featured a large contingent of SAM members was the Fifth Biennial Conference of the North American British Music Studies Association (an organization with the unpronounceable acronym of NABMSA; I take the liberty of poking fun only because I am a charter member). This meeting, the theme of which was Anglo-American Connections, was held at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana in late July. The program featured ten SAM members, including Patrick Warfield, who gave the keynote address, and long-time member Nicholas Temperley, whose 80th birthday was celebrated with an Anglo-American concert in his honor. This event, I am told, also included a fair amount of pleasant socializing. The strong place of American-music scholarship at both of these conferences (not to mention all the Americanist sessions at the upcoming AMS/SEM/SMT meeting in New Orleans in November), demonstrates tellingly that American-music studies is no longer marginal—in fact, we are rapidly becoming mainstream.
President Katherine Preston and Doc Watson
I do have some sad news to share, of which some of you may be unaware. The Society’s 2012 Honorary Member, Arthel Lane “Doc” Watson (1923–2012)—an iconic figure in the world of American traditional music—passed away on 29 May, barely ten weeks after we enjoyed meeting and honoring him in March at our Charlotte conference. In his memory, members of the Society were invited (via messages from Mariana Whitmer) to contribute to the Doc Watson and Rosa Lee Watson Scholarship Fund at Appalachian State University. We were truly lucky to have had to opportunity to visit with this great musician, to hear him perform, and to honor him shortly before he died.
The Honorary Member for 2013, as already announced, will be the extraordinary jazz tenor saxophonist Pharoah Sanders. The Local Arrangements committee for our conference in Little Rock, Arkansas, is hard at work with several local organizations that share our interest in honoring Mr. Sanders, who is a native of the city. We hope that there will be some truly collaborative events as we reach out to the local community in our quest to honor a native son. And speaking of Little Rock, the Program Committee, headed by Steven Baur, has almost completed the program for the upcoming conference. I have seen a preliminary version, and it looks just as interesting, diverse, and inclusive as the past several conferences have been. See his report elsewhere in the Bulletin for more information, stay tuned for a further update in December, and put the conference dates (6–10 March 2013) on your calendar now.
In the general category of no-rest-for-the-weary, both the Long Range Planning Committee (headed by SAM Vice President Denise Von Glahn) and the Development Committee (under the direction of bruce mcclung) have been hard at work over the summer. The LRPC will have an all-day meeting in September in Pittsburgh, just prior to the semi-annual meeting of the Board of Directors. The Development Committee will meet in New Orleans in November, immediately after the AMS/SEM/SMT conference. Both committees should have some important and exciting news to share with the Society at the business meeting in Little Rock.
One other group that has likewise been hard at work this summer is the Committee on Committee Governance, headed by Jim Deaville. Although I have not yet mentioned the committee in this forum, the Board approved its creation last year and assigned to it the rather daunting task of taking a long, hard look at the Society’s committee structure. The charge was to discuss such questions as committee size and diversity of membership (taking into consideration geography, ethnicity, scholarly subject matter, and junior/senior status of members); to standardize terms and establish rotations; and to examine the committees’ charges. I also asked the group to ensure that the public information about committees (on the webpage, in the handbook, and in the directory) is uniform and consistent. This has been a tremendous amount of work, and the committee will submit a proposal to the Board for its September meeting. As a result, when President-Elect Judy Tsou takes over in March, the Society will have a committee structure that is clear, consistent, and transparent. As a result of this committee’s work, there will also be some by-laws changes presented to Society members for discussion and voting at the March meeting. This type of committee work, I realize, is all pretty boring stuff. It is, nevertheless, absolutely crucial for an organization that has grown from a small group of like-minded scholars and colleagues into a highly respected international scholarly organization.
One final note: this is Kendra Preston Leonard’s last issue as editor of the Bulletin. On behalf of the Society, I’d like to thank her for a job well done; she has ably served as editor since fall 2008. Laura Pruett will be taking over, and Kendra promises to help her achieve a smooth transition. Thanks, Kendra! As usual, if you have any concerns, ideas, or suggestions, all of us at SAM-central (figuratively speaking) are readily available and welcome your letters, emails, phone calls, FB postings, tweets, or any other types of communication.
Several SAM Interest Groups will be meeting in Little Rock. If you are interested in joining one of the groups or attending their meetings, contact the group leaders listed here.
Music, Film, and Media Interest Group, Mary Simonson (email@example.com), chair
Music of Latin America Interest Group, Jenny Campbell (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Christina Taylor Gibson (email@example.com), co-chairs
Folk and Traditional Music Interest Group, Gregory Reish (firstname.lastname@example.org), chair
Gospel and Church Music Interest Group, Tammy Kernodle (email@example.com), co-chair
Research Resources Interest Group, Mark McKnight (firstname.lastname@example.org), chair
Research on Gender Interest Group, Melissa de Graaf (email@example.com), chair
Connecting Outside the Academy Interest Group, Joseph Horowitz (firstname.lastname@example.org), chair
Jewish Studies Interest Group, Erica Argyropoulos (email@example.com), chair
It’s that time of year again! It’s time to begin thinking about what you can donate to the 2013 Silent Auction. Old treasures, or something shiny and new: any items of interest to the SAM membership will be accepted. Books, which tend to increase revenue substantially, are especially welcome. All proceeds benefit the Student Travel Endowment. Items may be shipped directly to the conference hotel (during the week preceding the conference), or may be brought with you to the conference. If you decide to ship materials, please send items to: Mariana Whitmer; Attn: SAM Silent Auction, The Peabody Little Rock, Three Statehouse Plaza, Little Rock, AR 72201. Please do not send items before March 4, 2013. Contact Student Forum Co-Chair Sarah Suhadolnik (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Executive Director Mariana Whitmer for more information.
Volume 6, Number 4 (October 2012)
“The Hora Staccato in Swing!”: Jascha Heifetz’s Musical Eclecticism and the Adaptation of Violin Miniatures
Whatever Happened to William Dawson’s Negro Folk Symphony?
Gwynne K. Brown
Morton Feldman’s Graphic Notation: Projections and Trajectories
Larry Hamberlin, Tin Pan Opera: Operatic Novelty Songs in the Ragtime Era
Charles Hiroshi Garrett
Cathy Ragland, Música Norteña: Mexican Immigrants Creating a Nation between Nations
Jesús A. Ramos-Kittrell
Book and Website
Matthew F. Delmont, The Nicest Kids in Town: American Bandstand, Rock ’n’ Roll, and the Struggle for Civil Rights in 1950s Philadelphia
George Lewis, Les Exercices Spirituels
Midnight Frolic: The Broadway Theater Music of Louis A. Hirsch
Alberto Ginastera, Cello Concertos; and Astor Piazzolla, Tangos for Violin, Brass Quintet, and Percussion
Musical of the Month www.nypl.org/voices/blogs/blog-channels/musical-of-the-month
The Society is pleased to welcome these new members:
Caleb Boyd, Tempe, AZ
Neely Bruce, Middletown, CT
Lucy Church, Tallahassee, FL
Christopher Capizzi, Pittsburgh, PA
Eric Crawford, Norfolk, VA
Catherine Crone, Troy, NY
Andrew Dell'Antonio, Austin, TX
Sarah Dougher, Portland, OR
Katherine Eberle Fink, Iowa City, IA
John Gabriel, Springfield, IL
Kyle Gann, Germantown, NY
Jessica Getman, Ann Arbor, MI
Sherry Good, Shipshewana, IN
James Grymes, Charlotte, NC
Douglas R. Harrison, Fort Myers, FL
Martin Horak, London, ON
Todd Jones, Lexington, KY
Kelsey Klotz, St. Louis, MO
John McCluskey, Lexington, KY
Alice Miller, Princeton, NJ
David Novak, Santa Barbara, CA
Marissa Ochsner, Portland, OR
Blue O'Connell, Charlottesville, VA
Julia O'Toole, Norwood, MA
Marcie Ray, East Lansing, MI
William Robin, Carrboro, NC
Jeff Schwartz, Culver City, CA
Natalie Shaffer, Fairmont, WV
Amanda Lynn Stubley, Chapel Hill, NC
Katherine Svistoonoff, Houston, TX
Jenna Tucker, El Dorado, AR
Catherine Williams, Tallahassee, FL
James Gordon Williams, La Jolla, CA
Lindsay Wright, Philadelphia, PA
Dusty! Queen of the Postmods, Annie J. Randall. Oxford University Press, 2009. 240pp. ISBN-978-0-19532-943-8. Hardcover.
Soul Covers: Rhythm and Blues Remakes and the Struggle for Artistic Identity, Michael Awkward. Duke University Press, 2007. 280pp. ISBN-978-0-82233-980-9. Hardcover.
Midnight at the Barrelhouse: The Johnny Otis Story, George Lipsitz. University of Minnesota Press, 2010. 264pp. ISBN-978-0-81666-678-2. Paper.
Academic studies of popular music were once so rare that scholars needed to impose in their research and teaching ideas developed in the study of distant cultural and musical formations. An explosion of output on popular music topics during the last decade has changed this, however, creating more specialized sub-fields under the umbrella of popular music studies with bodies of literature that coalesce to form multiple important and varied viewpoints on similar styles and topics within popular canons. Scholars working on heavy metal, for example, no longer need to translate ideas from work based on electronic dance music, nor are hip-hop scholars expected to engage with important work on progressive rock, as both metal and EDM have core texts that deal with issues germane to these musics.1 Of course, there may be something lost in the development of more comprehensive bodies of popular music literature, as the commonalities found between popular forms can be quite informative. In my estimation, the gains far outweigh the costs, however, as collective study of stylistic forms adds tremendous depth to the literature, providing examples of scholars grappling with similar issues, and clarifying unique methodological approaches.
Books published in the last five years by Annie J. Randall, Michael Awkward, and George Lipsitz provide an example of a coalescence of literature pertaining to rhythm and blues from the period between the end of World War II and the onset of the Reagan Administration.2 Inherently inter-disciplinary, these three studies exhibit the ways in which work on black pop from this time often leads scholars to traverse methodological approaches that explore issues of gender, class, place, ethnic identity, business, and musical structure. While these scholars claim widely different disciplinary homes, their work resonates collectively in a manner that announces an emerging scope within popular music studies that accounts in a new way for the racial and ethnic aspects of rhythm and blues.
The differing foci of these three books comprises a comparative set that displays the range of what might be considered the boundaries of an emerging “soul studies” discourse, including a book focused on interpretation (covers), a set of critical essays around the work of a single artist (Springfield), and an interview-based narrative study of a historic figure in popular music (Otis). Awkward’s Soul Covers: Rhythm and Blues Remakes and the Struggle for Artistic Identity centers on the concept of dialogue between differing recorded versions of the same song. Devoting large sections to the interpretive work of Aretha Franklin, Al Green, and Phoebe Snow, Awkward provides commentary on a healthy variety of interpretive agents, in addition to a body of source material that ranges from Hank Williams to Dinah Washington. Randall’s Dusty! Queen of the Postmods focuses on the musical and cultural work of a single artist, Dusty Springfield, through critical lenses that account for style as connotative marker, ethnic and artistic appropriation, transatlantic discourse, and issues of gender identity. Lipsitz’s Midnight at the Barrelhouse: The Johnny Otis Story also uses the perspective of a single artist as the frame for the study. Instead of the topic-based approach of Randall, however, Lipsitz focuses instead on a linear narrative of Otis’s life and work as a means of showing the changes in popular music over the course of a half-century through the lens of a multi-faceted character that has worked as performer, record executive, minister, educator, farmer, and tireless advocate for the African-American community of Los Angeles.
Several important themes arise from these studies, which collectively allow for deeper understanding of issues pertinent to racialized popular forms during the post-War era. One feature common to all three books is the need to give voice to characters and music written out of common historical narratives of popular music. While Awkward spends two-thirds of the book considering well-known artists Franklin and Green, he maintains just as much rigor for the largely forgotten recordings of Snow. For a variety of reasons relating to race, gender, personal issues, and strength of commercial material, Snow has hardly maintained the level of respect afforded to the two contemporaries that Awkward discusses in Soul Covers. In part because of her unknown quantity, the author gleefully analyzes Snow’s music, contextualizing her lack of popularity against her notable artistic achievements in black popular forms and willingness to take on weighty repertoire. Moreover, Awkward’s consideration of Franklin centers on her pre-Atlantic work recorded for Columbia, a repertoire given short shrift in most accounts of Franklin’s artistic output. While readers may initially consider Randall’s study a large-scale attempt to resuscitate the historical importance of Springfield, within Dusty! focus turns to a more obscure figure in the transplanted American soul singer Madeline Bell. Bell’s relationship with Springfield, and her work as an African-American performer in both the United States and the United Kingdom during the 1960s, provides important depth to Springfield’s historical narrative, reclaims Bell’s position as an important conduit of American performance practice among British musicians during a critical time of transatlantic dialogue, and raises the possibility of an entire tier of performers that have been written out of the history of post-War popular music. While many readers will recognize the name of Johnny Otis, and others will surely have heard his popular songs from the early 1950s such as “Willie and the Hand Jive,” Lipsitz’s work in Midnight at the Barrelhouse deepens our understanding of a true cultural polymath, whose most popular music occurred during a period of volatile transition between jazz combos, R&B groups, and white rock, and whose work in and out of music far exceeds the typical range of a performing artist.
In the context of writing characters into the discourse, one of the common struggles of these books is the manner in which to depict the voice of the artist. In order to depict Springfield’s agency, Randall maintains a scholarly perspective that balances interview, documentary, and musical evidence. Particularly effective is Randall’s discussion of Springfield’s cultural impact, achieved by incorporating perspectives of Springfield fans and tribute artists. Personal contact with Bell allows Randall a noticeably deeper insight with Bell’s character; yet, Randall’s proximity to Bell sometimes overshadows her more traditional scholarly distance from Springfield. Different issues appear in the work of Awkward, who uses non-critical biographical sources in what some may consider an unbalanced manner. This is noticeable, for example, in his use of Mark Bego’s 1989 biography of Aretha Franklin. The few instances in which Awkward reads Bego’s writings through a scholarly lens are extremely compelling. However, the non-critical application of this biography in the remainder of Awkward’s study exposes a shakier foundation on which to base his analyses.3 Throughout Lipsitz’s study, the voice of Otis is the central character, and often eclipses the voice of the author. Had this study been written by anyone other than Lipsitz, we may question the latitude allowed in this respect. However, as one of the most important critical writers on race and music, and the author of several of the most widely cited studies on memory, history, and music, we should certainly assume that Lipsitz accedes voice to Otis as a matter of scholarly decision.4 While it may be possible to question each of these approaches to representation, it is also helpful to realize the perennial issue for popular music scholars in characterizing the voice of highly mediated popular artists. This struggle is certainly another issue that binds together studies of soul music.
Issues pertaining to whiteness within black pop are also central to the work of each book, emerging as a critical element of the discourse surrounding music marked economically and culturally as “black” during a period of ethnic broadening in the last half of the twentieth century. Awkward’s strongest engagement comes again in his discussion of Snow, a woman of Jewish heritage whose physical features and performance style often caused audiences to believe she was black. While Awkward explores Snow’s artistic and marketing struggles in trying to fit her artistic work into a highly segregated and often-uncompromising black music field, he also considers heavily the ways in which iconic soul singer Green engages with, and arguably blackens, country standards such as “Cold, Cold Heart” and “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.” Using a concept that draws on the popular Henry Louis Gates figure of “signifyin(g),” Randall coins the term “Dustifying” to explore the authority of Irish Catholic Springfield as interpreter of American rhythm and blues, specifically through her relationship with Bell, her role as promoter of a 1965 Motown tour in the United Kingdom, and her ability to transcend increasingly harsh views toward white appropriation of American black pop in Britain. Perhaps the most significant work in this area appears in Lipsitz’s study, which considers throughout Otis’s insider relationship with black culture, despite Otis’s thoroughly Greek biological makeup. Physical characteristics again play a part in Otis’s identification as “black by persuasion,” but only begin to account for his ethnic submergence into African-American culture and his political work and writings that acted and spoke from a black perspective. In each of these scenarios, we see careful work done that contributes to recent efforts to untangle decades-long cultural categories of race within popular music, considering contributions to black cultural forms within a context that acknowledges the challenges that can face white performers thoroughly dedicated to exploring black cultural traditions.
The political importance of this work also binds these studies together. In light of our distance from this repertory, the work of the soul historian who deals with black music emanating from the era before the emergence of hip-hop takes on a special role. Much like scholarship from the 1960s and 1970s that considered the work of aging first-generation jazz artists, work on soul repertories is becoming more valuable as musicians and informants enter their twilight years. In a decade or two, it is unlikely that many of the informants that contributed so greatly to the Lipsitz and Randall studies will be alive. In fact, in the past year both Snow and Otis have passed on, directly highlighting the significance of both Awkward and Lipsitz in a larger public arena.
The voices of these authors form an interdisciplinary dialogue, both figuratively, in an exchange of ideas on common topics, and literally, with each author commenting directly on the work of the others. As such, the varying disciplinary backgrounds of English, sociology, and historical musicology (representative fields that commonly consider popular music) allow for a richer exchange of ideas and deeper modes of inquiry. Yet, the lack of a common approach also hinders discussion in some areas, leading to some potential shortcomings. Considerations of music, for example, are unbalanced in the three books. It is understandable that both Awkward and Lipsitz do not consider musical material in their work, as neither author claims to do so. Still, a general focus on life and lyrics may strike some readers as lacking. Awkward outlines in the opening pages of his study a methodical approach that focuses on comparative lyrical analysis, which may seem counterintuitive, given the common texts of a cover song and its subject material. Yet, in taking into consideration differences in artistic persona, in addition to small lyrical alterations, Awkward’s methods provide fruitful and compelling analyses. In spite of his stated focus, however, music-minded readers will note in many instances the temptation in his writing to consider vocal attributes, and in others the great potential for incorporating musical analysis (whether vocal or instrumental) as supportive material. As a mostly biographical work, Lipsitz comments very little on the varying music styles of Otis, which may form a frustrating inaudibility for readers that do not have Otis’s varying musical accomplishments at their recollective disposal. To be sure, the lack of musical discussion is not so much a shortcoming of either of these works, but rather a byproduct of the overall focus and argument of both authors, neither of which hinges upon musical analysis. In light of her musicological training, it is not surprising that Randall’s work considers music heavily. Within her study, musical analysis plays an important role in discussions of “Dustifying” and instances of important transatlantic dialogue. Randall also devotes an entire chapter to establishing connections between Springfield’s musical figures and rhetorical tropes associated with melodrama.
The formation of a new soul studies discourse is an exciting development in the arena of popular music studies. While scholars have written about American rhythm and blues for decades, a critical mass has formed in the last ten years, allowing for more nuanced dialogue pertaining to issues of race and category, cultural appropriation, and historiography, allowing for a variety of disciplinary voices to contribute to our understanding of this music. Considering as a whole the work of Awkward, Randall, and Lipsitz allows us to see common issues considered in studies of this repertoire in spite of approaches ranging from biography to critical comparison of interpretation. As our historical distance from the period in which this repertoire was popularized continues to grow, the accumulation of work in this area seems especially relevant. In the coming decades, the emergence of a deeper body of literature pertaining to soul studies in addition to other more specialized discourses within popular music studies will surely expand, forging exciting new developments in the study of American music.
1 Representative studies pertaining to metal are Robert Walser, Running with the Devil: Power, Gender, and Madness in Heavy Metal Music (Wesleyan, 1993); Glenn Pillsbury, Damage Incorporated: Metallica and the Production of Musical Identity (Routledge, 2006); and Steve Waksman, This Ain’t the Summer of Love: Conflict and Crossover in Heavy Metal and Punk (University of California Press, 2009). Representative studies pertaining to EDM are Mark J. Butler, Unlocking the Groove: Rhythm, Meter, and Musical Design in Electronic Dance Music (Indiana, 2006), and Alejandro L. Madrid-Gonz´lez, Electronic Dance Music from Tijuana to the World (Oxford, 2008); see also the recently formed peer-reviewed journal Dancecult: Journal of Electronic Dance Music Culture.
2 Among the many other studies from the last decade (or so) that might be considered are: Guthrie P. Ramsey, Jr., Race Music: Black Cultures from Bebop to Hip-Hop (California, 2003); Roberta Freund Schwartz, How Britain Got the Blues: The Transmission and Reception of American Blues Style in the United Kingdom (Ashgate, 2007); Michael E. Veal, Dub: Soundscapes and Shattered Songs in Jamaican Reggae (Wesleyan, 2007); Jacqueline C. Warwick, Girl Groups: Girl Culture (Routledge, 2007); Mark Anthony Neal, What the Music Said: Black Popular Music and Black Popular Culture (Routledge, 1999); Robert Fink, “Goal-Directed Soul? Analyzing Rhythmic Teleology in African American Popular Music,” Journal of the American Musicological Society 64 (Spring 2011), 179–238; Mark Burford, “Sam Cooke as Pop Album Artist-A Reinvention in Three Songs,” Journal of the American Musicological Society 65 (Spring 2012): 113–78; Carrie Allen, “‘I Got That Something That Makes Me Want to Shout’: James Brown, Religion, and Gospel Music in Augusta, Georgia,” Journal of the Society for American Music 5 (November 2011): 535–55; Tammy L. Kernodle, “‘I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free’: Nina Simone and the Redefining of the Freedom Song of the 1960s,” Journal of the Society for American Music 2 (July 2008): 295–317; and Maureen Mahon, “They Say She’s Different: Race, Gender, Genre, and the Liberated Black Femininity of Betty Davis,” Journal of Popular Music Studies 23 (June 2011): 146–65.
3 Mark Bego, Aretha Franklin: The Queen of Soul (Da Capo, 2001).
4 Of the many Lipsitz works in this area, some of the best known are Footsteps in the Dark: The Hidden Histories of Popular Music (Minnesota, 2007), esp. the introduction, “The Long Fetch of History; or, Why Music Matters”; Time Passages: Collective Memory and American Popular Culture (Minnesota, 2001).
How the West Was Sung: Music in the Westerns of John Ford, Kathryn Kalinak. University of California Press, 2007. 271pp. ISBN-978-0-5202-5234-9. Paper.
In her book, Kalinak sets out to demonstrate that “the preponderance of song is one of the most distinctive features of Ford’s imprint on [westerns]” (1). Much has already been written about John Ford’s films, but previous scholars have done little more than mention the presence of songs in the films’ soundtracks. Kalinak, on the other hand, ties together common interpretations of Ford’s westerns with production histories, lists of songs quoted in each film, histories of those songs, and analyses of how those songs feature in the narrative and filmic structure of each western. For the most part, the book achieves the author’s goals. Kalinak has done extensive research on the production histories of Ford’s films and on the songs. Her analyses of how the songs function is particularly persuasive when analyzing issues of race, ethnicity, and gender. The subtitle, however, led me to expect a different argument than the book actually presents; her focus is on the histories, connotations, and lyrics of the songs, not on the musical features of those songs, much less of the non-song-based portions of the scores.
The book is organized around Ford’s films, presenting them in more-or-less chronological order. The films included represent a broad spectrum of Hollywood history, stretching from the silent era to the post-classical era of the late 1950s and 1960s. From this broad perspective, Kalinak presents a convincing argument that the music Ford chose had a cohesive aesthetic that spanned the length of his career. Regardless of the composer involved, the scores are rooted in the use of hymns and folk, minstrel, parlor, and popular songs. The argument’s effectiveness joins an emerging direction in film music studies by incorporating music more fully into auteur theory, which has traditionally focused more on visual and narrative elements. Unfortunately, this structure also sets up a significant degree of repetition from one chapter to the next. Ford reused some of his favorite songs in several films. Each time they recur in Kalinak’s book, the reader is reminded of the song’s history and connotations. Typically these songs are used in a similar way in each film, so the analyses of one song in different films seem redundant. “Shall We Gather at the River,” for example, serves as “the musical symbol in Ford of the power of community” (111) and features prominently in the analysis of five of the twelve sound films discussed in the book.
The strengths of the study rely on the extensive research that Kalinak conducted on the films and the songs. In the chapter on Stagecoach, she reveals a circuitous path that resulted in seven composers contributing to the score. Several chapters address Ford’s collaborations with Richard Hageman, who scored four of the westerns featured in this book. The discussion of The Searchers describes the rocky relationship between Ford and Max Steiner, covering both the circumstances that led to this unlikely collaboration and the contentious process by which Ford winnowed down Steiner’s music into something more aligned with the artistic ideals Kalinak outlines in the “Introduction.” These portions of each chapter reveal much about the working process of Hollywood musicians and their interactions with directors, especially during the 1940s and 1950s.
Following the production histories are lists of the songs used in each of the films. Most of Ford’s westerns rely extensively on the use of hymn tunes and folk, parlor, minstrel, and other popular songs from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Kalinak demonstrates that Ford generally selected songs after very careful consideration of the songs’ lyrics, histories, and connotations for audiences, all of which she discusses at length for each song quoted. The variety of songs featured in Kalinak’s discussions can be seen by mentioning just a few: “Al pensar en ti,” “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” “Dixie,” “Garry Owen,” “The Girl I Left Behind Me,” “Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair,” “Lorena,” and “Jubilo.” The thorough research makes this part of each chapter a valuable resource to anybody interested in the reception history of the numerous songs and song genres featured in Ford’s films.
In each chapter, Kalinak next turns her attention to analyzing the music—or, at least, the songs—in each film. The analyses are at their strongest when examining how the songs functioned in the score. The most persuasive part of these arguments examines how the songs comment on race, ethnicity, and gender. As Kalinak notes, Ford’s frontier is a complex social environment. In various films, there are characters and songs representing many of the ethnic groups living in the West: from the Anglos and Swedes to the African Americans, Mexicans, and Irish; from “civilized” Americans to the “uncivilized” Apaches, Navajo, and Comanches. While stereotypes are often in play, Kalinak consistently highlights how Ford complicated them. Perhaps the best examples of this are the analyses of Irish songs and characters in Fort Apache and of Mexican and Apache portrayals in Stagecoach. She also emphasizes Ford’s progressive views on race in such films as Sergeant Rutledge and Two Rode Together. As Kalinak notes, the theme song of Sergeant Rutledge projects “an image of the powerful, competent African American male that racist cultural myths prevent the film from representing directly” (193). Likewise, Kalinak is keenly attuned to how music functions to engender characters. Her arguments are especially effective in her analyses of Col. Thursday and Capt. York in Fort Apache and of Stoddard and Doniphan in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.
While Kalinak’s analyses of the songs are convincing, twice she notes that “Historically, music has been resistant to critical analysis” (193), which seems an excuse for mostly ignoring the non-song-based music in the films. Even though the songs are predominant, there is more here than Kalinak suggests. I am also struck by the interaction between Ford’s musical aesthetic and the musical conventions of contemporaneous films. In most of these films, the cues function in traditional ways for studio-era Hollywood. This is particularly true in Max Steiner’s score for The Searchers, but can be found to varying extents in almost all of the sound films that she discusses. However, the conventional nature of these cues allows Ford to take advantage of what we might think of as “negative” music.1 In films like Fort Apache, The Searchers, and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, the music that is perceived as “missing” based on conventions of the day is as powerfully communicative as the songs that are quoted. In Fort Apache, the lack of music during the final battle scene emphasizes that the “good guys” cannot win. And in The Searchers, the musical silence when Martin passionately kisses Laurie foreshadows the end of their relationship.
Another missing element from Kalinak’s argument is an acknowledgement of the role played by sound design; more can also be made of which lyrics are heard in the songs. In most of the films, there is little to say about sound design, but in 3 Godfathers both of these issues are particularly critical in the film’s emotional climax. Kalinak focuses on the use of Kearney’s signature song, “The Streets of Laredo,” as both a lullaby and a portent of Kearney’s death. But she ignores the song’s use at the film’s emotional climax, when Hightower goes delirious and has a vision of his dead compadres. The sound effects and the unnatural acoustics of his singing move us into a liminal space in which his dead friends finish his song. Kearney skips from the first verse to the final verses, which tell of a dead cowboy being carried by his friends. Here, Pedro and Kearney appear from beyond the grave to carry the nearly dead Hightower to the end of his journey. The power of this scene depends in part on the visual elements of the film, but also on how the sound was edited and on the lyrics used.
Kalinak’s How the West Was Sung has much to recommend in it and I expect it to find a useful place in the scholarly literature. The search for an auteur director’s musical aesthetic is laudable and an important new direction for film music studies. The research on production histories makes this a valuable reference for work on John Ford, while the research on the histories of more than two dozen songs make it a valuable reference on song genres in the United States from the late nineteenth century to the mid twentieth. The lack of traditional musical analysis (as opposed to historical, lyric, and filmic analysis of songs) makes it accessible for non-musicians, but will likely limit its use in music courses. Finally, the high level of redundancy between chapters means that it is far less effective when read cover-to-cover than when individual chapters are extracted; it is hard to imagine this as the textbook for a course, but any one of the chapters would be excellent background for a seminar discussion about one or more of Ford’s films.
1 For more on the concept of silence as a negative of music, see Michel Chion, Audio-vision, ed. and trans. Claudia Gorbman (Columbia, 1994), 57; Stan Link, “Going Gently: Contemplating Silences and Cinematic Death,” in Silence, Music, Silent Music, ed. by Nicky Losseff and Jennifer Doctor (Ashgate, 2007), 69–86; and Ed Hughes, “Film Sound, Music and the Art of Silence,” ibid., 87–96.
Idolized: Music, Media, and Identity in “American Idol,” Katherine Meizel. Indiana University Press, 2011. 301pp. ISBN-978-0-25335-571-3. Paper.
Tuning In: American Narrative Television Music, Ron Rodman. Oxford University Press, 2010. 356pp. ISBN-978-0-19534-025-9. Paper.
On February 15, 2012, James Oestreich published an article in the New York Times about a recent Princeton University musicology conference. Entitled “After the End of Music History,” the conference was devoted to the work of scholar Richard Taruskin. Among other subjects mentioned by Oestreich was a paper presented by Stanford University’s Karol Berger. According to Oestreich, Berger mounted an “impassioned defense” on behalf of a musicology “closed to its surroundings” rather than against a musicological canon “closed to the future.” According to Berger, musicologists today are “drowning in a flood of ever-new products,” material churned out by “an industry paralyzed by an inability to discriminate among them.” In other words, the problem with musicology is not a focus on the avant-garde compositions of György Ligeti, but the attention increasingly paid to popular music. Whether Berger meant to suggest that musicology itself is an “industry” (which some believe it to be), or whether the products he had in mind were exclusively those of Nashville, Billboard, and other commercial manufacturers is not entirely clear from Oestreich’s synopsis. In either case, the “mountains of trash” Berger mentioned would almost certainly include the subjects of the two books identified above: Katherine Meizel’s Idolized and Ron Rodman’s Tuning In.1
The rise of a “new musicology” has brought a great deal of attention to music previously excluded from academic discourse.2 As James Deaville points out, most of us first encountered “screen media” music on television rather than by way of “film or videogames and online entertainment.”3 Yet TV music has received much less attention from musicologists than film music. Given TV’s prominence—Deaville quotes Jon Burlingame, who calls it “the soundtrack of our lives”—this seems surprising. Commercial film music has already been valorized by established musicologists; consider Susan McClary’s praise for John Williams’s science-fiction movie scores.4 At the same time, the phrase “vast wasteland”—coined by Newton Minnow more than fifty years ago—is still employed to denigrate TV programming.5 Enter Ron Rodman, who maintains that “for all its banality . . . television is probably not the totally mindless activity” some people consider it (Tuning In, 4). Only Philip Tagg and a few other groundbreaking scholars have anticipated some, but by no means all, of Rodman’s investigations. At the same time, examinations of “music television” (MTV, reality programming, and awards shows) by still other scholars are yielding “valuable insights into such topics as the representation of gender and race in music videos and the role of music television in globalization.”6
Some musicologists may wish to consider TV music from non-traditional musicological perspectives, considering its impact and influence primarily or even entirely in psychological and sociological terms. Others may wish to adopt a more traditional approach, examining small-screen soundtracks in terms of their musical sources, stylistic innovations, and aesthetic significance. Katherine Meizel more often—and perhaps more profitably—adopts the former approach, Rodman the latter. Thus, in her discussion of American Idol (FOX, 2002–), Meizel concentrates on popular music and its televised (re)presentations in terms of “a traditional set of American identities,” proposing that “the dynamic nature of American identity construction is reflected and reinforced in popular culture” and that music represents a “key source” of cultural markers (Idolized, 3). Among other, mostly non-musical perspectives, she explores American Idol as a “civil and sacral religion” (102–33), pointing out that, as a social phenomenon, the program “effectively illustrates the convergence of religion and consumption in popular culture” (133). She devotes most of her seventh and final chapter, “The United Nations of Pop” (192–219), to the two-episode World Idol broadcasts of December 2003–January 2004, explaining how they “demonstrated the enduring relationship between popular music and politics” (193). Only in “Facing the Music,” her second chapter (51–80), does Meizel employ printed musical examples to illustrate as well as question assumptions about melismatic ornamentation as a marker of cultural authenticity (74) as well as performative originality (79).
Rodman’s approach is more conventionally musicological. Although his associative theory of TV music leans heavily on concepts and terms employed in new-musicological and cultural-studies circles, he returns again and again to the music itself to support his contention that television “is actually a very complex semiotic system,” one that generates “fields” based on the “codes” of given cultures (e.g., those of the United States), thereby producing “tropes or additional correlations of new meaning in television texts” (Tuning In, 46). For Rodman, music is central to this process of (re)signification. Thus, in his examination of the title theme from The Rifleman (ABC, 1958–1963), he pays attention to heroic and “Coplandesque” stylistic elements as well as recorded sounds of actual rifle shots (38–39, 46). Elsewhere Rodman considers music featured in Dragnet (NBC, 1951–1959), Hill Street Blues (NBC 1981–1987), and the original Star Trek (NBC 1966–1969) as well as several televised musical advertising campaigns, including “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke,” the famous 1970s theme song from the Coca Cola Company. Only in his ninth and and final chapter (Tuning In, 257–89) does he turn to somewhat more recent TV programs he considers “postmodern”: Twin Peaks (ABC 1990–1991) and The X-Files (FOX, 1993–2002).
Rodman’s volume references dozens of additional programs and musical “types,” and it is illustrated throughout with handsomely printed photographs and carefully typeset (although mostly brief) musical examples. Most of the photos are publicity stills of familiar shows and stars, but a few of the examples are facsimiles of composers’ drafts; the principal theme from the Philco Television Playhouse (NBC, 1948–1955) as well as cues from one of its installments, a dramatization of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, appear in Harry Sosnik’s hand (63–64 and 66–69). The Coca Cola theme song mentioned above is reproduced from sheet music printed in 1971 (207–208); it is but one of several dozen musical quotations acknowledged in Rodman’s volume (ix–x). Also significant is the presence of diagrams explaining how semiotic analysis works (23, 27, 43, 291), and of a table of postmodern musical “traits” (278) borrowed from one of Lawrence Kramer’s publications.7
No one study, of course, could possibly reference everything musical about American television broadcasting. Meizel’s choice of subject matter is analogous to “narrowcasting”: a category and term Rodman almost entirely avoids. By concentrating on a single, spectacularly successful show, Meizel is able to explore real-life circumstances associated with individual broadcasts and participants, including the local success Ohio-based Crystal Bowersox enjoyed during Idol’s Season 9. With the exception of the musical examples identified above, Idolized is illustrated entirely with Meizel’s own photos of TV-related events: a 2004 shot of fans waiting in front of San Francisco’s Cow Palace for a broadcast to begin (Idolized, 119) is one example; a 2010 photo of fans waiting for the arrival of Bowersox at the Ottawa County Fairgrounds in Oak Harbor (225) is another.
Rodman’s approach is broader and cooler than Meizel’s, which is another way of saying more in tune with canonical concerns. He frequently employs familiar musicological terminology, including “leitmotif” (always in lower-case letters) and “program music,” although his organizational scheme—that of chapters devoted to individual television genres (ads, crime, science fiction, westerns, and so on)—occasionally interferes with historical concerns as well as opportunities for identifying similar musical methods across (rather than within) genres. Although both authors cite a number of familiar cultural theorists and employ a variety of critical approaches, Rodman relies heavily on the work of Finnish semiotician Eero Tarasti as well as that of Roland Barthes, John Fiske (mistakenly spelled “Fisk” in his index), Heinrich Schenker and, of course, Tagg. Meizel draws upon a wider variety of critical approaches, including those of civil-religionist Robert Bellah, and she regularly references the internet, reception issues, and rock music of various kinds.
Which audience, then, for which book? I admire Rodman’s use of detail, but his concern with theme songs seems to me a self-imposed limitation where his ostensible subject matter is concerned: that of “narrative television music” (italics added). Too often in his volume, and perhaps even in Tagg’s examination of the theme song for Kojak (CBS, 1973–1978), we find ourselves at the beginnings of shows rather than in the middle of them.8 Furthermore, many of the programs Rodman mentions are unfamiliar to twenty-first-century audiences. Rather surprisingly, he stops short of considering more contemporary, controversial, yet thoroughly musicalized programming: Family Guy (FOX, 1998–), Glee (FOX, 2009–), The Simpsons (FOX, 1989–), and The Sopranos (HBO, 1999–2008) are among the musically innovative series that come to mind. In fact, Rodman entirely overlooks American Idol—which suggests that students and fans of reality programming may need to purchase and read Meizel’s work in order to stay up-to-date.
Meizel’s limitations are obvious: she considers only one show, and the critical scrutiny she lavishes on it may strike some readers as excessive—especially because it’s that show, the “very popularity” of which she herself admits “consistently earns it critical derision” as an “embarrassing guilty pleasure” (Idolized, 218). Nevertheless, Meizel has convinced me, a non-Idol fan, that “the show matters” (ibid). And why it matters. I cannot deny that, whether composed by Lully or Liszt or Lutoslawski, older and more complex music is often more appropriately subjected to older forms of scrutiny—forms designed to investigate canonical masterpieces, and only masterpieces, rather than the “trash” I also happen to enjoy. Rodman makes a musicological case of sorts for many of the examples he considers. Meizel, on the other hand, almost entirely avoids “musicology” in favor of political, social, and cultural criticism. Of course his subject matter is anything but “canonical.”
If I were teaching a course in contemporary American culture, I might use Katherine Meizel’s Idolized as an introduction to music, issues of national identity and the globalization of pop. If, on the other hand, I were teaching a course on musicology itself, or on the history of television, I might use Ron Rodman’s Tuning In. As an intelligent survey of American TV music, Rodman’s work demonstrates how much information can be gleaned from seemingly skimpy material. On the other hand, at least in an undergraduate classroom, I would have to ask students to watch quite a bit of early television online (or, perhaps, on DVDs) before Rodman’s examples could be fully understood and assessed. This in spite of the fact that Rodman’s methods might also be applied, and with good effect, to more recent televisual phenomena. Including, perhaps, American Idol.
1 James R. Oestreich, “The World According to One Musicologist,” New York Times (February 15, 2012). Accessed March 1, 2012, at www.nytimes.com/2012/02/16/arts/music/after-the-end-of-music-history-conference-at-princeton.html?_r=1&emc=eta1.
2 Identifying precisely where “old musicology” ends/ended and “new musicology” begins/began is impossible. In the present review I use “old” to reference a more exclusive interest in art music and music itself rather than its political, social, and cultural associations and contexts. I use “new” to refer to a greater willingness to explore popular forms of musical expression as well as political, social, and cultural issues associated with those forms. For a discussion of the evolution of musicology since the 1960s, see Nicholas Cook, “What is Musicology?” BBC Music Magazine 7, no. 9 (May 1999): 31–33. Accessed March 1, 2012, at www.rma.ac.uk/articles/what-is-musicology.htm. As Cook observed more than a decade ago, “new musicology” was already becoming an outdated term, most of all “because its broadened agenda [had already] been absorbed into the musicological mainstream.” In this respect Berger is himself a new musicologist of sorts, and so is Ron Rodman.
3 James Deaville, “The “Problem” of Music in Television,” in Deaville, ed., Music in Television: Channels of Listening (Routledge, 2011), 1.
4 “The skill with which John Williams, for instance, manipulates the semiotic codes of the late nineteenth-century symphony in E.T. or Star Wars is breathtaking.” Susan McClary, Feminine Endings: Music, Gender, and Sexuality (Minnesota, 1991), 21.
5 Considered one of the 100 most influential speeches in American history, Minnow’s address can be listened to as well as read online at www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/newtonminow.htm. Accessed March 1, 2012.
6 Deaville, 14.
7 See Lawrence Kramer, Musical Meaning: Toward a Critical History (California, 2002), 16–17.
8 See Philip Tagg, Kojak—50 Seconds of Television Music: Toward the Analysis of Affect in Popular Music (Göteborg, 1979).
John Beckwith’s Unheard Of: Memoirs of a Canadian Composer was published in February by Wilfrid Laurier University Press, Waterloo, Ontario. His music has had two first performances this year, Variations for String Orchestra in Ottawa in January and Singing Synge for baritone and piano in Toronto in February. His operas Crazy to Kill and Taptoo! were both revived in Toronto in the season 2011–12. In February 2013 he will be composer in residence for the Newfound Music Festival in St. John’s, Newfoundland.
Peter H. Bloom, long-time flutist and saxophonist with the internationally acclaimed Aardvark Jazz Orchestra, will celebrate the band’s historic 40th season as Aardvark performs music by founder and director Mark Harvey. Highlights include the season opener October 3, 2012 at Scullers Jazz Club in Boston; the band’s 40th Annual Christmas Concert at Emmanuel Church Boston on December 15; and the world premiere of Mark Harvey’s epic new work, Boston JazzScape, at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts on March 8, 2013. The Fall season also marks the release of Aardvark’s latest CD, Evocations, on Leo Records (UK). Contact him at email@example.com or visit www.americasmusicworks.com.
Joshua S. Duchan (Wayne State University) has just published his book, Powerful Voices: The Musical and Social World of Collegiate A Cappella (University of Michigan Press, 2012). Based on several years of ethnographic fieldwork, the work examines American college-level, amateur, student-led a cappella groups and the methods and significance of their musicking.
In September, 2012 The Colonial Music Institute will be releasing a double-CD entitled Music of the War of 1812 in America. Institute Director David Hildebrand’s one-hour public radio program “Broadside to Anthem” was sponsored by WWFM, the Classical Network; it intermingles narrative and musical selections. The second CD presents the vocal and instrumental music without narration, for continuous listening. In addition to David & Ginger Hildebrand, guest artists include the United States Naval Academy Glee Club and members of the St. John’s College Choir. Kate Van Winkle Keller’s book Music of the War of 1812 in America was issued last year by the Institute. For further information and orders, please visit www.colonialmusic.org or www.1812music.org.
Joe Horowitz will premiere and record a 35-minute “Hiawatha Melodrama” concocted by Joe and Mike Beckerman with the PostClassical Ensemble. The Melodrama, combining excerpts from Longfellow’s The Song of Hiawatha with excerpts from three Dvorak works (New World Symphony, American Suite, and the Violin Sonatina), expands an existing nine-minute “Hiawatha Melodrama” (also created by Horowitz and Beckerman) that has been widely performed by such orchestras as the New York Philharmonic, Buffalo Philharmonic, North Carolina Symphony, and the Nashville Symphony. A March 1, 2013, performance, with soloist Kevin Deas as narrator, is part of a “Dvorak and America” festival PostClassical Ensemble will present at the Clarice Smith Center for the Performing Arts (College Park, Md.). The related Naxos CD will also include performances of Dvorak’s American Suite and selected Humoresques, as well as two Arthur Farwell Indianist miniatures, all with pianist Benjamin Pasternack. Further information: www.postclassical.com.
Mark Katz has come out with two books in recent months: Groove Music: The Art and Culture of the Hip-Hop DJ (Oxford) and Music, Sound, and Technology in America (Duke; edited with Timothy Taylor and Anthony Grajeda). In January 2012, Katz became the editor of the Journal of the Society for American Music, and in July 2012 he began a term as Chair of the Department of Music at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Beth E. Levy’s new book Frontier Figures: American Music and the Mythology of the American West has been published by the University of California Press. Details and Chapter 1 can be found at: www.ucpress.edu/book.php?isbn=9780520267787.
Carol J. Oja has received a Guggenheim Fellowship for 2012–13 for her project “Performing Racial Desegregation: Broadway Musicals and Progressive Politics in the 1940s.”
Artis Wodehouse’s nineteenth-century music group Melodeon will perform its first 2012 concert on Sunday, Nov. 11th at Church of the Epiphany in NYC, with selections by A. P. Heinrich, Griffes, and Will Marion Cook.
Helmut (Max) Kallmann
Helmut (Max) Kallmann
Helmut (Max) Kallmann, the Canadian music historian and librarian, died of kidney failure on February 12th, 2012 in Ottawa at the age of 89. Born to a liberal Jewish family in Berlin in 1922, he was able to leave Germany on the Kindertransport to England in 1939, just before the start of the Second World War. His parents, sister, and many close relatives perished in the Holocaust. In May 1940 Kallmann was arrested as an enemy alien; in July he was sent to Canada, where he spent three years in internment camps. Upon his release in the summer of 1943 he moved to Toronto, working initially in an accounting firm and then in a book store. In 1946 he became a Canadian citizen and enrolled in the new School Music program in the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto. Spurred on by the lack of Canadian content in the university’s music curriculum, Kallmann systematically compiled information on the topic from whatever sources he could find. Thus began his lifetime’s work as a pioneering historian of Canadian music. In 1950, a year after graduating, he became a music librarian at the CBC music library in Toronto, rising to become the head of the library in 1962. In 1970 he was chosen to be the first Chief of the Music Division at the National Library of Canada, and remained in that position until his retirement in 1987. Under his leadership, the Music Division became the leading repository of Canadian music manuscripts, publications, and recordings. His publications include a revised, enlarged version of the CBC’s Catalogue of Canadian Composers (1952), and A History of Music in Canada 1534–1914 (1960), which sold some 6,000 copies and is the foundational textbook in the field. For twenty years he was a senior editor of the two print editions of the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada / Encyclopédie de la musique au Canada, and for seventeen years he chaired the Editorial Board of the Canadian Musical Heritage Society, overseeing the production of its 25-volume anthology of early Canadian music, and editing two of the volumes himself. He was the first historian and archivist of the Canadian League of Composers, co-founded the Canadian Music Library Association, and co-ordinated Canada’s involvement in IAML and its various projects. For his services to music in Canada he was awarded an honorary LL.D. by the University of Toronto in 1971, and was named a Member of the Order of Canada in 1987. Musical Canada: Words and Music Honouring Helmut Kallmann, a Festschrift in his honour, appeared in 1988. A posthumous collection of his writings is in preparation and is due to appear from Wilfrid Laurier University Press in 2013.
Calls for Papers
CFP: The title & theme of this 7th Triennial Susan Porter Symposium—now become the Porter-Campbell Symposium in honor of the late Don Campbell’s work—is Your Brain Needs Music! We invite the submission of paper proposals, panel discussion topics, poster displays, and participatory musical activities that will appeal to a general audience for a three-day gathering at the University of Colorado Boulder, College of Music on October 4–6, 2013. All proposals and abstracts must be limited to 750 words and submitted either in hard copy or e-mail attachment in two versions, one “blind” and the other with name and contact information of the principal presenter at the bottom of the page. Any audiovisual needs should also be noted. Individual paper presentations will be strictly limited to 30 minutes, and panels to 90 minutes (regardless of the number of presenters). The deadline for submission of abstracts is October 15, 2012. Kindly direct all questions and submissions to Eric Hansen (firstname.lastname@example.org).
CFP: Liminality & Borderlands: International Association for the Study of Popular Music, US Branch, 2013 Annual Conference, Austin, Texas, February 28–March 3, 2013. Crossover stars, vampires and zombies, gender-bending divas and divos, international sensations who truck cultural ideas across borders: popular music and culture are full of performers and characters who move through and effectively occupy zones of “in-betweenness,” carrying signifiers of more than one identity at a time while fully embodying none. In light of the many pop culture projects that inhabit these less-definite stations and/or spread across and blur boundaries, the 2013 IASPM-US Conference in Austin, TX, will explore the ideas of liminality & borderlands in popular music, focusing on those things (artists, genres, textures, developments, etc.) that are “neither” and “both” at the same time. Deadline for proposals is Thursday, November 1. Please submit proposals to email@example.com. Individual presenters should submit a paper title, 250-word abstract, and author information including full name, institutional affiliation, email address and a one-page c.v. Panel proposals, specifying either 90 minutes (three presenters) or 120 (four), should include both 125-word overview and 250-word individual proposals (plus author information), or 250-word overview and 50-word bios (plus email addresses and vitae) for roundtable discussions. Please send abstracts and vitae as separate MSWord attachments. All conference participants must be registered IASMP-US members. For membership information visit: iaspm-us.net/membership/. For more information about the conference, go to iaspm-us.net/conferences/ or send email inquiries to Anthony Kwame Harrison, program committee chair, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CFP: The Forum on Music and Christian Scholarship seeks proposals for its upcoming annual meeting, which will take place at the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, New Haven, CT, February 14–16, 2013. Individual papers, panels and lecture recitals on any topic pertaining to music and Christian scholarship are welcome. Individual papers are 25 minutes long; panels (with three people) are one and a half hours; and lecture-recitals, one hour. We invite submissions representing a variety of approaches and perspectives, including history, ethnomusicology, theory and analysis, philosophy and theology, liturgy, and critical theory. The Forum encourages submissions from current graduate students. A $250 prize will be awarded for the best paper presented by a graduate student at FMCS 2013. Further details will be available at this web site in early October. Please send a 250-word abstract for individual papers and lecture recitals, and a 500-word abstract for panels, including all names, affiliation, and contact information. Send submissions or any questions to email@example.com with “FMCS 2013” in the subject line of your email. The deadline for submissions is September 30, 2012. For more information about the FMCS and about previous conferences see the web page: www.fmcs.us/conferences/.
CFP: Collection of Essays on the Role of Music in Multicultural Activism. This book is a two volume series of essays telling stories of the ways in which music has propelled resistance and revolutionary movements in the United States and around the world. The two-volume series will illustrate a consistent pattern of musical influence on political resistance movements by providing accounts describing a vast array of musical styles from diverse parts of the world and their use in these movements. One volume covers movements in the U.S. and the other has an international focus. The purpose of this series is to encompass a wide perspective on the role of music in political activism. Please submit completed essays of 6,000–9,000 words with citations in Chicago Manual of Style endnotes by October 1, 2012 to Lindsay Michie Eades (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Eunice Rojas (email@example.com). Contributors will be notified of acceptance by October 15, 2012. The series is under contract and scheduled for publication with Praeger Publishing Company in August 2013.
CFP: Guitars and Geeks: An Exploration of the Music and Culture of Geek Rock. This book seeks to explore the culture, music, and significance of geek rock. As a sub-genre of alternative music, geek rock has not only been neglected in current humanities scholarship, it has also been literally erased from the mainstream with the deletion of the “Geek Rock” Wikipedia page. We contend that not only is geek rock present and significant within music and culture, but that it transcends musical genre and social boundaries. Geek rock, as we define it, is determined more by subject matter than by sound. The purpose of this collection of essays is two-fold: to define and re-map geek rock on the musical landscape and to explore the musical and cultural significance geek rock. Essays can run anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 words and contributions from all disciplines and fields will be considered. Contributors are asked to avoid using quotes from song lyrics and to use MLA format. Figures, photos, and illustrations are not recommended unless you can provide a high-resolution (300 dpi or greater) image for which rights have also been cleared. The complete essay should also include a 200-word abstract, a brief CV, and a short list of suggested listening (ideally, three to five albums). Please submit essays in PDF or Word files (either .doc or .docx) to firstname.lastname@example.org by December 31, 2012. Please feel free to contact either of the editors of this book: Victoria Willis, Georgia State University, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org; and Alex DiBlasi, St. John’s University, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline: December 31, 2012.
Upcoming Conferences and Events
Symposium: The University of Oregon School of Music and Dance presents Oral Traditions, Old and New: A Symposium Honoring the Memory of Anne Dhu McLucas, University of Oregon, School of Music and Dance: Topics range from chant traditions to hip-hop and modern ethnic traditions. Part One will take place on September 29, 9:30–6:00, with papers by Andreas Haug (Univ. Würzburg), Alejandro Planchart (UC Santa Barbara), Lori Kruckenberg (Univ of Oregon), Marc Vanscheeuwijck (Univ. of Oregon), Marian Smith (Univ. of Oregon), Carl Woideck (Univ. of Oregon), Regula Rapp (Schola Cantorum Basiliensis), and Norm Cohen (independent scholar). A concert at the end of the Symposium will feature Aaron Cain (Univ. of Oregon) and Margret Gries (Univ. of Oregon). Part Two will be held on October 19–20, 2–5:30, with papers by Martha Bayless (Univ. of Oregon), Eliot Grasso (Univ. of Oregon), Zach Wallmark (UCLA), Margarita Mazo (Ohio State), Margot Fassler (Notre Dame), Joe Schloss (NYU), Loren Kajikawa Univ. of Oregon), Carol Silverman (Univ. of Oregon), Joel Cohen (Boston Camerata). A closing concert by Vox Resonat led by Eric Mentzel (Univ of Oregon) will take place Friday, October 19 at 7:30 p.m. Free and Open to the Public—for further information, contact Loren Kajikawa (email@example.com).
Symposium: The Journey of Music(s): Colonial Music Practice in the Age of Enlightenment Symposium as part of the 15th International Congress of the Gesellschaft für Musikforschung, “Music/Musics: Structures and Processes,” will take place September 4–8, 2012, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Germany. The symposium is dedicated to a topic that to this day remains under-researched within historical musicology: the forms and effects of colonial music practice during the age of Enlightenment. The heterogeneous characteristics of colonial politics exercised by the Portuguese, Spanish, British, Dutch, Danish, and French allow researchers to draw conclusions regarding many aspects of their musical practices, including where they lie on the spectrum between segregation and acculturation and, in missionary contexts, accommodation of local musical traditions, syncretism, and the rites controversy. For additional information please refer to www.uni-goettingen.de/en/313336.html.
Conference: The Hitchcock Institute for Studies in American Music at Brooklyn College presents A Woody Guthrie Centennial Celebration Conference, Saturday, 22 September, 2012, 10am–5pm, Brooklyn College Student Union Building, Campus Road. All events are free to the public. Speakers include Sean Wilentz, Nora Guthrie, Michael Denning, Elijah Wald, Dave Marsh, Will Kaufman, Robbie and Ernie Lieberman, Jorge Arévalo Mateus, Arlo Guthrie, Judy Collins, Billy Bragg, and Lorin Sklamberg. For further concert information visit: www.hisam.org. A concert with Arlo Guthrie, Judy Collins, Bill Bragg, Steve Earle, The Klezmatics, John Cohen and the Dust Brothers, Mike & Ruthie and the Unger Family, and The Tony Trishka Band will take place Saturday, 22 September, 2012 at 7:30 p.m. at Whitman Hall, Brooklyn College. For further concert ticket information visit: www.woody100.com.