Berg, Christopher. 2019. Practicing Music by Design: Historic Virtuosi on Peak Performance. New York: Taylor & Francis Group.
Practicing Music by Design: Historic Virtuosi on Peak Performance explores pedagogical practices for achieving expert skill in performance. It is an account of the relationship between historic practices and modern research, examining the defining characteristics and applications of eight common components of practice from the perspectives of performing artists, master teachers, and scientists. The author presents research past and present designed to help musicians understand the abstract principles behind the concepts. After studying Practicing Music by Design, students and performers will be able to identify areas in their practice that prevent them from developing.
The tenets articulated here are universal, not instrument-specific, borne of modern research and the methods of legendary virtuosi and teachers. Those figures discussed include:
Practicing Music by Design forges old with new connections between research and practice, outlining the practice practices of some of the most virtuosic concert performers in history while ultimately addressing the question: How does all this work to make for better musicians and artists?(publisher description)
Berg, Christopher. 2019. The Classical Guitar Companion. New York: Oxford University Press.
The Classical Guitar Companion is an anthology of guitar exercises, etudes, and pieces organized according to technique or musical texture. Expert author Christopher Berg, a veteran guitar instructor, bring together perspectives as an active performing artist and as a teacher who has trained hundreds of guitarists to encourages students to work based on their own strengths and weaknesses.
The book opens with "Learning the Fingerboard", a large section devoted to establishing a thorough knowledge of the guitar fingerboard through a systematic and rigorous study of scales and fingerboard harmony, which will lead to ease and fluency in sight-reading and will reduce the time needed to learn a repertoire piece. The following sections "Scales and Scale Studies", "Repeated Notes", "Slurs", "Harmony", "Arpeggios", "Melody with Accompaniment", "Counterpoint" and "Florid or Virtuoso Studies" each contain text and examples that connect material to fingering practices of composers and practice strategies to open a path to interpretive freedom in performance. (publisher description)
The Classical Guitar Companion will serve as a helpful companion for many years of guitar study.
Carrico, Alexandria H. 2019. “From Craic to Communitas: Furthering Disability Activism Through Traditional Irish Song.” Journal of Interdisciplinary Voice Studies, 4(2), DOI: 10.1386/jivs_00009_1
Abstract: This piece offers an ethnographic account of work undertaken to bridge neurotypical and neurodivergent communities in Limerick, Ireland, through music-making workshops. By harnessing a common musical heritage in traditional Irish folk music, specifically its participatory dynamics, and its emphasis on story-telling, dialogue and inclusion, participants were able to musicalize their identities in ways that resonated with the integrative spirit of neurodiversity, against the logics of neurotypical, able-bodied assimilation.
Hara, Kunio. 2019. “‘Per Noi Emigrati’: Nostalgia in the Reception of Puccini’s La Fanciulla Del West in New York City’s Italian-Language Newspapers.” Journal of the Society for American Music 13 (2): 177–94.
Abstract: The premiere of Puccini's La fanciulla del West at the Metropolitan Opera in 1910 inspired enthusiastic reactions from the New York audience. However, as demonstrated by Annie J. Randall and Rosalind Gray Davis's 2005 study, Puccini and the Girl: History and Reception of “The Girl of the Golden West,” the critical reception of the work highlighted the Italian composer's inability to measure up to the critics’ preconceived notions about the American West. Among the many perceived oddities of the opera was the character of Jake Wallace, a “wandering camp minstrel,” who appeared in an unconventional form of blackface and sang an aria based on a transcription of a Native American song. This essay reexamines the early American reception of La fanciulla by analyzing the coverage of the opera in Italian-language newspapers published in New York. Articles in these periodicals suggest that Jake's nostalgic song (canto nostalgico) and the sentiment of homesickness that it projected played a central role in the positive reception of the work among their readers. Acknowledging such a reaction to the opera reminds us of the difficulty of ascribing a uniformly “American” reception to any work. It also uncovers an unexpected way in which Puccini and his collaborators promoted the opera to a particular segment of the American society.
Michael Harley. Come Closer. CD. New Focus Recordings, 2019.
Bassoonist Michael Harley releases this eclectic collection of new works for bassoon that documents his work expanding the repertoire for his instrument and demonstrating its versatility in solo settings. Faculty at the music department at the University of South Carolina in Columbia (a fertile environment for new music), Harley established collaborations on new work with composition colleagues there, John Fitz Rogers, Fang Man, Reg Bain, and Jesse Jones. Also a longtime member of the critically acclaimed new music ensemble Alarm Will Sound, two of the works presented here are the result of intra-ensemble projects with his bandmates Stefan Freund and Caleb Burhans, and Harley’s work with Carl Schimmel was facilitated by a connection through Alarm as well.
“Come Closer” opens with the title track by John Fitz Rogers, a Reich-ian layered work for four bassoons, all played here by Harley. The piece opens with a precise hocketing texture at the 16th note, moving through a tonal chord progression with syncopated accents and short fluid runs. Reich’s influence is felt more strongly in the section that follows, with pulsing chords that fade in and out. At moments in the work, one of the bassoons emerges from the tightly constructed ensemble texture with a contoured melody.
Stefan Freund’s Miphadventures, with piano accompaniment, is a blues inspired work divided into sections — after the bassoon leads a scene setting introduction, the work settles into a lightly rocking texture in 9/8 meter. The second half of the piece is characterized by asymmetrical grooves with the piano alternating between imitation of the bassoon material and repetitive bass lines that drive the texture.
Alarm Will Sound. Hunger. CD. Nonesuch, 2019.
Donnacha Dennehy's The Hunger—out August 23, 2019 on Nonesuch Records—explores Ireland's Great Famine. Performed by Alarm Will Sound led by Alan Pierson, soprano Katherine Manley, and sean nós singer Iarla Ó Lionáird, the libretto draws from first-hand accounts by American humanitarian Asenath Nicholson. The Hunger "bears hearing and rehearing," said the Washington Post. "It is powerful, and it makes a statement."
As Dennehy explains, "The Famine was a topic I had wanted to address in my music for a long time. Only when I discovered Asenath Nicholson's Annals of the Famine in Ireland, published in 1851, was a route unlocked for me. Her astonishing first-hand accounts became the piece's main narrative thread. She made the arduous journey from the U.S. to Ireland, when countless others were going in the opposite direction, and traversed the entire country, often on foot, and often staying in the homes of the suffering, in order to chronicle the conditions of starving Irish people."
He continues, "To counterpoint Nicholson's perspective, I invented an elderly Irish character, written for Iarla Ó Lionáird. The sense of how incapable bureaucracy is at dealing with a quickly transforming crisis, and how that bureaucracy can be used as a screen for being unfeeling, is implied by the narrative that Asenath tells of the old man's dealings with the hunger relief station, and the way the music surges and fades, embodying the old man's Sisyphean task."
Theorists of the soundtrack have helped us understand how the voice and music in the cinema impact a spectator's experience. James Buhler and Hannah Lewis edit in-depth essays from many of film music's most influential scholars in order to explore fascinating issues around vococentrism, the voice in cinema, and music’s role in the integrated soundtrack.
The collection is divided into four sections. The first explores historical approaches to technology in the silent film, French cinema during the transition era, the films of the so-called New Hollywood, and the post-production sound business. The second investigates the practice of the singing voice in diverse repertories such as Bergman's films, Eighties teen films, and girls' voices in Brave and Frozen. The third considers the auteuristic voice of the soundtrack in works by Kurosawa, Weir, and others. A last section on narrative and vococentrism moves from The Martian and horror film to the importance of background music and the state of the soundtrack at the end of vococentrism. (publisher description)
The Soundtrack Album: Listening to Media offers the first sustained exploration of the soundtrack album as a distinctive form of media.
Soundtrack albums have been part of our media and musical landscape for decades, enduring across formats from vinyl and 8-tracks to streaming playlists. This book makes the case that soundtrack albums are more than promotional tools for films, television shows, or video games― they are complex media texts that reward a detailed analysis. The collection’s contributors explore a diverse range of soundtrack albums, from Super Fly to Stranger Things, revealing how these albums change our understanding of the music and film industries and the audio-visual relationships that drive them.
An excellent resource for students of Music, Media Studies, and Film/Screen Media courses, The Soundtrack Album offers interdisciplinary perspectives and opens new areas for exploration in music and media studies. (publisher description)
Hubbert, Julie. “The Cinematic Lives of Carmen.” Seattle Opera Weblog, May 1, 2019. https://www.seattleoperablog.com/2019/05/the-cinematic-lives-of-carmen.html.
What do Nietzsche and Bart Simpson have in common? It’s not a trick question. In fact, the answer reveals a hidden collaboration that has shaped the reception of this opera for over a century. The answer is Carmen. Nietzsche loved Carmen, although this admiration was certainly colored by misogyny and his growing contempt for Wagner. Bart Simpson’s connection to Carmen, however, is equally compelling and perhaps even more complex. In the second episode of the animated series, after Bart cheats on an IQ test, his mother Marge rewards him with a night at the opera. While there, Bart and his father Homer delightfully skewer opera conventions (a soprano with a healthy appetite does end the opera), but they also display an intimate knowledge of the music, especially when Bart sings the time-honored contrafactum of the Toreador’s Song: “Toreador, please don’t spit on the floor. Please use a cuspidor, that’s what it’s for.” Read on...
Jenkins, Daniel, J. 2020. “Music Theory Pedagogy and Public Music Theory.”In The Routledge Companion to Music Theory Pedagogy, edited by Leigh VanHandel. Philadelphia: Routledge Press.
Today’s music theory instructors face a changing environment, one where the traditional lecture format is in decline. The Routledge Companion to Music Theory Pedagogy addresses this change head-on, featuring battle-tested lesson plans alongside theoretical discussions of music theory curriculum and course design. With the modern student in mind, scholars are developing creative new approaches to teaching music theory, encouraging active student participation within contemporary contexts such as flipped classrooms, music industry programs, and popular music studies.
This volume takes a unique approach to provide resources for both the conceptual and pragmatic sides of music theory pedagogy. Each section includes thematic "anchor" chapters that address key issues, accompanied by short "topics" chapters offering applied examples that instructors can readily adopt in their own teaching. In eight parts, leading pedagogues from across North America explore how to most effectively teach the core elements of the music theory curriculum:
A broad musical repertoire demonstrates formal principles that transcend the Western canon, catering to a diverse student body with diverse musical goals. Reflecting growing interest in the field, and with an emphasis on easy implementation, The Routledge Companion to Music Theory Pedagogy presents strategies and challenges to illustrate and inspire, in a comprehensive resource for all teachers of music theory.
Johnson, Birgitta. 2019. “Mountain Highs, Valley Lows: Institutional Archiving of Gospel Music in the 21st Century.” In The Oxford Handbook of Musical Repatriation, edited by Frank Gunderson and Robert Lancefield. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
The Oxford Handbook of Musical Repatriation is a significant edited volume that critically explores issues surrounding musical repatriation, chiefly of recordings from audiovisual archives. The Handbook provides a dynamic and richly layered collection of stories and critical questions for anyone engaged or interested in repatriation or archival work. Repatriation often is overtly guided by an ethical mandate to "return" something to where it belongs, by such means as working to provide reconnection and Indigenous control and access to cultural materials. Essential as these mandates can be, this remarkable volume reveals dimensions to repatriation beyond those which can be understood as simple acts of "giving back" or returning an archive to its "homeland." Musical repatriation can entail subjective negotiations involving living subjects, intangible elements of cultural heritage, and complex histories, situated in intersecting webs of power relations and manifold other contexts. The forty-eight expert authors of this book's thirty-eight chapters engage with multifaceted aspects of musical repatriation, situating it as a concept encompassing widely ranging modes of cultural work that can be both profoundly interdisciplinary and embedded at the core of ethnographic and historical scholarship. These authors explore a rich variety of these processes' many streams, making the volume a compelling space for critical analysis of musical repatriation and its wider significance. The Handbook presents these chapters in a way that offers numerous emergent perspectives, depending on one's chosen trajectory through the volume. From retracing the paths of archived collections to exploring memory, performance, research goals, institutional power, curation, preservation, pedagogy and method, media and transmission, digital rights and access, policy and privilege, intellectual property, ideology, and the evolving institutional norms that have marked the preservation and ownership of musical archives-The Oxford Handbook of Musical Repatriation addresses these key topics and more in a deep, richly detailed, and diverse exploration. (publisher description)
Johnson, Birgitta. 2019. "She Gave You Lemonade, Stop Trying to Say It's Tang: Calling Out How Race-Gender Bias Obscures Black Women’s Achievements in Pop Music". In: The Lemonade Reader, 1st ed., edited by Kinitra D. Brooks and Kameelah L. Martin. Philadelphia: Routledge Press.
The Lemonade Reader is an interdisciplinary collection that explores the nuances of Beyoncé’s 2016 visual album, Lemonade. The essays and editorials present fresh, cutting-edge scholarship fueled by contemporary thoughts on film, material culture, religion, and black feminism.
Envisioned as an educational tool to support and guide discussions of the visual album at postgraduate and undergraduate levels, The Lemonade Reader critiques Lemonade’s multiple Afrodiasporic influences, visual aesthetics, narrative arc of grief and healing, and ethnomusicological reach. The essays, written by both scholars and popular bloggers, reflects a broad yet uniquely specific black feminist investigation into constructions of race, gender, spirituality, and southern identity.
The Lemonade Reader gathers a newer generation of black feminist scholars to engage in intellectual discourse and confront the emotional labor around the Lemonade phenomena. It is the premiere source for examining Lemonade, a text that will continue to have a lasting impact on black women’s studies and popular culture. (publisher description)
“The Beat Goes On.” Magazine interview. Columbia Metropolitan Magazine. Lynne Nickles (Author) and Jeff Amberg (Photography) March 2019.
“Birgitta Johnson on New African American Ecumenical Hymnal.” Co-authored Interview with Joan Huyser-Honig. Calvin Institute of Christian Worship—for the study and renewal of worship. Posted January 7, 2019.
Various. Visions of Bodies Being Burned. Performed by various. SubPop SP1331 CD. 2020. Invocation (Interlude with Greg Stuart)
Visions of Bodies Being Burned contains sixteen more scary stories disguised as rap songs, incorporating as much influence from Ernest Dickerson, Clive Barker, and Shirley Jackson as it does from Three 6 Mafia, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, and Brotha Lynch Hung. Clipping are never critical of their cultural references. Their angular, shattered interpretations of existing musical styles are always deferential, driven by fandom for the object of study rather than disdain for it. Clipping reimagine horrorcore—the purposely absurdist hip-hop subgenre that flourished in the 1990s—the way Jordan Peele does horror cinema: by twisting beloved tropes to make explicit their own radical politics of monstrosity, fear, and the uncanny.
There’s a well-worn adage in film scholarship that says: Every era gets the monster it deserves—meaning during each period of history, different monsters come to embody the specific sociopolitical anxieties of the time: Bela Lugosi’s Dracula and antisemitism, Godzilla and the atom bomb, Invasion of the Body Snatchers and McCarthyism, Anne Rice’s vampires and the AIDS crisis. While these figures are largely reactionary, Clipping intentionally recast their figures of monstrosity through the lens of an antiracist, antipatriarchal, anticolonial politics to address the struggles of our current era. The album’s first single, “Say the Name,” transforms Scarface’s evocative lyric from “Mind Playing Tricks on Me”—“Candlesticks in the dark, visions of bodies being burned”—into a screwed-down Chicago ghetto house loop, mixing together a palette of inspirations from 90s industrial music to a certain mirror-bound, bee-keeping, hook-handed former-slave/urban legend. The second single, “’96 Neve Campbell” is a tribute to the self-aware “final girl” character of the post-slasher film cycle, featuring Inglewood’s Cam & China, who prove they do more than survive the masked killer—they preemptive-strike his ass.
The band also connected with fellow noise-rap pioneers Ho99o9 for the song “Looking Like Meat,” which more closely resembles the full-on sonic assault of Clipping’s first album, Midcity, than any of their music since. Among Clipping’s peers, Ho99o9 reveal themselves to be the perfect collaborators to fit into the album’s thematic world. Eaddy and theOGM deliver the most unhinged, viscerally alarming moment on the entire record.
Each track pairs a different expression of horror with one of Clipping’s signature metamorphic takes on a hip-hop subgenre. “Eaten Alive” pays tribute to the Tobe Hooper film of the same name, aping the swampy drag of No Limit and their ilk over a jagged jazz-rap instrumental featuring Tortoise guitar genius Jeff Parker, and experimental LA drummer Ted Byrnes. “Enlacing” posits Lovecraftian cosmic terror as the result of a psychedelic drift into nothingness, played as a smeary, cloud rap haze. “Pain Everyday” uses real EVP recordings—said to be the voices of restless spirits—atop a cinematic, Venetian Snares-like breakcore collage, as a call-to-arms for the ghosts of lynching victims to haunt the white descendants of their murderers. And “Check the Lock” is a spiritual sequel to Seagram’s classic track “Sleepin in My Nikes,” describing a drug kingpin’s paranoid descent into madness.
While There Existed an Addiction to Blood ended in an all-cleansing fire, Visions of Bodies Being Burned concludes with the break of dawn in a forest, providing the false hope that those who have survived the horror thus far might just be safe for good. The final track, “Secret Piece,” is a performance of a Yoko Ono text score from 1953 that instructs the players to “Decide on one note that you want to play/Play it with the following accompaniment: the woods from 5am to 8am in summer,” and features nearly all of the musicians who appeared on both albums.
Since their last album, Daveed Diggs—the group’s Tony and Grammy Award-winning rapper—has starred in the TNT science fiction series, Snowpiercer, voiced a character in Pixar’s Soul, and portrayed Frederick Douglass in Showtime’s The Good Lord Bird. Writer Rivers Solomon’s novella based on Clipping’s Hugo-nominated song “The Deep” has been nominated for the Nebula, Hugo, and Locus Awards, and won the Lambda Literary Award for best LGBTQ SF/Fantasy/Horror novel. Clipping’s song “Chapter 319”—a tribute to George Floyd (AKA Big Floyd) the former DJ-Screw affiliated rapper who was murdered by police officers in May of 2020—was released on Bandcamp on June 19th and raised over $20,000 for racial justice charities. A clip of the song also became a popular meme on TikTok, generating over 50,000 videos in which leftist teenagers rapped the song’s lyrics (“Donald Trump is a white supremacist, full stop…”) directly into the frowning faces of their conservative parents. The band also contributed a Skinny Puppy-esque rework of J-Kwon’s “Tipsy” to Save Stereogum: An ‘00s Covers Comp. (from the publisher)
Sharp, Timothy W., Jennifer Kerr Budziak, and Kevin Padworski. 2020. Sacred choral music repertoire: insights for conductors. Chicago: Gia Publications.
This comprehensive and ambitious study is the first of its kind, focusing entirely on a large and diverse canon of six centuries of sacred choral repertoire that remains in worship presentation and performance to this day.
Written and compiled by Tim Sharp, together with chapters by Jennifer Kerr Budziak and Kevin Padworski and contributions from 39 practicing church choir directors, Sacred Choral Music Repertoire is an in-depth exploration of 173 short- to medium-length anthems and single movements from larger sacred works.
The large body of sacred music presented in this book was determined by surveys of practicing church musicians to discover the canon that remains relevant, beloved, and in unwavering use in church, school, and community choirs. Resource guides for each piece, written by researchers and practicing musicians from faith communities, survey the work’s history, offer conducting insights and detailed analysis, and give performance nuance and insight.
Sacred Choral Music Repertoire explores a wide range of topics, including:
Each section includes historical background information, conducting insights specific to each period, and practical analysis of each composition addressing musical style, interpretation, text, additional resources, and rehearsal considerations and approaches.
Sacred Choral Music Repertoire is a practical and convenient reference for any conductor looking to bring the best sacred literature and performance practices to their school, college, community, or worship setting. (publisher description)
Williams, Sarah. 2020. "An Intermedia Approach to Seventeenth-Century English Popular Song Culture". In: Open Access Musicology, vol. 1, edited by Louis Epstein and Daniel Barolsky. Amherst: Lever Press.
In the fall of 2015, a collection of faculty at liberal arts colleges began a conversation about the challenges we faced as instructors: Why were there so few course materials accessible to undergraduates and lay readers that reflected current scholarly debate? How can we convey the relevance of studying music history to current and future generations of students? And how might we represent and reflect the myriad, often conflicting perspectives, positions, and identities that make up both music’s history and the writers of history?
Open Access Musicology is a free collection of essays, written in an accessible style and with a focus on modes of inquiry rather than content coverage. Our authors draw from their experience as scholars but also as teachers. They have been asked to describe why they became musicologists in the first place and how their individual paths led to the topics they explore and the questions they pose. Like most scholarly literature, the essays have all been reviewed by experts in the field. Unlike all scholarly literature, the essays have also been reviewed by students at a variety of institutions for clarity and relevance.
These essays are intended for undergraduates, graduate students, and interested readers without any particular expertise. They can be incorporated into courses on a range of topics as standalone readings or used to supplement textbooks. The topics introduce and explore a variety of subjects, practices, and methods but, above all, seek to stimulate classroom discussion on music history’s relevance to performers, listeners, and citizens. Open Access Musicology will never pretend to present complete histories, cover all elements of a subject, or satisfy the agenda of every reader. Rather, each essay provides an opening to further contemplation and study. We invite readers to follow the thematic links between essays, pursue notes or other online resources provided by authors, or simply repurpose the essay’s questions into new and exciting forms of research and creativity.
Use this resource to explore early modern English ayres—songs c. 1590–1660 featuring the clear expression of text. View editions featuring variant lyrics and musical notation; read scholarly essays about cultural context; and listen to audio recordings of historically informed performances.
Our beta website features the songs of Henry Lawes’s 1653 Ayres and Dialogues, a previously unedited compilation of songs in the declamatory style, emphasizing the speech-like rhythms of verse. The next stage of the project will focus on the ayres of the Shakespearean stage.