Friday, January 6, 2017

Winter Chapter Meeting: Brandeis University (Feb 4, 2017)

Bios and Abstracts will be posted as they become available.
AMS-NE Winter Chapter Meeting
Saturday, February 4th, 2017
Slosberg Recital Hall
Brandeis University
Waltham, MA

9:30-10:00       Refreshments and Registration

Morning Session: Gateways to Perception
10:00               Welcome

10:05               Music and Race in the Emergence of the "Urban Contemporary" Format, 1977-1987
            John Klaess (Yale University)

 10:45              Notions of Verdi in Victorian England
                                    Roberta Montemorra Marvin (University of Massachusetts-Amherst)

The music of Verdi rapidly became integrated into the repertory of London’s theaters following the premiere (March 1845) of Ernani, the first of the composer’s operas staged in the British capital. London was an important location for dissemination of Verdi’s works: the first commission Verdi received from outside Italy—I masnadieri, 1847—came from Benjamin Lumley at Her Majesty’s Theatre; Don Carlos received its first performance following its Parisian premiere in London; the Messa da Requiem was successfully performed multiple times under the composer’s baton; adaptations of Verdi’s operas reached a broad, mixed-class audience outside the opera house as burlesques and farces and via “Englished” sheet music. Other, unpleasant, events made London loom large in Verdi’s career; these culminated in a scandal played out in the international press, precipitated by the refusal of organizers for 1862 London International Exhibition to perform Verdi’s commissioned work to represent the newly independent Italian nation.

No doubt Verdi and his works were well known and widely disseminated in Victorian Britain. But to date little has been said about what British audiences and critics knew and thought about the man Verdi, or what effect those perceptions may have had on the reception of his music. To address these issues, I focus on verbal accounts in the English press concerning Verdi’s behavior and appearance, and on visual images of Verdi’s person, engravings and photographs published in newspapers, scores, and books. Against perceptions and images of Verdi’s music, conceptions of Victorian decorum; ideas about physiognomy and phrenology; and prescribed techniques and conventions of portraiture for depicting character traits, I unpack messages conveyed to readers/viewers about Verdi the man. My study of these Victorian notions of Verdi furnishes insights into British sensibilities and culture, especially the possible intertwining of societal expectations and aesthetic perceptions.

 Roberta Montemorra Marvin is Professor and Chair in the Department of Music and Dance at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She has served on the faculty of Tufts University, Boston University, the University of Alabama, and the University of Iowa where she also served as Associate Dean of International Programs and as founding Director of the Opera Studies Forum. Author of The Politics of Verdi’s “Cantica” (2014) and Verdi the Student – Verdi the Teacher (2010, winner of the Premio Internazionale Giuseppe Verdi), she has been the recipient of numerous fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Philosophical Society, the Fulbright program, the Bogliasco Foundation, and the Howard Foundation. Marvin is also co-editor of seven books, most recently The Idea of Art Music in a Commercial World, 1800-1930 (2016) and Music in Print and Beyond: Hildegard von Bingen to The Beatles (2013, Eastman Studies in Music). An earlier publication, Operatic Migrations: Transforming Works and Crossing Boundaries was short-listed for the American Musicological Society’s Ruth L. Solie Award. She has edited two volumes in The Works of Giuseppe Verdi (Casa Ricordi and University of Chicago Press) and has served as Associate General Editor for that series. She is also the sole editor of the Cambridge Verdi Encyclopedia (2013), Editor-in-Chief of the journal Verdi Forum, and founding book series editor for Ashgate Interdisciplinary Studies in Opera.

11:25               Sounding the Gulag: Toward a Sonic History of the Soviet Labor Camps
                                    Gabrielle Cornish (Eastman School of Music)

12:05-1:50       Lunch Break

1:50-2:10         Business Meeting

Afternoon Session: Dynamic Perceptions           
2:10                 Kálmán’s Die Herzogin von Chicago: a Transnational Vision for Inter-war Central                        Europe
                                    Matthew Timmermans (McGill University)

2:50                 Two Stages in the Operatic Life of Susan B. Anthony: Virgil Thomson and Gertrude                     Stein’s The Mother of Us All at Columbia University (1947) and the Santa Fe Opera                 (1976)
                                    Monica A. Hershberger (Harvard University)

3:30                 The Heroic Journey of Musical Persona: Two-Layered Narrative in Joe Hisaishi’s                         Film Scores for Spirited Away
                                    Gui Hwan Lee (College-Conservatory of Music at the University of                                               Cincinnati)
Film music scholarship has often interpreted non-diegetic sound in association with film’s story and image, rather than considering multiple layers of narratives the sound implies: one that supports filmic narrative through techniques such as Mickey mousing or thematic association, and the other that unfolds its own narrative as if abstract instrumental music. The latter is not always apparent, but if both exist in a film score, they can interact with each other, weaving a rich fabric of musical meaning. Joe Hisaishi’s score for Hayao Miyazaki’s internationally acclaimed anime Spirited Away (2001) invites us to two interacting layers of narrative, that is, the one on the surface layer (the film’s narrative), and the other on the deeper layer (abstract musical narrative). Scholars have discussed the score by focusing on its eclectic styles (Koizumi 2010) and American influence (Roedder 2013), but no study yet has analyzed it in terms of two-layered narratives. 
Drawing on the existing scholarship on film music regarding semiotics (Schneller 2013), musical agency (Reyland 2012), and tonal design (Neumeyer 1998), this paper proposes two layers of narrative and their interaction from four pieces accompanying the film’s key moments: “One Summer’s Day,” “The River of the Day,” “The Sixth Stop,” and “Reprise.”  On the surface layer, these pieces realize an effective mimesis of the narrative that an ordinary girl saves her enchanted parents and friend through her journey in the liminal world of Japanese deities. On the deeper layer, they draw another narrative that an insecure and uncertain musical persona finally makes its tonal/harmonic resolution through three-key stages in third relationship: C major–E minor–G major. Thus, this paper not only sheds light on narratives in Hisaishi’s film scores, but also proposes a model to apply for future studies of musical narratives in non-diegetic sounds. 

After completing the bachelor’s degree in violin performance in South Korea, Gui-Hwan Lee began the Master’s program in musicology at Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) in 2013, then added in 2015 the M.M. in music theory at the same institution. In the summer of 2016, Lee finished his master’s thesis about Luciano Berio’s string quartet and orchestral music for the musicology degree, and will complete both degrees by the spring of 2017. Recently, Lee has applied for PhD programs in musicology, while refining two research topics which he will be pursuing during his doctoral study: aesthetics of post-1945 western chamber music, and global/local qualities of East-Asian popular songs as well as film music.
4:10                 Refreshments

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

CFP: Winter Chapter Meeting, Brandeis University (Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017)

The Winter 2017 meeting of the New England Chapter of the American Musicological Society will be held on Saturday, February 4th, at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts.

The Program Committee invites proposals of up to 300 words for 30-minute papers and for roundtable sessions. All abstracts are subject to blind review, and submissions from faculty, independent scholars, and graduate students are all encouraged and welcome. Abstracts should be submitted by Sunday, December 11th, 2016 via email to, or by mail to Joel Schwindt, AMS-NE Program Chair, Boston Conservatory at Berklee, 8 The Fenway, Boston, MA 02215.

Please refer to the AMS abstract guidelines: “Proposals should represent the presentation as fully as possible. A successful proposal typically articulates the main aspects of the argument or research findings clearly, positions the author’s contribution with respect to previous scholarship, and suggests the paper’s significance for the musicological community, in language that is accessible to scholars with a variety of specializations.”
Presenters must be members of the American Musicological Society. Those who are not currently dues-paying members of the New England Chapter will be asked to kindly remit the modest Chapter dues ($10).

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Fall Chapter Meeting: Saturday, October 1 (Smith College)

Please note: Bios & Abstracts will be added as they become available.
The meeting will take place in the Earle Recital Hall (Sage Hall, First Floor) at Smith College. Maps/Directions/Parking info are found under the Upcoming Meetings tab.

9:30-10:00 a.m.       Refreshments and Registration

10:00 a.m.           Welcome

Morning Session: The Dynamic Canon

10:05 a.m.    

"Surface and Depth": Beneath the Reception of Rudolph Reti's Thematic Process, A Mid-Century Interdisciplinary Theory of Music
Eric Elder (Brandeis University)

The place of Rudolph Reti’s 1951 book, The Thematic Process in Music, has been greatly understated in considerations of the history and development of current streams of musical thought. While frequently included in such outlines, the work’s long reception history, stretching from Vincent Persichetti (1951) and Alvin Bauman (1952) to Peter Kivy (1990) and beyond, is marked by a consistently high degree of subjectivity. Indeed, sixty-five years after its initial publication, The Thematic Process in Music has yet to be treated in a manner suggesting any substantial depth or meaningful affinity with trends—past or present—in musico-theoretical understanding. Along the way, Rudolph Reti has become a ready straw man, a veritable “foot-notorious” figure among scholars of music. But Reti, who acknowledged the novelty and crudeness of his study, provided well-placed cues for locating the work in its own intellectual context, thereby supplying an aid for grasping its fuller implications.

The present investigation illuminates these cues, namely, Reti’s prominent references to the English mathematician and father of process philosophy, Alfred North Whitehead. By directly comparing Reti’s words and analytical observations to the fundamental concepts and principles of Whitehead’s cosmological constructs, features of The Thematic Process in Music routinely dismissed as arbitrary gain new significance. Further, reinstating “process” in The Thematic Process in Music by treating it as purposeful within the context of Whitehead’s ontology of becoming points to Reti’s unrecognized role as a pioneer in developing cross-disciplinary approaches to understanding and relating to music. It also finds Reti’s theory in surprisingly sympathetic dialogue with important contributions to the continuing discourse on musical form as process, including Caplin’s concept of retrospective reinterpretation (1998), Hepokoski and Darcy’s sixteen propositions underlying Sonata Theory (2006), and Schmalfeldt’s notions of “becoming” and “the Beethoven-Hegelian tradition” (2011).
Eric Elder is a candidate for the PhD in Musicology at Brandeis University, where his working under the guidance of Dr. Allan Keiler. Eric holds a BM in Jazz and Commercial Music from Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts, an MA in Jazz History and Research from Rutgers University, and an MFA in Musicology from Brandeis. His primary research interests lie at the intersection of theory and analysis, history of theory, philosophy in musical thought, and music and meaning, particularly in the cultural milieux of fin-de-siècle Vienna and mid-century America. Eric is also keenly interested in eighteenth-century Viennese music, the music of Alban Berg, and nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century American popular music.

10:45 a.m                      
"I hope somebody cares for these minutiae": Women, "Smallness," and the Marginalization of English Music in the Long Nineteenth Century
Lidia Chang (Boston, MA)

Barring a few notable exceptions, English music between the eighteenth and twentieth centuries earns scant notice in music history textbooks, despite overwhelming evidence that England enjoyed a vibrant musical culture, especially during the Georgian era. However, I will argue that the English of this period were, in many respects, even more devoted to music-making than their continental counterparts. The problem, for England, was not that it made no music during this period, but that it made the wrong kind of music, and enjoyed it in the wrong ways. At a time when Germanic critics like E.T.A. Hoffmann and A.B. Marx were establishing grand, large-scale musical masterpieces (and the singular geniuses who created them) as the highest form of art, the English prioritized musical process over the musical work, and remained committed to music that could be played and enjoyed socially, in drawing rooms. I argue that England’s absence from the standard music history is due to three primary social issues: England’s complex and longstanding cultural anxieties regarding music’s supposed ability to feminize men and empower women; the invisibility of England’s most musical citizens (women); and a vibrant culture of domestic music-making (dominated by women) that was incompatible with the new aesthetic values of nineteenth-century Romanticism, which placed greater importance on the autonomous musical product than the malleable musical process.
A versatile musician and well-rounded scholar, Lidia Chang double majored in Flute Performance and Music History at the University of Massachusetts. She went on to earn a Master's in Historical Performance on the Baroque flute at McGill’s Schulich School of Music, and has recently completed a Masters in Historical Musicology at the University of Massachusetts. Lidia has the pleasure of performing as a soloist and with a number of period instrument ensembles including Ensemble Ad Libitum, Arcadia Players, and Ensemble Musica Humana, of which she is a founding member. Recently she has released two albums of Regency era dance music (Twelve Cotillions by Giovanni Gallini, 1770 and Country Dances by Thomas Skillern, 1781), which can be heard on the BBC’s recent adaptation of Poldark. As a scholar, Lidia’s primary focus is on the intersection of literature, gender, aesthetics, and music performance practices in the long nineteenth century. She has presented her research to great acclaim at the Jane Austen Society of North America’s annual and regional meetings, and at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Lidia is currently pursing a PhD in Musicology at the City University of New York.

11:25 a.m.            
Hidden in our Publications: New Concordances, Quotations, and Citations in Fourteenth-Century Music
Michael Scott Cuthbert (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

The overwhelming majority of known fourteenth- and early-fifteenth century music already appears in print.  Over the past sixty years, using myriad manuscript and facsimile sources, the editors of series such as Polyphonic Music of the Fourteenth Century have identified many quotations and concordances among pieces.  Since the completion of the major “M2” series, the vast majority of new concordances and new similarities have come from the discovery of new sources, primarily fragments. Yet with almost 2,500 pieces from the period already discovered, giving over 3 million pairs of pieces which could have connections, is it not possible that many citations have been missed?

This paper says, “Yes.”  By pairing a new database of transcriptions of over 80% of the known repertory from 1300–1420 with the music21 software toolkit, I have been able to identify over fifty definitive cases of quotation, citation, borrowing, or previously unknown concordances. The paper begins with a brief explanation of the methodology of identifying citations computationally, but focuses primarily on the implications for musicology of ten of these citations.

Among the most important discoveries are: an unknown use of parody by Ciconia, new polyphony in the Tournai Mass manuscript, new concordances for Zachara da Teramo and Hubertus de Salinis, citations between Credos by Feragut and Tapissier, and five new identifications of earlier repertories on the back of initial letters of the manuscript Bologna Q15.  Two new identifications of Italian composers for what were previously assumed to be French works give further evidence to recent theories that much of the anonymous French repertory of the post-Machaut period is of Italian origin. 
Michael Scott Cuthbert is Associate Professor of Music at MIT.  His work focuses on medieval music, computational approaches to musicology, and occasionally the intersection of the two.  Formerly on the faculties of Smith College and Mount Holyoke College, Cuthbert is the winner of the Rome Prize, a Villa I Tatti Fellowship, and the Radcliffe Fellowship.

12:05-1:50  p.m.      Lunch Break

1:50-2:10  p.m.       Business Meeting

Afternoon Session: The Dynamic Vision            

2:10 p.m.            
"Reinterpreting the 'Drowned Woman'": Feminist Readings of Isabelle Aboulker's  Femmes en Fable
Rachael Lansang (Rutgers University)

“It is nothing, only a drowned woman.” This well-known French idiom is derived from “La Femme Noyée,” one of the fables from Jean de la Fontaine’s famous seventeenth-century collection. The texts of these fables, compiled from international folklore and other fabulists like Aesop, are regarded as morality tales for children, and are often dismissed as archaic and patriarchal. The stories usually feature animals, and sometimes humans, confronting difficult moral quandaries.  

Musical settings of these tales abound, and French composer Isabelle Aboulker (b. 1938) wrote no fewer than three large-scale vocal works based on Fontaine’s famous Fables: the first is for children’s voices, and accompanies an illustrated children’s book. The second is a quasi-staged reading for three singers and a small chamber ensemble. The third, Femmes en Fables, is a cycle of four songs scored for a medium female voice and piano; it stands apart from these others as it sets texts featuring only female protagonists. Aboulker’s works are known in France, but the wider musical community would benefit from exposure to her socially conscious, carefully crafted music, which represents a new phase in the tradition of the French modernism encompassing Fauré, Massenet, Les Six, and Aboulker’s own grandfather, Henry Février .

Aboulker’s setting provides stunning feminist insight into the famous stories. I argue that the interpretation of stories about women in settings by a female composer and performances by a female singer enables a new perspective. Aboulker, through various scalar, harmonic, and formal techniques, emphasizes new aspects of the narratives in ways that thwart long-held misogynistic readings. The composer’s approach to the text setting, combined with the interpretive forces of a female voice, provides a musical space that can accommodate multiple, simultaneous, and synthesized viewpoints of the female experiences depicted in the stories.
Rachael Lansang is a PhD candidate in Musicology at Rutgers University.  She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in vocal performance at the University of Connecticut. Her research interests include the intersection of gender studies and twenty-first century song, as well as opera and musical theater in the United States. An active performer, specializing in operatic and contemporary repertoire, she is a member of the C4: the Choral Composer/Conductor Collective, based in New York City, and has performed with New Jersey State Opera, Regina Opera of Brooklyn, Hartford Opera Theater, the Baltimore Bach Society, and more. 

2:50  p.m.
The Topos of Jealousy in Late Sixteenth-Century Ferrarese Culture: Luzzaschi’s Setting of Tasso's “Geloso amante” (1576)
Emiliano Ricciardi (University of Massachusetts-Amherst)

3:30 p.m.                
Elizabethan Traces in Appalachia? How Music Critics Interpret Dolly Parton's Songs  and Voice
Lydia Hamessley (Hamilton College)
Music critics often find it challenging to describe Dolly Parton’s music. While her straightforward country and pop songs present few difficulties, critics often struggle to find a vocabulary for the distinctive characteristics they hear in songs like “Jolene,” “Down From Dover,” “The Bargain Store.” When they use phrases like “old-world” and “Appalachian ballads,” they are on the right track. Indeed, Dolly makes this link: “My songs come directly from the English, Irish, and Scottish folk songs of old.” However, critics often also use the word “Elizabethan” and phrases like “an antique ‘Greensleeves’ feel” as a way to capture Dolly’s unique sound, calling on “Elizabethan” as shorthand for modal inflections and Dolly’s idiosyncratic vocal quality.

This use of “Elizabethan” is spurious. It is based on simplistic understandings of the Anglo-Celtic roots of Appalachian music as described by folksong collector Cecil Sharp, among others, as well as a lack of familiarity with the range of Appalachian vocal styles. It is also likely a remnant of writings by American nationalist composers such as Lamar Stringfield and John Powell in the 1930s who sought to elevate Appalachian music by conflating it with Elizabethan music. “Elizabethan” maintains its currency through its recuperative status in our culture.

My paper traces and critiques the widespread use of “Elizabethan” in Dolly hagiography from its origin in the 1970s to contemporary writing. I then analyze some of Dolly’s songs and her vocal style, using a musical vocabulary and approach that clarifies, rather than idealizes, her musical influences. Dolly’s vocal style and songs are influenced by Appalachian ballad singers not in the timbre or pitch of the voice, but in the nuanced vocal embellishments that permeate her singing and the modal harmonies she writes. Thus, Dolly does evoke an “old-world sound,” as she says. But it is not specifically “Elizabethan.”
Lydia Hamessley (HAM' ess lee) is Professor of Music at Hamilton College, where she teaches courses in Medieval and Renaissance music, American music, music in film, world music, and country music. She received her Ph.D. in musicology from the University of Minnesota, and she was the coordinator of the first Feminist Theory and Music conference held in Minneapolis in 1991. She has published in Music & Letters, Queering the Pitch, Women & Music, and Ruth Crawford Seeger's Worlds. She is the co-editor, with Elaine Barkin, of Audible Traces: Gender, Identity, and Music. She is currently writing a book about Dolly Parton for the University of Illinois Press Women Composers series. She is also a clawhammer banjo player.

4:10                 Refreshments