Saturday, April 30, 2011

Spring Chapter Meeting, April 30, 2011 (Providence College)

AMS-NE Chapter Meeting
Saturday, April 30, 2011
Providence College

Molly McGlone, "Experimental Urban Musical Spaces: a case study of the Electric Circus in the late 1960s"

Exploring the little-known history of the Electric Circus, a New York music and dance space in the late 1960s, this paper reveals the inherent contradictions in one social, economic, and musical environment as a case study for understanding the historic cultural geography of a Lower East Side music community.  The Electric Circus space was unique as a commercial endeavor that both restricted its clients to participating in an already formulated social structure—one involving hippies, yippies, children, composers and “beautiful people”—that at the same time gave them license to come into the “think tank” to take charge of their own social order.  Bringing together university-trained composers such as Morton Subotnick and multiracial rock groups such as The Chamber Brothers, the Electric Circus management hoped to challenge social and economic hierarchies. At the same time, the venue aimed to create a commercially successful space by drawing on popular trends in fashion, visual art, and music.In contrast to the well-known Fillmore East just two blocks away, participants and artists at the Electric Circus co-created a particular musical and social space that sought to define youth and freedom through an aesthetic of artistic experimentation and pop simplicity.  Spatial-theoretical frameworks from Lefebvre and Bourdieu provide further insight into music’s significance in these spaces as both a tool of resistance and a method of creating and maintaining social and economic networks.  Drawing on ethnographic interviews and archival documentation, this paper analyzes how capital was created and exchanged in this sixties musical space, uncovering the cultural logic of how individuals use music, experimental sounds, and the popular arts to challenge the dominant social and economic order.

Patrick Wood Uribe, "Written Music Examples in the Nineteenth Century: Imagined Sound and Virtual Performance"

The music example, a silent invocation of sound, presents a range of virtualities. At one extreme, models merely await physical implementation in sound, while at the other, whole scores are represented by a pair of lines, sketches jog the reader’s memory of a work, and graphs lay bare what the analyst believes to have uncovered. Drawing on treatises and music criticism of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, my paper focuses on perhaps the most telling change in the function of music examples: the move from explanatory theoretical models akin to diagrams toward quotations from existing works that amount to fragmentary virtual performances that interrupt the writer’s text.

Through an examination of critical writings by E. T. A. Hoffmann, Gottfried Weber, A. B. Marx and Robert Schumann, my paper proposes that these unsounding quotations of sound not only enact a virtual mimicry of the real, but also testify to a set of changing relationships: of works to performances (real and imagined), of music to the other arts, and of readers and listeners to music itself. When placed in a wider context these changes demonstrate the dramatic transformation of music in early Romantic aesthetics from craft to art, from decorative arabesque to the one truly Romantic form of expression. The presence of a mere four notes from Beethoven opens a new perspective on the social and aesthetic status of music in the nineteenth century.

 Mark DeVoto, "Schubert through his Symphonies and Overtures"

My new Schubert book is chiefly an analysis of the 'Great' Symphony in C major, D 944, with some historical and stylistic correlations through the prism of his own orchestral music, principally his earlier symphonies and his usually neglected overtures.  Most of my presentation at our meeting will be informal, and based on one or two of my forthcoming chapters.

SPECIAL SESSION: Teaching Music in/and/as History : A symposium

Tabitha Heavner, "It's 2011. Do you know who your students are?"

Whether for personal or financial reasons, in the twenty-first century more adults are making the decision to return to school, or to pursue higher education for the first time, than ever before. As a result, the profile of a typical student is changing, and the statistics are staggering. Today, the Association for Nontraditional Students in Higher Education reports that students over the age of 24 make up 47 percent of the student population on college campuses. The subject of non-traditional students, their needs, and expectations is one more often researched in the United Kingdom and Australia. Still, we can apply much of the research to our own students in an attempt to better understand them. This paper will attempt to identify who those students are and what makes them unique, what their expectations are, and what possible outcomes might await them. I will conclude with a few informal case studies taken from interviews with some of my own students.

Steve Saunders, "The ‘Music Appreciation Lecture-Course’ as Musicology in the Age of Student Engagement"

This presentation explores ways of approaching the “music appreciation” lecture-course so that it introduces students to the discipline of musicology and to significant ideas in the philosophy and aesthetics of music.  It will also provide an opportunity for chapter members to exchange successful techniques for involving students in active learning within the strictures of the large-lecture course.

Kennett Nott, "Teaching the Loss of Musical Innocence, or Seminar in Critical Editing"

In a book co-authored with the Julliard String Quartet, Lewis Lockwood describes an "invisible city" of music where performers and scholars "typically inhabit different neighborhoods." Prof. Lockwood considers the book, Inside Beethoven’s Quartets, as "an attempt to link musical scholarship and performance." At the Hartt School, where I teach, we in the Music History Department see ourselves favorably positioned to attempt a similar linkage between scholarship and performance. 
At the suggestion of a department colleague and as a way to celebrate the publication of my critical edition of Handel’s Jephtha by the Hallische Handel-Ausgabe, I offered during the spring ’10 semester a seminar on critical editing, despite misgivings about such a potentially "hard core" musicological topic. Still, I thought an examination textual criticism as it applies to musical performance could open up for these students (mainly performance and music education majors) a valuable perspective on what most consider a fixed and very stable continuum of composer→score→performer→listener. 
Most musicians give little serious thought to the composer→score stage of the process. After all, that’s what the inhabitants of another musical neighborhood are supposed to do. The loss of innocence that I hoped to initiate would encourage students to adopt a healthy and informed skepticism about the fixity of this first stage after studying how it operates in several "case studies" from different historical periods: Handel’s Jephtha, Mozart’s Gran Partita, Beethoven’s Ninth, Chopin’s Etudes and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. 
Each "case study" would exemplify its own unique set of text-critical problems, created by the composers’ work habits, their conception of what constitutes a finished work, plus various stylistic, social, commercial and technological factors. Teaching this course was greatly enhanced by the online availability of autograph facsimiles, manuscript copies and early editions, which facilitated students’ access to important sources. From the perspectives of both teacher and students the seminar was a fruitful endeavor and successfully achieved its goal.

Michael Scott Cuthbert, "Teaching Music History with Technology (But not for Technology’s Sake)"

In this presentation I show how students at MIT use interactive timelines, software for studying large repertories of music, and monochord software to better understand the narratives and problems of Early music and other periods.  I will also show how Wikipedia has formed a major part of student research and writing (in a positive way, but not without its pitfalls), and talk about the peril of letting technology overwhelm traditional content.