OCGM 2015 Presentation Abstracts
Come for the Music, Stay for the People: A Case Study of Two Community Musicians
Sarah Van Dusen (University of Colorado, Boulder)
Community ensembles enroll amateur musicians with varied background and abilities (Veblen, 2007). The purpose of this qualitative case study was to investigate the perceived benefits and challenges of participation in a community orchestra for adults of different ages and musical experiences. The following research questions were explored: 1) What factors contributed to the decision to join and continue to participate in the ensemble? 2) How were the benefits and challenges navigated in a shared community setting?
Data was collected over a seven week period in the form of recorded interviews, rehearsal observations, and artifacts. Through the process of expanding notes, transcribing interviews, and creating analytic memos and contact summaries, common themes were identified and coded.
In understanding the community members’ motivations to engage in the ensemble, a theoretical framework based on the three constructs of competence, autonomy, and relatedness from Self-Determination Theory was used (Ryan & Deci, 2000). Participants cited their positive memories of school music ensembles. They joined the orchestra through the belief that they would be musically successful, but found social interactions as another important connection to the ensemble. Future research should address the motivations to join alternative forms of community music outside of formal ensembles and the connections between school music education and adult amateur musicians. Additionally, a quantitative approach that defines how common these experiences are might help guide community music policies in the future.
More than a Virtuoso: Erwin Bodky’s New Approach to Higher Music Education in the United States
Andrew D’Antonio (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)
On October 18, 1948, Erwin Bodky, a German musicologist, keyboardist, and pedagogue who had spent the last decade developing Boston’s historical performance scene while teaching at the Longy School of Music and Black Mountain College, wrote a letter to Abram Sachar, the president of Brandeis University (founded earlier that year), proposing an innovative curricular and structural approach for their music department. In this letter, Bodky summarized current approaches in the United States, and concluded that these models were not ideal, because either scholarly proficiency was sacrificed to technical mastery on an instrument, or research was compromised by a lack of fundamental musical skill. Bodky proposed a new kind of music department to be implemented at Brandeis University, one that sought to cultivate well-rounded students through a balance of academic rigor in the areas of music history, composition, and performance.
Despite his impact as a teacher, performer, administrator, and musicologist, Bodky has been widely ignored by scholars. Utilizing archival material such as correspondence, course books, and student memoirs and interviews, this paper provides the first detailed examination of Bodky’s influence on higher music education in the United States, revealing that Bodky’s pedagogical and administrative ideals were pivotal for the development of comprehensive music curriculums not only at Brandeis, but also at in liberal arts colleges and universities throughout the United States in the mid-twentieth century.
Dissonance Within Discordance: The Influence of Equal Temperament on the Aesthetic Evaluation of Second Viennese Atonality
John Shields (University of Oregon)
This paper attempts to draw a distinction between the nature of intonation and tuning between tonal, as opposed to atonal, music. The musical aesthetic of the Second Viennese School—primarily that of Schoenberg’s twelve-tone technique— is described as inherently conditioned by and born out of twelve-tone equal temperament. In contrast, tonal music—often in even very chromatic, nearly atonal circumstances— exemplifies an aesthetic that commonly employs intonation and tuning that can vary from equal temperament significantly. These two contrasting notions are explored through an examination of two historically opposed ideologies that concern the nature of consonance and dissonance, both musical and sensory. Furthermore, this thesis suggests that the common aesthetic evaluation of twelve-tone atonal music may be significantly informed by its theoretical limitation to the equally tempered scale. This tuning “paradox” is described as dissonance within discordance, referring to a preponderance of dissonant intervals and harmony employed within an arguably dissonant medium of tuning.
Chord-Scale Usage as Compositional Method in Jazz: Scalar Application Types in the Music of Thad Jones
Michael Rogers (University of North Texas)
Chords and scales are inextricably linked in modern jazz thinking. The process of applying scales to chord symbols may occur as a jazz musician is spontaneously improvising a melody over a series of chord progressions or when a jazz composer is meticulously orchestrating instrumental parts in a score. The discussion of scales and their compatibility with chord symbol qualities, extensions, and alternations permeates much of the jazz theory and pedagogy literature.
The scale-to-chord connection process discussed in nearly every jazz theory and pedagogy book is consistently of the same kind—the application of a single chord-scale over a given symbol for the temporal duration of that symbol. Along with this scalar application type (which I refer to as “simple scalarity”), late twentieth century jazz big band composer Thad Jones also implements three other scalarity types in his writing not discussed in any jazz theory, arranging, or pedagogy book and are as of yet unknown in the jazz community.
In this paper, through the use of musical examples from Thad Jones’s “Cherry Juice” written in 1975 for the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Big Band, I will demonstrate not only Jones’s use of simple scalarity but also three additional scale-to-chord application types and their use as a compositional method. I label these as scalar toggling, polyscalarity, and blended scalarity. I will show that these four scalar application types form an orchestrational palette from which Jones derives his signature sound—one marked by a high level of dissonance yet highly organized.
Tempo Disruptions in the Music of the White Stripes
Daniel Thompson (Florida State University)
Significant formal events in rock music are frequently accompanied by a change of feel—most normatively simple shifts to half-time feel or double-time feel. These feel changes do not constitute a significant changed in metric hierarchy or hypermeter (if any), but nonetheless have an impact on the character of the surface-level groove. Metric modulations (though not extremely commonplace in mainstream rock) do however force the listener to reinterpret the real-time duration of the hypermeter. Conveniently for the music analyst, metric modulations in rock music can be quantified using simple mathematical proportions. Distinct from the aforementioned approaches, The White Stripes implement shifts between tempi that are not related by rational mathematical proportions and completely obliterate the previously established metric grid (unlike metric modulations that maintain a common time unit between feels). To explicate this technique and contextualize it within a song’s from, I model tempi as envelopes, which are simply linear sets of data that are implemented in digial audio workstations to automate parameters such as volume, panning, or equalization over the course of an audio project. After examination of the entirety of The White Stripes discography, I have identified three types of tempo envelopes that coincide with these irrational tempo shifts. In my conclusion, I argue that any analysis of this or related music must consider changes of feel—whether invoking shifts to half-time or double-time feel, metric modulations, or irrational tempo shifts—as equally consequential in formal interpretation as melodic or harmonic practice.
“Untexted Vocal Hooks” in Popular Music: A Brief History and Typology
Robert Komaniecki (University of Minnesota, Minneapolis)
My research focuses on a specific melodic feature of popular music that has increased in prominence over the past twenty pears, which I am calling a “Untexted Vocal Hook.” Untexted Vocal Hooks (shortened to UVHs) are any repeated melodic figure sung on a neutral syllable that is functioning as a hook. My initial research covered 500 songs from 1993–2013 (the top 25 of each year). From this sample, I have found a significant number of songs in various genres that contain UVHs. In the paper written to accompany my research, I identify and discuss various types of UVHs, as well as pointing out the formal areas of popular songs that they typically occupy. I also discuss possible reasons for the increasing popularity of hooks sung on neutral syllables, and provide evidence that show UVHs from the 2000s to be significantly more melodically complex than their counterparts in the 1990s. Overall, I intend to make a compelling argument for the consideration of UVHs as fundamental jargon when discussing popular music of the past twenty years.
From Barbaric Tune to Origin of All Ancient Musical Systems: Chinese Music in France 1735–1791
Qingfan Jiang (Columbia University)
In his influential treatise on China––Description geographique…de la Chine et de la Tartarie chinoise (1735)––Jean-Baptiste Du Halde claims that Chinese music is so imperfect that it does not even merit the name. A half century later, Pierre-Louis Ginguené asserts quite differently that not only is Chinese music similar to Egyptian and Ancient Greek music but it is also the source of all ancient musical systems. These two contrasting views exemplify a major shift in the reception and representation of Chinese music in France during the eighteenth century: the barbaric image of China gradually gave way to one of an ancient empire from which knowledge was disseminated to all other civilizations. By examining theatrical plays, journal publications, and theoretical treatises concerning Chinese music published during this period, my paper offers a two-fold explanation for this radical shift. Joseph-Marie Amiot, a French missionary in Beijing, translated Li Guangdi’s substantial book on Ancient Chinese music and sent his translation to France in 1754, making the knowledge of Chinese music accessible to the intellectuals such as Rameau, Rousseau, La Borde, Roussier, Framery, and Ginguené. Upon receiving the newly-acquainted information, these intellectuals did not passively acknowledge the system of Chinese music but rather actively incorporated it into their shared effort to explore the origin of all musical systems and thereby establish a universal principle of music. Ginguené’s assertion, which stemmed from both the successful transmission of knowledge and the Enlightenment preoccupation with universality, invites us to not only reconsider the dynamic relationship between China and France but also reevaluate exoticism as a process involving both separation and integration in eighteenth century France.
Indicators of Cultural Identity in the Art Music of the South African Diaspora: Two Case Studies from Germany and the United States
Megan Quilliam (University of Colorado, Boulder)
An examination of the Oxford University Press of Piano Music of Africa and the African Diaspora (2007) inspired the questions raised in this paper. Attempting to highlight the piano works of composers of African descent into the art music arena (a location it has largely not occupied in the past), his compilation includes the works of two living, which South African composers, Martin Scherzinger and Isak Roux, both now residents of the USA and Germany respectively. Why were these two composers included? Are they part of a larger diasporic trend among South Africans? Is their race an important factor in this matter?
Using the works of these composers included in the compilation as a starting point, this paper analyses elements of both Scherzinger’s and Roux’s compositional outputs in light of what the author wishes to address as a South African diaspora before arguing that the art music of these composers is produced using methods and philosophies that are consistent with various other diasporic music and communities worldwide (Turino, 2004). By engaging the principles of Akin Euba’s “African Pianism” (2005), the author will analyze two specific pieces to demonstrate that both Scherzinger and Roux highlight the transnational nature of their lives and music by the blending of styles inspired by indigenous South African musical styles with instruments, sounds, and forms that are normally linked to European art music in order to create something new and representative of their multinational identities.
Deceleration in TR Space – An Analysis
Mark Rockwood (University of Oregon)
The concept of energy gain in the eighteenth century sonata is one that is deeply cherished in sonata theory tradition. In order for an exposition to be successfully presented, energy gain must play a central role. Hepokoski and Darcy’s (hereby referred to as H&D) Sonata Theories describes the medial caesura as “the brief, rhetorically reinforced break or gap that serves to divide an exposition into two parts, tonic and dominant (or tonic and mediant in minor-key sonatas”. In order to achieve this reinforced break, or to be able to successfully make a gap, composers in the eighteenth century used a myriad of techniques in the transition section to achieve energy.
But what happens if this central tenet of energy gain is missing while attempting to articulate the Medial Caesura? Does this mean the piece has failed to achieve a dualistic balance in its exposition? I argue that the exact opposite of energy gain, or energy loss, can also be instrumental in articulating a medial caesura. Of particular importance are three pieces, all composed in the nineteenth century; the opening movement to Brahms’ Third Symphony, his second piano trio, Op. 87, and the first movement of Dvorak’s American Quartet. H&D’s concept of energy gain indeed does appear in pieces in the nineteenth century, however, these three pieces break the norm established in Sonata Theories, but still have a clearly articulated binary expositional construct.
Functional Anomalies?: Content as Form in Beethoven’s String Trio op. 9 no. 3, Movement I in C minor
Anna Rose Nelson (University of Minnesota, Twin Cities)
Through a formal and harmonic analysis of the first movement of Beethoven’s String Trio, Op. 9 no. 3, which has many deviations from sonata form as posited by some of the major treatises on the subject, I will make an argument for a more content-driven concept of form. Approaching analysis from an a priori formal concept which can be forcibly applied to the music is certainly a useful pedagogical tool when defining normative sonata forms. On the other hand, it seems that labeling pieces that do not fit in the category of “normative” as deformations or exceptions to the given rules seems to be a violent circle-peg-square-hole metaphorical situation. Instead, following Theodor Adorno’s influential works “The Essay as Form,” and the monumental Aesthetic Theory, I will account for any anomalies in the form as merely this piece’s aesthetic truth content.
Verse, Pre-Chorus, or Chorus? – Transformations of Formal Function in EDM Remixes of Popular Songs
Muhammad Taufik (University of British Columbia)
Electronic Dance Music (EDM) remix may modify the formal function of the sections in popular songs. For instance, it may flip the chorus intact, but adds another succeeding section that exhibits the quality of a chorus, thus questioning the proper function of the previously-heard section. The purpose of this paper is to analyze several different degrees of transformation and trace some idiomatic rhythmic and harmonic techniques within popular EDM remixes that facilitate this transformation.
One major challenge of this analysis is locating the boundaries in between the verse, pre-chorus, and chorus, given the vast array of manipulative techniques in EDM. In this paper, I will incorporate Walter Everett’s (1999) formal disposition of “statement, restatement, departure, and conclusion” (SRDC), which provides useful criteria for classifying the ideological and analytical differences between the verse, pre-chorus, and chorus. By incorporating SRC in the analysis, the process of locating the boundary and identifying the formal function of each section of both pop songs and EDM remixes will be more clear, thus allowing the mapping of the transformation possible. The analysis will be incorporated in several EDM remixes in the music industry within the past 5 years, such as the ones by David Guetta, Tiësto, and Cedric Gervais.
Performed Expression and the Work Identity: Two Expert Recordings of Salvatore Sciarrino’s Canzona di Ringraziamento
Antares Boyle (University of British Columbia)
In recent years, music theorists have become increasingly interested in the analysis of musical performance and the use of empirical methods to study performative expression (e.g., Rink 2005, Dodson 2012). However, attempts to analyze expression in performances of post-tonal music are complicate by questions of notational over- and under-determinacy and by the plurality of contemporary music styles and performance practices. This project explores these issues through analysis of two recordings of Salvatore Sciarrino’s Canzona di Ringraziamento for solo flute (1985). The two performers (Roberto Fabbriciani, b. 1949, and Mario Caroli, b. 1974) have both worked with the composer and recorded many of his works; each can be considered the expert performer of Sciarrino’s flute music of his generation, yet their interpretations differ greatly. My analysis pinpoint differences in tempo, event durations, and dynamic profile in order to show that the two performers prioritize different rhythmic structures and musical continuities in their realization of the notated score. Where appropriate, I use the software platform Sonic Visualizer to gather precise date on the recordings. Through comparison with each other and more recent performances, I discuss the legacy of Fabbriciani’s and Caroli’s interpretations as “model performances” (Davies 2001). My conclusions emphasize the importance of these specialist performets to the identity of the musical work, considering Nicholas Cook’s (2013) critique of the “paradigm of representation” and arguing that expert performances become an essential supplement to the identity of the work as originally conceived by the composer of expressed in the score.
‘Big Trouble in Little Mangina’: Peaches and Her Appropriation of Rap Masculinity in ‘Billionaire’ (2009)
Kate Rogers (Case Western Reserve University)
Many contemporary popular music artists no longer rely on television channels like MTV to mediate and disseminate their work, and consequently we see a variety of ways artists use this freedom to refashion societal concepts of gender identity and challenge cultural norms. One such artist is Merrill Nisker, better recognized by her stage name “Peaches,” who is known for her risqué performances and raunchy lyrics. In many of her music videos and songs, Peaches challenges and parodies gender norms by using tactics that male rappers have long relied on to assert dominance and power. The aggressiveness of her clothing, physical gestures, rapping style, and synthesized beats are reminiscent of early 90’s gangsta rap, as well as the hardcore rapping tradition that followed.
In this paper, I discuss how Peaches appropriates and satirizes traditionally male representations of power in rap music, thus creating a space in which societal norms can be challenged. Borrowing from Lisa Lewis, who shows ho female musicians reference female cultural experience and address their female audiences through her analysis of the “female address video,” I examine Peaches’s societal commentary in the music video for “Billionaire,” a song from her most recent album I Feel Cream (2009). Peaches’s appropriation of masculine tropes commonly seen in rap videos, coupled with her strongly feminist reading of the Wizard of Oz story in “Billionaire,” creates a new space for textual address and opens up broader avenues through which to question cultural norms of sexuality and gender identity.