“West Side story” redux

Darker than a musical comedy, less imposing than an opera, more balletic than a song-and-dance show, West Side story’s tightly integrated movement, drama, design, and music signaled an important shift in U.S. musical theater.

Although its unity and coherence have drawn popular and scholarly attention, further study of the work reveals myriad interpretations and approaches—the inevitable result of a collaborative process. The choreographer Jerome Robbins wanted to create a classic, tragic dance vehicle combining ballet and popular styles; for Leonard Bernstein, it would mark the second attempt at writing the long-sought major American opera.

Torn between conflicting desires for popular success and status as a “serious” composer, Bernstein used eclecticism as a starting point for the creation of an accessible American art music. At the same time, pressure to create something “serious” within the compositional environment of the 1950s seems to have led him to employ the tritone both as a structural tool and a unifying surface detail, as well as reflecting the unusually dark subject matter of the work.

West Side story brought together some of the most prevalent and pressing issues of musical and cultural life of its day, from the New York Puerto Rican “problem” to the insurgence of juvenile delinquency. In addition, Robbins’s strongly ritualistic, tableau-oriented vision, with its privileging of male over female characterization, suggests a reading linking the work to longstanding mythical and literary archetypes—but also bringing up questions of the depiction of gender and ethnicity.

Such archetypes also inform Arthur Laurents’s book, one of the shortest on record for a Broadway musical. As in his other socially conscious works, Laurents mirrored Robbins’s dramatic agenda: the creation of an American mythology of urban life that could be contemporary but also lasting.

This according to West Side story: Cultural perspectives on an American musical  by Elizabeth A. Wells (Lanham: Scarecrow Press, 2011; RILM Abstracts of Music Literature 2011-402).

Today is the 60th anniversary of the Academy Award-winning 1961 film of West Side story! Above and below, the film’s much-celebrated Prologue.

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The Philippine drug war, a hip-hop response, and an annotated bibliography on music and protest

Cover art for the 2019 album Kolateral (Collateral)

Since taking office in May 2016, Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte has actively pursued his “war on drugs”. Although the war is framed as benefitting the common good, its objectives extend Duterte’s authoritarian rule over the country. The war on illegal drugs and drug traffickers has been a major issue in the Philippines in recent years, and  Duterte’s supporters argue that it has made the Philippines safer by rooting out criminal behavior. Others attest that the name itself is a misnomer, instead calling it a war on the poor since it has largely been the urban poor who have been the targets of extrajudicial killings carried out by the police.

Philippine National Police (PNP) statistics put the total number of people killed in the war on drugs at around 8,000 since July 2016. Others suggest that the actual number is closer to 30,000 killed, and the killings have intensified during the COVID-19 pandemic due to unnecessary arrests made under lockdown. Public figures who have openly criticized Duterte and the drug war have been punished and silenced. For instance, it is suspected that a court convicted Maria Ressa, head of the Philippine news website Rappler and 2021 Nobel prize laureate, in June 2020 on politically motivated charges of cyber libel due to Rappler’s consistent coverage of the drug war. It is also strongly suspected that the forced closure of ABS-CBN, the Philippines’ largest television network, in 2020, was due to their coverage of the drug war.

Duterte holding a sniper rifle (Noel Celis/AFP Photo)

Besides these well-publicized cases, the effects of the drug war have been primarily felt by low-income families who, in many cases, have become poorer due to the loss of a father or brother. In addition to experiencing the psychological distress of losing a loved one, families have had to leave their homes and take children out of school. Further stress has been placed on the remaining parent and on family members who, in many cases, have had to take on additional jobs to support the family. The aftershocks of the killings resonate for years to come.

Musicians and artists have been at the forefront of resistance to Duterte’s drug war. Two Manila rappers, BLKD, whose stylized name derives from the Tagalog word balakid (obstacle, barrier), and Calix have become quite popular in the underground Philippine hip-hop scene through Manila’s FlipTop Battle League, a showcase for some of the country’s best local hip-hop talent. BLKD and Calix have performed at several benefit concerts and have worked together as the group Kolateral to release the concept album, Kolateral (Collateral) in 2019 and an EP, Kolateral: Buelo (Collateral: Buzz) in 2018, which explore the machinery and bureaucracy behind Duterte’s war on drugs. Themes for their music draw directly from government memoranda, executive orders, and “mission orders” to expose the government organizations who have carried out Duterte’s decrees. 

Cover art for the album Kolateral: Buelo (Collateral: Buzz)

“Makinarya” (Machinery) begins with a sound clip from a Duterte speech encouraging police to kill suspected drug dealers openly in the streets. The song’s initial beat is inspired by the sound of police knocking on doors as they search neighborhoods for suspected drug users. The lyrics to “Makinarya” explore how Duterte’s words are weaponized, literally transforming into bullets. The lyrics insist that although Duterte may not be the one personally pulling the trigger, he is responsible for the thousands killed. The song also explores the perspective of government employees who translate the Duterte regime’s ideas about the drug war into actual state policy. They describe how these orders travel through the government bureaucracy, culminating in orders given to police, local government officials, and barangay (neighborhood) leaders to eliminate suspected drug users and sellers.

Listen to the song “Makinarya” (Machinery) here.

Listen to the album Kolateral here.

BLKD at a 2016 FlipTop Battle League event:

– Russ Skelchy, Associate Editor, RILM

______________________________

Searching through the literature related to music and protest in RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, we find articles, books, and edited volumes focusing on protest songs across the globe, including some on the Philippines and hip-hop respectively. The following annotated bibliography highlights a few of these works.

Rank-and-file supporters of the Bangsamoro rebellion (the fight for a breakaway state in the Philippines, 1972–77, among indigenous Muslims) articulated their personal sentiments about the war in a genre called rebel songs. The lyrics reveal that fighters’ personal aspirations often diverged from the official aims of separatist leaders. An analysis examines how rebel songs transitioned into Moro songs (a song repertoire of the Moro people) in the post–martial-law era, and why they came to more narrowly reflect the movement’s official goals of Moro unity and Islamic renewal. 

  • La Rosa, Alma de and Anna Leah de Leon. “Protest music: Before, during and after EDSA”, 1789-1989: Musique, histoire, démocratie, ed. by Antoine Hennion. Recherche, musique et danse 6–8 (Paris: Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, 1992) 803–806. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 1992-7501] 

Examines songs before, during, and after the successful revolt against Ferdinand Marcos (1986); the revolutionary songs were not Philippine in origin but came from the U.S. 

  • Maxino-Baseleres, Rosario and Zeny Sarabia-Panol. “Bayan ko and other songs: The soundtrack of Philippine political activism”, Music as a platform for political communication, ed. by Uche Onyebadi. Advances in media, entertainment, and the arts (Hershey: Information Science Reference, 2017) 1–30. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2017-53133]

Using historical and content analysis, this essay examines the role of music in the political awakening of Filipinos through the years. The researchers are mainly interested in popular music, and anchor the study on concepts of popular culture and the process of meaning-making. This study therefore recognizes the intersection of music as a universal element of popular culture and politics. It argues that politicized music in the Philippines is a contested site where meanings are negotiated and where the music of colonizers or a despotic ruler collides with songs of protest or resistance. While samples of the songs that defined various historical periods are analyzed, focus is on the anthems of the student protest movement of the 1960s, 70s, 80s, and 90s that led to the People Power Revolution. Attention is given to the message and why the lyrics resonated and galvanized Filipinos to action.

  • Bodden, Michael. “Rap in Indonesian youth music of the 1990s: Globalization, outlaw genres, and social protest”, Asian music: Journal of the Society for Asian Music 36/2 (summer–fall 2005) 1–26. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2005-7366]

In 1995 B.J. Habibie, the Indonesian Minister of Research and Technology, sharply criticized the rising popularity of rap, punk, and hard rock among Indonesian youth. He considered rap a vulgar and inappropriate North American influence on Indonesian culture. Rap artists asserted that their use of rap in Indonesia as a form of protest against oppressive conditions in an authoritarian state distinguishes it from North American rap. A reprint is cited as RILM 2012-15686.

  • Saavedra Casco, José Arturo. “The language of the young people: Rap, urban culture and protest in Tanzania”, Music and protest, ed. by Ian Peddie. The library of essays on music, politics and society (Farnham: Ashgate, 2012) 273–292. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2012-15681]

Briefly recounts a history of rap in Tanzania, the social and political contents of Tanzanian hip-hop songs, the characteristics of the messages, and their impact on Tanzanian youth. It also describes local elements, besides the use of Swahili language, contained in Tanzanian rap that were inherited from pre-colonial Swahili poetry. Finally, it gives several examples of the social and protest contents in songs of remarkable Tanzanian hip-hop artists, such as Mr. II, Professor Jay, and Wagosi wa Kaya.

  • Norton, Barley. “Vietnamese popular song in 1968: War, protest and sentimentalism”, Music and protest in 1968, ed. by Beate Kutschke and Barley Norton. Music since 1900 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013) 97–118. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2013-4247]

Examines how the experience of war influenced musical expression and how musical protest was configured in relation to the fractious politics of war. Although much musical activity in both Vietnams around 1968 was connected in some way to the conflict, this essay is restricted to an examination of Vietnamese popular song, known as ca khúc. Ca khúc was one of the most influential mediums for protest and for the expression of sentiments about war.

  • Illiano, Roberto, ed. Protest music in the twentieth century. Music, criticism & politics 1 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2015). [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2015-15649]

This collection is about protest music and dissident composers and musicians during the twentieth century, with a particular focus on the forms with which dissent may be expressed in music and the ways in which composers and performers have adopted stances on political and social dissent. In 21 articles, scholars of different nationalities explore the way protest music is articulated in artistic-cultural discourse and political matters, as well as the role it played in situations of mutual benefit. Moreover, the phenomenon of dissent is investigated in the context of musical historiography and criticism, approaching the topic from historical, sociological, and philosophical points.

  • Onyebadi, Uche, ed. Music as a platform for political communication. Advances in media, entertainment, and the arts (Hershey: Information Science Reference, 2017). [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2017-53131]

A comprehensive reference source for the latest scholarly perspectives on delivering political messages to society through musical platforms and venues. Innovative research topics on an international scale, such as election campaigns, social justice, and protests, are highlighted.

  • Ellison, Mary. Lyrical protest: Black music’s struggle against discrimination. Media and society (London: Oxford University Press, 1989). [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 1989-5948]

The coupling of Black music and protest happened naturally.  Since the first songs by blacks were heard in Africa, black music has expressed resistance to oppression. Black music reflects life in a very balanced way.  Music explores the human choices for black people through the words of the songs, supported by the music of the songs.

  • Lewis, George H. “Storm blowing from paradise: Social protest and oppositional ideology in Hawaiian popular music”, Popular music 10/1 (January 1991) 53–68. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 1991-10789]

Hawaiian protest music originated as a reaction to the negatively perceived cultural and ecological impact of the commercialization of Hawaiian culture and music beginning in the early 20th c. The main view was that commercialized music trivialized the Hawaiian people and supported the destruction of their land and past. Lyrics sung in Hawaiian and expressing hostility towards tourists and criticism of their impact on Hawaii became characteristic of Hawaiian Renaissance music.

  • Samson, Valerie Brooks. “Music as protest strategy: The example of Tiananmen Square, 1989”, Pacific review of ethnomusicology 6 (1991) 35–64. http://ethnomusicologyreview.ucla.edu/sites/default/files/prevol6.pdf. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature with Full Text, 1991-11064]

A first-hand account of the role of singing, chanting, recorded music in uniting the populace during the struggle for control of the square from April to June 1989, from the early demonstrations through the imposition of martial law to the military invasion; the singing of the Internationale assumed particular significance.

  • Sharp, Chesla. “Coal-mining songs as forms of environmental protest”, Journal of the Appalachian Studies Association 4 (1992) 50–58. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 1995-9321]

Many of the Appalachian miners’ protest songs were written during the Harlan County coal strikes of the early 1930s. Over time the nature of these songs changed: Early songs expressed cries of desperation, or the awareness of a problem without commitment to action; later songs urged audiences to connect with a movement or ideology.

  • Treece, David. “Guns and roses: Bossa nova and Brazil’s music of popular protest, 1958–68”, Popular music 16/1 (January 1997) 1–29. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 1997-459]

Traces developments in Brazilian popular music between 1958 and 1968, with close attention to the interaction of politics, economics, and culture. Antonio Carlos Jobim, Carlos Lyra, Baden Powell, Edu Lobo, Geraldo Vandré, and many other figures are discussed, with analysis of musical examples.

  • Grossman, Alan and Áine O’Brien. “Kurdish lyrical protest: The terrain of acoustic migration”, Journal of ethnic & migration studies 32/2 (March 2006) 271–289. https://doi.org/10.1080/13691830500487365. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2005-50515] 

Foregrounds acoustic memory and migration in the production of a performative ethnographic documentary about the exiled Kurdish singer and composer Muhamed Abbas Bahram, one of many accomplished Kurdish musicians residing in Western Europe. The title of the documentary, Silent song, alludes to a poem written in 1976 by a Kurdish radio and television broadcaster commemorating the musician’s refusal to perform in a concert at the Institute of Fine Arts in Baghdad before an audience of Ba’ath party members.

  • Makina, Blandina. “Re-thinking white narratives: Popular songs and protest discourse in post-colonial Zimbabwe”, Muziki: Journal of music research in Africa 6/2 (November 2009) 221–231. https://doi.org/10.1080/18125980903250772. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2009-11523]

The economic and political meltdown in Zimbabwe over the past decade have given rise to protest songs as artists became the mouthpiece of a population that is enduring economic hardships. One such artist is Samm Monro, popularly known as Comrade Fatso. He is one of the emerging young musicians who, through his protest music, has become an inspiration to ordinary Zimbabweans from all walks of life because his songs are insightful commentaries on what is happening in their country. The protest discourse that his wide audience finds appealing is discussed, focusing on the lyrics from excerpts of four songs on his album Chabvondoka.

  • Peddie, Ian, ed. Music and protest. The library of essays on music, politics and society (Farnham: Ashgate, 2012). [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2012-7257]

Brings together some of the best writing on music and protest from the last thirty years. Encompassing a variety of genres, from classical to many different kinds of popular music, the collection selects articles on a broad range of topics–including revolutions and uprisings, environmentalism, class, identity, struggles for self-determination as well as rights and the historical legacy of protest music–and from at least 15 different countries, confirming the contention that music is one of the primary languages of protest.

  • Friedman, Jonathan C., ed. The Routledge history of social protest in popular music (New York: Routledge, 2013). [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2013-4309]

This collection of essays analyzes the trends, musical formats, and rhetorical devices used in popular music to illuminate the human condition through a history of social protest music.

  • Mostafa, Dalia Said and Anastasia Valassopoulos. “Popular protest music and the 2011 Egyptian revolution”, Popular music and society 37/5 (December 2014) 638–659. https://doi.org/10.1080/03007766.2014.910905. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2014-9178]

Music and performance have been at the heart of the ongoing Egyptian revolution since its outbreak on 25 January 2011. Popular protest music in particular has helped to shape and articulate emerging desires and aspirations, as well as participating in criticisms and grievances at the site of political change. We aim to demonstrate, through the analysis of popular protest songs, how the 2011 Egyptian revolution has been imagined, articulated, and defined in popular culture. We trace the links between older revolutionary songs and how they have impacted new ones, while engaging with a number of theoretical issues on the role of popular music during periods of revolutionary struggles, to contextualize the domain of protest songs representing the Egyptian revolution.

  • Ibarraran, Amaia. “African-American and Mexican-American protest songs in the 20th century: Some examples”, Journal of popular music studies 29/2 (June 2017) 17p. https://doi.org/10.1111/jpms.12211. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2017-23982]

The construction of the United States as a nation has always been linked to agriculture and the possession and exploitation of the land. The African slaves’ work during the 17th and 18th centuries in the Southern territories and the efforts of Mexican braceros in the Southwest after the annexation of the Northern territories of Mexico are essential to understanding the history of U.S. agriculture. The exploitation of these workers has always been accounted for and justified in historical, literary, and journalistic texts. This essay begins with the premise that popular songs produced by African Americans and Mexicans offer an important corrective to biased official texts, providing key historical and sociocultural information without the distortions arising from the need to justify the subjugation of a people in the name of economy and patriotism. The article aims to understand the relevance of popular song for the denunciation of the difficult working conditions in agricultural fields, as they were experienced from the colonial era through the 20th century.

  • Budji Kefen, Ivoline. “Utilizing sounds of mourning as protest and activism: The 2019 northwestern women’s lamentation march within the Anglophone Crisis in Cameroon”, Resonance: The journal of sound and culture 1/4 (winter 2020) 443–461. https://doi.org/10.1525/res.2020.1.4.443. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2020-54124]

Examines how women of the northwestern Grassfields of Cameroon transpose and deploy lamentation sounds as a means of nonviolently resisting, challenging, counteracting, and controlling the audio-sphere hitherto militarized through the weaponization of the sounds of war. The main argument is that contrary to the popular narrative of African women as passive recipients of sociocultural norms and traditional political powers that propagate female marginalization and oppression, African women can and do consciously draw from these same norms to achieve their sociopolitical aims.

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Ethel Smyth: Serenade in D

In 2021 A-R Editions issued a new critical edition of Ethel Smyth’s Serenade in D major for orchestra (1889 and possibly early 1890). Premiered at a Crystal Palace concert on 26 April 1890, the work was received well by the audience and garnered positive notices in the press.

Dame Ethel Mary Smyth was a member of the women’s suffrage movement, and was alternately praised and panned for writing music that was considered too masculine for a “lady composer”; yet when she produced more delicate compositions they were criticized for not measuring up to the standard of her male counterparts. She was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 1922, becoming the first woman composer to be awarded a damehood.

This critical edition is based on a photocopy of the autograph manuscript, now in the Royal College of Music Library, with reference also to a fair copy of the score, now in the British Library. The extensive critical notes by John L, Snyder document the changes made by the composer, as well as editorial and performance suggestions made by both the composer and August Manns, who conducted the premiere.

Below, a performance of the work from 2018.

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Filed under New editions, Romantic era, Women's studies

Cuba’s tonadas trinitarias

The tonada trinitaria is an Afro-Cuban musical genre native to the town of Trinidad de Cuba.

The city became one of the Caribbean’s foremost sugar exporters in the early 19th century, and thousands of African slaves were brought to work in the neighboring Valle de los Ingenios. It was here that the local musical practices of African slaves, their descendants, and white peasants meshed, producing an environment conducive to the creation of creole musical forms, of which the tonada trinitaria is a prime example.

The tradition took shape among the Black urban population following the collapse of the city’s sugar-based economy in the late 1840s. The first tonada groups appeared during the first war of Cuban independence (1868–78), propagated by musicians of the Cabildo de San Antonio de Congos Reales. a cultural and religious center of Bantu-derived Christian traditions.

The tonada groups consist of a chorus, a lead singer, three small drums, a güiro (gourd-scraper), and a hoe blade struck with an iron beater. The guía, or lead singer, begins by introducing the tonada (a two-to-four-line text). The percussion joins in, providing a steady rhythmic accompaniment, followed by the chorus, which repeats the tonada. In call-and-response style, the guía improvises his text based on the theme of the tonada. These themes include love, social commentary, patriotism, and puyas, which poke fun at a certain person or situation.

The tonada groups represented certain barrios (marginal neighborhoods) and performed during all-night transits through the city streets, stopping to give serenades at homes or meet with each other in competition. The tradition evolved as new generations took over and elders retired.

This according to History and evolution of the tonadas trinitarias of Trinidad de Cuba by Johnny Frías (Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 2010; RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2010-50525).

Above and below, the contemporary group Tonadas Trinitarias.

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Filed under Black studies, West Indies

Responses in Music to Climate Change and Sources for Climate Change Research

From 4 to 8 October 2021, The Barry S. Brook Center for Music Research and Documentation hosts the virtual conference Responses in Music to Climate Change. The event brings together scholars, performers, composers, and activists, with the goal of exchanging ideas on musicians’ responses to changing ecosystems. It is one of the first academic conferences to consider how the arrival of Covid-19 has impacted musical practices already affected by anthropogenic climate change with the roundtable discussion Adaptations: Confronting Climate Change Amid Covd-19. The panel comprises scholars Aaron Allen (University of North Carolina at Greensboro), Mark Pedelty (University of Minnesota), Alexander Rehding (Harvard University),  Jeff Todd Titon (Brown University),  Denise von Glahn (Florida State University), and Holly Watkins (University of Rochester). 

The dramatic increase in climate pollution from global aviation has been well documented, fostering proposals by communities—scholarly and otherwise—to either curb or eliminate air travel, hold academic conferences less frequently, and include more options for remote participation. Accordingly, and in the interest of curbing the spread of Covid-19, the conference is completely virtual, comprising live and pre-recorded presentations and lectures—most followed by live-streamed Q&A. Registration is free and open to the public.

The conference’s keynote speaker is ethnomusicologist, visual/sound artist, and anthropologist Dr. Steven Feld (University of New Mexico). A MacArthur Fellowship recipient, Professor Feld’s work of the last 45 years in rainforest Papua New Guinea (Voices of the Rainforest [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 1995-7420], Sound and Sentiment [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 1982-5475]), Europe (The Time of Bells [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2004-41971]), and urban West Africa (Jazz Cosmopolitanism in Accra, [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2009-27214]) is published equally in sound, photographic/film, and textual media.

The opening day concludes with a pre-recorded talk by composer John Luther Adams, whose orchestral work Become Ocean was awarded the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Music, as well as a Grammy award. Additionally, the conference features an interview with composer Christopher Tin (first to win a Grammy Award for a videogame score) on the afternoon of Tuesday, October 5. 

In anticipation of the conference, Lori Rothstein, Editor at RILM, has compiled a bibliography, discography, and webography of sources related to music and climate change, most of which can be found in RILM Abstracts of Music Literature. These sources are listed below, with the hope that they will serve as a point of departure for future research.

Michael Lupo, Assistant Editor, RILM

Asterisks (*) identify authors/musicians who will take part in the Responses in Music to Climate Change conference.

Collections

*Allen, Aaron S. “Environmental changes and music”, Music in American life: An encyclopedia of the songs, styles, stars, and stories that shaped our culture, ed. by Jacqueline Edmondson (Santa Barbara: Greenwood, 2013) 418–421. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2013-50859]

Burtner, Matthew. “Sounding art climate change”, The Routledge companion to sounding art, ed. by Marcel Cobussen, Vincent Meelberg, and Barry Truax (New York: Routledge, 2016) 287–304. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2017-674]

Cooley, Timothy J. Cultural sustainabilities: Music, media, language, advocacy (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2019). [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2019-5056]

*Feisst, Sabine. “Allô, ici la terre: Agency in ecological music composition, performance, and listening”, On active grounds: Agency and time in the environmental humanities, ed. Robert Boschman and Mario Trono. Environmental humanities (Calgary: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2019), 87–106. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2019-27030]

Post, Jennifer C.Climate change, mobile pastoralism, and cultural heritage in Western Mongolia”, Cultural sustainabilities: Music, media, language, advocacy, ed Timothy J. Cooley (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2019), 75–86. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2019-5064]

Quinn, Marty.Data as music: Why musically encoded sonification design offers a rich palette for information display”, Environmental sound artists: In their own words, ed. by Frederick W. Bianchi and V.J. Manzo (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016), pp. 92–101. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2016-5398]

*Titon, Jeff Todd. Toward a sound ecology: New and selected essays. Music, nature, place (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2020). [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2020-60874]

_____. “Sustainability, resilience, and adaptive management for applied ethnomusicology”, The Oxford handbook of applied ethnomusicology, ed. by Svanibor Pettan and *Jeff Todd Titon (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015). [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2015-6030]

Monographs

*Adams, John Luther. Silences so deep: Music, solitude, Alaska (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2020). [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2020-61095]

Ingram, David. The jukebox in the garden: Ecocriticism and American popular music since 1960. Nature, culture and literature (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2010). [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2010-50555]

Monacchi, David. Fragments of Extinction: An eco-acoustic music project on primary rainforest biodiversity (Urbino: Edizioni ME, 2014). [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2014-87198]

*Pedelty, Mark. A song to save the Salish Sea: Musical performance as environmental activism.Music, nature, place (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2016). [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2016-5269]

_____. Ecomusicology: Rock, folk, and the environment (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2012). [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2012-6252]

*Watkins, Holly. Musical vitalities: Ventures in a biotic aesthetics of music. New material histories of music (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2018). [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2018-45388]

Periodicals

*Abels, Birgit. “‘It’s only the water and the rocks that own the land’: Sound knowledge and environmental change in Palau, Western Micronesia”, Asian-European music research e-journal 2 (2018) 21–32. https://cdn-cms.f-static.com/uploads/1266233/normal_5c219f9c55b34.pdf. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2018-11433]

*Allen, Aaron S.  “A “stubbornly persistent illusion”? Climate crisis and the North, ecomusicology and academic discourse”, European Journal of Musicology, 18/1 (2020) 16–35. https://doi.org/10.5450/EJM.18.1.2019.16. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2019-20596]

_____, *Jeff Todd Titon, and *Denise Von Glahn. “Sustainability and sound: Ecomusicology inside and outside the academy”, Music and politics 8/2 (summer 2014) 83–108. https://doi.org/10.3998/mp.9460447.0008.205.[RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2014-66057]

Barclay, Leah.Sonic ecologies: Exploring the agency of soundscapes in ecological crisis”, Soundscape: The journal of acoustic ecology, 12/1 (2013) 29–32. https://www.wfae.net/uploads/5/9/8/4/59849633/soundscape_volume12.pdf. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2013-46393]

Brennan, Matt and Kyle Devine. “The cost of music”, Popular Music 39/1 (February 2020) 43–65. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0261143019000552. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2020-1536]

Burtner, Matthew. “Climate change music: From environmental aesthetics to ecoacoustics”, South Atlantic quarterly 116/1 (1 January 2017), 145–161. https://doi.org/10.1215/00382876-3749392. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2017- 61156]

Chisholm, Dianne.Shaping an ear for climate change: The silarjuapomorphizing music of Alaskan composer John Luther Adams”, Environmental humanities 8/2 (2016) 172–195. https://doi.org/10.1215/22011919-3664211. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2016-46641]

*Chung, Andrew. “Vibration, difference, and solidarity in the Anthropocene: Ethical difficulties of new materialist sound studies and some alternatives”, Resonance: The journal of sound and culture. 2/2 (2021) 218–241. https://doi.org/10.1525/res.2021.2.2.218. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2021-6586]

*Clark, Emily Hansell. “The ear of the Other: Colonialism and decolonial listening”, The quietus (23 January 2021) https://thequietus.com/articles/29445-sound-colonialism-and-decolonial-listening-focus-on-sound-emily-hansell-clark. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2021-6882]

Cline, Jake.How one composer channels climate grief into orchestral pieces–And why John Luther Adams turned from activism to art”, Sierra: The magazine of the Sierra Club (30 December 2020) https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/2021-1-january-february/mixed-media/how-one-composer-channels-climate-grief-orchestral-pieces-john-luther-adams. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2020-60871]

*Galloway, Kate.Listening to and composing with the soundscapes of climate change”, Resilience: A journal of the environmental humanities 7/2-3 (spring–fall 2020) 81–105. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2020-60872]

_____. “The aurality of pipeline politics and listening for nacreous clouds: Voicing Indigenous ecological knowledge in Tanya Tagaq’s Animism and Retribution”, Popular music 39/1 (February 2020) 121–144. https://doi.org/10.1017/S026114301900059X. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2020-1537]

Gilmurray, Jonathan. “Ecological sound art: Steps towards a new field”, Organised sound, 22/1 (April 2017) 32–41. https://doi:10.1017/S1355771816000315. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2017-885]

_____. “Sounding the alarm: An introduction to ecological sound art”, Muzikološki zbornik/Musicological annual 52/2 (2016), 71–84. https://doi.org/10.4312/mz.52.2.71-84. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2016-22390]

Greene, Jayson. “What can music do during climate collapse?”, Pitchfork (22 April 2021) https://pitchfork.com/features/overtones/climate-change-music/. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2021-6841].

*Hawitt, Rowan Bayliss.“’It’s a part of me and I’m a part of it’: Ecological thinking in contemporary Scottish folk music”, Ethnomusicology forum 29/3 (2020) 333–355. https://doi.org/10.1080/17411912.2021.1897950. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2020-60873]

Kinnear, Tyler. “Voicing nature in John Luther Adams’s The place where you go to listen”, Organised sound 17/3 (December 2012), 230–239. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1355771811000434. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2012-11550]

Meyers, Rachel and Carolyn Philpott. “Listening to Antarctica: Cheryl E. Leonard’s eco-acoustic creative practice”, Fusion journal 19 (2021) 64–77. https://fusion-journal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Meyers-and-Philpot-Final-Listening-to-Antarctica.pdf. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2021-6587]

Monacchi, David.Fragments of Extinction: Acoustic biodiversity of primary rainforest ecosystems”, Leonardo music journal 23 (2013) 23–25. https://doi.org/10.1162/LMJ_a_00148. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2013-10768]

Ochoa Gautier, Ana María. “Acoustic multinaturalism, the value of nature, and the nature of music in ecomusicology”, Boundary 2: An international journal of literature and culture 43/1 (February 2016) 107–141. https://doi.org/10.1215/01903659-3340661. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2016-44040]

*Parrotta, Priya. “When oceans meet: Musical diversity, environmentalism, and dialogue in a changing world”, Musiké: Revista del Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico, 7/1 (October 2019) 17–27. https://issuu.com/revistamusike/docs/musike_7_. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2019-9880]

*Pedelty, Mark, *Rebecca Dirksen, Tara Hatfield, *Yan Pang, and *Elja Roy. “Field to media: Applied ecomusicology in the Anthropocene”, Popular music 39/1 (February 2020) 22–42. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0261143019000540. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2020-1541]

Peterson, Marina L. and Vicki L. Brennan. “A sonic ethnography: Listening to and with climate change”, Resonance 1/4 (winter 2020): 371–375. https://doi.org/10.1525/res.2020.1.4.371. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2020-54115]

Philpott, Caroline. “Sonic explorations of the southernmost continent: Four composers’ responses to Antarctica and climate change in the twenty-first century”, Organised sound 21/1 (April 2016) 83–93. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1355771815000400. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2016-734]

Ramnarine, Tina K. “Music and northern forest cultures,” European journal of musicology 18/1 (2019) 111–127. https://doi.org/10.5450/EJM.18.1.2019.111. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2019/20602]

*Rehding, Alexander. “Ecomusicology between apocalypse and nostalgia”, Journal of the American Musicological Society 64/2 (summer 2011) 409–414. https://doi.org/10.1525/jams.2011.64.2.409. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2011-3936]

Ribac, François and Paul Harkins.”Popular music and the Anthropocene”, Popular music 39/1 (February 2020) 1–21. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0261143019000539. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2020-1557]

Ritts, Max and Karen Bakker. “New forms: Anthropocene Festivals and experimental environmental governance”, Environment and planning E: Nature and space (26 November 2019) https://doi.org/10.1177/2514848619886974. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2019-27032]

*Safran, Benjamin A. “’A gentle, angry people’: Music in a Quaker nonviolent direct-action campaign to power local green jobs,” Yale journal of music and religion 5/2 (2019) 82–102. https://doi.org/10.17132/2377-231X.1140. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2019-14114]

Sakakibara, Chie.”’No whale, no music’: Iñupiaq drumming and global warming”, Polar record: A journal of Arctic and Antarctic research 45/4 (October 2009) 289–303. https://doi.org/doi:10.1017/S0032247408008164. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2009-48488]

Seabrook, Deborah. “Music therapy in the era of climate crisis: Evolving to meet current needs”, The arts in psychotherapy 68 (March 2020) Article 101646, 8 p. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aip.2020.101646. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2020-60875]

St. George, Scott, Daniel Crawford, Todd Reubold, and Elizabeth Giorgi. “Making climate data sing: Using music-like sonifications to convey a key climate record”, Bulletin of the American Meterological Society 98/1 (2017) 23–27. https://doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-D-15-00223.1. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2017-61069]

Sweers, Britta. “Environmental perception and activism through performance: Alpine song and sound impressions”, European journal of musicology 18/1 (2019) 138–159. https://doi.org/10.5450/EJM.18.1.2019.138. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2019-20604]

*Von Glahn, Denise R. “Sounds real and imagined: Libby Larsen’s Up where the air gets thin”, European journal of musicology 18/1 (2019) 99–110. https://doi.org/10.5450/EJM.18.1.2019.99. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2019-20601]

*Wodak, Josh. “If a seed falls in a forest: Sounding out seedbanks to sonify climate change”, Unlikely: Journal for creative arts 4 (2018) http://unlikely.net.au/issue-03/seed-in-space-sound-in-time. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2018-64229]

_____. “Popular music & depopulated species: Probing life at the limits in song and science”, Music and arts in action 6/3 (2018) 3–18. http://www.musicandartsinaction.net/index.php/maia/article/view/175. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2018-44013]

_____. “Shifting baselines: Conveying climate change in popular music”, Environmental communication 12 (2018) 58–70. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17524032.2017.1371051. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2018-54590]

Dissertations and Theses

Gervin, Kelly. Music and environmentalism in twenty-first century American popular culture (M.Mus. thesis, Bowling Green State University, 2017). http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=bgsu1494162797534902. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2017-49202]

Gilmurray, Jonathan.Ecology and environmentalism in contemporary sound art (Ph.D. diss., University of the Arts London, 2018). https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/13705/. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2018-50689]

Hilgren, Bailey. The music of science: Environmentalist data sonifications, interdisciplinary art, and the narrative of climate change (M.Mus. thesis, Florida State University, 2019). http://purl.flvc.org/fsu/fd/2019_Spring_Hilgren_fsu_0071N_15127. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2019-27031]

Kasprzyk, Cory Ryan. Found composition: Ecological awareness and its impact on compositional authority in music employing electronics (DMA diss., Bowling Green State University, 2017). http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=bgsu1510572689037113. [RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, 2017-49201]    

Online Essays, Podcasts, Websites, and Videos

Adamo, Mark. https://www.markadamo.com/.

*Adams, John Luther. “Global warming and art (2003)”, http://johnlutheradams.net/global-warming-and-art-essay/.

_____. “The end of winter”, https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/the-end-of-winter.

Cape Farewell. https://capefarewell.com/.

Chain, Lydia. “Capturing the songs of a changing climate”, Undark, 48 (22 September 2020) https://undark.org/2020/09/22/podcast-48-acoustic-ecology/.

Climate Keys. http://www.climatekeys.com/.

ClimateMusic. https://climatemusic.org/.

Climate Stories Project. https://www.climatestoriesproject.org/climate-music.html.

Crawford, Daniel and Scott St. George. “Planetary bands, warming world”, https://planetbands.mystrikingly.com/.

Currin, Grayson Haver. “Music for our emergency”, NPR music (5 December 2019) https://www.npr.org/2019/12/05/784818349/songs-our-emergency-how-music-approaching-climate-change-crisis.

Dunn, David. http://davidddunn.com/ASL/Welcome.html.

Earthsound. https://www.earthsoundmusic.net.

Eureka Ensemble. “Rising Tides: Confronting the climate crisis through music”, https://www.eurekaensemble.org/rising-tides.

*Feld, Steven. http://www.stevenfeld.net/.

_____. and Panayotis Panopoulos. “Athens conversation: On ethnographic listening and comparative acoustemologies” (30 April 2015) https://static1.squarespace.com/static/545aad98e4b0f1f9150ad5c3/t/5543bb7de4b0b5d7d7bb3d58/1430502269571/Athens+Conversation.pdf.

_____. Iracema Dulley, Evanthia Patsiaoura, et. al. “Sounding anthropology: A jam session with Steven Feld” n.d. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/545aad98e4b0f1f9150ad5c3/t/5fbf1a54173fb5383b932d46/1606359637987/Sounding+Anthropology.pdf.

Fragments of Extinction. http://www.fragmentsofextinction.org/fragments-of-extinction/.

Harris, Yolande. https://www.yolandeharris.net/.

Howe, Cymene and Dominic Boyer. “Matthew Burtner”, Cultures of energy: The energy humanities podcast. 96 (19 October 2017) http://culturesofenergy.com/ep-96-matthew-burtner/.

Jones, Lucy. “The music of climate change”, Dr. Lucy Jones (15 May 2019) http://drlucyjones.com/the-music-of-climate-change/.

Legacies of the Enlightenment: Humanity, Nature, and Science in a Changing Climate.  https://legaciesoftheenlightenment.hcommons.org/.

Mauleverer, Charles. “Can music ever be green? An overview of the changing musical climate”, (12 April 2019) https://www.charlesmauleverer.com/post/2019/04/12/Can-Music-Ever-Be-Green-An-Overview-Of-The-Changing-Musical-Climate.

Miles, Emily. “Empathy through environmental music, Part 1”. In this climate (3 February 2020) https://www.stitcher.com/show/in-this-climate/episode/empathy-through-environmental-music-part-1-67058147.

_____. “Empathy through environmental music, Part 2”, In this climate (3 February 2020) https://www.stitcher.com/show/in-this-climate/episode/empathy-through-environmental-music-part-2-67062837.

Orchestra for the Earth. https://www.orchestrafortheearth.co.uk/.

*Perrin, Lola.http://www.lolaperrin.com/lolaperrin.

Quin, Douglas.http://www.douglasquin.com/.

Reubold, Todd. “A song of our warming planet”, Ensia (28 June 2013) https://ensia.com/videos/a-song-of-our-warming-planet/.

_____. “What global warming sounds like from the Amazon to the Arctic”, Ensia (7 May 2015) https://ensia.com/videos/what-climate-change-sounds-like-from-the-amazon-to-the-arctic/.

*Tin, Christopher. https://christophertin.com/.

*Titon, Jeff Todd.“Music in a changing climate”, Sustainable music (1 September 2015) https://sustainablemusic.blogspot.com/2015/09/music-in-changing-climate.html.

*Twedt, Judy. Connecting to climate change through music. (2018) https://tedxseattle.com/talks/connecting-to-climate-change-through-music/.

Westerkamp, Hildegard.The disruptive nature of listening” (18 August 2015) https://www.hildegardwesterkamp.ca/writings/writingsby/?post_id=11&title=the-disruptive-nature-of-listening.

Yakutchik, MaryAlice.Composer records beetles to mark climate change”, NPR music (10 March 2008). https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=88074919.

Recordings

*Adams, John Luther, Become trilogy. CD (Canteloupe Music CA21161, 2020).

_____. Lines made by walking. CD (Cold Blue Music, CB 0058 (2020).

Burtner, Matthew. Auksalaq: Live at the Phillips Collection. DVD (EcoSono, 2013).

_____. Glacier music. CD (Ravello Records RR8001, 2019).

_____. Six ecoacoustic quintets/Avian telemetry (Ravello Records RR8040, 2020).

Sayre, Mike. Music for icebergs. CD (Teknofonic Recordings, 2017).

*Tin, Christopher. The drop that contained the sea. CD (DeccaGold, 2014).

Volsness, Kristin. The year without a summer. CD (New Focus Recordings DCR218, 2018).

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Rimes et musique du Moyen âge et de la Renaissance

In 2020 Classiques Garnier inaugurated the series Rimes et musique du Moyen âge et de la Renaissance with “Que me servent mes vers?”: La musique chez Ronsard, avec un supplément vocal de 22 chansons (RILM Abstracts of Music Literature 2020-57415).

The publication comprises an introductory discussion complemented by scores and recordings of 22 songs, along with an exploration of the background of Renaissance musical settings of poems from Pierre de Ronsard’s Amours de Cassandre (1552).

Above, a portrait of Ronsard from ca. 1580; below, Guillaume Costeley’s setting of Mignonne allons voir si la rose, one of the most popular of Ronsard’s Amours among Renaissance composers.

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Bodhráns and politics

From its humble beginnings as a ritual instrument, the bodhrán has developed into a globally recognized percussion instrument that is found in diverse contexts. During the height of the Northern Ireland Troubles, the brilliant experiments and innovations of the drum maker Seamus O’Kane altered the bodhrán’s design, contributing to a rapid expansion of new performance practices and increased interest in the drum.

One of O’Kane’s signature innovations was the use of skins from the unionist lambeg drum. O’Kane had to precariously negotiate paramilitary politics and drum making in Northern Ireland in order to produce a superior instrument.

O’Kane’s bodhráns, which he continues to make in his County Derry-based workshop, draw from both Irish republican and unionist drum making traditions. This blending of traditions has enabled him to produce an innovative, tunable drum representative of the shared musical cultures of Northern Ireland within a violent, politically divided milieu.

This according to “Bodhráns, lambegs, & musical craftsmanship in Northern Ireland” by Colin Harte (Ethnomusicology forum XXVIII/2 [August 2019] 200-16).

Above and below, O’Kane demonstrates his instrument.

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Jon Hendricks, grand master of vocalese

Jon Hendricks was not the first jazz singer to practice the art of vocalese—crafting lyrics to jazz instrumental compositions and solos—but was widely considered its standard-setting grand master.

After hearing King Pleasure’s 1952 record of “Moody’s mood for love” with lyrics by Eddie Jefferson, Hendricks was inspired to write his own verses to jazz instrumentals. “It opened up a whole world for me” he said in a 1982 interview. “I was mesmerized. I’d been writing rhythm-and-blues songs, mostly for Louis Jordan. But I thought ‘Moody’s mood for love’ was so hip. You didn’t have to stop at 32 bars. You could keep going.”

Dubbed “the James Joyce of jive” by Time magazine, Hendricks gained international fame as part of the trio Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross, which often featured his vocalese creations.

This according to “Jon Hendricks, vocalese pioneer, dies at 96” by Allen Morrison (DownBeat LXXXV/2 [February 2018] 25; RILM Abstracts of Music Literature 2018-1066).

Today would have been Jon Hendrick’s 100th birthday! Below, LH&R perform his Cloudburst.

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Lakalaka as sociopolitical discourse

Tongan lakalaka is an art form in which poetry, music, movement, scent, and dress coalesce into sociopolitical theatrical events.

Knowledge of Tongan politics, culture, history, and shared values is required for fully understanding lakalaka. This communicative competence makes it possible to decode and make sense of the processes and products of this cultural form, in which human bodies move in time and space according to cultural conventions and aesthetic systems of the Tongan people.

Individuals decode the discourses according to their backgrounds and understandings of particular performances as well as their own mental and emotional states at the time. For a viewer to respond, knowledge of movement conventions and dress is not sufficient; only through communicative competence can dance and dress reveal meaning as a sociopolitical discourse.

This according to “Dance and dress as sociopolitical discourse” by Adrienne L. Kaeppler, an essay included in Proceedings of the 17th symposium of the Study Group on Ethnochoreology (Nafplion: Peloponnīsiakó Laografikó Idryma, 1994 45-52; RILM Abstracts of Music Literature 1994-2706).

Below, a performance from 2009.

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Antonín Dvořák, railfan

Dvořák had tremendous admiration for technical inventions, particularly locomotives—in the U.S. he might be called a railfan.

“It consists of many parts, of so many different parts, and each has its own importance, each has its own place,” he wrote. “Even the smallest screw is in place and holding something! Everything has its purpose and role and the result is amazing.”

“Such a locomotive is put on the tracks, they put in the coal and water, one person moves a small lever, the big levers start to move, and even though the cars weigh a few thousand metric cents, the locomotive runs with them like a rabbit. All of my symphonies I would give if I had invented the locomotive!”

This according to Antonín Dvořák: Komplexní zdroj informací o skladateli / A comprehensive information source on the composer, an Internet resource created by Ondřej Šupka. Many thanks to Jadranka Važanová for her discovery and translation of this wonderful quotation.

Today is Dvořák’s 180th birthday! Below, the EuroCity 77 “Antonin Dvorak” leaving Prague for Vienna.

Related article: Johannes Brahms, railfan

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