I’m working on a syllabus for a western music survey course, the course that music historians are still overwhelmingly expected to teach in music and musicology departments across the nation. The problem I’m having is the same problem that any self-critical music scholar has when faced with the assignment: the conflict between university expectations (to … Continue reading WESTERN MUSIC SURVEY(?)
No, not those kind. These are two concepts I’m working on at the moment. They should appear in a short piece soon. Compulsory Presentism: any condition whereby the past and future are prohibited from being ‘officially’ recognized by the rules of the discourse in question; the totalizing over-prioritization of the present, whether by the explicit … Continue reading TWO TERMS
“In melodrama, the soundtrack is the supreme genre of ineloquence, or eloquence beyond words: it’s what tells you that you are really most at home in yourself when you are bathed by emotions you can always recognize, and that whatever dissonance you sense is not the real, but an accident that you have to clean … Continue reading HGTV 2
is an entire channel devoted to cruel optimism. What’s interesting to me is how neatly its form of cruelty fits into a seemingly prescribed genre of American mythology about home-ownership and upward mobility. As these notions become increasingly fanciful for more and more Americans, the teary-eyed “reveal” of HGTV becomes increasingly uncanny. What I would … Continue reading HGTV
Brief thought: most cultural studies scholars, perhaps excepting those coming from a more rigid, Frankfurt-school perspective, accept that the modernist distinction between high and low art has completely collapsed. Question: is this collapse so forceful as to have inverted the equation? Follow up: particularly with the question of radical politics, it now seems that the … Continue reading BRIEF THOUGHT ON THE HIGH/LOW DISTINCTION
Right now I’m thinking a lot about music that doesn’t reach many people. For many music scholars, one of the key reasons that music is important to study is in how it contributes to the battle over hegemony or the contestation over meaning. Music articulates what we might call its “meanings” (but which are complex … Continue reading SMALL MUSIC (?)
Yesterday I presented “Improvisation and Everyday Performance” at the Cultural Studies Association conference in New Orleans. Our panel was a part of the performance studies working group, so my main point was to try to understand how improvisation relates to questions of performance and performativity. Briefly put, my argument is that improvisation studies is overdetermined … Continue reading IMPROVISATION AND EVERYDAY PERFORMANCE
I’m very excited to share that I have a new essay out in the most recent (and excellent looking) issue of Critical Studies in Improvisation. You can find it HERE.
My friends and I have recorded some music for a new improvisation project called Common Things. The band is Joshua Bryant on bass, Alex Burgoyne on alto, myself on the drums, and Aaron Quinn on the guitar. This is a teaser video that Aaron made: There will be more soon.
No other interval carries an equivalent ambivalence or affect. The major seventh simultaneously belongs to its tonic and nevertheless sounds a world apart. No other interval sounds so strange while belonging to its home major scale. For the other intervals, one must travel outside for a dissonant sound–Far from this crass and cartoonish dissonance, the … Continue reading THE MAJOR SEVENTH