Rocky Mountain Chapter of the American Musicological Society

Annual Meeting

School of Music, Arizona State University

Tempe, Arizona

April 4 and 5, 2014


ABSTRACTS


Katharyn Benessa (University of Northern Colorado)

Examining the Tientos in Eight Modes for Vihuela by Miguel de Fuenllana


The eight tientos by Spanish vihuela composer, Miguel Fuenllana (active 1553-1578), break conventions and blur the lines between high and low, court or church music, and folk music. Scholars have noted anomalies in these pieces that may relate to his treatment of modes and how they are presented within a cycle.

The tiento, which as a verb means “to test/try out/attempt”, is a strictly instrumental form written most commonly for vihuela, harp, harpsichord, or organ. The earliest published tientos (labeled “tento”) are four by Luis Milán (c1500-c1560) in El maestro (1536), where the composer appears to use the term interchangeably with fantasia. In Tres libros (1546), Alonso Mudarra’s (c1510–1580) eight tientos are presented in order of mode, and serve as introductory pieces to a collection of compositions in the same mode. Although in his preface to Orphenica lyra (1554), Fuenllana reinforces the tiento’s original purpose as an introductory piece for establishing the mode of subsequent works, the major/minor cross relations and surprising chromaticism of Fuenllana’s tientos would not serve this function well.

The third and fourth tientos in Orphenica lyra demonstrate Fuenllana’s departures from traditional modal practice. In the third, the composer avoids altogether the hallmarks of its putative phrygian mode, instead using one of the different forms of the “mode of e” described by Donastia in “El modo de mi la canción popular española.” Fuenllana employs an E major scale with a flat sixth, also known as a harmonic major scale, a scale more common in popular music. Donastia describes this version of the mode as never alluding to the major or the minor scale. Another deviation from typical modal expectations is found in the 4th tiento, where he builds a mode on d with an f-sharp, e-flat, and b-flat, creating a Phrygian dominant scale, or gyspy scale.

Clearly the inclusion of popular folk-style modes would be ill-suited as introductory piece for glosses on motets in church modes. In his preface, Fuenllana may hint at his transgression, explaining that “..it is truly necessary that he who is to understand perfectly and entirely any of the eight tones and to use them on this instrument with true freedom and good spirit...”


Dawn Grapes (Colorado State University)

The Madrigal, Translation, and Poetic License: Musical Considerations


One of the most important musical collections printed in England in the sixteenth century was Nicholas Yonge’s 1588 Musica Transalpina. This anthology of madrigals presented the London public with Italian popular songs by composers such as Luca Marenzio and Alfonso Ferrabosco and featured English translations of the original lyrics. The work is often cited as initiating the English madrigal craze that resulted in the publication of many volumes by native-born composers into the first three decades of the seventeenth century. However, Musica Transalpina illuminates many issues surrounding the translation of musical texts. These complexities are especially evident in the context of the madrigal, a genre that relied heavily on musical illustration of sung words. Though the overall affect of each Italian madrigal remains, the linking of phrases to their original musical coding is not always entirely successful.

A more efficacious endeavor appeared two years later. Thomas Watson’s lesser cited, but equally important, Italian Madrigalls Englished featured twenty-eight madrigals, mostly by Marenzio. Watson seems to have realized that direct translations rarely capture the aesthetic shaped by music carefully created to accompany a specific text. Faithful translation of original verse occurs in only a few of the collection’s pieces. More often, Watson translated very freely,  or substituted different material altogether. Although the subject matter of each madrigal may be different (sometimes vastly) than the original, Watson’s careful attention to Marenzio’s musical language and his fitting of words to it demonstrates that music, as its own language, can be interpreted in many ways. Watson’s works are much better examples of the use of text painting within song than those in Yonge’s edition. As such, they served as a more authentic tutorial for English composers experimenting with the newly embraced song form. That the English madrigal movement evolved into one in which translations were quickly left behind for a new native tradition (developed by composers such as Morley and Wilbye) supports the claim that exact translation may not be the preferred avenue for musicians who aim to interconnect music and text.

In a 1997 article, Laura Macy assessed the different approaches to textual adaptation found in the Yonge and Watson collections and commented upon the philosophical reasons for each. William Peter Mahrt responded in 2006 with a close reading of some of the translations in Musica Transalpina. In this paper, I also build on Macy’s work, focusing on the musical implications of madrigal translations, especially those found in Watson’s collection. Musico-textual analyses of selected compositions are then used to address the strengths and weaknesses of direct translations, the expectations created by clichéd musical language, the application of poetic license, and the benefits of creative expression when applied to artistic endeavor.


Chelsea Komschlies (University of Colorado)

An Associative Model of Musical Perception


Philosophical approaches to musical meaning often fall into two categories: formalist models that see musical meaning as basically self-referential and emotive models that see meaning as the ability to invoke or represent emotions. My paper introduces a new philosophical model of musical perception that accounts for both of these and allows for a much broader understanding of musical meaning through associations.

    My model builds on the work of Peter Burkholder, who has outlined an associative theory of musical meaning in which familiar elements of music (motive, genre, style, etc.) create primary associations with other pieces of music that use the same elements. Secondary associations can then follow, relating musical styles to their social functions or historical eras. While Burkholder’s model is attractive for its simplicity and flexibility, it depends on intra-modal associations (i.e., music to other music) as the starting point for all associations. In contrast, my model also considers situations in which music maps cross-modally, from music directly to something else, such as images, emotions, or even abstract thought processes.

    My approach delineates three kinds of associative perception. In the first, a new musical experience maps intra-modally onto our previous musical experiences, much as Burkholder has described. In the second, a new musical experience is so radically different from anything in our experience that it is, for us, literally meaningless, mapping onto nothing. Between these extremes is a third scenario in which a new musical experience finds its meaning by mapping not onto previous musical experiences, but cross-modally onto other experiences with which it shares important characteristics. The model that I propose is framed as an approach to associative meaning in music, but I would argue that all meaning is created by this process. Thus, my approach outlines a new kind of epistemology in which the brain, in order to make sense of any new perception, creates primary associations that make the best possible sense of the perception. These primary associations branch out, creating secondary and tertiary associations in an expanding web of associations. The meaning of the aesthetic experience is created by these mental connections and in the subject’s own search for why they exist. The flexibility of my model allows it to represent a purely formalist hearing and an emotional or visually associative hearing of the same passage without contradiction, and leads to a more expanded and experience-oriented understanding of musical meaning than do semiotic systems, which are largely based on convention.

    The test case for this paper is a passage from the Finale of Sibelius’s First Symphony. In this example, I show how a formalist reading of the expressive properties of this passage (of the kind allowed by Peter Kivy and others) is wholly inadequate to capture the emotional qualities that we perceive. Instead, I show how some of the inherent musical properties – revealed by various kinds of musical analysis – map both intra-modally and cross-modally, creating a web of musical and extra-musical meanings that give the passage its uniquely tragic quality.


Janice Dickensheets (University of Northern Colorado)

The Growth of Narratological Analysis and Its Implications for Pedagogy


   With the resurgence of interest in narratological analysis during the last five decades, there is a real need to incorporate a study of it into music curriculum.  For centuries, prior to the modern era, music criticism frequently included colorful narratives.  With the dawn of modernism, this sort of narrative criticism fell out of favor, re-emerging in the late-twentieth century in the guise of politically driven, agenda-based discussions, scientifically based semiotic approaches, and culturally driven stylistic analysis.  Among the earliest proponents of this return to narratology are such revered names as Ero Tarasti and Raymond Monelle—musical semiotics; Leonard Ratner, Kofi Agawu, and Robert Hatten—stylistic analysis; and Anthony Newcomb—archetypal studies.  Since the turn of the century, several landmark works have emerged, including Kofi Agawu’s Music as Discourse, Byron Almén’s A Theory of Musical Narrative, and Jonathan Bellman’s Chopin’s Polish Ballade Op. 38 as Narrative of National Martyrdom

    In the last ten years, acceptance of the discipline as a whole has increased, with a greater number of theorists and musicologists exploring narrative approaches.  These can be roughly classified into five general categories:  semiotic, literary, archetypal, programmatic, and stylistic.  Though each approach takes a slightly different trajectory (often overlapping and borrowing from each other), each, according to Almén, comes from a recognition of the similarities between musical and literary discourse.  Each also functions in a similar manner—musical gestures and events are isolated, identified, and interpreted based on cultural and stylistic information.

    As with any analytical methodology, scholars must make decisions as to the appropriateness of narratology for a given work.  Many believe that semiotic or narrative analysis must be used with great care, limited to those works for which primary source research confirms literary connections.  Others believe that any piece of music can benefit from this type of analysis.  Some scholars are dedicated to the use of narrativity to position a piece within its culture; others use it to provide a meaningful listening experience for non-musicians, or to set forth a cultural or political agenda. 

Given the increase in narrative analyses and the responsibility of each scholar to weigh their relative merit, it is becoming clear that we, as educators, need to promote discussions of this and its practical application within formal analysis. I have observed in student’s papers a natural tendency to create a narrative when attempting to convert musical experience into words.  This inclination could be fostered through guidance and instruction in narratological methodology, once a solid historical and theoretical base has been established.  Providing exercises that include both formal and narrative analysis would help students explore music from multiple angles.  An exploration of Liszt’s Venezia e Napoli, using both formal and narrative techniques, demonstrates a possible approach to such an exercise.

     If the ultimate purpose of analysis is to provide better tools for recreating music in performance, then we must expose students to every possible analytical tool.  To this end, it is time for narrative analysis to join formal analysis in our theory and history curriculum.


Matthew Mugmon (University of Arizona)

Copland’s (Self-)Defense of Mahler as Jewish Composer

In April of 1925, Aaron Copland joined the longstanding American debate about the quality of Gustav Mahler’s music. He complained in a letter to the New York Times that music critics routinely called Gustav Mahler “bombastic, longwinded, banal.” He countered that Mahler’s music was powerfully original; he extolled the “Mahler touch” and praised the “individual quality” of his music. Seeming to grant that Mahler was sometimes derivative, Copland nevertheless declared that the he “was never more Mahler than when he was copying Mozart.”

Although Copland did not explicitly mention his shared status with Mahler as a Jewish composer, it was deeply linked to his defense of Mahler. In this paper, I demonstrate that Mahler served as a model for Copland in negotiating his own identity as a Jewish composer in an environment in which Jewishness was often seen as impeding artistic worth. Copland’s published writings as well as his unpublished lecture notes, housed in the Copland Collection at the Library Congress, show that he negotiated his developing identity as a Jewish composer by engaging with the work of another Jewish figure — the American critic Paul Rosenfeld. In the years leading up to Copland’s Times letter, Rosenfeld criticized Mahler for supposedly suppressing his creative impulses as a Jewish artist and instead merely emulating his Austro-German predecessors — making him, in Rosenfeld’s terms, a “sterile” composer. Already sensitive to contemporary claims about Jewish artistic impotence in America, Copland, in defending Mahler, wrestled with the question of a composer’s ability to simultaneously be original and draw on a musical past — a central challenge American composers faced in the 1920s and precisely what Rosenfeld, by invoking Mahler’s Jewishness, claimed Mahler had failed to accomplish. Musical links between Copland’s music from that period and Mahler’s symphonies suggest Mahler’s resonance for Copland as a musical ancestor who was far from the “sterile” composer Rosenfeld claimed he was. By defending Mahler, Copland thus reconciled his own Jewishness with an aspiration to be recognized as a fresh compositional voice in America.


Adriana Martinez (Independent Scholar)

The Seegers, The Lomaxes, and The Crossroads of American Music


   Scholars have long recognized the interesting dichotomy in the musical careers of Charles Seeger and his wife Ruth Crawford Seeger, both of whom were composers of avant-garde, “ultramodernist” music, and at the same time were deeply involved with the collecting, transcribing, disseminating—and, through their children, performing—of American folk music. Together with John Lomax and his son Alan, the Seegers were pioneering ethnomusicologists, theorists and educators whose work had wide-ranging impact on all strands of American music, not only modernist art music and folk music but popular music as well.

    This paper examines the unique position of the Seegers and the Lomaxes at the crossroads of twentieth-century American music. In contrast to prevailing views (then and now) of the various strands of U.S. musical life as distinct, separate, even conflicting genres, mixing and meeting only infrequently, these two families offer a case study for the deep interrelationship between art, folk, and popular musics in this country. In particular, the crucial role of Ruth Crawford Seeger and Alan Lomax as the mediators between the worlds of art, folk, and popular musics will be examined.

The crucial philosophical association of folk music with authenticity, tradition and American identity place their work, which was later incorporated and disseminated in art and popular music of all stripes, at the center of key issues in the development of U.S. musical life. As a counterweight to the formation of the canon on one side and the commercialization of popular music on the other, the mythification of folk music raises issues of class as well as aesthetics. The collecting, transcribing, recording and performing of folk song can be paradoxically seen as a deeply modernist project, insofar as modernism was a historicist movement, inextricably related to the central concepts of progress, history, the relationship of the present to that history, the celebration and anxiety of technology, and nostalgia for an idealized past.

While the twentieth century was witness to the fracturing of musical style, the Seegers and the Lomaxes can be seen as the nexus, negotiating the impact but most importantly mediating between the pieces.


Victoria Johnson (Arizona State University)

Music Not for the Masses: A Case-Study of Czech Avant-Garde Composer

Marek Kopelent during the Cold War


Since the fall of the Soviet Union, much study has been devoted to the music produced under communism in Eastern Europe. Although the official doctrine for artistic output was ostensibly the same in all communist controlled lands, each country had its own peculiar manifestation of the regime, and each deserves individual scrutiny. One country has fallen by the wayside, especially in English-language music scholarship: the Czech Republic (formerly Czechoslovakia). In the early twentieth century the Czech Republic tended to lag behind the rest of Europe in encouraging avant-garde music. Nevertheless, it was home to such innovative composers as Janaček, Schulhoff, and Hába. The new generation of avant-garde composers that came to maturity under communism, included Zbyněk Vostřák, Miloslav Kabelač, and Marek Kopelent.

I have chosen to focus on Marek Kopelent (b. 1932) because of the recognition he has received in various countries for his contribution to the modernist and experimental repertoire. Despite great artistic achievements and numerous prestigious awards, he remains largely unknown. This obscurity may have to do with the political conditions in which he spent a large part of his compositional career, Czechoslovakian communism. Kopelent has been a proponent of New Music, and used elements such as tone rows, indeterminacy, sound masses, and electronics in his works. He has also used spatial dimensions and movement to create site-specific works. Such experimentation, while permitted at times by the regime, was not condoned.

In this paper I will explore the reasons Kopelent remains unknown and the role communism played in his status by briefly examining the political environment, by investigating his stylistic development through three representative works: the String Quartet No. 3, the Lied für Klavier, and the cantata Lux Mirandae Sanctatis. Finally, I will discuss how he responded to the political obstacles that confronted him. My study builds on research by such Cold War music scholars as Carroll and Svatos, and interviews conducted by Havelková and Röhring. By delving deeper into the work of this composer, I hope to raise an awareness of and interest in New Music in Czechoslovakia during the Cold War.


Jay Arms (University of California at Santa Cruz)

Composition No. 355 and Anthony Braxton’s Creative World Music


            In March 2006, Anthony Braxton (b. 1945) premiered nine new compositions at the Iridium jazz club in New York City with his “12+1tet” (thirteen musicians). The final installment in his long running project Ghost Trance Music, Braxton described this series of nine works as “the point of definition in my work thus far.” Considering the breadth and diversity of Braxton’s musical output over the last fifty years, his statement should not be taken lightly. Since his rise to prominence in the late 1960s working with the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (hereafter AACM), Braxton has developed a highly complex and interrelated conception of music and its role in the world that he endeavors to infuse into his compositional practice. Composition No. 355, the fifth from this nine-work set, is a case in point. Utilizing a notation scheme based on that familiar to practitioners of Western music, yet peculiar in its use of colored note heads, heterophony, and improvisation, Composition No. 355 seeks to balance the musical and cultural sensibilities of its composer and performers within Braxton’s conception of creative world music.

          Braxton’s notion of a creative world music stems directly from discourses of the 1960s and 70s—articulated by organizations like the AACM and by individuals such as Amiri Baraka—that developed ways of theorizing interconnections between musics across geographic, cultural, and temporal boundaries among other things. Part of Braxton’s particular enumeration of this widespread notion navigates the role of the individual within a collective performance structure, calling his compositions “affirmations” of him as a composer—with his range influences and sensibilities—that explicitly and simultaneously affirm the performers’ sensibilities by increasing the their contributions to the actualization of the music. In order to situate Composition No. 355 within this conceptual framework, I enlist AACM composer—and Braxton’s long-term collaborator—Wadada Leo Smith’s Ankhrasmation as a way of theorizing the use of color, improvisation, and individuality in this piece. In addition to analyzing the particularities of creative world music in Composition No. 355, this paper suggests ways the concept can help in theorizing other expansive formations of music in cross-cultural contexts.


Garrett L. Johnson (Arizona State University)

Deserts, Insects, and Oscillators: David Dunn’s Bioregional Music


         The American Southwest has long been a source of inspiration for musical composition. Like many examples of musical representations of nature in the Western repertoire however, many of these pieces offer anthropogenic narratives which flatten the multiplicity of this vast region’s biological, geological, and cultural topologies. Defined by the U.S. state borders, the American Southwest is often stereotyped as a homogeneous and seemingly endless desert landscape dotted with mountain chains. Indeed, the Southwest is host to such landscapes, but the differences between these sub-regions are substantial – each representing a particular ecosystem marked by a distinct biodiversity. Some composers have offered more nuanced musical insights which have deepened the popular understanding of this region’s diverse geographies, such as Maggi Payne, Richard Lehman, Garth Paine, and David Dunn. New-Mexico-based composer Dunn (b. 1953), who has achieved renown for his ecologically conscious soundscape compositions, site-specific works as well as his writings about the arts and the environment, has composed works which showcase the American Southwest’s diverse and vibrant desert landscapes and which also promote environmental activism on their behalf. These works explore bioregionalism, an idea which emphasizes the intersections between social and cultural identities of humans and their regions’ specific geography, endemic flora and fauna, and any other environmental contexts. Focusing on Skydrift (1976–78), an outdoor composition for tape and 16 performers and the tape work The Sound of Light in Trees (2006), I will show how Dunn musically utilizes environmental elements unique to the bioregions of the American Southwest to create an aesthetic sense of place.

         I will first introduce bioregionalism and show how it pertains to environmental composition at large, addressing such influential movements as deep ecology and acoustic ecology. Then, I will give an overview of Dunn’s musical ideas and unique environmental philosophy which guides his creative processes. Next I will take a close look at each of the aforementioned pieces and show how they reflect various facets of the American Southwest and aspects of bioregionalism. I will draw on Dunn’s own writings, scholarship about Dunn by musicologists like David Ingram and Sabine Feisst, scholarship about soundscape and sound art by John Levack Lever, Robert Kraut, Alan Licht, Trevor Wishart, Denise Von Glahn, and writings about bioregionalism and site-specificity by Robert L. Thayer, Tom Lynch, and Miwon Kwon. Synthesizing these various, diverse perspectives, I hope to provide insight into the regional engagement of this composer who is yet to receive substantial scholarly attention.


Glen W. Hicks (Arizona State University)

Clifford Demarest and Religious Socialism:

How a Church Musician Orchestrated Cultural Change


         As organist and choir director at the progressive Church of the Messiah in New York City from 1911-1946, Clifford Demarest (1874-1946) supplied the musical soundtrack for many influential sermons during the first half of the twentieth century. At a time when relationships between ministers and organists were marked with little more than tolerance, Demarest’s partnership with the Rev. John Haynes Holmes (1879-1964), the leader of that congregation, was extraordinary. Together, this evangelist and musician team initiated landmark cultural and political reforms within the church and surrounding communities, directly influencing the nascent National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and supporting luminaries of the Harlem Renaissance. Influential figures such as Langston Hughes (1902-1967), Augustus Granville Dill (1881-1956), Egbert Ethelred Brown (1875-1956), and Countee Cullen (1903-1946) were inspired by the reform taking place in the Church of the Messiah; however, prior to this research, their connections to the church have remained unexplored.

         Led by contemporary accounts, I trace the influence of the Church of the Messiah on the cultural and civil rights movements of early-twentieth-century New York. Demarest’s choral works and his duets for the unique pairing of the organ and piano, reflect the liberal environment of the church and the cultural integration of the congregation. By incorporating contemporary popular music into the traditional church repertory, Demarest created a unique sound that became a defining feature of his work. In this paper I analyze the significance of his original compositions for organ and piano duet, and give special attention to Demarest’s choral setting of Holmes’s text in “America Triumphant.” This music reflects the symbiotic relationship forged over thirty-five years between Demarest and the Church of the Messiah.

         Archival sources such as church records, letters, newspaper editorials, accounts from Holmes’s autobiography, and current research are synthesized to characterize Demarest’s place within the dynamics of the Church of the Messiah and its influence on the surrounding community. The emergent picture reveals a church musician’s experience that is unlike any other organist’s working at the beginning of the last century. Holmes’s unique environment provided Demarest the opportunity to combine the elements of traditional sacred music with the ideals of the significant political and social movements of his day. With the passage of time, the impact of the Church of the Messiah in and around New York City at the beginning of the twentieth-century has been forgotten. However, the foreword-thinking values nurtured within the church live on to the present day and are a legacy to the work of its founders.


Caleb T. Boyd (Independent Scholar)

Championing Proletarian Music in the United States: Hanns Eisler’s Creative Contributions to the American Music and Political Scenes in the Mid-1930s


         In the 1920s and early 1930s, Hanns Eisler (1898–1962), one of Arnold Schoenberg’s most gifted students in Vienna, earned recognition as an important representative of musical modernism and politically engaged music. His twelve-tone Piano Sonata No. 1, Op. 1 (1923) won the Vienna Prize and his score to the socially critical film Kuhle Wampe (1932), written by Bertolt Brecht and directed by Slantan Dudow, earned praise among European audiences. Lionized for his popular Kampflieder, didactic fighting songs for disgruntled workers and the unemployed, Eisler galvanized irate crowds to revolutionary action throughout the continent. During his first American tour in 1935, Eisler continued this mission, but American conservatives quickly declared him the “Karl Marx of Music,” a reputation that would haunt him when he resided in America from 1938–1948 and led to his deportation by the American House Un-American Activities Committee in 1948. Eisler, who downplayed his early activities in America, had a much greater musico-political role in the United States in the mid-1930s than previously realized, and my paper will shed new light on this fascinating facet of his career.

         Eisler introduced many agitational choral and mass songs to Americans during his initial 1935 concert tour. He appeared in such cities as New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Salt Lake City, St. Louis, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Boston and encountered the sociocultural diversity of these cities. American audiences were quite receptive to Eisler’s politically charged music, because it resonated with anxiety caused by economic instability and loss of jobs, conditions that prompted the revival of the American Communist Party (CPUSA) and America’s largest historical mass movement. During this period of fervent unrest, Eisler engaged with American leftist groups, like the Downtown Music School, the Pierre DeGeyter Club, and Cowell’s New Music Society. His tour led to employment at the New School for Social Research where he was hired as a music professor. He also collaborated with such leftist American composers as Marc Blitzstein, Aaron Copland, Henry Cowell, Ruth Crawford, and Charles Seeger. In my paper I will grant particular attention to his inaugural 1935 appearance at New York’s Mecca Temple, his cooperation with America’s Timely Recording to produce the country’s first 78-rpm discs of revolutionary songs, and his rehearsals with an American workers’ symphony orchestra for the CPUSA’s 1936 memorial for Lenin at Madison Square Garden. Finally, I will trace how Eisler began to tone down his socialist leanings and change his musical direction as a result of growing government animosity toward leftism and his consideration of permanent residence in America.

         This paper draws upon research of Eisler scholars Albrecht Betz and Jürgen Schebera and upon information in sources previously ignored by European scholars, including the newspapers The Daily Worker and New Masses, which documented Eisler’s early American activities. Greater awareness of this subject will generate a deeper understanding of America’s robust leftist culture in the 1930s and Eisler’s operations within that arena.


Silvia Lazo (University of Montana)

Building a Cultivated Labor Identity Through Music Iconography: A Study of Classical Images of Twentieth-Century Catalan Workers’ Magazine


         While research has been conducted on Catalan modernist and post-modernist iconography in association with middle-class values and/or Francoist propaganda, little is known about the iconography as associated with music in connection with the Catalan pre-Spanish Civil War labor movement. This study examines Pau [Pablo] Casals’ Workmen’s Concert Association (Associació Obrera de Concerts) and its associated media as a means to promote a cultivated identity for Catalan workers. With this goal in mind, the Association sponsored performances by the Pau Casals Orchestra, established music courses, a lending library, and published its own monthly magazine, Fruïcions, which included music iconography and articles on classical music genres, composers, and instrumental technique. This study provides a brief history of the Association as a socio-musical project and includes a detailed discussion of the music iconography that appeared as an important social marker for the workers. An investigation of twentieth-century labor iconography helps us understand the import of classical music and music iconography as a mediator of collective social and cultural identity. In this period, through the industrial revolution, individuals had access to a variety of new media that fostered their ability to climb the “ladder of knowledge.” Fruïcions presents music iconography during this tumultuous time of rapid changes in technology, labor and politics. The music iconography analyzed stems from a review of six main images selected from forty exemplars of the monthly publication (63 issues total: April 1927–September 1932). The music iconography conjures mainly classical themes of Greece and Egypt which, in association with European classical music, suggests a desire for intellectual attainment in secular (pre-Christian) terms. Such music iconography functions to build a collective labor identity and underscores the persistent symbolic meaning of classical images to project a secular yet cultivated identity among a labor class.


Kelly Austermann (Arizona State University)

The Healing Power of Popular American Music during World War II


         The interdisciplinary relationship between music and wellbeing is often overlooked outside of the realm of music therapy.  This connection has existed for thousands of years, and can be seen frequently throughout history.   The ancient Egyptians took an interrelated approach to music, medicine, and religion.   David’s musical skills as harpist served as a change agent to cure the biblical King Saul’s melancholy.  Pythagoras asserted an intimate association between astronomy and music through numerical relationships that, when manipulated, can positively impact one’s health.  Dating from before the Common Era, these examples show humanity’s persisting belief in the connection between music and health.  As modern medicine advanced, this relationship has been deemphasized.  However, musical healing, occurring when the human condition is affected positively, is still acknowledged.

         A more recent association between music and wellness can be examined in the American popular music of World War II.  Government programs, such as the National Wartime Music Committee and the Music War Committee, were formed for the sole purpose of creating songs to bolster the feelings of soldiers and civilians.  It was hoped that popular songs would boost and maintain morale and patriotism throughout a lengthy, costly war.  Thousands of songs, including topical songs like “Let’s Put the Axe to the Axis,” were composed during the war years for this purpose, but very few achieved popular acclaim in the way the government had hoped.  However, Americans found less formal ways to help overcome the devastation of war.  As confirmed by Billboard Advertising, Americans found comfort in the more standard, sentimental songs and up-beat dance music featuring few war references. 

         Both types of popular American music, government-sponsored and self-selected, offered several benefits and enabled healing of sorts to occur.  Music empowered Americans to contribute to the war effort.  The Music Educators Journal of 1942 encouraged musical outreach to honor the soldiers, raise morale at events such as community-wide singing programs, and create patriotism at charitable events such as Red Cross meetings or bond sale campaigns.  Recent scientific studies confirm that such musical activity can boost morale after stressors, reduce state anxiety, increase patriotism and unity during crisis, and encourage helping behavior.

         Americans were consoled when they heard, sang, and danced to more traditional music such as the love song “Amapola” during the war.  This music, with non-topical lyrics, provided a healing outlet for citizens who remained in a country bombarded with changes:  abrupt family losses, the increase of women in the work force, and the rationing of items ranging from rubber to sugar.  In the face of these disruptions, the more familiar, pre-war songs allowed Americans to maintain a level of normalcy in their daily lives.  These songs focused on universal values of love, friendship, memories, and dreams.  This presentation will summarize recent scientific findings which delineate the psychological benefits of maintaining routine and normalcy during times of crisis.  Normalcy and routine lessen the symptoms of posttraumatic stress and functional impairment, and allow people a measure of control over their own immediate environment.


Carlo Caballero (University of Colorado)

Pavanes and Passepieds in the Age of the Cancan


          Among hit tunes of the modern French school are a pair of pavanes by Fauré and Ravel. Why should late nineteenth-century French composers write pavanes at all? The vogue of the pavane, as dance and music, belongs to the sixteenth century, and scholars have usually considered that Purcell’s contributions to the genre in the late 1600s already constitute a retrospective glance at a dying form.

         Of course, the nineteenth century saw a general revival of interest in old dance forms. Yet the French revival was historically deeper and broader than anywhere else, reaching back to the Renaissance. In the German-speaking lands, by contrast, the focus lay almost entirely on late baroque dance forms newly rediscovered through historical work on Bach and Handel. German nation-building focused on the contributions of great individuals, whereas the continuous political history of France as a united kingdom made it possible to embrace the whole legacy of French music from the Middle Ages to the late 18th-century under the broad rubric of the ancien régime.

         I trace the revival of the musical pavane specifically to Saint-Saëns, who composed one for the ballet-divertissement of his opera Etienne Marcel (1879). From this work we may follow a rapid sequence of development through pavanes by Delibes, Messager, Paladilhe, Fauré, Ravel, Debussy, and others between 1882 and 1900. Although Saint-Saëns was Fauré’s teacher and mentor, it was indubitably the pavane in Paladilhe’s now-forgotten opera La patrie (1886) that Fauré took as a model for his pavane in the same key a year later. The genealogy is complicated by Delibes’s incidental music for Le roi s’amuse (1882), which includes a galliard, two pavanes, and a passepied (in cut time). Delibes’s suite proved influential for several reasons, but it introduced a confusion between the pavane and bransle-passepied (or “trihori”) which caused Debussy to waver between both titles for the final movement of his Suite bergamasque. The paper traces this second genealogical branch of duple-meter passepieds and brings it into contrast with triple-meter passepieds modeled on Lully and Rameau.

         But why were dances of the ancien régime revived and composed with such alacrity in this period? I argue that their vogue may be explained through four factors. First, state and public support for ballet gave such dances a space for exhibition and enjoyment in France; the historical exoticism of antique dances found their first place as ballet music and only later as instrumental pieces. Second, the French aristocracy was one of the primary supporters of both ballet and the early music revival; danses anciennes combined both interests. The ballet-divertissement (a legacy of the Bourbon kings) and the aristocratic salon provided an ideal habitat for them: the novelty and opulence of pavanes and minuets served as an effective symbol of the inegalitarian “difference” French aristocrats wished to express in public life. Third, the revival played into the nineteenth-century fascination with all forms of historicism. Finally, the historical models provided a pretext for modality in modern musical composition.


Jay Rosenblatt (University of Arizona)

Towards a New Paradigm of Liszt’s Double-Function Form


         Franz Liszt is credited with many innovations, including thematic transformation and the symphonic poem, but the technique that may be truly original and unique to his compositional practice is “double-function” form. This term was first used by William S. Newman for his analysis of Liszt’s Sonata in B Minor, in which he defines it as “a free form that is at once a one-movement ‘sonata form’ and a four-movement sonata cycle.” (The Sonata Since Beethoven, 367) More recently, Steven Vande Moortele coined “two-dimensional sonata form” to refine this definition, recognizing two hierarchies — “the dimension of the cycle on the one hand and the dimension of the form on the other” — that do not necessarily coincide at every point. (Two-Dimensional Sonata Form, 21) Most discussions have focused on the Sonata, and in many ways this work presents the clearest example of the technique, given the exact recapitulation of thematic material. Although the most influential of Liszt’s double-function forms, the Sonata is an anomaly, and a far more common approach is the use of thematic transformation in the recapitulation. In this paper, I will examine several examples of double-function form in which the recapitulation consists of themes, not literally restated but in transformation. It is these works that are representative of Liszt’s practice.

         The earliest example of double-function form is De Profundis: psaume instrumental, a work for piano and orchestra from 1835. For the first time, we find a single-movement work in sonata form placed over a multi-movement (though continuous) structure. Liszt next makes use of this technique in three concertos drafted around 1839, each of which adapts the concept in a slightly different way. In all of these works, the recapitulation of the larger form and final movement of the cycle features thematic material in transformation. This technique thus becomes one of the defining features of double-function form and is found as an organizing principle in many works from the 1850s, including several symphonic poems, the Fantasy and Fugue on “Ad nos ad salutarem undam,” and the final versions of the piano concertos.

         As part of my presentation, I will examine the definitions of Newman and Vande Moortele and propose a modification that takes into account this new paradigm. Charts and music examples will be used to illustrate the form in each work. In addition, I will draw on autograph and manuscript copies of scores to fully trace Liszt’s development of this technique and to demonstrate his use of thematic transformation as an integral factor of double-function form.


Angela Christian (Colorado State University)

Fathers, Brothers, Husbands, and Music: Family Dynamics, Sibling Relations, and the “Question of Incest” in the Letters of Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel


         When David Warren Sabean published his article "Fanny and Felix Mendelssohn and the Question of Incest" in the Winter 1993 issue of Musical Quarterly, his work was met with a mixture of morbid curiosity and scholarly dismissal and was not taken further by the musical scholarly community. Sabean did perhaps over sensationalize the article – despite the title, he does not propose that incest actually took place - but even though it is uncomfortable for us to acknowledge this issue, there is firm scholarly basis and a well-documented context for the discussion within the area of kinship studies.

         Kinship studies offer a key to understanding the family dynamics and social expectations for an upper-class nineteenth-century family. Passionate expressions of love and desire for companionship were common between brothers and sisters, as well as between close friends of the same gender. The letters between Fanny and Felix offer substantial evidence for an unusually close bond between the siblings. During the summer of 1829, Fanny was dealing simultaneously with the absence of her brother during his first extended absence to London, and the transition to becoming the intimate of another man, her soon-to-be husband Wilhelm Hensel, who had just returned from a five-year tour of Italy. Fanny’s mother had banned correspondence between Fanny and Wilhelm, so they had naturally grown apart. Fanny turned to song instead to relieve her feelings, and perhaps poured some of her developing sexual awareness into her relationship with her brother and friends, as well.

         This paper will reconsider Sabean’s concept of incest between Fanny and Felix, repositioning the argument within the intimate artistic circle maintained in the Mendelssohn family home. I will show how we can better understand the relationship between Fanny and Felix within the norms of sibling relations in the nineteenth century, and discuss how their complex relationships affected their personal lives and artistic choices. Viewing the relationship between Fanny and Felix in this context may offer some new interpretations of the complex issues of gender roles and the perceived repression of Fanny that Mendelssohn scholars have struggled to come to terms with for decades.


Charles Price (Emeritus, West Chester University of Pennsylvania)

The Birds and the Beatles: Teddy Boys, Androgyny,

and the 1963 Girl Group Covers


         Among the choices to fill out the Beatles’ first two British long playing albums recorded and released in 1963 are five girl group cover versions drawn from their live performance repertory. The sources range from a popular number one hit record (the Marvelettes’ “Please Mr. Postman”) to an obscure commercial flop (the Donays’ “Devil in his Heart”).  The Beatles shared the enthusiasm for contemporary American girl groups of the early 1960s with other Liverpool bands at the time, with their soulful gospel tinged vocal styles and artfully constructed songs. The concept of the group itself did much to shape the nature of the Liverpool bands. The influence of contemporary American soul records was not limited to girl groups, with Motown songs and Fame studio productions long in the Beatles’ performance repertory. The girl group songs were merely the latest additions.

         For the Liverpool club scene from which the Beatles emerged, a major task was the transformation of these songs from carefully produced studio recordings to live performance vehicles. Unlike the 1950s rock ’n’ roll and rockabilly models where the instrumentation was a better match, the Beatles borrowed not only the musical inflections and vocal harmonies of the girl groups, but also the sanitized image of the carefully coifed hairdos and neat uniforms under the influence of their manager Brian Epstein. The street tough image of the teddy boys that had marked the Beatles in their early days in Liverpool and Hamburg was replaced with a softer and more androgynous look provided by the influence of continental styles they absorbed in Hamburg. The new look proved to be essential to their ultimate popular success. Building on the work of Susan J. Douglas, Matthew Bannister, Jacqueline Warwick, Walter Everett, Mark Lewisohn, and others, this paper analyzes the sonic transformation from the five original delicately layered soul records to the Beatles’ versions with their distinctive driving rhythmic propulsion—unfortunately not fully realized sonically in the early Parlophone recordings. It also investigates the myriad of significant ways that the girl groups influenced the performance styles, original compositions, and ultimately the phenomenal reception of the Beatles’ music.


Deborah B. Crall (Independent Scholar)

Seeing Beyond the Local: Do Opera Commissions by Regional Companies have Universal Appeal?  A Case Study on Libby Larsen


         Libby Larsen is a composer based in Minneapolis known for her versatility, as she is comfortable writing in a wide range of genres from art song to choral work, and chamber music to symphonic pieces. However, her favorite genre is opera because in opera, she combines vocal style with instrumental, small ensemble with large, and creates large musical structures. Despite her reputation, many would be surprised to learn that she has written some eighteen operas commissioned by companies across the United States.

         This paper explores the dynamics that place plays in opera commission, that is, how a mid-western composer, raised and trained in Minneapolis-St. Paul, speaks to the local audience for each commission, in both subject matter and compositional style. By examining four specific works, Everyman Jack (Sonoma City Opera, California), Eric Hermannson’s Soul (Opera Omaha, Nebraska), Barnum’s Bird (Library of Congress, Washington, DC), and Picnic (University of North Carolina, Greensboro), we see how the local opera company effects the end result, and how Larsen interweaves elements of the local culture with melody, craftsmanship, and subject matter to create works that transcend the interests of the immediate community, thereby speaking to the greater whole of human existence.

         Although Larsen’s operas are composed for smaller regional companies, they manage to touch on deeper issues that would speak to audiences everywhere, raising the issue of further performance opportunities of new opera. Larsen is not the only opera composer writing for regional opera companies, and the conclusion of this research suggests a need for revisiting the life of newly composed works. Since the local most often effectively portrays the universal, Larsen’s operas, as well as other regionally composed operas, deserve performance for a wider audience and staging in more venues throughout the United States.


Joseph Finkel (Arizona State University)

Collaborative Aquatic Soundscapes: Alvin Curran’s Maritime Rites (Poster)


         Alvin Curran, a significant American experimental composer and performer, has used intriguing combinations of instruments, voices, electronics, improvisation and uncommon performance situations and sites in his oeuvre. Among his most fascinating, yet little known compositions is Maritime Rites, a comprehensive collaborative work in progress for musicians in boats and near bodies of water (1979–). Written in response to a commission by NPR in 1984, one version of Maritime Rites employs recorded sounds from maritime regions and historical places of the Northeastern United States seaboard. One of Curran’s ideas was to put “natural sounds back into nature.” This ten-part work is based on an indeterminate framework allowing for improvisation. Each part involves the participation of one prominent American artist. John Cage, Malcolm Goldstein, George Lewis, Pauline Oliveros, and others contributed improvised musical commentaries to Curran’s found and composed sounds. This Maritime Rites version is also an example of radio art as Curran conceived it for broadcasting. 

         My poster will offer a close reading of Maritime Rites. I will examine the work’s background, genesis, contexts, the collaborative process and structure of three of the ten so-called “environmental concerts,” featuring Oliveros’s, Goldstein’s, and Cage’s contributions. Analyzing the work’s 2004 realization on CD, I will also address the compositions live and radio versions. My study is based on information by Curran and I draw my research about this composer, soundscapes and radio art by David W. Bernstein, Louise Chernosky, Kate Galloway, Daniel Gilfillan, Matthias Osterwold, R. Murray Schafer, Daniela Tortora and others.


Ana R. Alonso-Minutti (University of New Mexico)

An introduction to the three papers that follow


         Although scholarly discourses of avant-garde musical practices have significantly increased during the last two decades, there is still very little consensus among academics as to how to delimit the extent of the label. The political nature of this very question has led to a myriad of possible argumentations, ranging from a discussion of aesthetic or artistic values that could be perceived as belonging to the avant-garde, to a deconstruction of the agencies behind the adoption of that label by musicians, collectives, organizations, and the like.

         Departing from descriptive narratives of musical style, the work of Amy Beal, Robert Adlington, Cecilia Sun, Benjamin Piekut, and others has challenged the notion of what has been conventionally called avant-garde music in order to investigate the contradictions imbedded in the adoption of that label by individuals as well as by institutions. While scholarly narratives and historical accounts of musical experimentalism have largely focused on composers—mostly male—belonging to the realm of “academic” or “serious” music, the present panel responds to an interest in broadening the discussion to include other perspectives. By exploring the fringes of categories, our intention is to question the perceived immutability of a single avant-garde, and to recognize the inconsistencies and ambiguities imbedded in the politics of labeling.

         The first panelist discusses the ambiguous status of Charlotte Moorman in academic discourses of the American avant-garde. The paper argues that it is precisely because of her being a woman and a performer—as opposed to a composer and/or a male performer—she has been relegated to the role of collaborator, or simply regarded as invisible in most historical accounts. The second panelist contextualizes Lady Gaga’s self-ascription as an avant-garde artist within academic delimitations of the label and explores its political ramifications. Finally, the third panelist addresses the experimental practices of New Mexican sound artist and recording engineer Manny Rettinger to expose the alienating environment of non-academic musicians working inside the walls of academic institutions. In sum, these contributions attest to the much-needed critical distancing of the uses and misuses of labels in current music scholarship.


Ian Brody (University of New Mexico)

“So You Laugh Out of Embarrassment or Lack of Exposure? […] That’s Really Not My Problem”: Charlotte Moorman and the Discourse of Experimental Music


         Musicological discourses of American experimental music and popular media often neglect the artistic achievements of American avant-garde cellist Charlotte Moorman. When these sources do address Moorman, they primarily focus on the nudity in some of her performances, or discuss her only in relation to video artist and composer Nam June Paik’s collaborator and muse. This often negative and insufficient coverage makes Moorman’s contributions to the landscape of American experimental music invisible. In this paper, I argue that Moorman’s marginalization and invisibility in the narrative of experimentalism and Western art music is the result of her self-positioning primarily as a performer in a tradition that places composers at the top of a hierarchical ladder, and her being a woman in historical accounts that have been largely dominated by men.

         Taking as a point of departure the work of Dana Reason Meyers, Carolyn Joan Tyler, and Susan McClary, I explore how Moorman’s invisibility and subordination in the discourse of experimental music reinforces a sexist narrative of music history that diminishes the importance of women and overemphasizes the contributions of men. Following Benjamin Piekut’s approach, I demonstrate that Moorman was a complex, creative artist whose work and collaborations challenged the hierarchy of performers and composers. I use Roland Barthes’ discussion of the “Death of the Author” to explain how Moorman’s actions as a performer, particularly through her interpretation of John Cage’s 26’1.1499”, challenge the hegemony of the composer and increase the importance of the performer in the music making process. It is my position that studying artists such as Charlotte Moorman supports a new narrative of music history that underscores the contributions of women and performers as equally as those of men and composers.


Leslie Maggi (University of New Mexico)

Pop Singer or Avant-Garde Artist? Lady Gaga and the Politics of a Label


        With three number-one singles from her debut album The Fame (2008), Lady Gaga is regarded as one of the most famous popular music singers of the 21st century. However, music scholars often write-off Gaga's music as merely capitalistic and her music videos as little more than spectacle, pointing to the overwhelming media attention that she receives as evidence to their claims. In an exclusive interview for Google (2011) Lady Gaga describes her autobiographical album Born This Way (2011) as “avant-garde techno rock.” Is Gaga using the label “avant-garde” as simply a self-marketing strategy? Could her output be aesthetically or politically inscribed as belonging to the “avant-garde” in academic discourses? Although the sonic elements of techno and rock are arguably readily present in her music, her status as an avant-garde artist within current musicological scholarship has been largely questioned. Notwithstanding, there are elements in Lady Gaga’s artistic output, including video imagery, lyrics, staging, choreography, and production, that resonate with the label “postmodern avant-garde” as defined by Georgina Born.

         In this paper I argue that through her self-ascribing to the avant-garde, Lady Gaga manages to distinguish her public persona from that of other pop singers. Through video and music analysis, I show how Gaga adopts certain musical and visual modes of experimentation, and combines elements of the avant-garde into a popular music vehicle to sell the avant-garde to mass audiences, providing evidence of her differentiation as an avant-garde artist. I explore key elements of some of Lady Gaga's most popular music videos that align with Born's description of the "postmodern avant-garde." In this light, I demonstrate that Gaga's music could be regarded as postmodern, acting as a political commentary to current social issues of gender, race and inequality. Her popularity calls into question the defining boundaries between popular and art musics, and impresses upon us the need for new ways of defining musical genres, and ultimately, to revisit the politics of a label.


Tessa Welterlen (University of New Mexico)

Sonic Liberation and the Experimental Ideal: Manny Rettinger’s Chuppers


          Manny Rettinger, sound artist, lecturer, and recording engineer at the University of New Mexico, has fostered a local experimental practice of collective improvisation with his invented instruments, the “Chuppers.” Rettinger began making simple electronic modules with one mixer, one processor, and one speaker as teaching tools for his music technology classes. He then started to experiment with the projection of the instruments’ sound, added elements of acoustic instruments and objects, and arrived at a collection of sound sculptures he named Chuppers after Philip K. Dick’s science fiction novel. The playful approach the performer must take when interacting with these instruments, as well as Rettinger’s liberated aesthetics, create an environment that dispenses with traditional musical hierarchies and that accepts every as valid.

         Influenced by early American experimentalists such as Edgar Varèse, Henry Cowell, and John Cage, Rettinger commits himself to the ideal of a new music without boundaries. Aiming for the performer’s liberation through the Chuppers, Rettinger creates an experimental practice that, while hosted in a university environment, is still placed at the outskirts of its new music scene. Through interviews with Rettinger and visits to his studio, in this paper I explore how his background and his current ambivalent place in academia have assisted in the configuration of an aesthetic of sonic liberation. Feeling akin to Harry Partch and Conlon Nancarrow, Rettinger places himself in a tradition of musicians who consider themselves “outsiders.” Although he holds a position at the university, he feels the faculty is apathetic toward his aesthetics and the Chuppers. Notwithstanding, Rettinger and his instruments are part of a thriving local “Burque” experimental music community in which he plays a unique—and controversial—role at the intersection of the “academic avant-garde” and what falls outside of it.