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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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Metaldata

In 2021 the Music Library Association and A-R Editions issued Metaldata: A bibliography of heavy metal resources, the first book-length bibliography of resources about heavy metal.

From its beginnings in the late 1960s and early 1970s, heavy metal has emerged as one of the most consistently popular and commercially successful music styles. Over the decades the style has changed and diversified, drawing attention from fans, critics, and scholars alike. Scholars, journalists, and musicians have generated a body of writing, films, and instructional materials that is substantial in quantity, diverse in approach, and intended for many types of audiences, resulting in a wealth of information about heavy metal. 

Metaldata (RILM Abstracts of Music Literature 2021-3687) provides a current and comprehensive bibliographic resource for researchers and fans of metal. This book also serves as a guide for librarians in their collection development decisions. Chapters focus on performers, musical instruction, discographies, metal subgenres, metal in specific places, and research relating metal to the humanities and sciences, and encompass archives, books, articles, videos, websites, and other resources by scholars, journalists, musicians, and fans of this vibrant musical style.

Below, YouTube’s Metal library.

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LimerickSoundscapes

LimerickSoundscapes is an urban soundscapes project based in the small, multicultural, and post-industrial city of Limerick, Ireland, which is currently undergoing a process of urban regeneration following decades of challenges (high unemployment rates, rapid demographic shifts brought about by global migration, social disenfranchisement in marginalized neighborhoods, gangland criminality, and considerable stigmatization by the national media).

Facilitated by an interdisciplinary team involving ethnomusicologists, urban sociologists, and information technology specialists, the project combines ethnographic approaches from urban ethnomusicology with mapping practices from soundscape studies, through an evocation of critical citizenship to generate a soundscapes model that has the individual as a networked, social being and creative critical citizen at its core.

LimerickSoundscapes invites participants from a wide range of backgrounds, sourced through pre-existing routes and pathways—including clubs, charities, educational organizations, and societies—to engage in basic sound recording training on small, handheld devices. These sonic flaneurs or citizen collectors make short recordings of the sounds of their city, which are shared on an interactive website.

For the ethnomusicologists on the research team two tensions emerge. The first is around the research model, which makes collectors critical collaborators; this has implications for the open, creative, and participatory process by having an underpinning social activist agenda. The second relates to stepping outside the bounds of musicking and how that changes the more traditional role of the ethnomusicologist.

This according to “Sonic mapping and critical citizenship: Reflections on LimerickSoundscapes” by Aileen Dillane and Tony Langlois, an essay included in Transforming ethnomusicology. II: Political, social & ecological issues (New York: Oxford University Press, 2021, 96–114; RILM Abstracts of Music Literature 2021-3523).

Below, music in a Limerick pub.

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Idelsohn’s “Thesaurus of Hebrew Oriental melodies”

The First Committee of the Hebrew Language, Jerusalem 1912. Sitting (from right to left): Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, Joseph Klausner, David Yellin, and Eliezer Meir Lifshitz; standing: Chaim Aryeh Zuta, Kadish Yehuda Silman, Abraham Zevi Idelsohn, Abraham Jacob Brawer. Photo by Ya’ackov Ben-Dov (Widener Library, Cambridge, public domain)

 

Upon settling in Jerusalem in 1906, the Latvian cantor Abraham Zvi Idelsohn (1882–1938) was deeply impressed by the diversity of the Jewish communities in Palestine and embarked on a massive project. Supported by the Academy of Science in Vienna and supplied with a phonograph for his fieldwork, Idelsohn recorded the unique musical and linguistic traditions of these communities. This ethnological work led to the publication of his Gesänge der jemenitischen Juden (Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1914), which would become the first installment of his 10-volume Hebräisch-orientalischer Melodienschatz / Thesaurus of oriental Hebrew melodies (Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel et al., 1914–32).

In its final form, the thesaurus covers a universe of over 8000 Jewish melodies including the musical traditions of Yemenite, Babylonian, Persian, Bukharan, Oriental Sephardi, Moroccan, German, Eastern European, and Hassidic Jewish communities in Palestine and throughout the Diaspora (as a cantor he had previously served in South Africa and in various cities in Germany). Idelsohn’s goal was to illuminate the “authentic” Hebrew elements in Jewish melodies. He firmly believed that neither geographical change nor outside influences could alter the basic spiritual mold of Jewish culture.

Both the original publication and the reprints of this exhaustive and seminal work are now accessible through RILM’s Index to Printed Music (IPM), the digital finding aid for locating musical works contained in printed collections, sets, and series. Researchers no longer have to cope with the print editions, working page by page through bulky tomes. For example, a search in IPM for Adon olam (Eternal Lord), a piyyut used in the Jewish liturgy since the 15th century, yields 58 renditions sprinkled throughout six of the volumes; these can now be easily located, along with page numbers and further details.

Below, a rendition of Adon olam that comes close to Idelsohn’s transcription no. 59 (Thesaurus. IV: Gesänge der orientalischen Sefardim / Songs of the Oriental Sephardim of 1923).

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Jazzomat

The Jazzomat Research Project takes up the challenge of jazz research in the age of digitalization, opening up a new field of analytical exploration by providing computational tools as well as a comprehensive corpus of improvisations with MeloSpyGUI and the Weimar Jazz Database.

The volume Inside the Jazzomat: New perspectives for jazz research (Mainz: Schott, 2017; RILM Abstracts of Music Literature 2017-48411) presents the main concepts and approaches of the ongoing project, and includes several case studies that demonstrate how these approaches can be included in jazz analysis in various ways.

Above, a graphic related to Jazzomat’s DTL Pattern Similarity Search; below, Don Byas’s recording of Body and soul, one of the book’s case studies.

More posts about jazz are here.

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Filed under Analysis, Jazz and blues, Resources

Creative improvised music: An international bibliography

In 2019 African Diaspora Press issued Creative improvised music: An international bibliography of the jazz avant-garde, 1959–present by John Gray, a companion volume to Gray’s Fire music (Westport: Greenwood, 1991).

Creative Improvised Music picks up where Fire music left off, focusing on the literature on American free jazz and European free improvisation published since the early 1990s, as well as older works and archival material not included in its predecessor. Users will find information on the music’s pioneers as well as hundreds of other improviser-composers, ensembles, and collectives that have emerged in recent years.

The volume includes a detailed subject index that offers a key to all of the book’s sections and a way to quickly pinpoint citations by topic, geographical location, personal name, and instrument.

Above and below, the Mary Halvorson Octet; Halvorson is one of the more recent musicians covered in the book.

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Norient

 

Norient: Network for local and global sounds and media culture is an online resource that researches new music from around the globe and mediates it multi-modally via various platforms. The authors discuss current issues critically, from different perspectives, close to musicians and their networks.

Through the Norient online magazine, festivals, performances, books, documentary films, exhibitions, and radio programs, Norient hopes to orient and disorient readers, listeners, and spectators with information about strong, fragile, and challenging artistic positions in today’s fast moving, globalized, digitized and urbanized world. The core team is based in Bern, Berlin, and Milano, and the network of contributors is spread around 50 countries.

Below, the trailer for The African cypher, the subject of a recent article in the magazine.

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Filed under 20th- and 21st-century music, Resources, World music