Program

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FRIDAY, MARCH 10
A-832/3, Elizabeth Wirth Music Building (EWMB)

1:00pm   Registration (Lobby of EWMB)


2:45pm   Opening Remarks
    Evan Campbell, MGSS Symposium Chair
    Julie Cumming, Dean, Schulich School of Music



3:00pm    Music as a Cultural Force: Dialogue, Community, and Collaboration
   Claire McLeish (Chair)

“An Intra-Album Dialogic Approach to Adele’s 25”
Timothy Mastic, The Graduate Center, City University of New York

Scholars have long studied how individual pop songs are in dialogue with the generic norms of a larger corpus of popular music. I propose that a pop album can also establish its own set of norms with which an individual song within the album can be in dialogue. The manner in which individual songs conform to or depart from these album-specific norms can give rise to a set of fulfilled or thwarted expectations that carry hermeneutic implications. By releasing her 25 in late 2015 only as a complete album, thus subverting the status quo of shuffle-based streaming services, Adele created a work exceptionally qualified for discussion of intra-album norms.
I show that album-wide norms concerning melodic contour (particularly the location of each song’s melodic apex), texture, and form—most strongly established in the opening song, “Hello”—are radically subverted in “Water Under The Bridge,” making it the most deformational and thus most expressive song on 25. In this album, various musical parameters (including melodic contour and texture) generally ascend and accumulate over the course of each song. The ways in which the individual songs either conform to or depart from this norm in some parameters can impact expectations about other parameters, reverberating in the formal structure and even the narrative of the song. Shifting the scale of normativity from genre to album allows us to focus on specific song-to-song relationships, and the recalibration of expectations causes different musical features to fall into relief. While the patterns found within Adele’s 25 are album-specific, I argue that such an intra-album dialogic approach can also be used productively to provide analytical insight into the formal organization of other albums.



“Collaborative Timelines: Metric Identity in Malinke Dance Drumming”
Tiffany Nicely, SUNY Buffalo

The importance of “timeline” patterns in the organization of African music is well documented (Rahn 1986, Anku 2000, Toussaint 2003, Agawu 2006, Polak 2010). Sometimes called “time cycles,” or “standard patterns,” these are most often performed on iron bells or other timbrally distinct instruments within an ensemble. Whether audibly present in the texture or active only in the minds of performers and listeners, their role as an organizing, contextualizing force has been compared to pitch scales (Pressing 1983), and more recently, shown to participate in meter (London 2012).
In Malinke drumming ensembles, one to three djembes (goblet-shaped goat-skin hand drums) and one to three dunduns, (cylindrical cow-skin drums with iron bells affixed for each player to produce a skin sound with a wooden stick in the right hand and a bell sound with an iron beater in the left hand) produce rhythmic layers of varying lengths. Against this framework, a lead djembe plays improvised passages, interacting with the dancers’ movements and shaping the performance. Perhaps because bell parts are shared among the three dundun players rather than produced by a single bell in this genre, the concept of a timeline has not yet been applied to Malinke dance drumming. I argue that this music does utilize timelines, salient timepoints where multiple parts coalesce.
My analysis of pieces from the Dundunba and Kassa families of Malinke dance rhythms maps Kubik’s (2010) explanation of African musical time as an interface of elementary pulsation, reference beat, and timeline, to London’s (2012) meter as organization of N-cycle, beat cycle, and (non-isochronous) sub-cycles. The analysis demonstrates that timelines are created collaboratively in Malinke drumming, and that these timelines are an essential part of the musical time in a way that is akin to entrained meter.



“Pan Americanism and Modernism: A Revision of the Narrative About Latin American Music and Composers at Tanglewood from 1941 to 1951”
Hermann Hudde, University of California Riverside

During the twentieth century, Latin American composers promoted transnational and modernist trends to promote and consolidate their own musical voices. The following events attempted to organize the music of the Americas and are worth mention: The Pan American Music Congress in Cuba in 1926, the Pan American Association of Composers formed by Edgar Varese in 1928, and the first publication of Francisco Curt Lange's Boletín Latino Americano de Música in Uruguay in 1935. During the Eighth Conference of American States in Lima in 1938, the formation of a Music Division at the Pan American Union in Washington, D.C. was proposed and approved with the goal of promoting South, Central and North America’s art music. In the United States, Serge Koussevitzky, founded the Berkshire Music Center in 1940 and appointed Aaron Copland as the head of the Composition Department. Copland, who was intimately involved in Pan Americanism trends suggested the idea of offering scholarships to young Latin American composers to foster a cultural exchange, taking advantage of the ‘Good Neighborhood Policy’ during the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration. Although the existence of this program is well-known, strikingly, scholars have paid little attention to the contributions of Latin American composers to the Berkshire Music Center during this time period. This research thus examines the contributions of Latin American composers invited to this program at that time. This presentation analyzes primary sources from the Tanglewood Music Archives and scholarly secondary sources from the music of Latin American composers, such as Alberto Ginastera (1916-1983), Julian Orbón (1925-1991), Héctor Tosar (1923-2002), Juan Orrego-Salas (1919), Edino Krieger (1928), among others, who had attended the festival from 1941 to 1951. I found that 14 Latin American composers participated in the program and that 29 pieces from different Latin American composers were performed at the Berkshire Music Center. I propose that studying the contributions of Latin American composers to Western art music in the context of Pan Americanism and Modernism will support us in constructing a more accurate, diverse and less Eurocentric narrative and representation of this time period as well in the history of the Berkshire Music Center.



4:30pm    BREAK


5:30pm   PERFORMANCE KEYNOTE: Darren Creech
”Resilience”
Tanna Schulich Hall - EWMB


6:30pm    Welcome Reception, Wine and Cheese
  A 823/3 - EWMB




SATURDAY, MARCH 11
A-832/3, Elizabeth Wirth Music Building (EWMB)

9:00am   Motive-Vations: Tracing Sound Through Time
   Sam Howes (Chair)

“Schoenberg’s Voice Leading Space: Mapping Motivic Transformations through Ordered Intervallic Networks”
Adam Roy, Western University

Arnold Schoenberg’s theoretical writings on harmony and “musical idea” emphasizes minimal movement for musical coherence, especially in terms of voice leading. However, identifying cogent voice-leading motions in Schoenberg’s extended-tonal motivic works proves a particular challenge.
Musical motion is marked by some degree of change between two discrete objects (chord structures, pitch-classes, durations etc.), and can be quantified by comparing defined elements—called nodes—in an object A to those in an object B. In scholarship, pitch-classes are typically chosen as the object-nodes for comparison. This emphasis is highlighted in scholarship such as Straus (1997, 2003, 2005), Morris (1998), Lewin (1998), Cohn (1997), and Chapman (1981). Although these authors offer valuable insight, I propose an alternative that addresses the challenge of extended-tonal motivic music.
Part I of this paper develops a network schema which maps ordered intervals (INTs) as discrete INT-nodes between pc-nodes. Through the creation of INT-nodes, an objects vertical arrangement and successive transformations can be traced through structural variation in motivic restatements. This oriented network provides a unique visual perspective in transformational voice leading discourse that facilitates an ease of comparing objects. The result highlights spatial (intervallic) relationships between two statements of a motive by tracking variations of vertical structures as expansions (+) or contractions (-) of space. Quantifying these changes occurs by employing ideas of parsimonious, proximal, or excessive INT-Leading.
Part II presents a case study mapping motivic development in Schoenberg’s String Quartet No. 2 op. 10, III “Litanei.” By employing this new framework, one is able to account for measurements of intervallic (INT-leading) structures between varying set-classes of the same or similar cardinality; an otherwise limited perspective. This methodology thus reveals prominent motivic statements as yielding unique and coherent networks within Schoenberg’s work, further substantiating a disposition for development through parsimonious transformations of motivic musical ideas.



““Elle est morte””: Unrequited Love in Bartók’s Fourteen Bagatelles Op. 6, Nos. 13 and 14”
Julia Gjebic, McGill University

In a 1907 letter to Hungarian violin virtuoso Stefi Geyer, Béla Bartók included a measure of music—an ascending D-major seventh chord—with the caption, “this is your leitmotiv” (Mason 1958). Bartók and Geyer had entered a brief and passionate relationship earlier that year, culminating in Bartók’s “Violin Concerto No. 1” (1908) and a devastating breakup. Stefi’s leitmotiv appears in the first measure of this concerto, and saturates many of Bartók’s compositions from 1907–1910 (Wilheim 1996). Even though occurrences of this leitmotiv are well documented, little analytical work exists exploring its structural ramifications, particularly when compared the extensive literature on Bartók’s later compositions (Antokoletz 1981, Cohn 1988, Pearsall 2004, Gollin 2007). In this paper, I present a transformational analysis of the Stefi Geyer leitmotiv in No. 13, “Elle est morte,” and No. 14, “Valse: ma mie qui danse,” of Fourteen Bagatelles Op. 6.
Wilheim (1996) details the appearances of the Geyer leitmotiv throughout this period; regarding the Fourteen Bagatelles, he mentions that the leitmotiv emerges at both the beginning and at the end of Bagatelle 13, and that it undergoes a “transformation of its motivic character” in Bagatelle 14. This paper expands on Wilhelm’s observations. Using neo-Riemannian transformational models and analytic methods developed in later scholarship on Bartók, I show 1) how the D-major seventh chord—the leitmotiv in its original form—at the beginning of Bagatelle 13 becomes a Db-major seventh chord at the end, and 2) how the leitmotiv’s ‘stack of thirds’ quality influences the form and motivic content of Bagatelle 14. In light of the titles of these movements, a motive-focused transformational analysis opens up the opportunity for a narrative: Geyer dies to Bartók in Bagatelle 13, followed by Bagatelle 14, where he waltzes with her memory.



“Plainchant and Unicorns: What Fuzzy Set Theory Can Say about Musical Ontology”
Kristen Wallentinsen, Western University

Musical ontology is a challenging concept within musical philosophy. Karl Popper writes that the musical work is “a real ideal object which exists, but exists nowhere, and whose existence is somehow the potentiality of its being reinterpreted by human minds” (1977, 450). This potential for human reinterpretation results in a multiplicity of representations that complicate the “ideal object.” Leo Treitler likens the musical work to “that of a unicorn” (1993, 483): its existence relies on the interpretation of human minds, resulting in a multiplicity of depictions that obscure the unicorn’s “ideal image.”
Medieval plainchant provides an example of this multiplicity (Treitler 1993, 2003). Because plainchant originated as an oral tradition, many chants have multiple notated variants. Treitler writes that that these notated variants “challenge one’s sense of what counts as ‘the same melody’” (1993, 491). Treitler represents this multiplicity by grouping variants into melody families, incorporating each variant into the notion of the musical work. This multiplicity precludes the possibility of a single ideal representation. In other words, the musical idea itself is fuzzy.
This paper examines how fuzzy set theory can influence our understanding of musical ontology, especially with regard to plainchant. Fuzzy set theory admits partial members into a family of related objects, and also quantifies gradations of membership based on shared characteristics (Zadeh, 1965). I analyze melody families using a fuzzy transformational model that quantifies membership on the basis of contour. I determine a contour’s degree of familial membership by calculating the probability that each move in the contour’s pathway is shared by other family members. In this way, I use fuzzy contour membership to quantify convergences and divergences between the notated variants of a chant, illuminating the fuzzy relationship between individual representations, and suggesting a more thorough understanding of the fuzziness within the musical idea itself.




10:30am    BREAK


10:45am   When I Was Your Age: Reflections on the 18th Century
   Tom Posen (Chair)

“Extemporaneous Bass Line Reductions in Historical Double Bass Playing”
Shanti Nachtergaele, Pennsylvania State University

My thesis explores the extraction of double bass lines from the basso continuo line in Baroque repertoire, or shared cello and double bass part in Classical and Romantic era orchestral works. Baroque double bassists often reduced their parts ad libitum, but composers eventually took over this responsibility themselves and began to write separate double bass parts. Existing research on the subject is limited, and I draw primarily from primary source evidence in the form of prescriptive sources (treatises and method books), descriptive sources (articles and reviews), and indicative sources (notated examples found in scores). I aim first to provide a better understanding of the practice’s evolution, including how the performance practice relates to compositional and notational conventions—i.e. how shared basso continuo parts necessitated the practice, and how the gradual increase in notational specificity and development of principles of orchestration led to its decline. I also compare different manners of reduction in an attempt to determine whether variations can be linked to regional and/or stylistic trends, as well as how different reductions might produce varying effects in performance. Finally, I explore bass line reductions in Beethoven’s works, including those Beethoven introduced himself in divisi cello and double bass parts, as well as those suggested by double bass performers and teachers. By looking at evidence of the practice across a wide geographic and temporal span, my goal is to elucidate how and when historical double bassists reduced their parts with the ultimate objective of promoting a more widespread implementation of the practice in modern historically informed performances.



“Sublime Journeys: Formal Functions in the Keyboard Partitas of J.S. Bach”
Malcolm Sailor, McGill University

Bach had an unsurpassed mastery of the ebb and flow of musical time, but the apparently limitless flexibility of his music seems at first to deny any attempt to synthesize general formal principles. Nevertheless, William Caplin’s theory of formal functions phrase functions can illuminate the processes that give Bach’s music its undeniable forward drive and inescapable formal logic. Illustrating liberally from the keyboard, I give an account of how Caplin’s phrase functions—e.g. presentation, continuation—are expressed in the binary forms of the Keyboard Partitas. Using “journey towards a goal” (Poundie Burstein) as animating metaphor, I show that an essential characteristic of Bach’s form is that it is end-accented. By this I mean that the only points of arrival are formal endings (i.e. cadences), in contrast to classical-era works, which also feature major moments of arrival at formal beginnings. Following Christopher Brody, I show that the two reprises of Bach’s binary forms contain a three-cadence form, with a medial cadence in the second reprise. I then present three new ideas:
- I show that the Phrygian cadence is a structural equivalent of the PAC in Bach’s music, capable of articulating major formal junctures (e.g. the end of the first reprise), but too conclusive to occur elsewhere.
- I propose that hybrid presentation/continuation function is a major formal function in Bach’s music, necessary after cadences to avoid a sense of formal beginning.
- I develop the related idea of de-tonicization—the immediate harmonic destabilization of points of cadential arrival—as an important formal strategy in Bach. De-tonicization is the most general case of the V-I and V-vi schemas described by Brody.
My work permits a more refined appreciation of the sublime journeys upon which Bach’s music transports us.



“Encouraging Improvisation through 18th Century Performance Practice in Collegiate Class Piano”
Grace Choi, Eastman School of Music

With intent to improve pedagogy in collegiate piano class, the purpose of this presentation is to encourage improvisation through 18c performance practice in beginning piano class. More specifically, aural approach to improvisation will be emphasized in lecture and teaching demonstration. The main points for presentation are to: (1) demonstrate an effective pedagogy of improvisation in beginning collegiate piano class; and (2) describe the effect of improvisation on overall music achievement for beginning piano class students.
Many music educators suggest that an aural approach to instrumental music instruction will improve student achievement (Bluestein, 2000; Campbell, 2005). Nevertheless, traditional approaches of instruction with notation still prevail in much beginning piano class. Without the musical context of tonality, meter, and style, students focus on individual notes that often result in a lack of musicianship skills (Azzara, 2002). Music instruction that focuses on developing students’ aural comprehension is much needed because a lack of students’ understanding of tonality, meter, style, and harmonic progression will interrupt the natural transfer to piano performances (Liperote, 2004).
Aural approaches incorporating improvisation have received increased attention in recent years, but are not prevalent in collegiate class piano. Most adult class piano curriculum focuses on technical advancement in lieu of developing aural skills and creative music making. This is unfortunate as piano is one of few instruments that produces harmony, and can benefit collegiate level musicians to further develop their musicianship.
This presentation is unique because it will demonstrate and describe how beginning piano class students can effectively learn and benefit from improvisation. Step-by-step pedagogy of improvisation will occur in singing, playing on principal instruments, and finally playing at the piano. The main instructional material used for this presentation will be Developing Musicianship through Improvisation (Azzara & Grunow, 2006, 2010).



12:15pm    LUNCH


1:30pm   Award Pitches: Essay and Sound Recording


2:00pm   RESEARCH KEYNOTE: Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis (University of Arkansas)
   A-832/3 - EWMB


3:15pm   Award Results: Essay and Sound Recording
    Dean Julie. E Cumming
    Associate Dean Eleanor Stubley


3:30pm   Special Panel on Music and the Mind
   Megha Sharda (Chair)

Ludwig Van Beethoven, Piano Sonata 31 in A♭ Major, Op. 110, mvt. 1
M. Michael Turabian, Piano


“Perceiving and Judging Sound and Music at Different Perception Levels: Underlying Brain Structure and Function”
Gleb Bezgin, McGill University

Sound and music perception in humans involves complex brain processing mechanisms. At my talk, I will present four mutually cohesive studies reflecting various structural and functional levels of sound and music perception. First, I will talk about what I refer to as zero level, i.e. brain structure: using primate brain anatomical connectivity from multiple axonal tract tracing studies, I will demonstrate how one can disentangle complex connectional patterns, suggesting parallel distributed hierarchical processing of perceived sound. The second study will demonstrate aspects of level one, pure tone perception: I will show how to explore mechanisms of low-level cortical sound processing using multimodal functional imaging (simultaneous electroencephalography, EEG, and functional magnetic resonance imaging, fMRI). The next study will highlight level two, higher perception: I will show my research using behavioural and EEG data investigating perception of consonance and dissonance in sequential-note musical excerpts. Lastly, level three regards higher music cognition: the notion of how musical syntax, emotion and perceptual congruency interact is explored with a Stroop-like music task, measured by EEG. Ultimately, the possible links between these processing levels will be further discussed.



“Love Songs and the Brain: Neuromodulators Contribute to Auditory Preference for Courtship Songs”
Helena J. Barr, McGill University

Mate selection is a critical process for co-parenting and monogamous species, and typically relies on the interpretation of courtship signals. Zebra finches are a highly social species of songbird who form lifelong pair bonds, and for whom the male’s song plays a major role in courtship. Female zebra finches do not sing, but distinguish the fine acoustic features of different songs and use these to make social decisions, notably by forming preferences for certain males and their songs. The higher order auditory processing area NCM seems to be important for demonstrating species-typical preferences, yet little is known of the neural circuits that may contribute to NCM processing of preferred versus less preferred songs. This study seeks to investigate whether catecholamines and nonapeptides, neurochemicals that can modulate the activity of brain areas, play a role in song preference. To test this question, we measured females’ initial preference between the songs of two males and then passively exposed them to these songs. During playback of the less preferred male’s song, we directly infused drugs increasing norepinephrine, dopamine, or oxytocin activity into the NCM using bilateral microdialysis probes. Increasing oxytocin or dopamine in the NCM during playback increased females’ preference for the song they had initially judged less preferred, suggesting that these neurochemicals may modulate activity of the NCM in response to song and participate in encoding a preference value. These findings point to a role for neurochemical circuits related to social behavior and reward in the formation of song preference.



Olivier Messiaen, Quatuor pour la Fin du Temps, “Abîme des oiseaux”
   Nick Walshe, Clarinet


“Mechanisms Underlying the Social Enhancement of Vocal Learning in Songbirds”
Yining (Nancy) Chen, McGill University

importance of social influences, little is known about how social interactions modulate vocal learning. Like humans, songbirds learn their vocalizations during development, and they provide an excellent opportunity to reveal mechanisms of social influences on vocal learning. Using yoked experimental designs, we demonstrate that social interactions with adult tutors significantly enhanced vocal learning. Social influences on attention to song seemed central to the social enhancement of learning because socially tutored birds were more attentive to the tutor’s songs than passively tutored birds, and because variation in attentiveness and in the social modulation of attention significantly predicted variation in vocal learning. Attention to song was influenced by the nature; specifically, pupils paid more attention to songs that tutors directed at them. Tutors altered their song structure when directing songs at pupils in a manner that resembled how humans alter their vocalizations when speaking to infants, that was distinct from how tutors changed their songs when singing to females, and that could influence attention and learning. Social interactions that rapidly enhanced learning also increased the activity of noradrenergic and dopaminergic midbrain neurons. Furthermore, activity was differentially affected by the familiarity of song, suggesting a role of these neurons in encoding song identity and auditory memory. These data highlight striking parallels between humans and songbirds in the social modulation of vocal learning and suggest that social influences on attention and midbrain circuitry could represent shared mechanisms underlying the social modulation of vocal learning.



Olivier Messiaen, Quatuor pour la Fin du Temps, “Louange à l'Éternité de Jésus”
   Boran Zaza, Piano
   Emma Schmiedecke, Cello


“Perceived and Induced Timelessness in Twentieth-Century Music”
Jason Noble, McGill University

“Timelessness” is an area of intense interest for composers and authors interested in 20th and 21st century music, but it is not always clear exactly what the term denotes. In particular, the distinction between the induction of timelessness (in which the listener’s phenomenological experience of time is altered or suspended by the music) and the perception of timelessness (in which the listener recognizes that the music expresses altered or suspended time, but their own experience of time may remain unaltered) has yet to be clarified. This paper argues that while the induction of timelessness does not necessarily relate to specific musical qualities, the perception of timelessness relates to several features of the temporal structure of human auditory perception: namely, segmentation, grouping, pulse, meter, and proximal repetition. These features are discussed with empirical findings from the field of music perception and cognition, and illustrated with examples from the 20th and 21st century repertoire that have been related to timelessness by composers and authors. Particular attention is given to Olivier Messiaen’s Quatuor Pour la Fin du Temps and Gérard Grisey’s Vortex Temporum, two works whose titles, descriptions, and musical organizations explicitly engage timelessness.



5:15pm   Wine and Cheese Mingle: Neuroscience and Music


8:30pm   SYMPOSIUM DINNER: Escondite




SUNDAY, MARCH 12
A-832/3, Elizabeth Wirth Music Building (EWMB)

9:00am    Opera Revisited, Opera Anew
   Margaret Cormier (Chair)

““Pointing out the Path to Salvation”: Wagner’s Continuum of Love in Tristan und Isolde”
Julie Anne Nord, Western University

The influence of Arthur Schopenhauer’s Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung (1818–19) on Richard Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde (1857–59) is well established—particularly in the idea of redemption through the over-coming of the Will by intellect (or body by soul). However, Schopenhauer’s metaphysics of love do not account for the sum of Wagner’s own metaphysics in Tristan. Where Schopenhauer’s denial of the Will is pessimistic, Wagner’s view of desire does not compromise the soul, instead leading it higher and “pointing out the path to salvation” through a “pacification of the will through [sexual] love.”
This paper proposes that Plato’s Symposium provides a way to understand Wagner’s metaphysical continuum of love in Tristan in place of the body/soul dualism of Schopenhauer. Wagner claimed to have written Art and Revolution under the impression of the dialogue and Cosima’s diaries indicate that he considered the Symposium and Tristan together, noting, “what in the one is philosophy is music in the other.”
In the Symposium, Plato’s Diotima describes love as a continuum rather than the dualism of body or soul often associated with his theory of Forms: “[Love’s] father is wealthy and wise, and his mother poor and foolish. Such… is the nature of the spirit Love.” Through this understanding of love, Wagner crafted characters capable of love and transcendence, without the pessimism of Schopenhauer’s full denial of Will.
For Wagner, transcendence did not nullify any love experienced in the physical realm. Tristan and Isolde’s Liebestod does not render their physical love inconsequential; instead, physical love becomes a necessary step towards the love presented by Diotima. In Tristan, neither passion nor the transcendence of a Schopenhaurian death constitute the true happiness of love. Instead, love, fully sated, encompasses the whole continuum: from initial glance, through eros, and higher.



“Samuel Barber’s A Hand of Bridge – An American Zeitoper”
Jacques Dupuis, Brandeis University

Samuel Barber’s short operetta, A Hand of Bridge (1959, libretto by Gian Carlo Menotti), is rare within its composer’s oeuvre for its use of vernacular musical styles, including folk and popular song, commercially referential music, and, most prominently, jazz. Though he is often described by critics and scholars in terms suggesting an almost archconservative composer, with A Hand of Bridge, Barber broke from the neo-Romantic style with which he is most often identified. In the operetta, Barber trod a middle ground between the popular music styles he never explored seriously as a composer and the elevated style of his two major operatic ventures (the 1958 Pulitzer winning Vanessa, and Antony and Cleopatra, which opened the new Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center in 1966).
This paper examines the middleness of A Hand of Bridge in its depiction of two consciously average American married couples playing bridge, a card game that reached its peak American popularity at the midpoint of the twentieth century. The primary arias of the four characters (each an internal monologue expressing what is outwardly suppressed) are the loci of the work’s commentary on two interrelated issues in midcentury middle class America: consumerism and ambition for cultural ascendency. No aria is more explicit in this respect than David’s aspirational, bacchant “outline” aria, a veritable Who’s Who of historical aristocratic figures and artifacts. Constructing a historicist fantasy of wealth and excess, the aria capitalizes on an audience’s thrill in recognizing its references, and in so doing grants access to the work of an élite composer. Beginning with consideration of the piece’s exceptional status within the composer’s overall output, this paper argues that the middleness of Barber’s stylistic choices and Menotti’s libretto combine to mirror social critical strategies of German Zeitoper by Krenek, Weill, Hindemith and other composers of interwar Germany.



““Nosological” Investigations of the Postmodern Grotesque”
Knar Abrahamyan, Yale University

Spectators have reacted to Shostakovich’s The Nose with the following adjectives: absurdist, surreal, phantasmagoric, satirical, hilarious, cacophonic, unnatural, shocking, and so on. There is one word, however, that appears most frequently not only in the reviews of this opera, but as an attribute of Shostakovich’s entire oeuvre—grotesque. Scholars who have addressed the grotesque in The Nose have given minimal consideration to staging media as activators of the grotesque. In this paper, I examine various productions of the opera to explore how material and digital technologies, in conjunction with mise-en-scène, engender different types of grotesque. Three of the types—the Medieval-Renaissance, Romantic, and Modern—I adopt from Mikhail Bakhtin, while the fourth, Postmodern, I develop as a (chrono)logical extension. Among the productions I analyze are those by Boris Pokrovsky (Moscow Chamber Opera Theatre, 1974), William Kentridge (The Metropolitan Opera, 2013), and Barrie Kosky (Royal Opera House, 2016).
The disappearance of the main character Kovalev’s nose poses peculiar technical questions: How, if at all, do stage directors depict the flatness on the face of a singer? How do they mediate the nose’s subject-to-object metamorphosis from an amputated body part to a State Councilor? I argue that the “nosological” materiality influences the audience’s view of scenic action: does Kovalev inhabit a world of mystical reality, drunken hallucination, or devilish nightmare?
While Shostakovich enables interpretations in terms of Bakhtin’s grotesque types, it is Kentridge's use of digital animations that activates the Postmodern grotesque. Video projections that are layered over tactile objects communicate ideological messages and amplify narrative ambivalence to an extreme degree. There is a danger for the Postmodern grotesque to deteriorate from celebratory life affirmation—the key element of grotesque—to total disintegration. Nevertheless, I interpret productions as protuberant extensions of opera which presents an ever-evolving entity akin to Bakhtin’s carnivalesque body.



“The Dawn of a Rooster: A Shona Opera”
Tanyaradzwa Tawengwa, University of Kentucky

The Dawn of the Rooster is a Shona opera based on the experiences of the composer’s family during the Zimbabwean Liberation Struggle of 1965 to 1980. The opera tells the story of ordinary people who acted in extraordinary ways to win Zimbabwe’s liberation. Leaders in post-revolutionary African societies are glorified, when, in guerrilla warfare, it is the people who perform great feats of courage and sacrifice. In Zimbabwe’s post-revolutionary narrative, the heroism of ordinary people has been overlooked. The Dawn of the Rooster honors the bravery and selflessness of a teacher, a nurse, a grandmother, a father, a mother, an uncle, a freedom fighter, a businesswoman and a photographer in the face of war.
The opera is scored for a pit orchestra of Zimbabwean instruments: mbira, chipendani, ngoma, hosho and magabvu. The mbira is a powerful instrument to the Shona people of Zimbabwe. Dating back to at least the 13th Century, this instrument is used in ceremonies to communicate with our ancestors. Banned by Christian missionaries, this instrument represents the ancient power of the Shona people, the power of Shona ancestors and the revolutionary spirit of the Second Chimurenga.
The Dawn of the Rooster asks the question, “Who do we charge with the work of preserving our history?” As a Zimbabwean people, our history, our culture, our music and our practices have historically been written by those who oppressed us. The Dawn of the Rooster rewrites the history of Zimbabwean people by Zimbabwean people.
The presentation of The Dawn of the Rooster is a solo performance and reading by the composer. A trained singer and mbira performer - the mbira-vocal performance will share the music and the stories from The Dawn of the Rooster, followed by an open discussion with the audience.




11:00am    BREAK


11:15am    Myths and Heroes: The Powerful Presence of Sound in Film
   Michael Turabian (Chair)

“The Heroic Journey of a Musical Persona: Two-Layer Narratives in Joe Hisaishi's Film Scores for Spirited Away (2001)”
Gui-Hwan Lee, University of Cincinnati

Film music scholars have predominantly interpreted non-diegetic sound in association with film’s story and image. However, a film soundtrack may exhibit two narrative layers: one that supports filmic narrative, and the other that unfolds its own narrative as abstract instrumental music. The latter is not always apparent, but if both exist in a film score, they can interact with each other, weaving a rich fabric of meaning. Joe Hisaishi’s score for Hayao Miyazaki’s internationally acclaimed anime Spirited Away invites us to adopt such a dual perspective, considering both a surface layer (the film’s narrative), and a deep layer (abstract musical narrative). Scholars have discussed the score by focusing on its eclectic styles (Koizumi 2010) and American influence (Roedder 2013), but no study yet has analyzed it in terms of two-layer narratives.
Drawing from film music scholarship in semiotics (Schneller 2013), musical agency (Reyland 2012), and tonal design (Neumeyer 1998), this paper analyzes two layers of narrative by focusing on two musical cues that accompany the film’s opening and climax respectively: “One Summer’s Day,” and “Reprise.” On the surface layer, these cues emotionally support the film’s storyline: the heroine Chihiro rescues her parents and friend (Haku) from the magical spells of a wizard (Yubaba) in the spiritual world of Japan. On the deep layer, the cues outline another narrative: an aimless musical persona finally achieves its tonal and harmonic resolution. By focusing on a recurring musical motive and its relationship with tonal design, I show how the two musical cues can suggest a purely musical, not only semantic, plot. This paper not only sheds light on musical narratives in Hisaishi’s film scores, but also proposes an analytical approach for future studies of narrative in non-diegetic music.



“Asynchronous Moments: Mythologizing Musical Performance in Narrative Film”
Steven Janisse, Western University

Musical performance has occupied a unique place in narrative sound film since the medium’s inception. Various editing conventions and audiovisual cues have since developed that indicate the type of performance taking place, its perceived authenticity, and its place within the diegesis of the film. Synchronization between musical sound and filmed performance forms an important aspect of this set of conventions, establishing a level of perceived authenticity of a filmed performance. Asynchronous portrayals of musical performance can be utilized to mythologize the role of the musician and imbue characters with an orphic ability to influence the narrative through their musical abilities.
Depictions of a transcendent musical performance require an approach that illustrates the performer’s supernatural skills, a requirement problematized by the occupation of aural space by the sound of performance. Climactic moments must be identified by a departure from the diegesis without compromising the performance’s temporal integrity. This can be accomplished visually or aurally with what I refer to as the “asynchronous moment,” a pivotal moment during a performance where image and sound briefly diverge.
In this paper, I examine pivotal scenes of musical performances which establish the mythic character of the musician in narrative films where music plays a central role, including Whiplash (2014) and The Legend of 1900 (1998). I argue that the asynchronous representation of musical performance in narrative films mythologizes the musician, romanticizes their connection to the musical work, and highlights pivotal moments in character and plot development.



12:15pm    LUNCH


1:30pm    Inappropriate Monsters and Invisible People: Three Women Composers
and Performers in the Musicological Archive

   Kristin Franseen (Chair)

“Gender, Gesture, and Transgression in Late Eighteenth-Century Women's Violin Performance”
Hester Bell Jordan, McGill University

During the eighteenth century the violin was seen by many European commentators as a man’s instrument, and therefore considered inappropriate for women. Women violinists were frequently described as overly masculine, a view summarized by the oboist William Parke’s quip about the French violinist Louise Gautherot that “the ear… was more gratified than the eye by this lady’s masculine effort” (1830). Despite this attitude, there was a small but significant group of women violinists working in Europe. Some, such as Regina Strinasacchi (1761-1839), even gained widespread acclaim. While Paula Gillet (2000) has argued persuasively for why the violin became an acceptable instrument for women in the nineteenth century, explanations for the earlier taboo are less convincing and have centred on the violin’s origins as a peasant instrument and associations with demonic iconography. This paper suggests that answers instead lie in performance itself: physical gestures involved in playing the violin would have unsettled many eighteenth-century viewers. Specifically, it argues that violin gestures clashed with long-held expectations surrounding women’s musical performance, such as the ideals of stillness and sprezzatura, typified by “feminine” instruments like keyboards which primarily involve the hands and lower arms. By comparison much of the upper body must move in violin-playing. In order to explore how violin gestures may have been transgressive for women, this paper looks at excerpts from a concerto by Strinasacchi. These excerpts show large leaps for the left arm and bow, as well as extended high passages which cause the left arm to twist awkwardly. Such gestures draw attention to the body and jar with eighteenth-century expectations concerning women’s physical decorum. Through exploring the interplay between gender and gesture in violin playing, this paper sheds further light on trends in the reception of women violinists and brings attention to their often overlooked activities during this period.



“Fuzzy Spots – The Monstrous Excess of Peaches”
Peggy Hogan, McGill University

This paper will identify links between enfreakment and queer excess in the work of Peaches. Peaches is an Canadian musician and performance artist whose sexually-charged blend of electro, hip hop and punk has made her a reputation for pushing boundaries and subverting audience expectations. Her use of hypersexual caricature and vivid and lewd imagery works to make and take space onstage for the expression of multiplicities of gender and sexual identities. She is situated within the genre electroclash, and her navigation of this genre’s connotative suggestions of resistance against both electronic music and rock traditions demonstrates her commitment to envisioning new roles for queer women in popular music. Her 2004 “Kick It,” demonstrates her commitment to hybridity and resistance as central to her artistic vision. “Kick It” is a collaboration between Peaches and Iggy Pop, with sleazy lyrics accompanied by sharp, aggressive drums and distorted guitar. The two fight zombies throughout an abandoned office building, beating the monsters down, all the while screaming expressions of perverse, grotesque lust at one another. This paper will analyze this videos for horror tropes that frame Peaches’s marginalized status and the manner in which she uses monstrosity in order to center and celebrate freakish preferences and forms of aberrant femininity.



“A Concert the Way He Likes Them: Éliane Radigue’s Audibility/Inaudibility at Sigma3”
Emmanuelle Majeau-Bettez, McGill University

This presentation discusses the unacknowledged role played by electronic music pioneer Éliane Radigue during Pierre Henry’s performance at the alternative arts festival Sigma, as well as the gendered historiographies and ideological assumptions constructed around this avant-garde event.
In 1967, a young Radigue served as Henry’s assistant for the presentation of his Messe de Liverpool. On stage, taking advantage of the live event setting, Radigue made a discreet move that completely changed the formal and temporal structure of Henry’s work; what was supposed to be a series of discrete sound segments interleaved with sections of silence was remade to be a work of continuous sounds.
This gesture, which “broke the silences” and through which Radigue became audible, was rendered inaudible by Henry’s own silence on the matter. Thus for years to come, the 2000 people that had attended the event could not possibly imagine that the “little assistant” had had anything to do with this surprisingly radical sound. Looking at footage of the audience’s reactions after the performance, as well as to more traditional archive, I will observe points of struggle and acceptance around what was thought to be Henry’s sound, and highlight how this confusion brings into question what it means to be recognized as a composer.
Drawing my analyses on multidisciplinary scholarship that takes up the challenge to approach past historical figures which have slipped through the traditional archive, and on my interviews with the composer, I am interested in what Radigue’s double presence – audible/ inaudible – reveals about the festival’s ideological context. This presentation will demonstrate how following Radigue’s traces within the Sigma archive enables our observations to capture not what people really did see or hear, but what people decided to see and hear, and remember, as well as the larger ideologies that often shape these decisions.