Session|séance 5.1. Sound, Identity, Collectivity

Session|séance 5.1. Sound, Identity, Collectivity
Room 11-452. Chair: Raymond Baril.

Thursday|jeudi 24 May|mai 2018. 2:00 - 4:00PM


5.1.1. Aesthetics of Social Ordering:  Exploring Concert Programs of the Women’s Musical Club of Edmonton 

Jennifer Messelink, McGill University

During the early 20th century women’s musical clubs guided and influenced local musical life through an allied promotion of “good” music. By 1919 there were more than six hundred clubs in the United States, and in Canada sixteen clubs were founded between 1889 and 1933. Edmonton was no exception, and the Women’s Musical Club of Edmonton (WMCE) was formed in 1908. Musical clubs across North America showed remarkable uniformity in their constitutions, public goals, and rhetorical persuasion. It is no coincidence that scholarship on women’s clubs has also tended to focus on similar patterns and practices. One commonly noted feature has been their predilection for organizing concerts according to a particular theme.

This paper suggests that overlooking the historical significance of concert planning based on themes obscures the ideological function of categorizing and hierarchizing music. Rather than assuming there is a gendered passivity in the women’s “fondness” for theme concerts, they can be understood as a strategic method of social ordering. Drawing from William Weber’s notion of “musical idealism,” I will first situate Edmonton in the broader historical movement that linked aesthetics to moral and social value, and secondly examine the composers, repertory, nationalities, races, and genders represented in concert programs between 1911-1926. My paper focuses on the negotiation between the practice of miscellany – the principle in which an audience with a variety of tastes comes together to hear the same program – and the less inclusive concerts based on themes, often referred to by musical clubs as a “course of study.” 



5.1.2. Refiguring the Romantic Body: Chinese Women Pianists in the American Conservatory

Audrey Vardanega, The New School


This paper explores how Chinese women pianists in the American Conservatory refigure Romanticism through their embodied performances. Romantic paradigms traditionally demand the disappearance of the performer’s self in the service of conveying the composer’s ideals; however, Chinese women tacitly invert these expectations by making their particularity central to their performances. Using my own interviews of Chinese women enrolled in American conservatories, I examine how they straddle two different relationships to the piano in China and the United States, both of which extend from Romantic logics of music’s sublimity. The post-Cultural Revolution Chinese state regulates a familial relationship to the piano; the piano served and continues to serve as a critical object of nuclear familial cohesion through projects like the one-child policy. The American Conservatory, however, disciplines an individual relationship to the piano through its institutional structure and its demand for solitary practice regimes, engendering salient feelings of loneliness in my respondents given their deep experiences of the Chinese context. My respondents use bodied means to invert what was once an imposition upon them into a creative force. By performing in alignment with Romantic demands, Chinese women attend to their own particularity. This act of inversion through performance generates worlds in which Chinese women refigure norms by affirming the slippages within them. 


5.1.3. An Exploration of the Similarities Between Japanese Language and Japanese Instrumental Folk Music

Kaitlin Sly, University of Victoria


Previous studies by Dr. Aniruddh Patel have suggested that a nation's instrumental music reflects the prosody of its language [10]. Speech rhythm has been shown to be reflected in musical rhythm, in that the rhythm of words influences the rhythm of melodies, giving melodies a language-like rhythmic pattern [10]. It has been suggested that our perceptual systems are sensitive to language rhythmic and melodic patterns from a young age, and so we internalize these patterns as we develop [10]. Thus, when a composers writes music, they can consciously or unconsciously draw on these patterns. In this study, we attempt to draw on some of the conclusions and methodologies from the work of Patel, et. al, to explore possible similarities between the Japanese language and Japanese folk music. By taking segmented samples of Japanese speech and comparing these to Japanese folk music from the Edo Period using Vamp plugins, results show some indications that Japanese language could influence Japanese folk music. 

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