Articles

Marshall Mcluhan and Higher Music Education 

Author: Glen Carruthers

Article on Erudit | Member access to journal

The way in which Marshall McLuhan’s theories relate to teaching and learning broadly has garnered scholarly attention. It is surprising, though, given his impact on Schafer and others, that there is scant critical commentary on the implications of McLuhan’s theories for either mass music or higher music education. The present study is a step towards redressing this gap. The study concludes that McLuhan’s iconoclastic views have direct bearing on formal learning environments, like music schools, that struggle with notions of inclusivity and exclusivity, community music and concert music, improvisation and textual interpretation, even as they embrace timely and sweeping curricular reform.

The Message of the Carillon: Bells as Instruments of Colonialism in Twentieth-Century Canada 

Author: Patrick Nickleson

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Bells and carillon have long symbolized the harmonious community in Euro-American political discourse. In this article, I denaturalize this rhetorical position by taking into account the context of bells and carillon in interwar Canada. I do so by reading William Lyon Mackenzie King’s address at the inauguration of the Parliament Hill carillon within the broader context of Canada’s colonial “Old World” nostalgia for the carillon. I then turn to testimony from survivors of the residential school system to argue that the link between bells, harmony, and community had to be forcefully imposed by settlers to banish any potential discord.

A Portrait of Composer Steven Gellman for His Seventieth Birthday 

Author: Roxane Prevost

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This article begins with a short biography of and an exchange with Canadian composer Steven Gellman, who celebrated his seventieth birthday in 2017. The biography outlines his life trajectory from a young boy interested in composition to his studies with Messiaen to his career in Canada. The exchange with the composer consists of fourteen questions on Gellman’s creative process and his reflections on his career as a composer.

The Jack Pine: Preserving the Northern Ontario Landscape through Painting, Music, and Short Film 

Author: Roxane Prevost

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In her program note, Canadian composer Jocelyn Morlock explains that she was inspired by Tom Thomson’s 1916–17 painting, which depicts a Jack pine clinging to a rock on the edge of water, for her solo piano piece The Jack Pine (2010). Julian Beecroft later posted a short film of the Algonquin Park, accompanied by Morlock’s work. This article examines some of the intersections between the transition of colours in the painting and the harmonic colours of the music through voice-leading analysis, and some of the ways in which the music successfully depicts the different scenes of the short film.

True Reflections on Barron’s Reflections of Canada: “Canada 150: Music and Belonging” 

Author: Ardelle Ries

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Esteemed Canadian music educator John Barron (1939–2014) commissioned and edited Reflections of Canada (RofC)—a three-volume collection of 147 Canadian folk songs arranged for a cappella choirs between 1985 and 1991. Published by Frederick Harris Music, RofC contains folk songs derived from Indigenous, French, and English traditions and was considered to be a fine resource for music educators. In the late 1990s, RofC was declared out of print, with publishing rights returned to the editor, composers of the arrangements, and other copyright holders. To celebrate confederate Canada at 150 and brought back by popular demand, a two-volume second edition of RofC has been created and will be released by Cypress Music in June 2017. Through narrative and ethnographic inquiry, the factors that influenced the genesis and subsequent demise of the first edition will be discussed, followed by an examination of the process and challenges encountered in the creation of a culturally sensitive second edition that embodies a realistic reflection of twenty-first-century Canada.

Une approche contextualiste des relations voix/gestes dans les improvisations de Tanya Tagaq : un « acte performanciel » 

Author: Sophie Stévance

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Tanya Tagaq’s artistic work is characterized by the use of vocal effects, borrowed from katajjaq as well as from other musical traditions, which the singer seems to associate with expressive movements and gestures. It is hypothesized that her arm, hands and body movements on stage bear, as it is the case for the sounds she produces, a symbolic dimension relevant to the performance, and associate to create a unified expression. Is it possible to identify a typology of those correspondences between voice and gesture in Tagaq’s performance? In order to explore her musical gestures related to her sound production, data have been generated by movement and voice capture during stage performances (LARC and Palais Montcalm palace, Quebec, in January-February 2016), thanks to a motion capture system (VICON), a throat microphone, and information technology processing. In this essay, we explore a symbolic and fragmented field, often unreachable due to its metaphorical aspect, and hitherto rarely researched, a fact also due to the peculiarity of Tagaq’s work in integrating simultaneously elements of her Inuit and transnational culture. Given its expressive impact for her audience, our goal is to grasp the meaning and significance of her body movements related to her vocal productions.

“Listening Out” to Experimental Music in Canada: Publics, Subjects, Places 

Author: Jeremy Strachan

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In 2016 Michael Snow and Mani Mazinani improvised on vintage analog synthesizers in Yonge-Dundas Square, filling Toronto’s busiest commercial commons with retro-futuristic sonic filigree; almost fifty years earlier, Otto Joachim’s four-channel electronic sound installation Katimavik furnished the Canadian Pavilion at Expo 67 in Montreal with uncannily similar sounds. In both cases, listeners perambulated amongst a sonic-spatial architecture defined by publicness and auditory plurality. In the intervening decades, non-profit artist-run centres proliferated across the country, offering refuge for local experimentalists to develop their craft in the name of regional and national cultural growth. Such is experimental music’s longstanding position on the margins and centres of listening in Canada: its history as a niche practice is replete with attempts to insert itself into the everyday. I argue that the diffusion of experimental music into increasingly quotidian spheres in Canada offers a way to understand how place is engendered through the intersubjectivity of listening—an act implicated in a range of agentive processes. Different from other listening contexts, in listening to experimental music we become interpellated into a relational nexus where the loci of composition, performance, and perception become distributive and unstable. I thus suggest that listening to experimental music in Canada can be thought of as a “listening out” an “attentive and anticipatory communicative disposition.” The examples serve as case studies for refiguring the engagement between creative music and the commons in Canada—what experimental music can “mean in the world.”

Writing for CBC Wartime Radio Drama: John Weinzweig, Socialism, and the Twelve-Tone Dilemma 

Author: Carolyne Sumner

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Radio drama was a quintessential source of entertainment for Canadian audiences during the Second World War, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) used the art form to distribute propaganda and garner support for the Canadian war effort. Similarly, CBC radio drama became an essential artistic outlet for artists and composers to articulate their political beliefs to a national audience. This article frames Canadian composer John Weinzweig’s works for the CBC radio drama series New Homes for Old (1941) within the socio-political climate of the 1930s and 1940s and suggests that radio drama provided Weinzweig with a national soapbox for his radical socialist ideals during a time of political upheaval.

My research draws on archival materials from Library and Archives Canada, the CBC Music Library Archives, and Concordia’s Centre for Broadcasting and Journalism Studies to build upon the biographical work of Elaine Keillor and Brian Cherney. I establish Weinzweig’s socialist ties and argue that his political leanings prompted him to simplify his serial language in favour of a simplified modernist aesthetic, which appealed to Canada’s conservative wartime audiences. This study of Weinzweig’s radio works reveals how the composer desired to make serial compositions accessible and palatable, and shows how he incorporated vernacular idioms such as folk songs and national anthems as foils to the elitist European serial aesthetic. In doing so, I show how Weinzweig uses a powerful and pervasive medium to promote his unique compositional style and also to reflect the cultural, political, and aesthetic ideals of leftist socialism.

Le crossover en musique classique au Québec : portrait d’une pratique établie chez l’Orchestre symphonique de Québec 

Author: Laura Trottier

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As classical music seems affected by a reduction of its general public, some classical music institutions develop various strategies in order to maintain and renew their public. One strategy among others is the “crossover”, applied by the Quebec Symphony Orchestra, along other institutions. This strategy, which has securely established itself in concert programs, seems to also be a way for the public to reconnect with its classical music institutions. Is the cross-over by symphonic institutions only a marketing strategy, or can it also reveal a will to democratize culture on classical music institutions’ part, such as the Quebec Symphony Orchestra in regards to Quebec’s society? At present time, there is no research in Quebec addressing this phenomenon, otherwise than for its commercial value, in order to decipher the sociocultural implications of this business practice. This essay presents a preliminary analysis of the Quebec Symphony Orchestra’s programs dating from 2005–2006 up to the present, so as to lay a general portrait of the situation. The results show that crossover is indeed a practice firmly installed at the Quebec Symphony Orchestra, hitherto allowing us to extract variances and constants in this strategy processes, and to observe how it evolved in relation to its increasing omnivorous public (Peterson, 1992). Our analyses are included in a much larger research project which aims at better understanding the phenomenon of crossover in Quebec and observing the concert program diversification’s impact on classical music’s democratization in Quebec. This ongoing research should allow us to identify factors explaining the important presence of classical music crossover concerts in Quebec.

A Tribe Called Red’s Halluci Nation: Sonifying Embodied Global Allegiances, Decolonization, And Indigenous Activism 

Author: Alexa Woloshyn

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“We are the tribe that they cannot see. We live on an industrial reservation. We are the Halluci Nation.” These words from Indigenous activist and poet John Trudell (1946–2015) inspired the latest album by Ottawa-based Indigenous DJ collective A Tribe Called Red (ATCR) and frame its pan-Indigenous, transcultural message. Inter-tribal relationships are both common and important to Indigenous communities, especially in urban centres. Powwows are also events that emphasize intertribal and intercultural relationships, even as they hosted by a specific nation. With Halluci Nation, ATCR seeks to foster far-reaching allegiances across culture, ethnicity, and place to “[understand] oppression and how to collectively dismantle oppression” (DJ NDN of ATCR).

This article argues that ATCR’s Halluci Nation sonifies a process of decolonization that establishes an embodied network of global allies. I trace the development of ATCR’s music from its original focus on the Ottawa Indigenous community and its non-Indigenous allies to a call for nation-to-nation relationships (see Juno Award–winning album Nation II Nation, 2013), and then now to a concept album that seeks to manifest a real “Halluci Nation” with members from around the world. Analysis of ATCR’s music, audience, and Halluci Nation album is contextualized by studies of community formation and identity politics in intertribal initiatives), such as powwows and friendship centres, and pan-Indigenous activism, such as Idle No More.

Book Reviews

Maria Noriega Rachwal. 2015. From Kitchen to Carnegie Hall: Ethel Stark and the Montreal Women’s Symphony Orchestra. Toronto: Second Story Press. 193 pp. ISBN 978–1-927583–87–6 

Author: Benita Wolters-Fredlund

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Kamp, Michiel, Tim Summers et Mark Sweeney (éd.), Ludomusicology: Approaches to Video Game Music, Sheffield/Bristol : Equinox, 2016, 231 p. ISBN 9781781791981 

Author: Justine Brasseur Masse

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Pascal Dusapin et Maxime McKinley. 2018. Imaginer la composition musicale. Correspondance et entretien 2010–2016. Paris : Septentrion. 184 p. ISBN-102757417223 

Author: Éric Champagne

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The Late Voice: Time, Age and Experience in Popular Music. By Richard Elliott. London: Bloomsbury Academic Press, 2015. [ISBN9781628921182 (hardcover) $120.00] Endnotes, bibliography, index 

Author: C. Godsoe

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Nina Sun Eidsheim. 2015. Sensing Sound: Singing and Listening as Vibrational Practice. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 270 pp. ISBN 978-0-8223-6046-9 (hardcover), ISBN 978-0-8223-6061-2 (paperback), ISBN 978-0-8223-7469-5 (e-book) 

Author: Daniel Stadnicki

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