Department of Music

Back Page

Critical Musicology Forum: Critical Musicology and High Modernism
Nottingham, January 2002

CRITICAL MUSICOLOGY FORUM 'Critical Musicology and High Modernism' University of Nottingham, 21 January 2002 Call for contributions
What does critical musicology have to say about the music and the concept of 'high modernism'? 'Difficult' modern music which seeks to remain largely detached from a wider culture seems starkly at odds with developments in musicology focusing on popular culture and music's cultural embeddedness. Whilst the once-hidden ideological underpinnings of modernist composition have been thoroughly exposed, fuller judgements on the status and significance of this music - aside from those of its practitioners - are not easy to come by. Contributions are invited for a day examining these and related topics. At this stage the format of the day is not fixed, although a combination of short, informal papers and group discussion is envisaged. Themes to address may include: * the relation of 'high modernist' music to popular culture: questions of opposition, interaction, ignorance ... * the phases of musical modernism: do the different 'modernisms' of 1910 Schoenberg and Webern, 1950 Boulez, or 2000 Ades invite a uniform response? * 'high modernist' music and institutions: can the music be separated from the institutions (e.g. BBC, concert halls, Arts Council) that support it? * modernism and 'high modernism' in pop/jazz: definitions, distinctions, directions * modes of study: music theory vs. popular music studies ('Elvis at Darmstadt') * how do we teach twentieth-century music: what's important in music history; working with textbooks; advocacy and criticism * Adorno: big brother or survivor? Suggestions for group discussion / other activities (!) and useful reading as well as individual papers are welcome. Brief outline (200 ww max) to Robert Adlington ( by 16 November.
Convenor: Robert Adlington Department of Music, University of Nottingham ---------------------------------------------
Random reading: * classic broadside - Dai Griffiths, 'Genre: Grammar Schoolboy Music', originally in Critical Musicology Newsletter, 3; now anthologised in Derek B. Scott, ed., Music, Culture and Society: A Reader (CUP, 2000), pp. 143-5 Dai Griffiths, 'The High Analysis of Low Music', Music Analysis, 18/3 (1999), pp. 389-435 (esp. pp. 389-97) Julian Johnson, 'A Reply to Dai Griffiths' "Genre: Grammar Schoolboy Music"', Critical Musicology Newsletter, 4 Susan McClary, 'Terminal Prestige: The Case of Avant-Garde Music Composition', Cultural Critique, 12 (1989), pp. 57-81 * on 'modernism' and its study - Richard Middleton, review of Allan Forte, The American Popular Ballad of the Golden Era, in Journal of the Royal Musical Association, 122/2 (1997), pp. 303-20 Allan F. Moore, 'The Fall and Rise of "Modernism"', Critical Musicology Newsletter, 4 * institutions - Georgina Born, Rationalizing Culture: IRCAM, Boulez and the Institutionalization of the Musical Avant-Garde (University of California Press, 1995), Chapter 3 Frances Stonor Saunders, Who Paid the Piper?: The CIA and the Cultural Cold War (London: Granta, 1999), especially Chapter 14 Small, C, Music of the Common Tongue: Survival and Celebration in Afro-American Music (Calder, 1987), Chapter 12 ['On the decline of a music'] * critical musicology meets high modernism? - Ellie Hisama, Gendering Musical Modernism: The Music of Ruth Crawford, Marion Bauer, and Miriam Gideon (Cambridge University Press, 2001) W. Anthony Sheppard, Revealing Masks: Exotic Influences and Ritualised Performance in Modernist Music Theatre (University of California Press, 2001) Alastair Williams, New Music and the Claims of Modernity (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1997)