Fabian Holt (2007) Genre In Popular Music

Fabian Holt
Genre In Popular Music

(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007)
Review by William Echard
(Carleton University)


As Holt glosses it: “this is a book about the work of genre categories in American popular music” (p. 1). In part the book is a theorization of genre as a site of cultural practice, and in part a series of case studies. Holt’s own goals relative to the existing literature are to “bring genre scholarship closer to musical practice and experience,” and also to understand music genres “in the totality of social space” (p. 7). He adopts the term genre culture “as a concept for the overall identity of the cultural formations in which a genre is constituted” (p. 19). And given the complexity of social space, Holt feels that “the best way to [study genre] is not to develop an all-encompassing master theory, [but rather to] employ multiple critical models, explore plural narratives, and develop ‘small theories’ in relation to particular musical and social realities in a series of individually designed case studies” (pp. 7-8). Continue reading

Going Coastal: Peripheries and Centres in Popular Music

Call for Papers
International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM) Canada
Dalhousie University, Halifax
June 12-14, 2009

IASPM-CA is pleased to call for proposals, panels and roundtables for this special interdisciplinary conference on the theme of “Peripheries and Centres.” We also welcome submissions on any aspect of popular music.
We are aiming for as broad a representation of disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives as possible and hope for a conference that will provide perspectives on and (re)evaluations of the periphery/centre relationship as it relates to popular music. What changes are affecting the concepts of centre and periphery and related notions like mainstream and fringe, heartland and hinterland, privileged and marginal, mass culture and subculture? How should they be rethought? Is there still a “centre” (generically, geographically, economically, ideologically) in popular music in the 21st century? Continue reading

Dance Music Sex Romance: Pop and the Body Politic

2009 Pop Conference at EMP|SFM
April 16-19, 2009, Seattle, WA
Call for Proposals

Though Prince seems to have bowdlerized “D.M.S.R.” in his concerts since becoming a Jehovah’s Witness, the relationship of pop music to sex, love, physical movement, and the body rarely stays hidden very long. For this year’s Pop Conference we invite presentations, addressing any period or style of music, that bring erotic and sensual issues to the forefront and connect them to political and aesthetic concerns. Rock and roll has long congratulated itself on riding the Big Beat over all sanctimonious opposition, but can we take our sense of these archetypal struggles somewhere beyond, say, Footloose? Continue reading

Migrating Music: Media, Politics and Style

An international conference
Venue: School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
Date: 10-11 July, 2009

Over the last twenty years or so there has been much interest in music and diaspora, that is in migrating music. No doubt this interest is historically grounded. Movement of peoples and their music across the world has been occurring to an unprecedented extent and in novel ways.

Researchers in a variety of disciplines have then responded by studying musical flows and the formation of hybrid styles, but also the way in which apparently similar music can mean quite different things in different contexts. We might sum up the overarching framework as one in which researchers focus on the (largely benign) diversification and pluralisation of musical meaning and experience.

We do not seek to overturn this framework. Quite simply, it taps an important part of the reality of migrating music in the contemporary period. But we do want to bring up a number of problems and issues, and call on colleagues to think about what these might mean. Continue reading

JISM – Journal of Interdisciplinary Music Studies

Call for contributions

The Journal of Interdisciplinary Music Studies (JIMS) is an international peer-reviewed journal. Published twice per year, it aims to establish a broad interdisciplinary platform for music researchers. JIMS especially promotes collaborations between sciences and humanities and between theory and practice, and provocative submissions that stimulate interdisciplinary discussion.

The journal aims:

  • to contribute towards an understanding of music in all its manifestations, definitions and contexts
  • to promote interdisciplinary synergy among humanities, sciences and practically oriented disciplines
  • to promote academic quality and the application of research findings
  • The journal accepts original submissions associated with:

  • all subdisciplines or paradigms of musicology, including analytical, applied, comparative, cultural, empirical, ethnological, historical, popular, scientific, systematic and theoretical, and
  • all musically relevant disciplines, including acoustics, aesthetics, anthropology, archeology, art history and theory, biology, cognitive sciences, composition, computing, cultural studies, economics, education, engineering, ethnology, gender studies, history, linguistics, literary studies, mathematics, medicine, music theory and analysis, neurosciences, perception, performance, philosophy, physiology, popular music, prehistory, psychoacoustics, psychology, religious studies, semiotics, sociology, sport, statistics and therapy.
  • All submissions must have at least two authors representing contrasting disciplines. Please consult the journal’s homepage for detailed submission guidelines and procedures.

    JIMS is indexed by:
    Répertoire International de Littérature Musicale (RILM)
    Direct Open Access Journals (DOAJ)
    INTUTE: Arts and Humanities
    ZDB OPAC (Zeitschriftendatenbank)

    Contact: Ali C. Gedik, administrative editor.

    Analysing the Musically Sensuous

    Call for Papers

    Society for Music Analysis Autumn Study Day
    University of Liverpool, School of Music
    22 November 2008

    For most listeners to music, sensuous affect is of primary, perhaps even singular, importance. Our responses to music in everyday situations, ranging from background ambience to pounding film scores to sources of studious contemplation, are mediated through music’s sculpting of sensual, physical, emotional and affective experiences.

    Yet when it comes to analyzing the musically sensuous, music theory and analysis have proved stubbornly resistant to (and perhaps even fearful of) engaging with the musically sensuous, often retreating instead into ostensibly more cerebral studies of the musically syntactical. This one-day conference seeks to contribute to the process of redressing that imbalance, not least by acknowledging that separations of the sensuous and syntactical in music are, at best, artificial necessities for study and, at worst, utterly misleading. Continue reading

    Sounds of then, sounds of now: Popular music in Australia

    Sounds of then, sounds of now
    Popular music in Australia

    Edited by Shane Homan and Tony Mitchell
    Hobart: ACYS Publishing, June 2008

    In Sounds of then, sounds of now: Popular music in Australia some of the country’s most respected popular music researchers, musicians and music journalists document a range of past and present Australian sounds and scenes.

    The collection maps recent changes in music consumption, production and media technologies, and the implications for local industries. It reconciles local music histories with contemporary practice, and reflects upon the growth and current diversity of Australian research, music genres and contexts, including jazz, rock, folk, metal, electronica, dance music, experimental music and hip hop. Chapters examining Aboriginal, Islander and world musics offer new perspectives on local and transnational relationships between popular music, geography and culture in Australia.

    This text provides a means for understanding how popular music has expressed, reflected and influenced changes in Australian society through debates about youth, nationalism, censorship, local identity, contested spaces and enduring mythologies about ‘Australianness’. While some chapters examine earlier scenes and musical forms, the emphasis is upon Australian popular music since World War 2. At the same time, every chapter is informed by global debates and themes, including popular music’s ongoing concerns with concepts such as nationalism, cultural imperialism, globalisation, authenticity, appropriation, the ‘mainstream’, subcultures, genres and the impact of new media and the internet.

    The authors’ considerable experience in teaching and researching popular music studies has ensured a collection that is lively, accessible and well adapted to use in media, popular music, sociology, musicology and cultural studies courses. Each chapter contains a reference list, discography, a list of key web sites and discussion questions to assist students in linking chapter themes and issues to wider national and international debates.

    At a time when Australian popular music is enjoying increasing international critical and commercial success, this wide-ranging new collection offers a critical revision of popular music’s place in Australian society.

    For more information: www.acys.info/publications/acyspublishing/music

    New Jazz Histories: a one day symposium

    Call for Papers
    Jazz Research Journal special issue
    19 November 2008
    Adelphi House, University of Salford

    “History is his story – my story is a mystery” (Sun Ra)

    Since the mid-1990s jazz scholars have challenged established jazz histories, using a range of critical methodologies to examine the constructed nature of existing narratives. More recently, studies have set out either to write new jazz histories or to expose the underlying ideologies of canon formation and a linear tradition found within the jazz mainstream.

    This one day symposium will explore the theme of New Jazz Histories, using Alyn Shipton’s New History of Jazz (Continuum, 2007 [2nd edition]) as a starting point for discussion. Alyn Shipton will provide an introduction to the event, focusing on the problems of reconciling academic history, oral history and discographical concerns in one synoptic history. Subsequent papers may seek to use Shipton’s work as a starting point for discussion, exploring the nature of jazz history. The event aims to provide an interdisciplinary context for discussing and developing a deeper critical understanding of what jazz is.

    The review committee welcomes papers that cover one or more of the following topics:

    • Writing new jazz histories
    • Tradition and lineage
    • The origins of jazz
    • Causality and teleological narration
    • Historical revisionism
    • Canonisation and cultural value
    • The mythology of jazz
    • Progress and modernity
    • Forms of jazz historiography
    • Jazz modernism, postmodernism and the avant garde
    • Community and boundary
    • Subverting dominant codes and conventions

    Selected papers will feature as articles in a special issue of the Jazz Research Journal, to be published in 2009. Therefore, authors must ensure that submissions have not been previously published or being considered for publication elsewhere.

    Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be submitted to Tony Whyton by 15 September 2008.

    Review panel: Tony Whyton (University of Salford), Nicholas Gebhardt (University of Lancaster), Catherine Parsonage (Open University) and George McKay (University of Salford)

    Senior Lecturer in Music Technology

    Job Advert

    Senior Lecturer in Music Technology (Popular Musicology)
    School of Music, Humanities & Media
    University of Huddersfield
    West Yorkshire
    England, UK

    £34,094 – £43,190 pro rata, 0.5 FTE
    Ref: 3910

    We are looking for an expert in musicology as it relates to popular music and/or music technology to join a thriving team teaching Music Technology at Huddersfield. Candidates whose main expertise is in popular music composition will also be considered.

    We seek to enhance our international reputation in music technology and new music, for which the University boasts some of the best facilities in Britain. The Department has recently established a Centre for Research in New Music (CeReNeM), is home to the renowned Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, and is moving into a new, purpose-built facility for September 2008, including state of the art facilities for computer and acoustic music.

    You will be expected to contribute at an international level (or show potential to do so) to the maintenance and development of the Department’s high standing in research (rated 5 in RAE 2001).
    Experience of teaching in Higher Education is essential. A degree (or equivalent) in music, popular music or music technology and a postgraduate degree (or equivalent) is also essential.

    You will contribute with imagination and innovation to the Department’s wide-ranging curriculum, and whilst specialising in musicology, you will be expected to contribute to the core music technology curriculum. Expertise in any of the following would be an advantage: popular music composition (especially desirable), popular music performance, sampling, sequencing, hard disk recording and processing, music and the moving image, music and the media, and the music business.

    Closing date: 25 July 2008. Interview date: 21 August 2008.

    For further details and an application form visit www.hud.ac.uk/jobs Alternatively contact the Personnel Office on 0044 1484 472845.
    For an informal discussion please contact Rupert Till.

    We particularly welcome applications from ethnic minority groups and people with disabilities who are under-represented in the University.

    Lecturer in Contemporary Music and Culture

    NZ School of Music, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
    An exciting opportunity to work in the NZ School of Music

    Location: Kelburn Campus
    Term of Contract: Permanent
    Closing Date: 31 July 2008
    Reference: A249-08Z

    Position Overview The New Zealand School of Music, a joint venture of Massey University and Victoria University of Wellington, seeks applicants for an appointment as Lecturer in Contemporary Music and Culture. The position will be based at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city.

    The New Zealand School of Music is committed to the idea of music as an essential human activity that powerfully informs our contemporary social interactions and multiple identifications. The field of expertise required for this position is open and may be grounded in a number of areas: creative, critical, performative, theoretical or historical. Whilst the field of expertise remains flexible, the applicant should have a wide-ranging perspective on music and musical culture from the twentieth century until the present day and will be expected to teach and conduct research in some aspect of contemporary musical life.

    The successful candidate will have a PhD or DMA, teaching experience at university level, and evidence of the ability to maintain an international profile in research and/or creative practice. Appointments will commence on 1 February 2009.

    Two representative samples of scholarly writing should be included with the initial application. These can be e-mailed separately to Kushla Beacon: kushla.beacon@vuw.ac.nz. In addition please arrange for three letters of reference to be sent/e-mailed under separate cover to Kushla Beacon, to arrive by 31 July 2008.

    For further information please contact the search committee chair, Stephan Prock or visit the website