Wednesday, December 31, 2008

In 2008 I...

It seems like a lot of blogs I follow have agreed with Merlin Mann's dictate of quality over quantity, more spawling manifestos and less memeing. Of course I lack the quality so the quantity has fallen off as well, but I can follow my own memes.

  • I got me a master's degree! How about that!
  • I became a musicologist in earnest, no more hiding the Dark Arts
  • This led me to move to Iowa, to regain Midwest street cred (this is something that exists)
  • This was also moving with Angela, which is certainly the best thing on this list
  • Participated in a bonafide natural disaster. Turns out that I end up obsessing over, a website few other people know exists.
  • Too many funerals. Of course, this implies the concept of "not enough" or "just the right amount" of funerals.
  • Not only have I declared my trade, but actually attempted to peddle it at the big show.
Didn't I say in 2006 that this would be a banner year? I suppose so, but I've also learned not to much such predictions again.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

AMS Happened A Couple Of Weeks Ago

I wasn't originally planning on doing a post-op of my maiden AMS experience, consider I thought that the general populace would find it boring as shit. However, an entire meme has passed me by with nary a tag and thus I realize that I should chop-chop on the posty-posty. Henceforth, what I learned on my "vacation" to Nashville.

1) I went to way more papers than other people.

Perhaps it was just novice enthusiasm but except for Saturday, which I took off to play a recital in Murfreesboro, I hit the morning and afternoon sessions everyday. So that's at least eight papers a day, which seems to at least double most people's actual attendance and multiply by infinity other people's preferred attendance (zero). However, I suppose all I could do would be going to papers since...

2) My schmoozing skillz are far, far from l33t

The receptions are the real reasons everyone goes to AMS. That and drinking will all your musicologist friends from days of yore. (The latter of which I did with my mentor from Boston and a Berlioz scholar who will go unnamed. Needless to say a microbrewery may not have been the best choice.) At first blush it seemed like the entourage I was a part of had no real ties to any of the schools that were receiving, thus all we could do was futz and be awkward until we shimmied over to the free food.

It turns out that something like half of the Iowa faculty has some connection to Florida State, and I actually ran into both of my undergraduate theory professors at the Eastman reception. This, I realize for future conferences, is more than enough to be able to proudly stride towards the free food. But all these other music bloggers that were clearly at the conference, didn't meet a one of them. But it turns out that I wouldn't have recognized Phil Ford anyway.

3) I am apparently more precocious than my forebears, by a considerable factor

Other musicologists writing about the event talk about finally asking a question after three years, where I think I waited three panels. Granted, I didn't go throwing down against Taruskin as concerns the Ballet Russes but I also didn't perceive a climate of fear. However this point led me to realize...

4) There is no expectation to be able to answer said questions.

Maybe I asked dumb questions, or was tacitly ignored because I'm not a bigshot, but those questions I did asked were barely addressed in even the most tangential sense of the term. However, with further observations those without my greenhorn status were getting very similar results. The batting average would have trouble staying on a double-A roster, shall we say.

That said, I didn't witness any throwdowns or utter evisceration. Perhaps I am actually misunderstanding the culture of the conference. Are questions not actually questions as much as suggestions for future improvement?

5) Even going to a lot of papers, it was scarcely a dry conference.

The papers went to alone discussed erections, The Shining (with footage of the naked chick), a band whose name I can barely speak (link NSFW, for serious), and the f-bomb. Nice.

All in all my first trip to the Lollapalooza of Musicology was good times. Now I'm wondering how this compares to some of the subgroup gatherings.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Sit Out A Couple Plays

I really should just write this apology post and link to it everytime since it's always the same reasons, but it's such a classic of the medium.

Earlier I posted about one of the trifold reasons that academic blogs, especially grad student ones, tend to fold. Around October or Novembertide all the academe on these Intertubes seem to slow down a touch, and the midterm crunch certainly isn't uninvolved in this phenomenon. In the ensuing calm before the finals storm however, blogs written by grad students don't seem to spring back the way those written by faculty do. At least in my experience, and I can't imagine I'm totally alone, the flurry of coursework inevitably leads to a crisis of faith.

Blogs tend to spring up when there are more ideas than opportunities for output, i.e. summer and winter breaks. (This blog, for instance, started in summer '06 despite me having parked the domain a whole year earlier!) Actual academic work provides an valve for/demands all that brainsteam. But we're inhabitants of the modern age, right? Not at all, in the halls of ivory towers across the land old media is totally going to waste new media everytime.

As far as I know musically minded bloggers have no shining example along the lines of a Kottke who was able to parlay currency of the Interwebs into success tangible by the old standards. And if we didn't have any faith in the old standards, we probably wouldn't be so worried about doctorates. This doesn't necessarily doom the grad student blogothon, but it requires keeping one's blog in one's heart in the face of crunches and cram time. And that's hard.

P.S. to Phil Ford, now that you're posting again too: In your face!!!!1

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Wheel in The Sky Keeps On Turnin'

I'm not usually much of a linkinista guy, but this was cool so I make exceptions. In opposition to much of the aimless chatter that happens on NewMusicBox (yeah yeah, here too), composer Erik Spengler has written a comprehensive and readable primer on turntablism for his ilk.

In The Cut: A Composer's Guide To The Turntables

On one hand this seem a little late (not for Spengler, who's been doing this for years) but a cutting-edge DJs now uses the wheels of steel as mere controllers for digital media. Of course, to the perspective of turntables as instruments it merely enhances that idea. And it certainly answers the question of performance of electronic works.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Open With A Joke

Just as we all have our own El Guapo to face, we all could learn something about megalomanic perfection from Steve Jobs.
This from today's iPod/iPhone event. I don't even care what they're announcing, this is an automatic win.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Do You Hear What I Hear

School has begun and I'm starting a whole new program at a whole new school. Hence bad at the bloggy. Anyway, overheard at the UE-COGS event at The Mill:

"Musicologists don't like Miles David because he makes too many mistakes."


Saturday, August 09, 2008


NetNewMusic, a website spoken in hushed tones around new music circles, has been reborn using the Ning social network interface. I don't know exactly what I did to get an invite within the first 24 hours of its existence, probably the annoying song thing. The medium of the social networking site surprised me at first, but after some thought one can cross their eyes and think of sites like these just as web forums with really tricked out profile pages. My hope is that this particular clubhouse, unlike brothers-in-arms NewMusicBox and Sequenza21, maybe some performers and musicologists show up to break up the composer fest. Despite my apparent ascension into the new music glitterati, everyone really should check it out.

Speaking of new social technologies I'm trying to get better with Twitter. I've essentially only used it to follow the Mars Phoenix lander but remember a hubbub among academics about it some time ago. I added it to the sidebar some time ago (increasing the cussing on the blag by a factor of one hojillion) but mainly use it to emit questions into the aether. However, if anyone else is doing such this or has a better idea of what Twitter can do, look me up.