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Welcome to JMM12!

With Rolling Publication

JMM: The Journal of Music and Meaning publishes articles as they become ready for publication. In this blog you can follow the development of the 12th issue of JMM.

Full Issue PDF

Full Issue PDF Posted on Aug 26, 2014 18:00:12

A full PDF document of JMM12 can now be downloaded here.

Watch to see the next issue, JMM13 develop.

The Force Dynamic Structure of the Phonographic Container: How Sound Engineers Conceptualise the ‘Inside’ of the Mix

Peer-Reviewed Papers Posted on Aug 26, 2014 15:02:23

The continuous development of new recording technologies and recording practices has had considerable impact on how popular music recordings are produced; yet our ability to articulate the impact of these technologies on the perception of sounds is limited. To describe what has been done to sounds in the mix often requires sound engineers to draw metaphorical comparisons with other experiences. Until now few scholars have studied the language of sound engineers. This article is based on a survey of metaphorical expressions used in interviews with sound engineers. The survey showed that sounds and sound effects are often described as forceful objects that act and interact in the mix. This interaction is characterized through expressions such as: the sound was ‘pulled back’ in the mix; the compressor was ‘holding down’ the sound; and the vocals were ‘pushed up front’. Using cognitive linguistic theory as a guide, this article argues that sound engineers’ use of force dynamic metaphors offers a better understanding of the structure and manifestation of recorded sound and the impact of record production on the listening experience.

The author, Mads Walther-Hansen is a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Communication and Psychology at Aalborg University. He received his PhD from Department for Arts and Cultural Studies at the University of Copenhagen, and holds an MA in Musicology and Ethnography. Walther-Hansen’s current research interests include music listening and music technology, specifically the impact of recording technology on the listening experience.

Read Mads Walther-Hansen’s article here.

Space as Reference: Representations of Space in Electroacoustic Music

Peer-Reviewed Papers Posted on May 12, 2014 13:03:35

The author’s abstract:

This article discusses in detail the use of spatial references in electroacoustic music, which is the fourth of the five senses of space I identified in a broader investigation on the meaning of space in music, electroacoustic music and sound art. The expression space as reference refers to the use of the referential properties of sound to suggest or produce spatial impressions and associations. I start discussing the controversies related to the use of referential meaning in music, and how, since the development of electroacoustic music, it has become a crucial aspect in the characterization and definition of its different branches and aesthetic orientations. Then I discuss how a number of composers of electroacoustic music have conceptualized and worked with reference in their compositional practice. In the next section I discuss how soundscape composition has been working with spatial reference as a central aspect of its aesthetic principles. Afterwards, I expose how representation has been used as a structural element in the works Night Song I and Night Song II, and how these works can be characterized in terms of the terminology suggested by the aforementioned composers. In the conclusion, I discuss how the categories of abstraction and representation can be understood as relative and complimentary concepts, suggesting that, for the composer, it would be interesting to keep both aspects in mind, as both of them are relevant for the reception of their compositional work.

The author, Frederico Macedo is a Brazilian composer and lecturer (B.Mus., M.Mus., Ph.D.), at the moment living in Brazil, where he was born. Frederico did his undergraduate degree in Art Education with focus in music (1991), and his Master’s in Composition (2003) at the Federal University of Goiás (UFG). He did his Ph.D. at Lancaster University, UK (2008–2012). He is a lecturer at UDESC (University of the State of Santa Catarina, Brazil), where he teaches courses on music technology, electroacoustic music and history of popular music, having also worked as a part-time tutor at Lancaster University (2011–2012). His research work has focused on the compositional uses of space in electroacoustic music, the effects of technology on the notions of authenticity and authorship in popular music and the different uses of sound in theatrical spectacles. This article represents partial results of his Ph.D. research, funded by ORSAS Award, Peel Studentship and Lancaster University.

Read Frederico Macedo’s paper here.

Sungura Music’s Development in Zimbabwe: The Emergence of Trendsetters, Emulators and Copycats

Peer-Reviewed Papers Posted on Apr 17, 2014 13:25:27

This article disucces how violation of copyright law has caused quite a stir in Zimbabwe’s Sungura music performance. Some prominent musicians accuse upcoming artistes of illegally copying their music, although the popular musicians themselves developed it by modeling on foreign popular musicians’ songs, which were on the local market and shows in Zimbabwe. By tracing the development of sungura from the 1960s to contemporary times using a diffusionist paradigm, this paper exposes how sungura artists have developed a genre that owes its popularity to record companies’ policies, the media as well as the sungura artists’ virtuosity in fusing foreign musical genres (especially Congolese, Kenyan, Tanzanian and South African) and local indigenous traditional styles (mhande, mbende, jiti, shangara). We interviewed sungura artists, recording company personnel and music promoters to elicit their views on the major influences on the development of museve. Based on insights drawn from musical ethnography, the paper goes on to propose a revised framework of analysis and terminology to account for sungura musicians’ relationships. We examine the characteristics of a couple of sungura musicians with a view to justifying how each falls into a particular category. Using critical African cultural studies, we proffer the terms trendsetters, emulators and copycats as categories into which sungura musicians in Zimbabwe fit. One way or the other there is mimicry which might account for lack of lawsuits against perceived violators of copyright law. The conclusion suggests collaboration to reform sungura musicians’ connections which we think holds potential to propel them to greater success.

The first author, Richard Muranda, is a teacher by profession who holds a Bachelor of Arts with Education (Africa University), Bachelor of Music Honours and Masters of Music degrees from the University of Pretoria specializing in music technology. He is a PhD candidate at University of South Africa (UNISA). He has taught at primary and secondary schools, teachers colleges and university and has a combined working experience spanning 28 years. He is currently a lecturer in the Department of Music and Musicology at Midlands State University in Zimbabwe. He has presented research papers at conferences and seminars in Botswana, Finland, Greece, South Africa, United States of America and Zimbabwe, on issues involving popular music, music technology, music performance practice, music pedagogy and computer assisted instruction. Mr Muranda has also published articles in areas involving African music, music technology, computer assisted instruction and popular music.

The second author, Wonder Maguraushe is a music doctoral student at the University of South Africa. He teaches courses in African Ethnography, Transcription and Analysis and Marimba at Midlands State University in Gweru, Zimbabwe. His research interests include folk music analysis, music performance in Africa and marimba music performance. He holds a master of Music Education Degree, Bachelor of Music Education Degree and a Diploma in Education from the University of Zimbabwe. He has taught music in primary schools, secondary schools and colleges in Zimbabwe before. He has presented papers at conferences and workshops in Durban, Gweru and Harare on popular music, folk tale songs, Zimbabwean music education development, music teaching and marimba performance practice in Zimbabwe. Wonder Maguraushe has forthcoming publications on folk music, music education and gender issues in music performance. Wonder is also a mbira music performer with Zvirimudeze mbira ensemble, and a Marimba ensemble trainer in the Department of Music and Musicology at Midlands State University.

Read Richard Muranda and Wonder Maguraushe’s article here.

Stravinsky’s Sideward Glance: Neoclassicism, Dialogised Structures and the Reflected Discourse of Bach

Peer-Reviewed Papers Posted on Dec 17, 2013 12:20:14

This article reassesses Stravinsky’s early neoclassic music through the prism of Bakhtin’s literary theory concept of dialogised heteroglossia (other voices). In close readings of extracts from the Concerto for Piano and Winds and the Octet, the paper considers the problematic metaphor of Bach’s voices in Stravinsky’s music. Forcefully dismissed by Taruskin and others as little more than constructivist sleight of hand on the part of the composer to re-imagine Bach as an architectonic icon in Stravinsky’s own image, I argue that to obliterate Bach’s ‘other voice’ from the early neoclassic works impoverishes the music, depriving it of its vital dialogical discourse between an imagined classical voice of Bach and Stravinsky’s native Turanian voice. Building on Bakhtin’s notion of the sideward glance at the reflected discourse of an absent interlocutor, semiotic theory and Cone’s three ways of reading music (like a detective story), the paper confronts a number of partial- and mis-readings of neoclassicism ranging from Schenker, Taruskin, Hyde and Straus. The paper thus re-imagines the machine-like contrapuntal textural excesses of Stravinsky’s neoclassicism in dialogical terms and, in the process, elevates Stravinsky’s marginalised stylistic discourse as a vital hermeneutic counter to the more privileged appraisals of his neoclassic syntax.

The author, Nicholas McKay, is Head of Music and Senior Lecturer at the University of Sussex, U.K. where he has worked in the Music Department since completing his PhD on the semiotics of musical meaning in Stravinsky’s music at Durham University in 1998.
He was awarded a Leverhulme Research Fellowship to complete his monograph on the semiotics of quotation, allusion and topical reference in Stravinsky’s music. He is an Associate Editor of The Journal of Music and Meaning and is an elected member of council of the Royal Musical Association. He regularly presents papers at international music and semiotics conferences around the world.

Read Nicholas McKay’s article here.