“Tin Pan Allegory: Music, Modernity, and Democracy”

Posted in All things Keightley on March 16, 2011 by musicandpoliticsuwo

Dr. Keightley’s presentation will be about the naming of “Tin Pan Alley”, the early sheet music publishing business in New York ca. 1900. The paper that he will present will deal with the cultural politics of mass culture, in terms of what Simon Frith calls “the industrialization of culture”. The paper will engage with competing notions of democracy and popular music at the turn of the century, and how these concerns continue to shape contemporary conceptions of the value and politics of popular music to this day.

Join us for the keynote presentation!

12:30 p.m. Talbot College Room 141


Keir Keightley, Associate Professor, Faculty of Information & Media Studies UWO

Posted in All things Keightley on March 16, 2011 by musicandpoliticsuwo

Teaching and Research Interests

“I teach courses that critically examine a range of cultural phenomena and mass media, including: radio and television; debates about art, entertainment, and popular tastes; media constructions of masculinity; the culture of celebrity. I am particularly interested in film studies and popular music studies, and deal with Hollywood cinema and the music industries in a number of my courses. I have published articles on the culture of rock music, gender and sound reproduction technology, the segmentation of media audiences by age, and am currently completing a book for Duke University Press entitled Sinatra’s Capitol: Celebrity, Masculinity, and Taste, 1953-62. My next research project will examine issues of globalization and transculturation in the recording and tourism industries in the post-war years. A future book project will be a history of high fidelity audio, from magnetic tape to quadraphonic sound.”

(Source: http://www.fims.uwo.ca/peopleDirectory/faculty/fulltimefaculty/full_time_faculty_profile.htm?PeopleId=117760)

– One week –

Posted in Welcome on March 12, 2011 by musicandpoliticsuwo

One week until Political Notes I!  This is the final schedule.  Congrats everyone on your work.  It’s now time to read around and comment on what you see.  Encouragement, criticism, questions, other considerations, thoughts, reactions, whether you relate to or are also interested in the field, things the abstract reminds you of or leaves you thinking about, etc., etc.

Political Notes is about more than talking for 20 minutes once a year. Let’s show support for our colleagues and prove we are actually interested in what they have to say about topics they have done research on. Debate, find common ground, engage, communicate.  If you are new to the topic, don’t be afraid to say so.  I’ve learned quite a bit I didn’t know before reading these papers, and fresh eyes on your work never hurt.

See you in seven days!

Ian Siess, “Creating Legitimacy Through Music: A Study of Folk Music Under the Franco Regime.”

Posted in Abstracts on March 5, 2011 by musicandpoliticsuwo

Ian Seiss, the University of Western Ontario

Ian Siess is in his final year of an Honours Bachelors in Music History.  Focusing on Music and Politics as two separate areas for the majority of his degree has made his interest in the correlation of the two grow strong over his four years at the University of Western Ontario.  In the future, Ian hopes to continue study music and politics especially as used by totalitarian regimes.


“The use of music by the regimes of Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini has been widely documented by scholars. During the reign of these dictators, many other European countries fell under similar totalitarian leadership for which very little study has focused on the use of music.  In Spain, Francisco Franco, inspired by the use of censorship and propaganda in Germany and Italy, focused on the use and limitation of folk music to help create legitimacy.

The Spanish Civil War, which resulted in Franco’s rise to power, saw the exodus of many composers thus leaving Spain culturally dry.  Noting Hitler’s success in the area of creating a hegemonic culture, Spain began cultural exchanges with not only Germany but also Italy.

In Spain, Franco’s government focused on creating pro-Franco songs that likened him to great Spanish heroes.  In an effort to unify a very culturally diverse Spain, Franco began outlawing dialects and other cultural practices.  While Successful at first, Franco’s plan ultimately failed.  In this paper I have focused on the case of the Basque nationalist movement which preserved a large amount of Basque culture despite being strongly oppressed.”

Jennifer Gowan, “Fanning the Flame: A Musician’s Role in the Rwandan Genocide.”

Posted in Abstracts on March 5, 2011 by musicandpoliticsuwo

Jennifer Gowan, the University of Western Ontario

Born and raised on a beef farm outside of Allenford, Ontario, Jennifer is currently in her fourth and final year of an Honours Bachelor of Music degree, studying piano and specializing in Music Education. Jen plans to attend teachers college in the fall, where she will learn to teach Intermediate- and Senior-level Instrumental Music, and French as a Second Language. Upon completion of her B.Ed., Jen hopes to explore opportunities working with youth empowerment organizations such as Free the Children or the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative. Her interest in humanitarianism and social justice is what led her to explore music’s role in the Rwandan genocide.


“Simon Bikindi’s indictment for composing music which is said to have inspired hatred of the Tutsi people, leading to their massacre in 1994, has raised controversial questions about where the line should be drawn between freedom of speech and expression, and incitement to gross human rights violations. Bikindi’s music and, more specifically, the dissemination of his music during this time, was an essential component in inciting the genocide, as it fuelled the general hysteria and acted as a catalyst alongside the death of Rwandan President Habyarimana.

Bikindi was a popular, albeit controversial, musician in Rwanda and would actively incorporate political subject matter into his songs. While he clearly harboured anti-Tutsi sentiments, his songs were not heard as an explicit call-to-arms when they were originally conceived. On June 15, 2005, Bikindi was indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. His charges were conspiracy to commit genocide; genocide, or alternatively complicity in genocide; direct and public incitement to commit genocide, and murder and persecution, as crimes against humanity.The prosecution argued that through his music, Bikindi contributed to a campaign to spread hatred, leading to the genocide of 1994. Bikindi’s lead counsel countered this argument by stating that any accusation towards Bikindi’s music is to condemn his right to freedom of expression.

The ICTR acquitted Bikindi with respect to his pop songs. Although the ICTR agreed the Bikindi’s songs were deployed in a propaganda campaign in an attempt to incite ethnic hatred, because his songs did not explicitly suggest an attack on the Tutsi minority – rather “a common foe” – the tribunal found insufficient evidence to conclude that Bikindi composed these songs with the specific intention to incite attacks and killings, even if they were used to that effect in 1994.

While Simon Bikindi was convicted of crimes regarding the genocide, his musical activities were left untouched. This essay illuminates the complications arising from the use of music as a source of propaganda in pre-genocidal contexts and its artist’s prosecution post-genocide. It attempts to identify the true potency of Bikindi’s words and actions, and advocates for repercussions for the artists who ignore the manipulation of their music for a malevolent cause.”

Matthew Janik,”Politics and Pergolesi: Examining how Italian Politics in the 18th-Century Influenced the Growth of Pergolesi’s Neapolitan Style, and Opera Itself.”

Posted in Abstracts on March 5, 2011 by musicandpoliticsuwo

Matthew Janik, University of Guelph

Raised in Ajax, Ontario, Matthew Janik is a second year music student at the University of Guelph, currently studying musicology and theory. Matthew hopes to begin his performance practice in his third year with a specialization in Classical Guitar. Matthew also minors in history, with a specialization in medieval studies, particularly Norse mythology and the medieval viking cultures of Norway and Denmark. Furthermore, Matthew experiments with the mixing and mastering of electronic music, particularly the fusion of digital 8Bit technology and electroacoustic instruments. After completing his undergraduate degree, Matthew hopes to continue his studies at the graduate level, and wishes to teach musicology and/or medieval history at either the public school or university level.

“Musicologists have long held La Serva Padrona, by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, to be a pivotal opera that had a significant impact on Western dramatic musical traditions and provoked discussions of operatic reform. Among several Italian composers of the 18th-Century who witnessed profound changes in Italian socio-political structures, Pergo- lesi transplanted his reactions to the stage. Through a contextual analysis of events con- temporaneous to Pergolesi’s time, and by reflecting upon written sources and musical ex- amples, this paper examines how both La Serva Padrona, and Pergolesi himself, were affected by growing class divisions between the opera going public, the royal courts’ in- ability to properly govern, and the decentralization of Italy’s cultures, economies and policies. These factors consequently influenced the setting in which Pergolesi’s La Serva Padrona was composed and the areas where it was received.

My presentation pursues the development of Pergolesi’s Neapolitan style, and exam- ines the cultural, economic and political settings which surrounded La Serva Padrona. Resulting from Italian decentralization, I explore how the cultural growth of Naples caused it to become isolated from the rest of Italy, allowing its conservatory students, such as Pergolesi, to develop a distinctive intermezzo style. I examine how Italy pros- pered from large revenues generated by exporting their unique culture to foreign markets, resulting in larger budgets, which Pergolesi and his contemporaries were able to utilize. I investigate how a substantial amount of public funding and interest was provided by the politically weakened administration associated with King Charles VII of Naples, which protected the aristocracy’s wealth. Through the examination of these contexts, I bring to- gether themes of Italian culture, economy and politics to identify the environments in which La Serva Padrona thrived, failed, caused international reform and influenced an already burgeoning group of native operatic styles throughout Europe. This paper ex- plores the legacies these political factors inspired, and how they continue to influence the contemporary reputation of Pergolesi and the progression of opera.”

Samantha R. Chilli, “Copywrong: A Glance At Media Conglomerates, Copyright Legislation, And Their Impact On The Music Industry.”

Posted in Abstracts on March 5, 2011 by musicandpoliticsuwo

Samantha R. Chilli, Northeastern University, Boston.

Samantha Chilli is a senior music industry major and business administration minor at Northeastern University in Boston, MA, USA. She is a Pittsburgh, PA native, and her primary instruments are trumpet and piano. Sam is currently an administrative assistant at a concert venue in Harvard Square; she ultimately hopes to launch a music magazine and pursue tour management.


“The legislative clout of powerful media conglomerates has a direct effect on the music industry and on the creative minds who comprise it. Taking advantage of the current political situation, large media firms–such as Disney–actively lobby American lawmakers who then agree to legislate for copyright term extensions. These extensions serve to protect the corporationsʼ assets from becoming public domain. These assets include music catalogs, films, cartoons, and other creative works of art. In the process of protecting their own copyrights by adding extra years to terms, these media powerhouses hinder the creative processes of those who seek to legally create derivative works. This tailored legislation forces musicians such as DJs and mash-up artists to create works that illegally sample other musiciansʼ content, as there is little way for them to use music in the public domain, if the copyright termʼs window of time is continually extended.

In this paper, I use case examples to explore how a DJ or musician can edit samples, remixes, mash-ups, and similar creations in the comfort of his or her own home. Even though their derivative parts create an entirely new work, these artists are often sequestered to the confines of anonymity, as they are unable to secure legal record contracts. Since many of the major labels are owned by the very media corporations that fight to extend copyrights, the labels frustrate the artistsʼ endeavors even further. I also examine artists who have found a way to circumvent legislation altogether, although they are seen as deviant in the eyes of the law, and their actions are far from typical. Following the cessation of this legislative tension would be a day in which DJs and musicians could legally formulate and manipulate their derivative artworks.”

Michela Dimond, “A Musical Arms Race: Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in East and West Germany and its “Reunification” in the Ode To Freedom.”

Posted in Abstracts on March 5, 2011 by musicandpoliticsuwo

Michela Dimond, Reed College, Oregon

I’m from Saint Paul Minnesota but go to Reed College in Portland, Oregon, where I will be a senior in the fall. I study political science but am fascinated with music, and am obsessed with pop music (i.e. Beyonce is my hero). I would be delighted to meet anyone interested in discussing the pitfalls of the service industry, Lil Wayne’s prison stint, or different mail classes. I’ll also be visiting Toronto after the conference- any visit suggestions?


“During their Cold War division, East and West Germany promoted radically different ideologies of music. This divide revolved around music’s perceived relation to politics or, in the case of the West, the lack thereof. In the East music was seen as deeply connected to politics and a tool for creating dedicated socialist citizens. In the West music was seen as completely apolitical and something that should be guarded from the biases and politics of our times.

Given his stature, it was only natural that Germany’s most favored musical son, Ludwig van Beethoven, would become the musical lightning rod for the ideological and cultural conflicts between the two superpowers.  In the East Beethoven was regarded as a hero of the Volk, a thoroughly German composer with obvious leftist sympathies. In the West Beethoven represented a universalism that was unconcerned with and uninfluenced by politics. The war between these Beethovens waged for the entirety of a divided Germany and much of the Cold War. The end of this conflict came with the fall of the Soviet Union and the unrivalled global hegemony of the West, specifically the United States.

To celebrate, organizers from the West produced the An die Freiheit (Ode to Freedom) concert in a reunified Berlin. While the West claimed the concert a victory for musical autonomy, the production of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony was anything but apolitical. The message of An die Freiheit centered on universalism, but it was a universalism defined and limited to a liberal and capitalist sphere. Westerners chose the message of An die Freiheit (changed from An die Freude or Ode to Joy), and while the message was, at least superficially, one of art above politics, in the very act of choosing a message for this music the West was confirming music’s political significance, and validating the Eastern understanding of music’s power.”


Karin Heim, “Beats Not Bombs: Hip-Hop to Create Peace in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.”

Posted in Abstracts on March 3, 2011 by musicandpoliticsuwo

Karin Heim, Northeastern University, Boston

Karin graduated summa cum laude in January 2011 from Northeastern University, with a Bachelor of Arts in Music History and Analysis. She plays flute, guitar, and piano, and is currently applying to graduate school to study music therapy.


“The Israeli-Palestinian conflict affects not only millions of people in the state of Israel, but has political and social implications that span the globe. When studying the conflict, one frequently overlooked topic is the use of hip-hop: its history and connection to politics and to the conflict, its ability to define both individual and group identity, and it’s potential to bring an end to the conflict. To examine these questions, I investigated a variety of sources including newspaper and magazine articles, artist biographies and interviews, and lyric analysis of both Israeli and Palestinian hip-hop artists such as Subliminal and DAM. This research has indicated that while Jewish-Israeli and Arab-Israeli hip-hop artists may be of diverse backgrounds and beliefs, they both use their music as a means of defining their experience living in Israel and in the conflict. In this paper, I illustrate that while their messages may be different, their music can be used to encourage understanding between Arabs and Israelis on opposite sides of the conflict. This exchange of ideas and opinions has important ramifications for Israelis and Palestinians alike – the dialogue between Jewish-Israeli and Arab-Israeli hip-hop artists will be heard by millions of young people living in Israel and abroad, and will influence and encourage them to create understanding and peace in their communities, in their nation, and in the Middle East.”

Emily Hopkins, “The Little Man and the Masses: The Politics of Sofia Gubaidulina’s Concerto for Bassoon and Low Strings.”

Posted in Abstracts on March 2, 2011 by musicandpoliticsuwo

Emily Hopkins, University of British Columbia

Born and raised in Vancouver, BC, I’m now in my final year as an oboe performance major at the University of British Columbia. I’m thrilled to pursue music of all kinds, whether as performer, conductor or writer, and am extremely glad to be here. I’m also involved in community organizing at UBC and in Vancouver (mostly issues of housing, poverty, and the Olympics last year), and worked for a year and a half as a barista in the Downtown Eastside. I am constantly struggling with the role of arts and music in society as well as what it means for artists to engage politics and justice. Lately I’m very interested in Helmut Lachenmann, Ruth Crawford, and Claude Vivier. I am planning to continue to pursue music and justice from every angle and see where that takes me.


“In Sofia Gubaidulina’s Concerto for Bassoon and Low Strings, the composer translates the Russian literary theme of the little man and the unjust society into the context of an instrumental concerto. Ordinary and oppressed, this type of character functions as a contrast to and victim of an unjust system. Here, orchestra and soloist are transformed into oppressor and oppressed: the bassoon is the little man and the strings are an angry mob. Gubaidulina’s choice of instrumentation, overarching form, and use of extended technique all further the development of this narrative. In telling this story, Gubaidulina joins the company of many other artists, writers and dramatists who have used the little man as a means of exploring the situation of humankind under oppressive political systems. Gubaidulina stirs up her listeners’ feelings as they get to know and care about the little man through expressive extended techniques and formal innovations that tell his story. But the little man does not triumph. The concerto finishes with the soloist dead as the audience is confronted with one composer’s portrait of societal injustice in the twentieth century.”