The Center warmly congratulates Dr. Marti Newland, who successfull defended her dissertation, entitled Sounding “Black”: An Ethnography of Racialized Vocality at Fisk University, on June 23, 2014. Her dissertation was sponsoredby Prof. Fox.
Dr. Newland has accepted a postdoctoral position as Core Lecturer (Music Humanities) at Columbia University for 2014-16.
The Center for Ethnomusicology warmly congratulates Dr. Nili Belkind,
who defended her dissertation on May 8, 2014. Dr. Belkind's dissertation is entitled Music in conflict: Palestine, Israel, and the politics of aesthetic production
. It was sponsored (advised) by Prof. Christopher Washburne.
Dr. Belkind's dissertation is an ethnographic study of the fraught and complicated cultural politics of music making in Israel-Palestine in the context of the post-Oslo era, a time of highly polarized sentiments and general retreat from the expressive modes of relationality that accompanied the 1990s peace process. In it, she examines the politics of sound and the ways in which music making and attached discourses reflect and constitute identities, and also, contextualize political action. Ethical and aesthetic positions that shape contemporary artistic production in Israel-Palestine are informed by profound imbalances of power between the State (Israel), the stateless (Palestinians of the oPt), the complex positioning of Israel’s Palestinian minority, and contingent exposure to ongoing political violence.
The Center for Ethnomusicology warmly congratulates the following graduating seniors who have majored in ethnomusicology or worked closely with the ethnomusicology area faculty on senior projects. 2014 was a banner year for undergraduate ethnomusicologists at Columbia!
(Independent Major in Ethnomusicology, and Biology, Columbia College) completed a senior thesis entitled "Carnatic Music in Diaspora: Tamil American Carnatic Musicians," advised by Prof. Aaron Fox. The thesis examines the bicultural musical lives of young Tamil Americans.
Kevin Woojin Lee
(Music, and Economics, Columbia College) completed a senior thesis entitled "Crisis in the Operatic Tradition: Innovation as Violation," which examines the economic failure of the New York City Opera.
(Ethnomusicology, Barnard College) completed a senior thesis entitled "The Jazz Mass: Experiencing Religion and Spirituality Through Non-Traditional Music," advised by Prof. Ana Maria Ochoa. Kate has also worked extensively for the Center for Ethnomusicology in numerous capacities, as well as for the Music and Arts Library.
(Music, Columbia College) has been awarded Departmental Honors for her essay (advised by Prof. Aaron Fox) "A Space for Musical Therapy: On Nationalism, Modernity, Music, and Medicine in the Transition from Ottoman Empire to Turkish Republic." The essay looks at the use of music for medicinal or therapeutic purposes across broad historical span of Turkish history.
(Ethnomusicology, Barnard College) completed a senior thesis entitled "A Case Study of the NYU Steinhardt Nordoff-Robbins Center for Music Therapy: The Reception of Music Therapy as Explored through Analysis of its Research," advised by Prof. Christopher Washburne.
(Ethnmusicology, Barnard College) completed a senior thesis entitled "Making Miley 2.0: The Mechanisms Behind the Rebranding of Miley Cyrus," advised by Prof. Kevin Fellezs.
Thursday, April 10, 2014 - 12:00pm - 2:00pm
701C Dodge Hall, Center for Ethnomusicology, Columbia U Morningside Campus (Broadway & 116th St.)
The Center for Ethnomusicology at Columbia University Presents:
Instrumentality: Technologies of Voice in the New Orleans Brass Band
(Associate Professor of Music, Tulane University, and alumnus, Columbia PhD program in Ethnomusicology)
(click image to enlarge)
Thursday April 10, 2014
Center for Ethnomusicology, 701C Dodge Hall
Columbia University Morningside Campus (Broadway at 116th St.)
Matthew Sakakeeny is Associate Professor of Music at Tulane University. An ethnomusicologist, journalist, and musician, Matt is the author of the book Roll With It: Brass Bands in the Streets of New Orleans (Duke University Press, 2013) and articles in Ethnomusicology, Black Music Research Journal, and other publications. He graduated from the Columbia University ethnomusicology PhD program in 2008.
The instrumentality of musical instruments is to act as a voice unmoored from language. Linguistic anthropologists have argued that speech acts produce subjectivity through vocal sound, and instruments extend this sonic materiality into domains where semantic meaning is augmented or even replaced by musical voicings. In New Orleans, the instruments of the brass band are sound technologies utilized to communicate particular messages to a community of listeners. In the local tradition of the jazz funeral, musicians determine the emotional register of the procession: mournful hymns regulate the slow march to the gravesite and upbeat popular songs signal the transition to celebratory dancing after burial. The musicians not only organize the memorial by changing tempo and repertoire, they communicate to the living and the dead through the material sound of their instruments. Black New Orleanians occupying public spaces where lynchings, race riots, segregation, and gentrification have taken place "give voice" to these submerged histories by marching and dancing to the beat of the brass band. And the most recent generation of musicians has drawn upon hip-hop, integrating the direct language of rap into a polyphony of voices that includes horns, drums, and group singing. In this case study of the brass bands of New Orleans, a holistic approach to sonic materiality integrates the spoken, the sung, and instrumental sound in a densely layered soundscape that creates meaning and value for radicalized subjects of power.
The Center congratulates Columbia Ethnomusicology PhD program alumnus David Novak.
Prof. Novak (UCSB) has just published Japanoise: Music at the Edge of Circulation
(Duke University Press, 2013).Visit the Japanoise website
Noise, an underground music made through an amalgam of
feedback, distortion, and electronic effects, first emerged as a genre
in the 1980s, circulating on cassette tapes traded between fans in
Japan, Europe, and North America. With its cultivated obscurity,
ear-shattering sound, and over-the-top performances, Noise has captured
the imagination of a small but passionate transnational audience.
its scattered listeners, Noise always seems to be new and to come from
somewhere else: in North America, it was called "Japanoise." But does
Noise really belong to Japan? Is it even music at all? And why has Noise
become such a compelling metaphor for the complexities of globalization
and participatory media at the turn of the millennium?
David Novak draws on more than a decade of research in Japan and the
United States to trace the "cultural feedback" that generates and
sustains Noise. He provides a rich ethnographic account of live
performances, the circulation of recordings, and the lives and creative
practices of musicians and listeners. He explores the technologies of
Noise and the productive distortions of its networks. Capturing the
textures of feedback—its sonic and cultural layers and vibrations—Novak
describes musical circulation through sound and listening, recording and
performance, international exchange, and the social interpretations of
media. read more »
is Associate Professor of Music at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and earned the PhD in Ethnomusicology in 2006, after which he served as a postdoctoral fellow in Columbia's Society of Fellows.
The Center for Ethnomusicology Congratulates our graduating GSAS students!
Kevin HoltPhD Degree:
The Department of Music congratulates alumna Dr. Maria Sonevysky (PhD,
Ethnomusicology, 2012). Dr. Sonevytsky has been appointed as Assistant
Professor of Music at Bard College, beginning in 2014. Prior to taking
up the position at Bard, Dr. Sonevysky will be a Postdoctoral Fellow at
the Centre for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies at the University
of Toronto for 2013-14. read more »
The Center for Ethnomusicology congratulates ethnomusicology graduate program alumnus Tyler Bickford
(PhD, 2011, With Distinction), who has been appointed as a tenure-track Assistant Professor of English (in Children's Literature and Childhood Studies) at the University of Pittsburgh. read more »
Warm congratulations to our two most recent PhD graduates in Ethnomusicology, Dr. Brian Karl and Dr. Simon Calle,
both of whom defended dissertations during the 2011-12 academic year. Dr. Karl defended in November, 2011; Dr. Calle in May 2012. Abstracts of both dissertations are below.
______________________________Simon Calle:Reinterpreting the Global, Rearticulating the Local: Nueva Música Colombiana, Networks, Circulation, and Affect
This dissertation analyses identity formation through music among contemporary Colombian musicians. The work focuses on the emergence of musical fusions in Bogotá, which participant musicians and Colombian media have called “nueva música Colombiana” (new Colombian music). The term describes the work of bands that assimilate and transform North-American music genres such as jazz, rock, and hip-hop, and blend them with music historically associated with Afro-Colombian communities such as cumbia and currulao, to produce several popular and experimental musical styles. In the last decade, these new fusions have begun circulating outside Bogotá, becoming the distinctive sound of young Colombia domestically and internationally. The dissertation focuses on questions of musical circulation, affect, and taste as a means for articulating difference, working on the self, and generating attachments others and therefore social bonds and communities
This dissertation considers musical fusion from an ontological perspective influenced by actor-network, non-representational, and assemblage theory. Such theories consider a fluid social world, which emerges from the web of associations between heterogeneous human and material entities. The dissertation traces the actions, interactions, and mediations between places, people, institutions, and recordings that enable the emergence of new Colombian music. In considering those associations, it
pays close attention to the affective relationships between people and music. In that sense, instead of thinking on relatively fixed and consistent relationships between music, place, and identity, built upon discursive or imagined ties, the work considers each of these concepts as a network of relations enmeshed with each other and in consistent re- articulation.Brian Karl
Across a Divide: Mediations of Contemporary Popular Music in Morocco and Spain
This dissertation is about the mediation of cross-cultural difference among Moroccan and Spanish musical practitioners. It is based on the idea that negotiations across the gaps of such difference have been promoted through the increased circulation of people, products and ideas in the modern era. Based on fieldwork during the years 2003-2007, primarily in the urban sites of Granada, Spain and Fez, Morocco, the project focuses on popular music, how both the production and reception of music are critically bound up with notions of genre, how resulting associations of musical practice are affected by different uses of technology, and how musical practices of all types partake of and help form different ideas of belonging.
The understanding of genres of musical expression by listeners and performers alike serves a similar function in demonstrating affiliation with certain in-groups or belief in certain ideologies: e.g., of ethnic or national belonging; or of modern, cosmopolitan access. Tracking not only performance of certain genres but discourse about those genres provides clues to how crucial cultural and political differences are understood and mediated.
Key sites for research included official venues for public concerts and cultural tourism, but also more everyday spaces of musical production and reception such as bars and cafes, homes, taxis, streets, parks, and small retail shops. In the course of my research I attended dozens of performances and rehearsals by professional and amateur musicians, trailed selected working musical groups over many months as they pursued their performance practices, and interviewed both music producers and music listeners in many different contexts.
In the course of explicating the processes of musical production and reception in these locales, the project explores a broad set of related topics while framing the overall investigation theoretically. These topics include questions of migration in the modern era, of cosmopolitanism in various forms as a response to increased cross-cultural contacts due to various human movements, as well as consideration of crucial aspects of modernity– e.g. colonialism, nationalism, globalization, and cultural, economic and technological development–-all of which have been significant for cultural practices in Morocco, and among Moroccan emigrants to Spain and elsewhere in recent generations
Congratulations to Dr. Lauren Ninoshvili
(PhD, 2010, Ethnomusicology), who has accepted a two year appointment
as an American Council of Learned Societies New Faculty Fellow in the
Department of Music at New York University!
Ninoshvili is an adjunct professor of music at Barnard College
(2010-12), teaching courses on music history and offering a thesis
seminar for Barnard Special Majors in Ethnomusicology.
Dr. Ninoshvili's doctoral dissertation is entitled "Singing Between the Words: The Poetics of Georgian Polyphony." It was sponsored by Prof. Fox. The abstract appears below.
Singing Between the Words: The Poetics of Georgian Polyphony
is a strange paradox in Georgia‘s relation to the West which has
emerged in ever sharper detail with the passage of time since the
collapse of the Soviet Union. Geographically and culturally, Georgia is
borderline but not quite fully exotic, oriental: located at the gates of
Asia and the Muslim Middle East, it is one of the oldest Christian
countries and a rare Caucasian nation oriented primarily towards the
European sphere of influence for the last two centuries.
precisely this slippery boundary between comfortable familiarity and
exotic impenetrability that language in Georgian song—my chief object of
inquiry in this dissertation—embodies. The search for meaning in the
obscure, archaic, or conventionally unintelligible often emerges
concomitantly with narratives of cultural loss at moments of radical
social, political, and economic upheaval or transformation, and the
Georgian case is no exception. The present dissertation therefore posits
the paired expressive-communicative modes of language and music as a
lens for inquiry into (un)intelligibility as a salient aesthetic and
political trope in the turmoil and ideological anomie of postsocialist
Georgia, approaching it through a specifically music-centered
ethnography of non-referential sung language, or vocables, in
traditional and newer, globally oriented Georgian song. It explores
variable and shifting tropes of interpretive ambiguity as produced by
artist-performers and intellectuals, poets and politicians in the
of everything from trans-rational linguistic futurism to the building
of civic consciousness based on a primordial, archaeological imagination
of the nation, to the need to make the Georgian language-music gestalt
globally accessible so that world music listeners will buy it. My
specific discussion of contemporary Georgian world music poses broader
questions for the discipline of ethnomusicology as a whole: How can the
study of language in world music serve as a forum for the exploration of
non- referential forms of intercultural communication and
meaning-making? How can studies of sound and listening as such be
rejoined to studies of properly musical creativity and expression,
beginning from the voice itself?
The Center for Ethnomusicology and the PhD Prorgram in Ethnomusicology at Columbia warmly congratulate Dr. Farzaneh Hemmasi
(PhD, 2010, Ethnomusicology), who has accepted an appointment as Assistant Professor of Music (tenure track) at The University of Toronto.
Dr. Hemmasi is currently an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the
Penn Humanities Forum at the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Hemmasi's dissertation was advised by Prof. Ana Maria Ochoa, and is entitled "Iranian Popular Music in Los Angeles: Mobilizing Media, Nation and Politics." The dissertation is
an ethnographic and historical study of the Iranian exile music
industry that emerged in Southern California after popular music was
banned in Iran following the 1978-79 Revolution. Drawing on interviews
with musicians and media producers, Dr. Hemmasi's work demonstrates the
many transformations Persian-language musiqi-ye pop has
undergone since its inception in the 1950s from a symbol of cosmopolitan
modernity, to a banned cultural form in the revolution, to a medium for
exiles' aesthetic recombination and circulation of Iran.
The Center for Ethnomusicology and the Graduate Program in Ethnomusicology in the Department of Music at Columbia University
Annual Report for 2007-8
(click photo to enlarge)
2007-8 has been a very busy and successful year for the Center for Ethnomusicology and the Ethnomusicology graduate program at Columbia, and there is an abundance of good news to report!
read more »