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Gulf Islands B/C/D • Friday Afternoon, 2:00–5:00

Poster Presentations

AMS

Denise Odello (University of Minnesota)

Tradition, Audience, and Performance Style in Collegiate Marching Musical Performance

Dana Gorzelany-Mostak, Mark Misinco, Cannon McClain, and Sarah Kitts (Georgia College)

Trail Trax: A Campaign Music Database

Mia Tootill (Cornell University)

Mapping Paris Theaters: A Digital Dissertation Appendix

Abstracts

Tradition, Audience, and Performance Style in Collegiate Marching Musical Performance

Denise Odello (University of Minnesota)

When considering the role of the audience, reception studies must rely on written reports for historical musical styles. However there are a number of contemporary traditions where the audience has a significant impact on performance practices, and this relationship can be observed both historically and in live performance. Marching musical performances at the collegiate level in the United States are often integral components of campus events and contribute to the identities of the performers and audiences involved. Audiences have strong stylistic expectations that are built on historical precedent. Musical performance takes on aspects of ritual, where participants expect specific actions in an anticipated order. In the case of marching musical performances that rely on arrangements of pre-existing music rather than newly composed material, the audience expects references that are common to the community’s experience and convey a shared meaning. Ensembles choose repertoire that is familiar to the audience in order to create specific types of references, either from the history of the institution of from popular culture. Specific visual elements, especially formations, are anticipated by the audience and provoke an especially strong reaction. This poster will present three examples of contrasting performance styles shaped by audience expectation: a traditional or “show band” style as represented by the University of Michigan’s Michigan Marching Band; a style typical of a historically black institution as represented by the Jackson State University’s Sonic Boom of the

South; and a military style as represented by Texas A&M University’s Fightin’ Texas Aggies Band. There is little critical discussion of this musical tradition, so I have used documentary evidence, observation of current performance practices, and personal interviews to create stylistic profiles for each of these institutions, including both visual and musical practices. Additionally, I will present material that illustrates how these performance practices express the cultural identity of the ensemble and institution, thereby fulfilling its role for audiences. The visual element of the presentation will include core repertoire, representative formations, typical steps, and other visual elements such as dance and uniforms. If possible, video performances where all elements can be seen working together will also be available.

Trail Trax: A Campaign Music Database

Dana Gorzelany-Mostak, Mark Misinco, Cannon McClain, and Sarah Kitts (Georgia College)

Presidential campaign music is a growing topic of interest in both academic and journalistic circles (Gosa and Nielson 2015, Schoening and Kasper 2011). The open-access website Trax on the Trail establishes a space where scholars, educators, students, and the public can learn and share ideas about American presidential campaign music and gain insight into how sound participates in forming candidate and party identity. Our forty-two-member interdisciplinary team includes academic experts from the fields of political science, musicology, sociology, history, communications, media studies, and ethnomusicology, as well as industry professionals and students, who contribute essays, podcasts, and educational materials to the site.

The research our team carries out on this topic is facilitated by Trail Trax, a MySQL database that documents music usage on the 2016 campaign trail: Our team of student researchers catalogues:

Trail Trax allows users to run musical searches by composer/performer, date, location, genre, and candidate. Individual entries include a hypertext link to the candidate’s song or video, performance notes, and in some instances, music analysis. The availability of multiple search filters allows users to research the music strategy of a particular candidate, create a snapshot of the soundscape on a given day, investigate the evolution of the soundscape over the course of the election, or create a catalogue of sounds heard in a particular city. For our poster, we will demonstrate the capabilities of Trail Trax as a research tool and outline strategies for utilizing the database in music history classes. Ultimately, our demonstration will show how campaign music can be a useful tool for engaging students with a variety of topics, including performance studies, audio-visual analysis, gender, and place.

Mapping Paris Theaters: A Digital Dissertation Appendix

Mia Tootill (Cornell University)

Walking through the streets of Paris in 1835, an inhabitant of the city would have passed over forty theaters. More emerged throughout the century, but studies have largely focused on the major institutions, particularly the Opéra. Recent scholarship on nineteenth-century France has called for increased consideration of Paris’s broader theatrical climate (Fauser and Everist, ed., Music, Theater, and Cultural Transfer: Paris, 1830–1914, 2009). However, there are numerous challenges in both accessing information about the smaller venues and moving past the long-held narrative of singular dominance and success. How, then, can we change the discourse to one that recognizes the diverse environment? Is there a way we can imaginatively transport ourselves back to a time when many Parisians would have been as familiar with the Théâtre du Vaudeville as the Opéra?

This poster displays the data visualization project “Mapping Paris Theaters”—a website that uses GIS to showcase pre- and post-Haussmannian historical maps of the city with digitally plotted theaters, and serves as a repository of relevant archival information. My dissertation seeks to break down some of the artificial boundaries separating the theaters that have arisen since the nineteenth century. By visualizing the venues alongside one another, my project forces its audience to consider all of them simultaneously—a spatial digital humanities approach advocated for by scholars including Eyvind Eide. The maps further highlight the importance the urban locale played in the musical life of the city and provide users with tools for reimagining lost performances, alongside and/or in lieu of performance materials.

Using network analysis, my project additionally allows users to explore the connections between the theaters. One can choose a work from the Opéra and explore its journey across Paris—from melodrama precursors to the subsequent parody adaptations. By presenting this project as a poster, I aim to provoke extensive discussion of how new methodological approaches to opera studies might arise from using digital tools and creating (open-access) digital resources. Furthermore, it offers an example of how one might develop a digital dissertation appendix and demonstrates the value of using a combination of media to talk about theatrical repertoire.