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UGA Music Research Symposium

The UGA Music Research Symposium, sponsored by the Musicology/Ethnomusicology area of the Hugh Hodgson School of Music, features student research on a wide range of topics related to musicology, ethnomusicology, popular music traditions, world music cultures, and music theory and analysis. 

UGA Music Research Symposium
February 2nd, 2024
Edge Recital Hall

Welcome and Coffee
9:00 - 9:10 am

Panel 1: Essence and Perception
9:10 - 10:40 am
Moderated by Dr. Stephen Valdez

“La vie souterraine: Evocations of the Supernatural in Charles Koechlin’s Cinq Chansons de Bilitis”
Arielle P. Crumley

“For the Benefit of Mr. Kite and Father McKenzie”
William Shine

“The Dance of Many Elvises: Reflections and Refractions of an Icon in Deborah Brevoort’s Blue Moon Over Memphis”
Sloan Elle Garner

Panel 2: Communicating Culture
10:50-12:20 pm
Moderated by Dr. Dickie Lee

“Articulations and Percussive Effects in Double Bass in Tango Music”
Iris Marcipar

“Let Us March On: A Journey of Racial Uplift and Social Justice”
Sydney Moore

“Connecting Caroling and Nepalese Bhailo-Deusi”
Hazael Gomes

12:20-1:50 pm

2:00pm- 3:00pm

“Sonicated Blackness in Jazz Age Shanghai: African American Musicians and the Creation of the Soundtrack of Chinese Modernity, 1925-1954”
Dr. Marketus Presswood
Assistant Professor, Spelman College

3:00-3:10 pm

Panel 3: Public Musicology
Moderated by Prof. Jennifer Stull

“Exploring the Effects of Early Implementation of Heartbeat Recording Interventions on
Bereavement Outcomes”
Karen Lee

“Rhythm and Flow with the Atlanta Suzuki Institute: Finding Common Ground
Between Arts and Music”
Saya Yim and Paula Reynaldi

“A Jingle for a Jury: A Review of Melodic Exhibits in Recent Music Plagiarism Claims”
Bethany Lambert


Panel 1:

La vie souterraine: Evocations of the Supernatural in Charles Koechlin’s Cinq Chansons de Bilitis
Arielle P. Crumley

First published in 1894, Parisian poet Pierre Louÿs’ poetry collection Les Chansons de Bilitis (The Songs of Bilitis) is remembered predominately for its erotic narrative and inclusion of lesbian themes. The collection of 158 poems narrates the life of a fictional woman in ancient Greece named Bilitis, portraying her youth and blooming sexuality, her mature relationships with both men and women, and the unhappy end of her life as an aging courtesan. After its publication, Louÿs’ poems caught the attention of composers of mélodie such as Claude Debussy and Rita Strohl who both composed song cycles (published 1899 and 1900, respectively) expressing the sensuality of Bilitis’ first relationship. Around the same time, Charles Koechlin began composing his song cycle Cinq Chansons de Bilitis (Five Songs of Bilitis), and his setting of Louÿs’ text proved to be unique in that his poetic and musical choices negate the eroticism favored by other composers of Bilitis songs; instead, he highlights another surprising thematic element present in the later portion of the story of Bilitis: death and the supernatural.
In this study, I will examine how Koechlin conveys the supernatural by utilizing the musical topics of ombra and tempesta in his Cinq Chansons de Bilitis. My analysis will center on the characteristics of ombra and tempesta as defined by theorists such as Clive McClellan, and I will apply these concepts specifically to the first and last songs of the set, “Hymne à Astarté” and “Épitaphe de Bilitis,” as these two songs represent contrasting images of the supernatural that correspond to the contrasting topics. The study of Koechlin’s use of ombra and tempesta topics in his Cinq Chansons de Bilitis not only show how a composer can musically illustrate contrasting supernatural images such as powerful deities and ghosts, but it also shows how these theoretical tools which are often applied to music of the 18th century can also be applied to changing experimental styles of the early 20th century. In fact, as I’ll explore, Koechlin’s musical style, which is characterized by dissonant intervals, modes and non-diatonic scales, and non-functional chord progressions, only enhances the frightening and otherworldly images associated with ombra and tempesta.

For the Benefit of Mr. Kite and Father McKenzie
William Shine

On August 7, 2023, the Cathedral of the Rockies, First United Methodist Church introduced a sermon/podcast series entitled “The Gospel According to the Beatles.” Over the next four weeks, Pastor Duane Anders offered “readings” of “your favorite Beatles songs through a theological lens.” Anders here takes up the mantle of Steve Turner, who’s 2006 monograph of the same title posits that the Beatles [music] often featured themes congruent with the Christian Gospel. Like Turner, Anders does not suggest that the Beatles were secretly devout or even unwitting Christians, rather both advance what might generally be called a Christian hermeneutical project; an interpretive endeavor that reveals how the universal, altruistic themes of self-actualization, peace, love, etc. embedded in many Beatles songs both function as a sort of “gospel” and are indeed congruent with the theme(s) of the Christian Gospel.
In this paper, I explore how these two hermeneuts (Anders and Turner) negotiate the primacy of the “reader” (Barthes, 1968) with mischaracterizing or misrepresenting the Beatles and their music. I am not concerned with verifying or disputing the the legibility of the Christian gospel in Beatles songs, or even to what degree the Beatles manufactured a new, original gospel. My aim here is to both describe and then demonstrate methodologies by which projects such as Tuner’s and Anders’ are viable and arguably beneficial. To support this claim, I perform my own analysis and hermeneutical interpretation of the Beatles 1969 song “Across the Universe.” Ultimately, I demonstrate how certain sonic signifiers and lyrical themes considered alongside of members’ biographies and contemporaneous sociopolitical contexts are cites of dense intertextuality and hermeneutical possibility. Like other intertextually dense materials, this song can inspire a milieu of interpretations, thus making it more meaningful/beneficial to more people.

The Dance of Many Elvises: Reflections and Refractions of an Icon in Deborah Brevoort’s Blue Moon Over Memphis
Sloan Elle Garner

The man, the myth, the legend—Elvis “The King” Presley. He reigns as one of the most recognized American idols of the 20th century. People love him, and even those who love to hate him know his voice and all that for which he stands. Pervasive Elvis nostalgia made him perfect vessel for Deborah Brevoort’s Americanized nō play since it is a form deeply rooted in reflection through collective memory. Nō is an hours-long meditation on a single emotion through dialogue, dance, gesture, poetry, and rhythm, but it requires agreement on its central figures. However, while Elvis stands out as one of the major American icons of the 20th century, he also stands out for the sheer amount of posthumous problematizations of his character in the 21st. The once dominant and somewhat unified concept of the image of Elvis—as the hip-shaking, crooning, King of Rock ‘n’ Roll—has been chipped away until his supposed mirror of a nostalgic American past has fragmented. Brevoort mimics this through her use of a multitude of aural images of Elvis—spoken text, disembodied voice, recordings, and live music—twisting nostalgic nō reflections into American refractions. All are representative of Presley, and yet none are Presley himself. She presents many images because Americans cannot and will not agree on who he is and that for which he stands. She allows the dominant image and the challenged, encroaching, subversive image to coexist, as if to say Elvis is simultaneously who one believes him to be and a version of himself which one denies and a version not yet dreamt. Brevoort uses a variety of soundings to look back in a way that is not only meditative and reflective as nō is, but also contradictory and refractive as Americans have made their King.

Panel 2:

Articulations and Percussive Effects in Double Bass in Tango Music
Iris Marcipar
In contemporary academic music concerts, the inclusion of Tango music in the repertoire has become commonplace. While Tango shares historical roots with classical music, its distinct characteristics demand focused study, particularly for the Double Bass, a vital component of Tango since 1917, introducing unique articulation techniques and percussive effects. Attempting to play Tango without a nuanced understanding of these specific effects and articulations risks misinterpretation. Traditionally, mastering these nuances involved learning from individuals in renowned Tango orchestras and consulting authoritative texts that delve into the intricacies of performance. However, there is a recognized need for a more direct path to approach the style, allowing musicians the flexibility to decide whether to delve deeper into the genre in the future.
This work presents a pedagogical proposal designed for bass players embarking on their initial exploration of Tango music or those aiming to solidify their understanding of foundational elements. The goal is to equip musicians with the necessary knowledge to accurately decipher musical scores and authentically interpret the unnotated nuances inherent in Tango compositions.

Let Us March On: A Journey of Racial Uplift and Social Justice
Sydney Moore

In the aftermath of the American Civil War, the institution of slavery which had helped to
build, develop, and advance the country for over two centuries was abolished. Four million African Americans, who hitherto were perceived as little more than livestock, were suddenly granted freedom, citizenship, and their humanity. These newly gained privileges consequently sparked a movement amongst African Americans to reinvent their identities, elevate their communities, and claim the authorities which the constitution now guaranteed them. Although the amendments meant to protect the rights of African Americans were ratified in the mid-19th century, the pursuit of progress continues to the present day and has since taken the form of several campaigns such as the Reconstructions Era in the decades following the Civil War, the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s, the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, and the Black Lives Matter Movement of the 2010s and 2020s. Each of these movements has inspired a wealth of essays, poems, and novels which are referenced and celebrated on both a national and international scale. This study will specifically examine the works of the classical composers who lived and worked during each of the previously mentioned movements and how they have contributed to the centuries long mission to fulfill the promises of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments. The different philosophies, methodologies, and levels of intentionality that governed each generation of composers will also be explored as well as the paradox of the solidarity that existed amongst African American artists despite these differences. Struggles and triumphs will be highlighted simultaneously, illuminating the harsh realities of the barriers that each composer faced whilst celebrating the victories that they accomplished, thereby inspiring succeeding generations to continue to work towards the cause of racial uplift and social justice.

Connecting Caroling and Nepalese Bhailo-Deusi
Hazael Gomes

This research endeavors to explore potential connections between the practice of Caroling among Christians during Christmas and Bhailo and Deusi observed by Hindu Nepalese, during Diwali. Caroling is a Western Christian culture and Bhailo/Deusi is a Nepalese traditional folk practice, both are from different denominations of cultural, religious, and geographical origins, and yet both are performed only during these specific religious festivities in the same pattern of fostering communal celebration by singing musical renditions performed door-to-door. This intriguing commonality motivates an investigation into potential correlations between these ostensibly distinct cultural music art forms.
Open-ended, one-on-one interviews will be the research methodology used. Interviews will be conducted with individuals representing both Nepali Hindus as well as Catholic Christian communities. These sample cases will serve as qualitative data encompassing personal narratives, experiential insights, and historical information that may have been orally passed down through the generations.
While limited audio-visual resources of Bhailo/Deusi exist online, a paucity of comprehensive research on this subject necessitates the generation of new insights through firsthand accounts. Consequently, collected interview data will be juxtaposed against the available online content to discerning patterns, thematic congruities, and musical structures. The research methodology will encompass a multifaceted exploration of the correlation of Bhailo/Deusi and Caroling by delving into their socio-cultural, historical, and structural dimensions.
Notably, Bhailo/Deusi remains a relatively unexplored area in extant research, rendering this investigation not unique but also offering a valuable intercultural and inter-religious perspective. This interdisciplinary investigation holds significance for scholars engaged in musicology, sociology, history, and cultural studies, offering a nuanced understanding of the interconnectedness between these two seemingly disparate cultural phenomena. Additionally, the study is poised to stimulate further scholarly inquiries into unexplored facets of these musical traditions, providing a foundation for future research endeavors.


“Sonicated Blackness in Jazz Age Shanghai: African American Musicians and the Creation of the Soundtrack of Chinese Modernity, 1925-1954”
Dr. Marketus Presswood

From the early 1920s, African American Jazz music and musicians of the Harlem Renaissance/The New Negro Movement embodied and promulgated ideas of modernity and freedom through their music and presence in China. Itinerant and longer-termed Black musicians from America residing in Shanghai and other semi-colonial Chinese cityscapes during the interwar years (1919-1937) fostered an alternative racially-inclusive social community outside the U.S. based on the practice and tradition of improvisational music. This music and community provided a blueprint for the potential expansion, influence and fraternity between African American and Chinese culture. Conversely, both the incumbent Chinese Nationalist Party’s and the nascent Chinese Communist Party’s interpolation of Jazz’s social and revolutionary utilization was devalued.
This talk addresses the understudied topic of Black musicians and entertainers in Shanghai from the early 1920s to the end of World War II. Despite the vast literature on Shanghai during the Republican era, there is a dearth of scholarly work during this period focused specifically on how African American Jazz musicians and their Black musical aesthetic and traditions engendered and became constitutive of Chinese Modernity. This work argues that the Black cultural production of jazz musicians not only fueled the cultural industry of Jazz Age Shanghai, but also revealed the racialization of Chinese anti-blackness, ironically, during the early formation of Sino-Black solidarity with the left-wing in China in the 1930s.

Panel 3:

Exploring the Effects of Early Implementation of Heartbeat Recording Interventions on Bereavement Outcomes
Karen Lee

Bereavement interventions provided by a board-certified music therapist may include heartbeat recordings, the recording and editing of an individual’s heartbeat prior to their passing as a form of memory making. In regards to this intervention, research shows having a prior therapeutic relationship between the family and music therapist has value, as it provides opportunities for the music therapist to better tailor this intervention to each family. However, due to limited resources, staff availability, or lack of referrals for the intervention, many heartbeat recordings have been offered and provided at end of life situations, where families may not be able to find the capacity or clarity to make decisions regarding the personalization of their heartbeat recordings. There is still limited research on how the timing of implementing this intervention may impact outcomes and perceptions of the intervention. This presentation will explore the need for empirical attention on the impact of early implementation of heartbeat recordings on bereavement outcomes, as well as families’ perception and value of the intervention. A hypothetical study outline and survey that will be utilized to collect this data will be discussed to better understand the context of the research question. The survey is designed within this study to be distributed to families and caregivers of patients 6 weeks after their loved one has passed on the condition that they have received a heartbeat recording that was taken prior to actively passing. Because end of life situations can be traumatizing and hold negative associations, the presentation aims to explore how early implementation of the heartbeat recordings may enhance the experience and perception of the intervention, as well as provide direction for future research.

Rhythm and Flow with the Atlanta Suzuki Institute: Finding Common Ground
Between Arts and Music
Saja Yim and Paula Reynaldi

In the summer of 2023, two Art Education graduate students were nominated to teach an art class for the Atlanta Suzuki Institute Summer Camp at the Hugh Hodgson School of Music.
Children ages 2 through 10 years old created musical puppets for a fantasy orchestra (complete
with a stage and a conductor) as well as three large-scale murals painted with full body
movements to the rhythm and flow of various classical composers. Needless to say, these
talented little musicians blew us away with their creativity and imagination. Combining the
children’s love for art and music through both individual and group activities resulted in
beautiful and whimsical works of art that we joked were of higher quality than some of the
work we’ve seen created by actual art majors.
The purpose of our presentation is to examine how the art and music community can work together to provide engaging, experiential learning experiences for young children. We will
discuss our lesson planning and classroom management strategies, as well as share our
reflections and takeaways from this experience. The success and novelty of our art class for
music students left a lasting impression on us as graduate students who’ve never worked in this
capacity before. It is relatively easy to plan a lesson within the confines of an individual
discipline, but the effective and seamless blending of art and music education caught both of us
off guard. Some of our students even said that the art class was their favorite class, which was a
huge compliment considering their parents paid good money to send their children to this
camp specifically for world-class music instruction. We think this was a wonderful example of
how interdisciplinary approaches to art and music education can inspire students and
strengthen community ties and partnerships on a college campus.

“A Jingle for a Jury: A Review of Melodic Exhibits in Recent Music Plagiarism Claims”
Bethany Lambert

This paper examines the practice of forensic musicology in United States music copyright litigation. Focusing on melody, I review visual aids created by forensic musicologists and presented to juries of non-musicians in recent cases. I question the reliability, continuity, and efficacy of these visuals. Finally, I introduce an additional method to consider when discussing what methodology will produce consistent and fair evidentiary exhibits.
I reviewed Williams v. Gaye and examined the different analysis of “signature phrases” of Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams’s “Blurred Lines” and Marvin Gaye’s “Got To Give it Up” by the separate Parties. I note the distinct differences between the Plaintiff’s analysis by Judith Finell and the Defendant’s analysis performed by Sandy Wilbur. I also reviewed exhibits from the claim against Ed Shereen by beneficiaries of Marvin Gay’s estate which alleges that Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” plagiarized Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On”. I then applied these different methods of melodic analysis to compare the melodies subject to a March 2022 claim against Dua Lipa’s which asserted that “Levitating” plagiarized Artikal Sound System’s “Live Your Life”.I then suggest an alternative “one staff” comparison analysis.
Music copyright cases of recent years have been wrought with unexpected verdicts and concerning presidents. Forensic Musicologists are shaping the music industry, yet there is not standard requirements for analysis except that the forensic musicologist has “special knowledge” that my help the jury. The very different visual examples provided here highlight major issues with continuity in forensic musicology. I argue that musicians and evidence experts need to form committees and initiate studies to produce standardization to music theory analysis in forensic musicology to ensure continuity and efficacy of evidence placed in front of the lay juries in music copyright cases. 

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