Spring Meeting of AMS Allegheny : April 5th, 2014

We are proud to announce the program for the Spring Meeting of the American Musicological Society Allegheny Chapter. We’re looking forward to a diverse set of papers and research at Cleveland State University in Cleveland, Ohio.

For those attending, Click here for a .pdf of information regarding the conference including parking, hotel information, and the program. Below is the full program with abstracts:

8:30 a.m. REGISTRATION AND COFFEE [PH103, Parker Hannifan Admin. Center]


Romantic Tributes

Terry Dean (Indiana State University)

The Rachmaninoff Memorial Fund (1943-1949): Some Preliminary Observations on the Downfall of the Organization

Established in the months immediately following his death, the Rachmaninoff Memorial Fund was founded to celebrate the life and achievements of Russian émigré Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943). The principal aim of the organization was to identify through rigorous competition highly talented American pianists, composers, and conductors—areas of output which represent Rachmaninoff’s main contributions as a musician. Additionally, the Fund aspired to promote better relationships between musicians of the United States and the Soviet Union. Unfortunately, after six years of concerted effort, the organization quietly disbanded indicating a “lack of public support” and an “inability to carry out fully the purposes for which the fund was founded.” During its existence, the Fund completed only one successful competition for pianists, an effort which extended over two concert seasons (1946-47 and 1947-48). Although the Fund cites a “lack of public support” as the primary cause of its dissolution, newspapers and archival documents reveal that the organization suffered a number of significant challenges, despite the influence of its prominent membership.
In this paper, I will argue that the Rachmaninoff Memorial Fund disbanded not due to a lack of public interest in its mission, but rather as the result of a complex series of self-inflicted factors. In particular, I will reveal that the Fund embraced overzealous business practices that unnecessarily complicated its administrative structure as well as threatened its financial stability. Moreover, I will suggest that the Fund demanded an excessively rigorous performance standard informed more fully by a desire to preserve the memory of Rachmaninoff than its stated interest in identifying and promoting talented young musicians.

Taryn Kunisaki (University of Kentucky)

Franz Liszt’s Die Drei Zigeuner: “a Tribute to his Hungarian Nation and Ancestry”

Franz Liszt’s setting of Nikolaus Lenau’s Die Drei Zigeuner (1860), an impassioned song of his Hungarian nation and ancestry, serves as an apology to the public’s negative response to his publication of Des Bohemiens. Liszt utilizes a Hungarian poem about gypsies and musical icons to depict his pride in Hungary’s nationalism.
Unfortunate timing of the publication of Des Bohemiens and Liszt’s premise of his book caused an outraged response from the Hungarian public. Besides surviving and healing after the tumultuous War of Independence (1849), Imre Madach’s A Civilizator, a satire about Austria’s attempt to colonize Hungary, was also published during the same year of Des Bohemiens (1859). A combination of the topic of A Civilizator and nursing the wounds of defeat fueled people’s contempt about Liszt’s well-intended but wrong statement of Hungarian music originating from Gypsy music. After fiery commentaries and correspondences with a number of people, Liszt composed Die Drei Zigeuner to make amends and prove his loyalty to Hungary.
In this paper, through the lens of a cultural geographer, I explore Liszt’s immense respect of the Gypsies beginning since childhood, his association of the Gypsy with Hungary, the political issues involved with Des Bohemiens, and the Hungarian musical elements of Die Drei Zigeuner, expressing his apology and patriotism of Hungary. Liszt’s use of Nikolaus Lenau’s poem, musical reference of a cimbalom, Hungarian minor scales, speech like rhythms, and verbunkos creates an image of Hungary expressing Liszt’s sincere apology and tribute to his Hungarian nation and ancestry.


Anna Stephan Robinson (West Liberty University)

Correspondence between Marion Bauer and the A.P. Schmidt Company (1915-1951): Some Findings

Despite her importance, composer, writer, teacher, and American- and contemporary-music advocate Marion Bauer (1882-1955) remains somewhat obscure. As a textbook author, she proved a significant early influence on Milton Babbitt; as a critic, she was among the earliest to champion younger contemporaries such as Aaron Copland; and as a composer, she was the second woman to have a piece performed by the New York Philharmonic. Though Bauer often struggled to get her music published, some two dozen works were issued by the Arthur P. Schmidt Company of Boston, a significant publishing house in advancing the careers of women composers, as Adrienne Fried Block (1984) has noted.
In this paper, I present some preliminary findings from my study of the correspondence between Bauer and the Schmidt Company, housed in the Library of Congress. Dating from 1915 to 1951, with the bulk from the 1920s and ’30s, the 65 letters are invaluable in providing insight into the concert-music business during the early twentieth century. The most frequently occurring topics in the letters are business dealings such as Bauer’s proposals for original compositions and other projects; requests for the company to provide sheet music to performers; discussion of recent or upcoming performances; and money matters, including the payment of royalties to Bauer and the repayment of advances granted by the company. However, artistic concerns also feature significantly, ranging from both parties’ views on musical modernism to Bauer’s reflections on artistic satisfaction. She declares that some pieces feel more her “own” than others, and asserts that composers are not taken seriously until they publish in certain genres. Taken as a whole, this correspondence sheds important light on music of the early twentieth century, relations between composers and publishers, and the ambitious self-promotion of a woman composer in the prefeminism era.

Sarah Dietsche (University of Memphis)

F the President:Reactions to George W. Bush in Popular Music

“Your enemy is not surrounding your country; your enemy is ruling your country.”

In his 2003 State of the Union address George W. Bush addressed these words to Iraqi citizens but they ironically echoed the sentiments of people around the world watching America under the Bush administration. He was one of the most polarizing presidents in American history and popular musicians of all genres seized the moment to express their frustration. Using absurdity, rationality, irony, and obscenity, artists from P!nk to Public Enemy articulated their views on the president and his policies. Dissenting artists were received differently based on their timing and core audience. Some-most infamously the Dixie Chicks-paid the price for their opinions with public criticism or career failure while others met with acclaim and success.
This paper explores songs which protested President Bush and his administration through musical and lyrical analysis. Based on the main lyrical themes, the songs fall into general categories of complaints reflecting the range of societal response over the course of his presidency. I will discuss how these reactions were framed in popular music and whether they resonated or clashed with the cultural climate of the audience and the nation. This study builds on previous research of post-9/11 music by focusing on one of the most prominent themes found therein. Because of its proximity, it offers information that is of broad cultural significance and contributes to the limited but expanding musicological studies of popular music, protest music, and post-9/11 music.

12:00 p.m. LUNCH [Elements Bistro]

2:00 p.m. BUSINESS MTG. and AFTERNOON PRESENTATIONS [PH103, Parker Hannifan Admin. Center]

Classical Vienna: Common Tones and Uncommon Colds

Susan K. de Ghizé (University of Texas, Brownsville)

Mozart’s Common (yet Uncommon) Common-Tone Modulations

A common-tone modulation is technically defined as a modulation that singles out one pitch in the original key to modulate to another key that shares the same pitch. The works of such composers as Schubert and Liszt are well known for their use of typical common-tone modulations, which have evolved to imply a modulation to a distantly-related key a third away. However, the common-tone modulation actually has a diverse range of possibilities, and was quite popular with at least one earlier composer. In particular, Mozart’s compositions are rife with unconventional common-tone modulations that continually surprise the listener.
An overview of Mozart’s piano sonatas alone shows that there are no less than 50 instances in which he uses common tones to modulate. In addition to traditional usages, Mozart deploys common-tone modulations by less-typical approaches. For example, in a number of instances, Mozart uses a common tone to become the seventh of a major-minor seventh chord, or even a member of a diminished seventh chord. Mozart will also set up the listener by including one type of common-tone modulation in the exposition, while using a different type in the recapitulation. After surveying the various types of common-tone modulations, I examine Mozart’s First Piano Sonata in C major (K. 279) in detail.
In this paper, I will show how Mozart’s piano sonatas illustrate his use of common-tone modulations, which are not only as common as those used by Schubert and Liszt, but also are of the more uncommon varieties.

Theodore Albrecht (Kent State University)

Mortality and Musicians: An Epidemiology of Vienna’s Theater Orchestra Members in Beethoven’s Time

Music historians have long lamented the death of Mozart in Vienna in 1791 at the age of only 35, and have lauded Haydn’s ripe old age when he died there in 1809 at the age of 77. Beethoven, who died in 1827 at age 56, falls somewhere in the middle. Napoleonic bombardment notwithstanding, Haydn died of natural causes. Salieri may have dreamed of poisoning Mozart, but an unidentified fever that was common in Vienna in 1791-1792 killed Mozart and, three months later, Emperor Leopold as well. Beethoven died of pneumonia, a complication of cirrhosis of the liver that came through his paternal grandmother’s side of the family.
So much for the much-studied “great” musicians of Vienna’s Classical period! What about the “little guys,” the often-anonymous orchestral musicians who played their works? Identifying hundreds of these musicians from various payrolls and personnel lists in various Viennese libraries and archives has occupied fifteen summers. Fortunately, the Wiener Stadt- und Landesarchiv preserves the Totenbeschauprotokolle, the records that list the cause of each person’s death.
In this context, we encounter archaic terminology such as Nervenfieber (nerve fever) and Schleimschlag (mucous attack), but also witness many musicians dying of strokes in their 40s and 50s. The greatest killer was Lungenschwindsucht (tuberculosis). It came from smoke, damp walls, dust in the streets, and it passed from one coughing musician to another in the crowded orchestra pits. No class was spared and musicians might succumb to it in their 20s.
And then there was trombonist Clemens Messerer, who died in 1816 at age 92, and whose young widow survived him by 40 years!

Influence and Inspiration

Antonella Di Giulio (University at Buffalo)

From a “noyau” to an Invention: Following the Needs of the Imagination in Petrassi’s Invenzione #1

Emblematic figure for his profound musical knowledge and spirit of exploration as well as for his dissociation from the fundamentalist currents of his time, Goffredo Petrassi is widely considered one of the most influential Italian composers of the 20th century. Although he belongs to the same generation of composers as Dallapiccola, who had extended his activities beyond the Italian borders and was well known, the evolution of Petrassi’s work remains mostly unknown and little studied. In his work he adapted freely elements taken from various periods of the history of music and translated them into his own language, highlighting the maieutic power of music not as revision or reinterpretation of the past, but as a celebration of the historical roots.
Even though Petrassi has been very reluctant to describe his composition techniques, an important witness has been left in an unpublished letter written by the Italian composer to Elliott Carter in 1960. Taking a cue from Petrassi’s detailed description of the characteristic elements of his compositions, in this lecture performance I will analyze how he translated what Schoenberg would call “Grundgestalt” into his own original system, which is based on the extrapolation, regeneration and transformation of motivic cells, created through the elaboration within a musical terrain of a simple and short initial “noyau”. The analysis of his first Invenzione for piano will show how the power and cohesiveness of his music stems from the fact that his noyau is the unit of action and evolves within an event containing the past and the future in a rhapsodic character of “ricercari”, which is defined by Petrassi as “a series of musical events that are self-generated according to the needs of the imagination”.

Charles Perryman (Independent Scholar)

Bill Monroe, Arnold Shultz, and Travis Picking: The African-American Influence on Bluegrass Music

Bluegrass, perhaps more than any other popular music, is primarily associated with white Americans. But, like virtually all American music, bluegrass is the product of black and white musical interaction. Scholars like Robert Cantwell, Cecilia Conway, Bill Malone, and Anthony Farmelo have proven that African-American musicians have had a significant and lasting impact on Appalachian folk music, country music, and bluegrass.
Bill Monroe, the father of bluegrass, stated that one of his most significant influences was the black guitarist Arnold Shultz. Understanding the specific musical influence that Shultz had on Monroe is critical because it is the starting point of the African-American influence on bluegrass. However, so little is known about Shultz that almost no research has been done to explore this crucial moment in bluegrass history.
William E. Lightfoot, however, has shown that Shultz was the progenitor of a style of guitar playing known as Travis picking. Lightfoot concluded that by 1918, five years before Monroe met him, Shultz’s guitar playing included four elements: an alternating bass line, accompanying off-beat chord, syncopated melody, and a variety of repertoire adapted to fit the style. These musical characteristics also exist in bluegrass: the guitar and bass play an alternating bass line, there is a constant off-beat chord, bluegrass melodies are syncopated, and a bluegrass band plays a variety of repertoire. It was these characteristics that Shultz passed along to Monroe.
I intend to demonstrate the connection between Shultz and Monroe by playing and analyzing musical recordings and by examining Lightfoot’s research in detail. Because there are no recordings of Shultz, I will instead use recordings of other guitarists like Mose Rager and Ike Everly, whose styles were an intermediate step between Shultz and Merle Travis. It is my hope that this presentation will spark interest for more research in this area.



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