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General Editor’s Preface

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18177/sym.2019.59.sr.11438

Our first release of 2019, issue 59.1, is refreshing in many ways. It features some compelling academic research in musicology and music theory, but has a strong practical focus, as several of our authors interestingly look to the past for guidance into the future. In Andrew Adams Forum, he harkens back to the simple tenant, that if we want to achieve true quality as performers, we need to practice “the hard parts.” Adams emphasizes his position with 1918 words of wisdom from a teacher to his students:

Do you wish to become an artistic player? Then realize, once and for all, that the secret lies in that very passage before you…The time is now…If you do not conquer it, you might be confident that the desired prize will always evade your grasp… To fall below a high ideal at each passage is to be eternally amateurish, everlastingly second-rate.

In Critchfield’s Forum essay, he discusses the connection between performance-based music education and character development, reminding us that music has long been considered a tool to foster considerate behavior in high school students and prepare them to be productive members of society. Our Book Reviews include Paise’s review of Beverly Jerold’s Music Performance Issues: 1600-1900, a monograph that is actually comforting to performers of today, since it explores the way in which musicians of the past encountered live performance problems, often in the same manner we do today--for instance, having to use the organ to cover bad voices; or struggling with rhythmic unevenness, especially before the invention of the metronome. Baranello reviews Gundula Kreuzer’s Curtain, Gong, Steam: Wagnerian Technologies of Nineteenth-Century Opera, which delves into the way in which items that would be considered mundane in present times, like the curtain, are “technologies” of the 19th century that had an impact on opera. DeVoto reviews Clair de lune by Gurminder Kaur Bhogal, which interestingly unpacks this famous Debussy piece in great detail.

Along with Forum essays of Adams and Critchfield, our issue includes an essay by Radio Cremata that encourages teachers to be more amenable to popular music in education, if only to break through the school music cultural bubble that presently supports a non-pop repertoire. And a Forum by Guberman challenges us as educators to rethink terms like “greatness” and “genius” and instead to “highlight the legitimate contributions that students make to a variety of aspects.” Sabrina Clarke’s essay provides a variety of tips for instructors to help students prepare for theory exams, starting with transparency of test structure and content—which she asserts actually enhances critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Full-length articles in issue 59.1 cover useful information for instructors, especially those with private music studios: Manning, et al, in “Recruitment and Retention in the Applied Music Studio” analyzes recruitment and retention practices that have been in existence for the past 40 years in conservatories and universities; and Davis in “Concept-Based Pedagogy” explores alternative pedagogical approaches in the studio, beyond the master-apprentice system. In the subsequent article, “A Glimpse into High School Students’ Reactions to Creating Music,” Freedman and Reeder turn to secondary school students and the positive outcomes developed by introducing them to music creation and composition through modern technologies.

As for scholarly research in issue 59.1, Barraza-Gerardino analyses works of the living Colombian composer Juan Antonio Cuéllar, exploring the manifestations of folk/popular and contemporary influences in two of his compositions. And musicologist Alice Clark takes us back in time to Carissimi’s Jephte (ca 1650) as she reconsiders the work through the lens of Jesuit spirituality, noting the possibility that the lament may have been used to facilitate a Jesuit participatory process.

Featured in the Performance, Lectures, Lecture-Recital section is a video and transcript of Michael Hix’s lecture/performance “Transforming Postwar East Germany through Song: Paul Dessau’s Lieder composed for Lin Jaldati.” The reviewer of this video, John Nix, informs us of the wealth of details unraveled in Hix’s intriguing biographical sketch of composer and performers in post-war Germany.

The Technology reviews section covers Soundtrap, an online browser-based DAWs that students can use anywhere, with any kind of computer; a review of OWOW’s MIDIS and how this technology can permit one to manipulate sound with hand gestures; a review of Seaquence, a fun composition App.

And there are two audio reviews in this issue, that of the English pop band Prefab Sprout’s I Trawl the Megahertz, which is a re-mastering of an earlier release; and a recording of the jazz-blues guitarist Corey Christiansen entitled Dusk. In all, issue 59.1 is full of informative and dynamic articles, essays, and reviews that will be of much interest to CMS membership and beyond.

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Last modified on Monday, 10/06/2019

Lisa A. Urkevich

LISA URKEVICH, PhD, is currently Senior Advisor, Music, to the General Culture Authority of Saudi Arabia. Previously, she was a Professor of Musicology/Ethnomusicology at the American University of Kuwait where she was the founding Division Head (Dean) of the Arts and Humanities. In 2015-2016 she served as a visiting fellow at Harvard University. Before moving to the Middle East, as a two-time Senior Fulbright Scholar, Urkevich was a professor of Musicology/Ethnomusicology at Boston University where she held a joint position in the College of Fine Arts, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. She has taught both western and non-western music courses at a variety of institutions including Bucknell University and the University of Maryland. She holds four degrees in music: PhD University of Maryland, MM Florida State University, BS Towson University, BA University of Maryland Baltimore County.

Urkevich is a specialist in the performing culture of the Arabian Peninsula, where she has undertaken fieldwork for almost two decades. She is the author of Music and Traditions of the Arabian Peninsula: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Qatar (New York/London: Routledge: 2015), lauded as “among a handful of the best books on traditional music” (Roots World), and “one of the most comprehensive books on music anywhere in the Middle East and North Africa” (The National).

Along with ethnomusicological work, Urkevich is an established historical musicologist. Through her Renaissance music publications, she proved in two separate studies that precious surviving music books were not the possessions of royal men as formerly believed but were the books of women (Anne Boleyn; and Anne of France). Her findings have an impact on a myriad of factors, including the dating and source stemmas of major compositions.

Urkevich is a former editor of the International CPE Bach Edition, for whom she worked for two years. For seven years she was the Film/Video Reviews Editor of the Yearbook for Traditional Music (UNESCO). She is the 2015 recipient of the Alumna of the Year Award at the University of Maryland. www.urkevich.com