Join us at the American Musicological Society Annual Meeting

This week the 2017 American Musicological Society’s annual meeting convenes in Rochester, New York and AMS members can save 40% on new and forthcoming titles when they visit our booth in the exhibit hall.

If you cannot attend the meeting, the discount is available online for 15 days after the show—use source code 17E9198 online (enter code at checkout).

Meanwhile get an early look at some of the titles we’ll have on view:

          
 

          
 

          

We are also offering a chance to win a free paperback copy of one of our Luminos Open Access music titles. The digital editions are always free (visit luminosoa.org to download), but please visit our booth at AMS to enter to win a print copy of your choice of either Keys to Play by Roger Moseley or Instruments for New Music by Thomas Patteson.

     

Watch this space through the weekend for more #amsroc17 posts, with free content from UC Press journals and more.


Martha Feldman Wins the Otto Kinkeldey Award at AMS in Vancouver

We are delighted to announce that Martha Feldman was awarded the Otto Kinkeldey Award for her book, The Castrato: Reflections on Natures and Kinds, last week at the American Musicological Society’s annual conference.

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The Otto Kinkeldey Award each year honors a musicological book of exceptional merit published during the previous year by a scholar who is past the early stages of his or her career. “Early stages” of the career is normally considered to mean no more than ten years beyond completion of the Ph. D. degree.

Recently released in paperback, The Castrato: Reflections on Natures and Kinds has received considerable praise from reviewers, and we’re proud that Martha’s work has earned this significant recognition.

“Rich in scholarship and filled with subtle analysis.”
—Colm Tóibín, London Review of Books
“This is a remarkable book. . . . An impressive achievement.”
—Nicholas Clapton, Early Music
“Meticulously researched, beautifully written and richly illustrated . . . In this book, as erudite as it is gripping, there is little to criticize.”
Cultural History
For related content, see our series of posts relating to  or other awards-related news.

Warsaw Autumn: Making New Music in Cold War Poland

This post is part of a blog series leading up to the American Musicological Society annual conference taking place in Vancouver, Canada from November 3–6. Please visit our booth if you are attending, and otherwise stay tuned for more content related to our Music books and journals programs.


by Lisa Jakelski, author of Making New Music in Cold War Poland: The Warsaw Autumn Festival, 1956-1968

Jakelski cover Making New Music in Cold War PolandWhat can institutions tell us about contemporary art music? The Warsaw Autumn festival provides some intriguing answers to this question. Launched in 1956 (and still running today), the Warsaw Autumn was at the heart of a vibrant musical culture in Poland whose diversity and modernity were unique in Cold War Eastern Europe. Electronic music from West Germany, symphonies from the Soviet Union, sonic experiments from Poland, and avant-garde dance from the United States—these were just some of the things a festivalgoer could see and hear in the 1950s and ‘60s.

The Warsaw Autumn fascinates me because of its unique location during the Cold War. At the time, the festival was on the cultural fault line between East and West, and, as a result, it was a place where there were heated debates about what new music could (and should) be. I’ve been just as intrigued by the stories of the people who’ve been involved with the festival. In writing this book I’ve encountered savvy composers, traveling performers, wheeling-and-dealing cultural officials, partisan critics, curious tourists, and rioting audiences. Telling their stories has allowed me to present new music as a social phenomenon—the creation of many different actors working through institutions. Following the journeys of people, objects, and ideas has also led me to a more nuanced understanding of Eastern Europe during the Cold War. Instead of being muffled by an Iron Curtain, musicians in Poland, through the Warsaw Autumn festival, were able to participate meaningfully in networks that stretched across the world.


Lisa Jakelski is Associate Professor of Musicology at the Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester.


What Mozart and Super Mario Have in Common

This post is part of a blog series leading up to the American Musicological Society annual conference taking place in Vancouver, Canada from November 3–6. Please visit our booth if you are attending, and otherwise stay tuned for more content related to our Music books and journals programs.

This post is also in honor of International Open Access Week, October 24–30, 2016. At publication date, a free ebook version of this title will be available through Luminos, University of California Press’s Open Access publishing program for monographs. Visit www.luminosoa.org to learn more.


by Roger Moseley, author of Keys to Play: Music as a Ludic Medium from Apollo to Nintendo

Keys to Play cover MoseleyIn languages ranging from French to Turkish and German to Japanese, the verb “to play” is applicable to both games and instrumental music. But what kinds of games might we be playing when we play music? Johan Huizinga, the founder of modern play studies, remarked in 1939 that “it seems probable that the link between play and instrumental skill is to be sought in the nimble and orderly movements of the fingers.” Growing up, I was vaguely aware of parallels between the hours I spent at the piano keyboard and the computer keyboard, or with Nintendo gamepad in hand. Exercises of dexterous timing and the navigation of obstacles in the form of double thirds or Goombas occupied me throughout my childhood. Decades later, when writing Keys to Play, I found myself articulating my sense of what exactly these activities have in common and how they might illuminate one another.

I was particularly intrigued by how Huizinga’s focus on “the nimble and orderly movements of the fingers” hints at a genealogy of digitality that links fingers to numbers and fortepianos to game controllers. Since its earliest musical incarnations, the keyboard has materialized and arrayed bits of information, making them available for processing by both humans and machines. Keys and buttons represent bits as spatially divergent entities that are configured and mapped according to cultural memory, the elements of which are stored and retrieved by recourse to notes, letters, numbers, tunings, and temperaments. Temporally, the keyboard enables these bits to be processed in sequence, configuring strings of events that can be programmed (composed), executed in real time (performed), or both at once (improvised).

At the same time, keyboards afford analogical modes of play. From the clavichord’s infinite sensitivity to the Guitar Hero controller’s cheerful fakery, both the isomorphism and the discrepancy between digital action and sonic outcome activates the logic of mimesis, revealing the senses in which play unfolds in a subjunctive mood. Under the rubric of make-believe or fantasy, we play as if things might be otherwise.

To alight on another point of linguistic contact between music and games, in both cases the “score” is indicative of a need to objectify and quantify the outcome of a playful process. To score, etymologically, is to mark: to tally, in the case of games, and to prescribe, in the case of music. In this sense, a score describes and constitutes the ludic rules according to which the music is to be played. Throughout Keys to Play, I wanted to conceive of figures such as Mozart and Beethoven not as composers in the traditional sense, but as game designers, creators who engineered playful adventures for themselves and others to act out.

These connections help explain why Keys to Play considers the playing of Mozart’s keyboard concertos and Nintendo’s New Super Mario Bros. Wii side by side (and even goes so far as to mash them up). Shuttling between the digital and the analog, between the concrete and the fantastical, between the nimbleness of eighteenth-century fingers and the wanderings of the twenty-first-century imagination, musical play enables us to act as if the world were—or might yet become—a more wondrous place.


Roger Moseley is Assistant Professor of Music at Cornell University. Active as a collaborative pianist on modern and historical instruments, he has published essays on the interface of the keyboard, the performativity of digital games, the practice of eighteenth-century improvisation, and the music of Brahms.


Louisville’s All Ears For the 2015 American Musicological Society Meeting!

University of California Press welcomes music scholars and enthusiasts to the 2015 American Musicological Society Annual Meeting. The meeting convenes November 12-15 in Louisville, Kentucky.

Please visit us at booth 202 in the Galt House Hotel’s Grand Ballroom A to purchase our latest musicology publications. We’re also offering the following promotions to attendees:

  • 40% conference discount on all orders
  • Request exam copies to consider for adoption
  • Win $100 worth of books! Join our eNews subscription

Our award winning list explores subjects ranging from classical music, jazz, and technology. We also publish the Journal of the American Musicological Society, and will offer special subscription rates for attendees.

Please see our flyer at our booth for our latest offerings. Acquisitions and marketing staff will be available for your publishing questions.

Follow @AMS_musicology for current meeting news.