From the Editors

Welcome to Volume 18 of Ethnomusicology Review, featuring peer-reviewed articles, prize-winning papers, and Sounding Board essays from the past year. This year’s major change is the dramatically expanded Sounding Board section, which now features new essays published once or twice a week throughout the year. Complementing our annual collection of peer-reviewed articles and prize-winning papers, Volume 18 includes an index of all Sounding Board pieces published in the last twelve months, comprising book and media reviews, notes from the field, and invited essays on jazz scholarship, historical perspectives in ethnomusicology, and views from the world of archiving.

A Tradition of Innovation

Volume 18 and the expanded Sounding Board continue the tradition of innovation that has come to be Ethnomusicology Review’s signature, by remaining on the frontiers of publishing technology and by continually reimagining the nature of ethnomusicological discourse. This tradition of innovation dates to our inception as a journal in 1984, with the first wave of technical innovations occurring in Volume 3 (1987): “[The journal’s] new look is due to the use of the technology available to us through micro-computers and high quality laser-printers. We are excited by our success with this new format and by the possibilities it affords us and our authors” (“From the Editors”). We feel the same way about our current Web 2.0 format. Volume 3 also included responses by eleven scholars to a single article, a precedent for the responsorial scholarship that we embrace. Another precedent for our critical approach to scholarship was the notion of “Features” created by the editors of Volume 8 (1997): “They are intended to provide a forum for the free exchange of ideas outside the staid and confining medium of the scholarly paper, and anything which is relevant to the practice of ethnomusicology is appropriate” (“From the Editors” 4).

The Sounding Board in its original form dates to Volume 11 (2006), created as a space for invited essays commenting on the nature of ethnomusicological scholarship. It was fittingly inaugurated by Jacqueline Cogdell DjeDje’s essay “Scholarly Authority,” in which she encouraged graduate students not to become “clones” of their advisors and mentors, but to examine the inherited traditions of the ethnomusicological discipline with a critical mind. Later Sounding Board essays, such as David Shorter’s explanation of how “multimodal scholarship [...] enables more interconnectedness between topics, disciplines, and scholarship” and A Tribe Called Red’s powerful audiovisual remix of materials from ethnomusicology archives continued to push the envelope. In last year’s Volume 17, the academic article was reimagined as an inherently dialogical text, and “musicking about music” was embraced as a viable discursive contribution—what the editors called “the multidirectional production of knowledge” (Vol 17, “Moving Beyond Words”).

Now a year shy of our 30th anniversary, Ethnomusicology Review is an established presence in the field, one whose tradition of continual innovation demands that we uphold scholarly rigor while remaining on the cutting edge of publishing technology and the possibilities for scholarly discourse. We hope you find Volume 18 up to the task.

Volume 18

This year’s peer-reviewed articles exemplify the geographic and thematic diversity of our field. Marko Aho’s innovative and media-rich article explores the significance and execution of virtuosic gestures in “gypsy swing” jazz. Benjamin Doleac traces rhythmic tropes of New Orleans’ second line music through its incarnations in jazz, funk, and R&B. With sensitive application of both native Hawaiian poetic logic and ethnomusicological theory, Keola Donaghy proposes a novel conceptual framework for interpreting the lyrical mele genre. María Mercedes Liska’s Spanish-language article reexamines the revitalization of Argentine tango music and dance in the 1990s as a cypher for neoliberal values; her contribution also furthers Ethnomusicology Review’s mission to broach linguistic and geographic barriers in music scholarship. Justin Patch’s examination of the musical choices and motivations of Austin anti-war movement organizers also includes a timely coda on the musical implications of the recent Occupy movement. Finally, we have once again published a number of prize-winning papers from regional Society for Ethnomusicology (SEM) chapter conferences. Each of these four articles makes its own novel contribution to our field, and together they serve as a review of excellent new scholarship by SEM students.

Sounding Board

The book and media reviews, notes from the field, interviews, and invited essays that often took their place alongside the peer-reviewed articles and prize-winning papers in previous volumes of Ethnomusicology Review have been shifted to our Sounding Board section. We have included an index of this superb body of scholarship in Volume 18 for the reader’s convenience and to provide a snapshot of our publishing activity over the past twelve months; numerous Sounding Board pieces also speak directly to the themes and issues raised by this year’s peer-reviewed articles.

Sounding Board essays are often similar to traditional academic writing, though they may also embrace more exploratory conclusions, media-rich discourse, and opinionated dialogue. The pieces indexed in Volume 18 originally appeared in six thematic columns:

  • What’s Goin’ On, curated by Scott Linford, offers informal essays, editorials and reviews pertaining to music-related projects, events, and publications/media.
  • Notes from the Field, curated by Eric Schmidt, provides music scholars a space to share their fieldwork experiences and network with colleagues with similar research interests.
  • Space is the Place, curated by Alex W. Rodriguez, makes room for discussion regarding the intersections between ethnomusicology and jazz studies.
  • Historical Perspectives, curated by Kristina Nielsen, is a space to share nascent thoughts and scholarship pertaining to music of both the distant and recent past.
  • Bring the Noise, curated by Mike D’Errico, gathers contributions from the interdisciplinary field of popular music studies.
  • From the Archives, curated by Maureen Russell, highlights noteworthy items in the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive’s collection and news from the world of archiving in general.

While the index of Sounding Board posts on the Volume 18 page includes only posts associated with the 2013 publication year, these six columns will continue to be updated weekly on the Sounding Board home page.

A Global Scholarly Community

Since the release of Volume 17 in November 2012, the Ethnomusicology Review site has received 30,000 unique visitors and over 75,000 pageviews. Just under fifty percent of our readers accessed the site from the United States; forty-two other countries had at least a hundred unique visitors and 116 countries had at least five visitors. By reading and contributing to Ethnomusicology Review, you are participating in a truly global community of people interested in thoughtful dialogue about music. We hope you enjoy the fruits of our tradition of innovation contained herein.

Scott V. Linford's picture
Scott V. Linford

Scott V. Linford is a doctoral candidate in Ethnomusicology at UCLA. His research approaches music as key feature of experiential senses of community, through fieldwork in West Africa, Central America, and the United States. An award-winning filmmaker and banjoist, Scott formerly served as Editor-in-Chief of Ethnomusicology Review and Director of the UCLA Bluegrass and Old Time Ensemble. 

Alyssa Mathias's picture
Alyssa Mathias

Alyssa Mathias is a PhD student in ethnomusicology at UCLA, where her research focuses on music of the Armenian diaspora. She received her MA from UCLA and a BA from the University of Chicago. A violinist and singer, Alyssa performs a wide variety of music from Europe and the Middle East. She was the Managing Editor for Volumes 18 and 19 of Ethnomusicology Review.

Alex W. Rodriguez's picture
Alex W. Rodriguez

Alex W. Rodriguez is a writer, improviser, trombonist and PhD candidate in ethnomusicology at UCLA. He founded the Sounding Board subsection Space is the Place in 2013 and served as Editor in Chief for Ethnomusicology Review in 2014.

Alex studied trombone performance Amherst College, and completed a Master of Arts degree in Jazz History and Research at Rutgers University, where he wrote his thesis on early jazz trombonist Jack Teagarden and studied trombone with Conrad Herwig.

His current research focuses on jazz clubs around the world and the creative improvised music communities that surround them, with case studies in California, Chile, and Siberia. He is currently conducting fieldwork at the Santiago jazz club Thelonious, Lugar de Jazz.

Alex also contributes jazz coverage to NPR Music and maintains a blog, Lubricity. He also co-founded the UCLA Omni-Musicality Group, and has served as the Brass Instructor and Curriculum Director for the Santa Monica Youth Orchestra and PS1 Elementary School.

Mike D'Errico's picture
Mike D'Errico

Mike D’Errico is a PhD candidate in the UCLA Department of Musicology and the Digital Humanities Graduate Certificate Program. His research interests and performance activities include hip-hop and electronic dance music, video games and generative media, and sound studies. He is currently the technical editor for Ethnomusicology Review, as well as web editor for Echo: A Music-Centered Journal. His writings appear in the Journal on the Art of Record Production, Association for Recorded Sound Collections Journal, Oxford Handbooks Online, and the Cambridge Companion to Hip-Hop. For research and creative samples, check out his website at derricomusic.com.

Eric J. Schmidt's picture
Eric J. Schmidt

Eric J. Schmidt is a PhD student in the UCLA Department of Ethnomusicology. His primary research interests address music of the Sahara and Sahel regions of northwest Africa, particularly in Niger and Mali. He earned his MA from UCLA and his BA in Music (Jazz Studies) from American University, and has been a performer of Scottish highland bagpipe, saxophone, and ‘ud, among other instruments. Eric is currently Managing Editor for the Ethnomusicology Review Sounding Board.

Darci Sprengel's picture
Darci Sprengel

Darci Sprengel is currently a PhD student in the UCLA Department of Ethnomusicology. She received a BMA in viola performance and BA in Middle Eastern studies from the University of Michigan in 2010. From 2010 to 2011 she spent a year working with musicians in Egypt and studying Arabic at the University of Alexandria. Her current interests include new music from the Middle East, community art projects, sound in urban spaces, and gender and feminist studies. She is the reviews editor of Ethnomusicology Review.