Tagung: First meeting of the Popular Music Studies Research Group (University of Huddersfield)

University of Huddersfield:
Popular Music Studies Research Group
15th January 2014 – Phipps Recital Hall, University of Huddersfield

The University of Huddersfield is pleased to announce the first meeting of its Popular Music Studies Research Group. It is to be held on 15th January 2014 at 1.15pm in Phipps Recital Hall (CAM2/06) in the CAB (combined arts building), at the main campus in the city centre, (University of Huddersfield, Queensgate, Huddersfield HD1 3DH). There is plentiful parking nearby, and the train station is a 15 minute walk. The event will aim to finish by 4.15pm.

The meeting will include research presentations from Prof. Philip Tagg (Visiting Research Professor at the University of Huddersfield), Prof. Derek Scott (Professor of Critical Musicology at the University of Leeds) and Dr. Simon Zagorski-Thomas (Reader at the London College of Music), who will be discussing their current research.

We will take the opportunity to discuss possible future research activities, and the direction of the group. It is anticipated the group will meet for a few hours perhaps 3-5 times a year. As well as bringing together researchers from across the University of Huddersfield with relevant research interests, it will aim to provide an opportunity for researchers in the North of England who are interested in popular music, to meet up and work together .

Derek B Scott:
„Invention and Interpretation in Popular Music Historiography“

Invention in popular music historiography may be prompted by a desire to solve a problem, to provide a missing piece of a narrative, or to stimulate interest in a particular style or genre. Invention and interpretation often come together, as happened in the effort to establish the categories of “folk music” and “world music.” Sometimes the invention of one category necessitates the invention of another, as in the case of leichte Musik and ernste Musik. Many categories, including classifications of style and genre, are notoriously difficult to pin down. Genres keep breaking up into sub genres, and a musical style is subject to the tension between its conventions and the fingerprints of the individual artist. My paper scrutinizes examples of invention and interpretation, and speculates on the reasons why a historian or critic might take one or the other direction. I draw examples, for the most part, from historical and anthropological assertions regarding ethnicity, class, and gender in the production and consumption of popular music. Invention may be simply guesswork, or it may be a means of giving substance to a prejudice. It is important to distinguish between the imposition of pre-existing ideas and the effort to interpret identifiable musical phenomena. I argue that we should always acknowledge any quandary (aporia) w e encounter, and make readers aware that historiography deals with confusion as well as elucidation.

Philip Tagg:
„The epistemological heart of popular music studies“

What superficially seem like formalities in fact go to the epistemological heart of how popular music studies (and mass media studies in general) differ not only from conventional music studies but also from the logocentric modes of knowledge that rule the roost in the academic world

Simon Zagorski-Thomas:
„The Musicology of Record Production“

Simon will be discussing his forthcoming book Musicology of Record Production as well as his practice based research. More details to follow.

Popular Music Studies Research Group

The University of Huddersfield’s Popular Music Studies Research Group (PMSRG) aims to promote and advance popular music research at a national and international level and to disseminate that excellence in research to the global popular music community. It will do so by working with researchers and academics from all disciplines interested in popular music studies, as well as with musicians, composers, producers and other members of the music industry. It aims to include practice based research, study of the creative industries, as well as critical and contextual exploration of the reception and cultures of popular music.

Its approach to popular music is broad and inclusive, including commercial music, traditional and folk music, ethnomusicology, electronic dance music and a million and one other genres and styles. The definition of popular music is a long-standing thorn topic in the field, and PMSRG aims to cast its net wide.

Popular Music Studies is an interdisciplinary field that inevitably crosses boundaries of subject and discipline. PMSRG has been set up in order to develop and pull together research in this field within the university, and to provide support and encourage collegial activity between partners from different parts of the institution, and with external partners from other institutions and the music industry. We welcome all interested parties to attend meetings.

Research Aims:

  • To encourage collegial research into popular music
  • To provide mutual support for researchers active in the field of popular music
  • To foster inter-cross- and multi-disciplinary research projects related to popular music
  • To provide support for popular music research development in the institution
  • To provide opportunities to discuss subjects related to popular music research
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