Must Read in Your Field
The Invention of “Folk Music” and “Art Music”: Emerging Categories from Ossian to Wagner
By Matthew Gelbart
All too often we think about categories of music in relatively fixed ways. Gelbart’s argument sheds light on the fundamental changes that took place in the 18th century when, concomitant with the rise of nationalism, conceptions of music shifted from function (e.g., music used for dance or for church) to origin (music identified by being, for instance, Scottish or, later, by a certain individual). As we see these changes taking place, we see the emergence of “folk music” and “art music” as categories that a) never previously existed b) are deeply interconnected to each other and c) have shaped how we view and value music today in all sorts of problematic and unreflective ways.
Favorite Book to Teach
The Glenn Gould Reader
Tim Page, editor
Glenn Gould was the ultimate provocateur, but in the kindest and funniest of ways. Like his wonderful and idiosyncratic performances, Gould’s prophetic writing pushes back at musical orthodoxies in ways that delight many, piss off many more, but ultimately challenge many of our deeply held beliefs about musical values and aesthetics.
For Pure Enjoyment
By Harpo Marx with Rowland Barber
One of the best autobiographies I’ve ever read. Harpo was modest, thoughtful, and really funny. The book offers a history of the Marx Brothers (whom I love) and a fascinating window into an urban, intellectual, artistic world (especially the Algonquin Round Table) that Harpo—even with his second-grade education—was a part of.
Book(s) That Changed the Way You Think
Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America
By Ibram X. Kendi
I was introduced to this book in a workshop on decolonizing pedagogies. No other book so clearly lays out the ways in which structural racism is embedded in every aspect of our history (including the ways history is told and not told), our law, our institutions, and our society. As a white male who has benefited from these structures, Kendi’s narrative pushes me, again and again, to recognize my own position and think of ways to challenge inequitable systems.