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Musicology Distinguished Lectures (Fall 2014)

The Univ. of Michigan Department of Musicology is delighted to announce the full schedule for the 2013-2014 Distinguished Lecture Series.

Unless otherwise noted, all talks are scheduled on Fridays at 5 pm and held in 506 Burton Memorial Tower.

Fall 2014


Thursday, September 18, 2014, Noon

Room 1636, School of Social Work Building (1080 South University Ave.)

Makiko Sakurai

"Ritual Song in Heian Japan: Shōmyō and Shirabyōshi”

Shōmyō is a chant brought to Japan from China in the 9th century and used in Japanese Buddhist services. Such services conducted in translated Japanese are called renji, and the part of renji that is sung is called shirabyōshi. Later, shirabyōshi came to refer also to female performers who sung Buddhist and Chinese literary texts and danced as well. This talk will introduce shōmyō and shirabyōshi and discuss their transformation over time. Co-sponsored with the Center for Japanese Studies.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Mark Clague (University of Michigan)
“Singing the Self into Citizenship: How Performance Transformed a Star-Spangled Song into the U.S. National Anthem”

Officially named the U.S. national anthem in 1931 by Congress, this talk examines how “The Star-Spangled Banner” became the only viable choice for this honor through a century-long process of cultural inscription as protest and celebration.

Monday, September 29, 2014, 4 pm

2175 Angell Hall

Armand d’Anjour (University of Oxford)
“What Do We Mean by Ancient Greek Music?”

Virtually all the literary expressions of archaic and classical Greece that we read today as texts - Homer’s epics, elegies, lyric poetry, drama - were wholly or partly sung and accompanied by musical instruments. This project aims to hear the music again as an aural reality by putting together what we know of rhythm, melody and instrumentation along with the few dozen fragments of Greek melodic notation, Greek musical theory, and parallels from living folk music traditions. Co-sponsored with the Department of Classical Studies.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Berthold Hoeckner (University of Chicago)

The consumption of film in the twentieth century has fostered forms of habitual spectatorship, whose cinematic representation revolves around scenes of replay. Often including music, replay evinces a particular kind of hyperfilmicity, which engages the viewer through mimetic innervation and contributes to a specifically cinematic aura.

Friday, October 24, 2014

J. Lawrence Witzleben (University of Maryland)
Title of talk on Chinese music to be announced. Co-sponsored with the Confucius Institute of the University of Michigan.


Winter 2015


Friday, February 13, 2015, 9 am to 5 pm

Musical and Cultural Exchange between China and India

Further details to be determined and announced. Co-sponsored with the Confucius Institute of the University of Michigan.


Monday, February 23, 2015, 5 pm

Rackham Building, East Conference Room, Fourth Floor

Carolyn Abbate (Harvard University)
“Igor, Lilian, and Frivolity”

French opéra-comique and operetta were omnipresent in the daily life of German operatic culture, cinema, and theater for four critical decades from the 1890s to the 1930s. What values or meanings were given voice by this phenomenon? What characterized its artists, opera producers, film practitioners, and critics? One answer can be found in the film operettas that were produced by UFA in Berlin from 1930-33, with their frivolous plots, and their ambiguous reception from the 1930s to the present.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Kofi Agawu (Princeton University)
“The Rhythmic Imagination in African Music”

Rhythm is often said to be the heart and soul of African music. Typically associated with dance, rhythmic patterns are elaborated in ingenious and sophisticated ways not matched by any world music. Yet scholars remain divided on the nature of African rhythm’s organizing principles. In this talk, I argue that the complexity of African rhythm is a rational complexity based on palpable beats, meter and periodicity, and that reciprocal patterns of embodiment by dancers reveal its underlying structures. Co-sponsored with the Center for World Performance Studies.

Ethel V. Curry Distinguished Lecture in Musicology

In addition to lectures offered by visiting scholars, the Musicology Department boasts an endowed lecture series, created by H. Robert Reynolds in honor of his mother, Ethel V. Curry.

Friday, April 10, 2015, 5 pm

Rackham Building, East Conference Room, Fourth Floor

Ellen Koskoff (Eastman School of Music)
"Is Ethnomusicology a Feminist Enterprise?” What, if anything, is feminist about ethnomusicology? What do fieldwork, ethnography, and music contribute to the process of dismantling hierarchies of power based on gender? And, what does feminism contribute to a deeper understanding of social and musical difference? In this talk, I draw on my recent collection of essays, A Feminist Ethnomusicology, raising the question posed in the title with the hope for lively discussion to follow.

Past Musicology Lectures


Interdisciplinary Music Forum

IMF is a Rackham Interdisciplinary Workshop that fosters conversation among faculty and graduate students who work with music in their research. Lectures are open to all, and workshops are intended for graduate students. For more information, please contact Patrick Parker ( or Leah Weinberg (Musicology;



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Photography Credits:

U-M Photo Services

Joe Welsh

Peter Smith

David Smith

Glen Behring

Tom Bower