Monday, 2 July 2007

bodies and music

Together with a colleague, I'm organizing a research seminar on bodies and music. I'm trying to work out what to speak (and write) about. I could do something on sixteenth-century Italian music and bodies--perhaps querying the idea that modern bodies perform Cinquecento song in the same way as Cinquecento bodies (that's what is implied by McClary in her most recent book); this would necessarily entail looking at how Cinquecento bodies performed. I have some ideas about what such a paper might look like. But I'd also like to write something about an area of music that is newer (in academic terms) to me. I've been thinking about work on jazz and pop for some time now. The question is what could I do?

Mina Agossi is very cool indeed and I love her music. Perhaps I'm too much of a fan to write something on her, though, because every time I try I just seem to start and end with "wow, she's so cool".... Perhaps there's something to be said about identity. Most of the scholarly writing on jazz with which I'm familiar deals with the "canonic" figures of jazz (especially Miles), most (all?) of whom are American. Agossi is not a canonic figure, and nor is she American. So I wonder if there could be something to say regarding identity issues, European (French) politics, that kind of thing. Another possibility would be to look at the writings about Agossi--her website, myspace page, fan sites, journalism (such as this), or reviews on blogs (such as this choice example)--and look at the kinds of things people say about her to see what the trends are, perhaps do a discourse analysis type thing.