I think my teammates will agree with me when I say that trying to explain this project to anyone outside of the music historical sphere is difficult. In describing it to multiple relatives and friends, and in starting readings on the topic, I have been able to pinpoint better what my idea is of what the project is all about. Using digital mapping for the study and research of music history helps to ground it in its historical, as well as its spatial, context. We will seek to find trends and correlates between composers and their environment in 1920’s France as well as the critical reception of their works, and discover how the patterns we find may inform history.
The research goals we have discussed include three different map ideas for Milhaud: a map of performances of his works, of his tours in the US and around Europe, and finally, a map of his critical reception. It seems to me that these maps fall under the larger goal of finding out why and how Milhaud was so well received in Germany before he was accepted on an institutional level in France, and what that means for the relationship between Germany and France in the post-war period. These maps I think are mainly to be used as pedagogical tools for music historians, but what is interesting to me is that this particular approach could also be compelling for other disciplines or in non-academic circles.
I personally have little knowledge about Milhaud or about music history in general. I am very excited to learn more because I have always loved listening to and performing music. I have good French language skills, and a knowledge of French culture, which will come in handy in research. Additionally, as a philosophy major, I have skills in critical analysis of historical texts. I am looking forward to working with this team, who already have all impressed and inspired me. To that end, I hope to gain good collaborative skills, alongside some independence in developing my own ideas. Just today, some questions have started rolling around in my head. How do money and politics influence music?What factors affect the perception of music on a public scale? How much does the landscape or environment around music influence it and its reception? I hope to explore these questions and more in the next ten weeks. Allons-y!