Having a series of deja-vu during the first week of research can be quite an unique experience. Reading new chapters from known books is like a date with old acquaintances: old memories penetrate the new stories narrated in a familiar tone. I was reminded of the days when I went through all relevant “numéros” of Le Figaro trying to find an accurate date and place of performance, or browsed a stack of books shooting “arrows around the target” – a metaphor made by the professor telling us that conducting relevant general research could be useful for learning a specific topic.
Refreshing the old knowledge and learning new information, I found researching Paris of the 1920s consistently exciting and inspiring. Interwound social changes of all aspects, from economy to ideology, took place in this world center recovering from the war, interacting and influencing the development of music. Composition, performance, and reception to musical works reflected the social evolutions took place in the city where various communities sought for their self-identities. This is specifically corresponding to my interests of studying the relation between music and humanity. I am attracted to the idea of people using music to help learn and define themselves, which I would like to learn more about this summer and reflect in my revision of a paper in related topic.
Besides the traditional research work of writing papers, I definitely would like to do something more creative in both format and content. Visualization of musical events is a major topic of our summer research. Alongside using digital maps to archive the music activities of 1920s Paris, I am interested in planning an exhibition for this CURI project. Having the example of the student curated exhibition of the “American Music History” course and abundant information of composers, performances and venues from our well-built database, I believe this would be a promising project to work on over this summer.