As I continue forward on my research in the world of musical geography, I have found many a philosophical and methodological conundrum that I have had to face on nearly a daily basis. Our readings have shaped how I do research and how I make maps and will continue to influence the way in which I perceive the world. One of the readings which I found the most intriguing and striking was Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht’s In 1926: Living at the Edge of Time1. In this work, Gumbrecht attempts to create a completely immersive experience in order to be completely immersed in history. He takes the year 1926 and allows the reader to delve into every aspect of life that we know from the year 1926, instead of focusing on “important” historical events.
Gumbrecht’s ideologies on historiography have inspired me to create a map of my own that focuses on art music in New York in the 1920’s. In this map, I will attempt to create an immersive experience focused on the art scene of New York. This map will be centrally focused on the book, Making Music Modern, by Carol J. Oja2. My preliminary research will involve a close reading of Making Music Modern, delving into Oja’s bibliography and seeking out extensive information on 1920’s New York art music.
To make this map a more immersive experience, I would like to incorporate images of art that was prominent at the point of each work’s release. I am currently uncertain how to go about this process spatially. My original intent was to include a work of art that was especially influential to the point in particular, however this may involve making assumptions that could be interpreted incorrectly. My overall goal for the map is to display the interrelatedness of 1920’s art music, as well as the numerous influences that played a role in its success.
In Diana S. Sinton’s article “Critical Spatial Thinking,3” she goes into detail on the various factors of critical spatial thinking, the main influence being scale. As I continue my research, this will be something that I will continue to keep in mind. If I want to display the influences of certain pieces from around the world, scale will definitely be affected as the viewer zooms in and out of NYC. It will be difficult to differentiate between the influences of pieces that are all within the 100 mile radius. How do I approach this issue of global influence combined with a small radius of study?
1 Gumbrecht, Hans Ulrich. In 1926 : Living at the Edge of Time. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1997.
2 Oja, Carol J. Making Music Modern New York in the 1920s. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.
3 Sinton, Diana S. “Critical Spatial Thinking.” In The International Encyclopedia of Geography, edited by Douglas Richardson, Noel Castree, Michael F. Goodchild, Audrey Kobayashi, Weidong Liu, and Richard A. Marston, 2-9. Hoboken: Wiley & Sons, 2017.