Book Reviews

Chávez, Alex E. 2017. Sounds of Crossing: Music, Migration, and the Aural Poetics of Huapango Arribeño. Durham, NC: Duke University Press

Published Jan 23, 2019

Alex Chávez’s bold and engaging study of huapango arribeño in the everyday lives of Mexican migrants fills a void in anthropological and ethnomusicological scholarship. Based on his 2010 dissertation at the University of Texas at Austin, Sounds of Crossing is an anthropologically based study of how lived politics informs performance in the poetic genre of… Read more

Mary I. Ingraham, Joseph K. So, and Roy Moodley, eds. 2016. Opera in a Multicultural World: Coloniality, Culture, Performance. New York: Routledge

Published Jan 23, 2019

Opera scholars have had something of a bounty in recent years. Opera in a Multicultural World: Coloniality, Culture, Performance follows in a line of collected volumes that have sought to diversify the field through critical focuses on race, identity, colonialism, and gender, including Opera Indigene: Re/presenting First Nations and Indigenous Cultures (2011, edited by Pamela… Read more

David Brackett. 2016. Categorizing Sound: Genre and Twentieth-Century Popular Music. Berkeley: University of California Press

Published Jan 23, 2019

In Categorizing Sound, David Brackett presents a broad and richly detailed “history of the practice of categorizing” popular music in the twentieth century (331), asking when, how, and why stylistic labels and classification schemes become legible across communities of musicians, fans, journalists, and music industry personnel. This is no simple task, as Brackett can attest,… Read more

Steingo, Gavin. 2016. Kwaito’s Promise: Music and the Aesthetics of Freedom in South Africa. Chicago: University of Chicago Press

Published Jan 23, 2019

Gavin Steingo’s Kwaito’s Promise is an ethnographic monograph that “thinks with” kwaito, a black urban South African electronic popular music with roots in a short-lived period of euphoria surrounding the end of apartheid in the mid-1990s. As the hopefulness of that historical moment was quickly dispelled by the realities of a post-apartheid existence, kwaito persisted… Read more

Davies, J.Q. 2014. Romantic Anatomies of Performance. Berkeley: University Of California Press.

Published Feb 9, 2017

Abstract What might a broken clavicle, a urinating Frédéric Chopin, the execution of parricides, and Sigismund Thalberg’s “third hand” all have in common? According to James Davies, these practices, accidents, and medical woes share nothing less than a concern for defining musical bodies. Romantic Anatomies of Performance offers a richly detailed history of hands, voices,… Read more

Helbig, Adriana. 2014. Hip Hop Ukraine: Music, Race, and African Migration. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.

Published Feb 9, 2017

Abstract The underpinning principles of Hip Hop Ukraine: Music, Race, and African Migration conform to broader trends within hip hop studies. Scholars are increasingly breaking with the traditional approaches, which centralized (African?)Americanness as a governing frame, in favor for approaches that emphasize the global reaches of the imagined hip hop community, taking into account the… Read more

Daniel Albright. 2014. Panaesthetics: On the Unity and Diversity of the Arts. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.

Published Feb 9, 2017

Abstract A ticklish question runs through Daniel Albright’s Panaesthetics: what, or which, or whose Pan? The Greek god Pan is promiscuous, seductively musical, all–encompassing and self–fissioning; the camera pan shifts our gaze to refocus on new visual fields or subjects; pan– prefixes relatedly imply some fusion or bringing–together of various elements (pan–American— pansexual—pandemonium). To which… Read more

Morgan, Robert P. 2014. Becoming Heinrich Schenker: Music Theory and Ideology. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Published Feb 9, 2017

Abstract In my view, there is a real need for the kind of book that Robert Morgan’s Heinrich Schenker: Music Theory and Ideology aspires to be: a succinct, lucid, and sympathetic summary of the most important works of the most important music theorist, one that shows how those works comprise an integrated theoretical program, a… Read more

Review of Carol Vernallis. 2013. Unruly Media: YouTube, Music Video, and the New Digital Cinema. New York: Oxford University Press.

Published Aug 29, 2016

Abstract “I love the media swirl,” begins Carol Vernallis’s (2013) Unruly Media. In this exploratory, whirlwind, and sometimes frustrating volume, Vernallis acts as an exuberant tour guide through the bleeding edges of twentieth– and twenty–first–century media content. Vernallis cares deeply about the material under scrutiny in her book—pop culture artifacts from the “Sneezing Baby Panda”… Read more

Review of Eva Rieger. 2011. Richard Wagner’s Women. Translated by Chris Walton; and Laurence Dreyfus. 2010. Wagner and the Erotic Impulse.

Published Aug 14, 2015

Abstract The anniversary commemoration of great artistic figures would be incomplete without a survey of the scholarly landscape. So in the year of Richard Wagner’s bicentenary, the publication of new books shows no sign of abating, and nor should it, when there is still so much to be said about this most controversial of composers…. Read more