Thursday, October 15, 2009

True Confessions of the AMS-L

My favorite genre of AMS-L discussions is the "hey, let's think of music about X" post, followed by thirty million bored musicologists chiming in with suggestions. Currently the obsession is representations of Satan. Past fun "topics" have included music about trains, music with lydian scales, five-movement piano sonatas, classical music used in films, films about composing, film music that uses other film music, "pre-1835 descriptive piano pieces"...you get the picture. I think it says something about our discipline that we seem to expend an awful amount of energy making lists.

My true confession: sometimes I am very tempted to spark one of these "discussions" with a nonsensical suggestion that would truly send us down the rabbit hole. Like, "Is there any music that references goats?" Or something ridiculously broad, like "what are some pieces of classical music that begin in D major?" I know our discipline, and you can bet that if I asked for pieces that began in D major, AMS-L would probably explode as hundreds of musicologists contributed their two cents.

If a phony-sounding email address asks such a question some day, don't tell on me!

5 comments:

KG said...

I am officially ignoring the standard AMS-L in favor of the AMS announcements list. If and when an interesting topic comes up again, I will start reading AMS-L again.

This list phenomenon also happens on SEM-L. Recent list topics: Ethnomusicologists in Literature and Film; Instruments of Low Prestige (quickly turning into musician jokes); Important Theoretical Texts. Aside from the one on Lit and Film, these discussion topics are fairly engaging.

Maybe this list phenomenon is just what happens to the email list-serve format (specifically lists tied to scholarly societies) in an age of social media...

rrb said...

My favorite piece that begins in D-major AND is related to another recent list-list: Pachelbel's Canon in said key.

bob said...

Apologies in advance for this compulsive reaction: re goats, the entire genre / title "Capriccio" fits the bill(!) (This reminds me of a Littlefield fake query to an SMT list on April 1 some years ago, "pop songs in minor mode?", that was taken fully seriously for fifty responses...)

cpo said...

Oooh, I got a good fake one that would totally help me make a mix tape: pop songs in 3.

Rebecca said...

"Sheep go to heaven (Goats go to Hell)" by Cake...

From Wikipedia, (to reference another AMS-L favorite topic): "The word "tragedy" appears to have been used to describe different phenomona at different times. It derives from tragōidiā (Classical Greek τραγῳδία), contracted from trag(o)-aoidiā = "goat song", which comes from tragos = "goat" and aeidein = "to sing". Scholars suspect this may be traced to a time when a goat was either the prize in a competition of choral dancing or was that around which a chorus danced prior to the animal's ritual sacrifice."

Adam Sandler's Goat Song

I'm ready for that discussion!!