ATTENTION: The software behind KU ScholarWorks is being upgraded to a new version. Starting July 15th, users will not be able to log in to the system, add items, nor make any changes until the new version is in place at the end of July. Searching for articles and opening files will continue to work while the system is being updated. If you have any questions, please contact Marianne Reed at .

Show simple item record

dc.contributor.authorEpstein, Louis
dc.contributor.authorHynes, Emily
dc.contributor.authorLi, Zhizhi Stella
dc.contributor.authorNuelle, Carolyn
dc.contributor.authorParker, Samuel
dc.descriptionDigital Humanities Forum 2016, University of Kansas, October 1st, 2016:

Louis Epstein is at St. Olaf College.

Emily Hynes is at St. Olaf College.

Zhizhi Stella Li is at St. Olaf College.

Carolyn Nuelle is at St. Olaf College.

Samuel Parker is at St. Olaf College.
dc.description.abstractMusicologists have long used maps to contextualize the relationship between sound, time, and place, yet have been slow to embrace the potential of digital mapping for making “place” itself the focus of inquiry. With the advent of relatively accessible GIS tools, musicologists stand to benefit enormously from new research and data visualization methods. Applying insights from recent scholarship in the digital and affective humanities, our project focuses on developing a set of interactive, map-based tools for musicology research and pedagogy. In this presentation, we demonstrate how our attention to “place” rather than “text” provokes new research questions and brings music history to life.

The Musical Geography of 1920s Paris is a web-based resource that uses maps as spatial visualizations to reconstruct the musical life of a particularly vibrant period in music history. In the 1920s, artists, writers, dancers, and musicians from around the world flocked to the city for its abundant concert venues and relatively cheap cost of living. Paris additionally served as a home base for numerous performing organizations, including several ballet companies (notably the Ballets Russes and Ballets Suédois) whose international tours spread French music around the world. Traditional narratives of interwar French music focus on composers’ contributions to developments in musical style and aesthetics. Our maps turn attention instead to the place-dependent roles of musical institutions and individuals. For example, by mapping Parisian musical venues by style – jazz, classical music, lyric theatre, popular song – we can better understand the ways writers used places as metonyms for musical style (such as Montmartre vs. Montparnasse) and we can see where certain types of music were not being made. Crucially, several of our maps incorporate an interactive chronological feature, making it possible for researchers and students to explore the diachronic evolution of the Parisian “scene.” And unlike traditional scholarship, our web-based maps allow us to embed or link to digitized primary source documents like historical newspapers and other media – including sound – thus opening place-oriented visual, sonic, and contextual archival exploration to a wide audience. For instance, in one map users can virtually attend 1920s Parisian concerts by clicking on a map marker and listening to recordings of the music performed in a specific place on a specific night. As Todd Presner argues in HyperCities: Thick Mapping in the Digital Humanities, our context-laden maps “are conjoined with stories,” rendering them “infinitely extensible and participatory” (Presner et al 2014).

Our spatially oriented research has inspired new questions about music in 1920s Paris: exactly how did the French define “jazz,” and how often was jazz really heard? What music was made and consumed in the eastern third of Paris, where recent immigrants and working-class Parisians lived and where few formal venues existed? The research required to answer these questions renders Parisian spaces something other than mere context for traditional musicological analysis. The city stands as its own musical “text,” full of sound and awaiting further exploration via interactive mapping.
dc.subjectDigital Humanitiesen_US
dc.titleThe Musical Geography 1920s Parisen_US

Files in this item


This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record