Vol 8, No 1 (2011)

Terpsichorean Architecture: Writing About Music

‘Writing about music is like dancing about architecture – it’s a really stupid thing to want to do,’ is a statement usually attributed to Elvis Costello in Musician magazine No. 60 (October 1983, 52), which has long been quoted as evidence of the impossibility of writing adequately about the processes of producing and listening to music. Leaving aside the fact that Costello has denied he ever said it, and it has been mistakenly attributed to a number of other musicians over the years, including Laurie Anderson, David Byrne and Frank Zappa (who actually said ‘rock journalism is people who can't write, preparing stories based on interviews with people who can't talk, in order to amuse people who can't read’), this special journal issue sets out to prove the contrary. The papers in this special issue draw on evidence of the volume of important writing that exists about all forms of music, in academic, journalistic and creative fields, and discuss different ways in which music has been ‘translated’ into language. The English jazz writer Paul Savage, for example, describing the music of John Coltrane, refers to ‘a musical monument like that feat of terpsichorean architecture Giant Steps.' And in a 2004 issue of the Architectural Review (vol. 216, August), entitled ‘Terpsichore and the Architects,’ Simon Goldhill notes that in ancient Greek theatre, ‘the chorus danced the architecture of the theatrical space into being’ and ‘the dancer was a storyteller whose body told a story, like a sculpture coming alive or a mobile embodiment of tradition.’ Choreographer Siobhan Davies speaks of the dancer building ‘an inner architecture with volume, texture and rhythm, which allows you to slice up space … Classical ballet and classical architecture share proportion, grandeur, and the idea of being at the centre of the universe … Light and acoustics are very important in dance and architecture: we have to consider how we introduce light to form and how we hear ourselves live in that form.’ This special issue contains papers that discuss a wide range of different modes and forms of music and music writing in all fields, and in many parts of the world, from a perspective of history, performance, and architecture (including ‘natural’ architectural forms).

Table of Contents

Terpsichorean Architecture: Writing about Music Special Issue January 2011

Terpsichorean Architecture: Guest Editor’s Introduction PDF
Tony Mitchell
Post Impressions: Music Writing as Bent Travelogue Untitled () PDF
Hollis Taylor
Collapsing (New) Buildings: Town Planning, History and Music in Hubertus Siegert's Berlin Babylon (2001) PDF
Andrew Hurley
Is the Unspeakable Singable? The Ethics of Holocaust Representation and the Reception of Górecki's Symphony no.3 PDF
Alison Moore
From Gospel to Gates: Modal Blending in African-American Musical Discourse before the Signifyin(g) Monkey PDF
Christopher Coady
Musical Structure as Narrative in Rock PDF
John Fernando Encarnacao
Punk Rock and the Value of Auto-ethnographic Writing about Music PDF
Sarah Attfield
Writing and Music: Album Liner Notes PDF
Dean Leonard Biron
Rock critics as 'Mouldy Modernists' PDF
Becky Shepherd
Working to Design: The Self-Perpetuating Ideology of Rock or ... ‘The New Bob Dylan’ PDF
John Scannell

General Articles

Zhang Ziyi and China’s Celebrity–Philanthropy Scandals PDF
Elaine M Jeffreys
The Cemetery, the State and the Exiles: A Study of Cementerio Colón, Havana, and Woodlawn Cemetery, Miami PDF
Marivic Wyndham, Peter Read
Prospects for the General Election of 2020: Tradition and Transition in Chinese Politics PDF
David SG Goodman