Jazz/Not Jazz: The Music and Its Boundaries

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Each of these participants, each assigned to key subject areas, helped design the coverage, scope, and content of the dictionary. The editorial team also received and reviewed suggestions from Grove readers and many scholars of American music. Over the course of the project, the contents of the dictionary continued to expand as editors and contributors recognized potential areas of growth and commissioned new articles. The original dictionary was extremely significant to our initial planning for the updated AmeriGrove in terms of design, content, and philosophy.

It gave us a general blueprint, which transformed as the updated dictionary grew to twice its size, and we retained its inclusive approach to defining American music. Every article from the original dictionary was reviewed, and nearly all of them were retained and updated for the updated dictionary. We also drew on American-related content of the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians : many of these articles were updated by their original authors for inclusion in the updated dictionary.

Together, our editorial team decided which entries should be reprinted, which should be altered, which should be replaced, and which new topics should be considered for inclusion. As much as we consulted earlier Grove dictionary sources for guidance, the new AmeriGrove also contains thousands of originally conceived articles written by new contributors. Even though it is nearing its year anniversary, the first edition of the dictionary has continued to prove essential for readers because its coverage and depth in certain areas has remained unmatched until the new AmeriGrove.

I have long consulted the first edition in the same ways I hope that readers will come to value the new dictionary—as a trusted source founded on scholarly expertise, as a first stop for bibliographical advice, and, through its many long and detailed articles on broad subjects, as a fascinating and fun way to expand my musical knowledge.

The first edition of the dictionary is still renowned for its diversity and inclusiveness, and we attempted to follow the same philosophy in the updated dictionary. Because the new AmeriGrove includes entries on nearly every subject covered in the first edition of the dictionary, it is best characterized as a combination of a dictionary update and a massive expansion.

Charles Hiroshi Garrett

Decisions about what subject areas to expand, which were made in consultation with the editorial team, reflected our hopes to 1 document significant musical activity over the last three decades—from the spread of hip hop to El Sistema USA, from the sharing of MP3s to laptop performance; and 2 to reflect the wide-ranging scholarly activity that was fostered by the first edition.

While all subject areas have received close attention, coverage of certain subject areas has seen extensive growth, including choral music, cities and regions, concert music, film music, nineteenth-century music, music and dance, music education, music librarians and libraries, musical theater, opera, popular music, sacred music, and music technology.

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I think that it would be more accurate to say that my approach to American music meshed well with the philosophy of the original dictionary. They address musical life and cultures within the region now covered by the fifty states, the District of Columbia, and US territories; they feature coverage of the music-making practices of native cultures whose occupation of these regions predates European contact; and they embrace music-making in the United States by Americans and by significant foreign musicians.

Such an inclusive approach toward conceptualizing American music is part of the history of AmeriGrove , and one could say that I adopted that philosophy from teachers like Prof.

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Hitchcock who were so closely involved with the original dictionary. That said, the editorial team took particular care to challenge the black-white binary that characterizes some scholarship on American music. Just as coverage of European American and African American topics was expanded in the dictionary, we sought to capture a wider spectrum of musical activity and to discuss musical practices often lost in the margins.

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The dictionary consequently devotes considerable space to Latino, Asian American, Native American, and Hawaiian music and musicians. Some of our initial conceptual work took shape at meetings staged at scholarly conferences; much of our communication was accomplished through phone calls and email exchanges. Advisors were mainly involved at the start of the process, whereas editors assumed responsibility for shepherding individual articles to publication.

I handled a wide variety of tasks, from general consulting to conflict resolution to cheerleading, from recruitment of contributors or editors to resource management of assistants , from database management to spot editing. My job involved managing people as often as handling dictionary content.

The scale of the project proved daunting since each article proceeded through many steps e. For this reason we designed an Internet-accessible, secure, and sophisticated tracking database that coordinated all facets of the project.


SiteMaker, which allows non-programmers to create and maintain websites built upon a dynamic database. Most significantly for the editorial team, it stored complete records for each entry in the dictionary including information on the contributor, contact information, commission date, due date, word count, assigned editor, and so on. Contributors were able to submit their articles directly to the website.

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In addition, any editor or contributor could check the status of their assigned articles at any time from any networked computer, determining if they had been submitted, edited, completed, or forwarded to the press for publication. The website featured different portals for contributors, editors, and system administrators, which tailored access according to separate usernames and passwords. These included undergraduate students who served as administrative assistants and graduate students who worked as research assistants. The website featured different portals for contributors, editors, and system administrators, which tailored access according to separate usernames and passwords.

These included undergraduate students who served as administrative assistants and graduate students who worked as research assistants. Every semester at least two or three students contributed to the project in some capacity. A few of the most experienced students wrote or revised articles for the dictionary. The project thus turned out to be a learning experience at the same time it produced a publication that will be valuable to future students and researchers. It was an enormous luxury to be able to expand the dictionary in important directions, rather than feeling as if we had neglected major areas of musical life.

Balancing work and life at home. My wife and my family members were extraordinarily supportive. I am especially proud that the dictionary offers detailed, diverse, and expanded coverage in so many subject areas. And I am especially happy that the dictionary will be available in a print version and also an online version. I look forward to the experience of paging through the print edition, since I still prefer reading printed books.

At the same time, the online version can be instantly accessed, it can be updated and maintained, and it has terrific search capabilities. For an editor, it is a relief to know that the online version can be expanded to include articles on subjects we may have overlooked or whose stature gains more prominence. It is similarly comforting that typos, errors, and reader suggestions can be addressed so easily.

Jazz/Not Jazz

I envision that the dictionary will be able to grow and adapt in future. My favorite thing about working on the dictionary involved building so many professional and personal relationships with members of the editorial team. They know how much went into the dictionary, and I hope they are equally proud of our accomplishments.

After living with the dictionary for years, I am quite excited about having it become available to everyone else. As could be expected, working on the project made me appreciate even more the wealth of American musical life. At the same time that I am sure this publication will forever identify me as an Americanist, the dictionary continually reminded me how music in the United States has been influenced by and in turn has influenced musical practices around the globe.

I think my future work will aim to better recognize the interconnected nature of music history, the international roots of American music, and the concurrent need for cross-cultural understanding.


Jazz/Not Jazz The Music and Its Boundaries. by David Ake (Editor), Charles Hiroshi Garrett (Editor), Daniel Ira Goldmark (Editor); June ; First Edition. What is jazz? What is gained-and what is lost-when various communities close ranks around a particular definition of this quintessentially American music?.

Reference works demand difficult choices, and they never offer enough space to paint a full picture. But we live in a musical world that is complex and rich, full of boundary-crossing, unexpected pathways, cross-cultural influences and collisions. I look forward to returning to some of my individual projects and exploring those interconnections and musical nuances. Maybe next time. He is currently the president of the Society of American Music.

He has served as review editor and assistant editor of American Music, the journal of the Society for American Music.

The Music and Its Boundaries

Categories 1. Taylor Atkins, Jazz Planet , xiii. Not in United States? Genre boundaries and hybridity a?? View: no detail some detail full detail.

Jane F. Fulcher Oxford University Press, This interview is a part of a series of interviews with Grove Music contributors and editors. Click here to read more. If you would like to suggest a contributor to be featured in this space, please contact us at editor grovemusic. Printed from Oxford Music Online. Grove is a registered trademark. Jazz has never been a monolithic genre, of course, and questions surrounding its definition, ownership, and function hardly emerged with the new millennium.

Commentators at midcentury questioned whether jazz was best understood as a folk expression, a commercial dance style, or an art form deserving of serious treatment alongside highbrow European compositions. An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.