To inaugurate both Volume Two and the new year, it is with great pleasure that we announce the addition of a new feature to the blog – the Musicology Must-Reads List!
The list comes out of a basic question that we have at various points in our academic lives both asked and answered: What is this music scholarship thing and what could I read to get a glimpse of the major issues and questions in the field? Of course, every musicologist has a very different answer to this question, and the sheer range and diversity of perspectives in the discipline have perhaps led many musicologists to stay clear of list-making entirely. There’s a real shortage of basic resources for the curious neophyte and the interested student out there, and this feature is the TC’s humble attempt at rectifying this paucity.
The goal of the must-reads list is to provide an organic, constantly growing compendium of outstanding pieces of music scholarship. It is in no way an attempt to form a “canon” of Great Music Books, nor is there any claim of comprehensiveness; indeed, there will be unexpected items on the list, and things that we left off that really should be there. That’s why the list will rely in large part on contributions and comments from TC readers. Please add your suggestions, corrections, musical invective, praise, criticism, and whatever else. Mark and I will add all suggestions to the page.
Instead of foolhardily attempting our version of a definitive list, the must-reads page features books that represent personal engagements with the field. We surveyed a group of music scholars and graduate students on what books really sparked their imaginations, exposed them to new possibilities, and influenced their work and the discipline in general. Nothing was edited out. After compiling the list, we placed all entries into five broad categories for the sake of convenience (not out of an uncritical adherence to disciplinary divisions). Of course, this is just a starting point; along with your help, the list will expand over time.
We’ve also set up a personalized page with amazon.com where you can purchase all the books on the list. For each purchase, the TC will receive a small commission that will go into a blog fund for future features and maybe even a party at an upcoming AMS conference. (The amusicology party in Philadelphia was a fantastic idea for bloggerly camaraderie!)
So, without further ado, we’d like to introduce the Taruskin Challenge Musicology Must-Reads list! (cue Orfeo)