Articles in Music

A Music Theorist on How White Supremacist Assumptions Have Shaped the Evaluation of Music

Professor Philip Ewell on how we decide what music is worthy of scholarly attention, and how to make music theory more welcoming for everyone.

A Brief Cultural History of the White Rapper

Why do they exist? Where did they come from? Can they be defended? The most pressing questions, answered.

Brazil’s Tropicália Movement was the Soundtrack of Resistance to the Military Dictatorship

The Tropicalists built on quintessential musical traditions like samba and bossa nova to create an entirely new sound that captured the spirit of the political resistance of the late 1960s.

The Ed Sheeran Copyright Lawsuit Exposes The Absurdity of Music Ownership

Since there’s no such thing as true originality, litigating who invented what in music is absurd. But it’s also unfair when those who create art don’t see the rewards. We should try to make a world where music is owned by all and musicians don’t have to worry about making a living.

The Greatest Piano Player You’ve Never Heard

New Orleans R&B musician James Booker was a musical genius on the level of Beethoven.

The Fall’s Mark E. Smith Was a Cipher for Modern Populism

On the fifth anniversary of Smith’s death, making sense of a Past Gone Mad. Smith evinced a cultural bitterness that seemed to prefigure the working- and middle-class discontent we see today.

Can Music Theory Education Overcome its Whiteness Problem?

White European classical music dominates music education in the U.S. at all levels. Achieving racial justice in the field means diversifying personnel, curricula, and repertoires. Only then will students be able to enjoy and create the rich array of music created by the world’s people.

The Case for Prince

By appreciating just how good the Purple One was, we see what music can be and ought to be.

The Magic of Motown

And how a democratic workplace might have improved it…

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