Sunday, November 8, 2009

Introductory Post (At Last)

I suppose in John’s Introductory post when he said, “some of whom will be introducing themselves and their interests over the coming days and weeks,” the “some of whom” would be me. As you can plainly see, it did not take days and weeks, but rather months for me to get around to writing my first post. I am sure many of the potential readers of this blog can relate to the initial shock, and subsequent adjustment period, one faces when first entering graduate studies. As I am now fairly well adjusted (or at least until final papers are due), I should be able to post with some regularity.

All of that being said, please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Brian Holland and I am a first semester masters student at the University at Buffalo. As the title of this blog would suggest, I am pursuing a degree in the field of historical musicology. My research interests are wide ranged, but generally interdisciplinary in nature (basically anything music and ___). It is probably for this reason that music in film is the area of our field that has held my attention the longest.

I have to admit, this blog was entirely John’s brainchild, I was just fortunate enough to be invited to take part. He made all the initial decisions about the topic and scope of the blog by himself, but I was very pleased when I saw that he decided on an open-ended and inclusive approach. Obviously, given that our lives are consumed by our studies, the vast majority of our thoughts and ideas will concern the field of music history, but it is nice to have the freedom to post on any topic that may come to mind (fair warning, when I am not thinking about music, food usually dominates my thoughts).

I would like to end this first post by sharing some of my observations about the phenomena of blogging, as they will most likely shape my approach. I think what differentiates a blog from an online diary, news feed, or message board is the perspective of the individual looking out at a narrow part of the world. A diary is from the perspective of the individual, but it typically looks inward and is really just written for that person (others may read the diary, but I see it more as voyeurism than anything else). News feeds and online forums may look outward at topics, both large and small, but they are not defined through the lens of a single person. Essentially, reading a blog is a practice in empathy (assuming it is approached with an open mind). The blogger provides readers with their perspective on a topic. This perspective is shaped by the knowledge, personal experiences, interests, and biases of the blogger, and thus provides a view of a topic that is unique to that individual.

Though this is a blog and not a message board, there is a reason why all good blogs have comment sections. It is my hope that through our posts and the comments of the readers (underscore in your mind with appropriately sappy music), it may be possible to create a dynamic environment in which new ideas and thoughts are proposed, and all parties involved take part in a conversation that challenges our assumptions and fosters new ways to look at issues in the field, and possibly the world at large.

Now that I have provided enough sap to make maple syrup, I will bring this first post to an end. I am looking forward to posting with some regularity, and possibly some live-blogging from AMS this week in Philly.

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