Greetings to my fellow music aficionados and fellow bloggers. You are now reading this because I have graciously been given the opportunity to periodically share my personal musicological musings with all of you. But before we proceed onto any esoteric or convoluted postulations that I hold, I think a brief introduction is in order. My name is Tyler Fritts and I am originally from eastern Kentucky. In 2007 I earned a Bachelor’s of Arts in General Music from Berea College. In 2010 I completed my Master’s of Music in Music History and Literature from the University of Louisville. My thesis identifies techniques utilized by Luciano Berio for the amalgamation of western art music with various and diverse vernacular musics in Folk Songs (1964). Once uncovered, these techniques aid in understanding the symbiotic interrelationship, as well as the significance of this interrelationship, that is created by the juxtaposition of music and culture.
Currently, I am pursuing a PhD in Musicology/Southern Regional Studies from the University of Memphis. The program at the UofM is an interesting one as it provides a healthy helping of standard historically based musicological rigor while simultaneously emphasizing ethnomusicological principles and practicum. As the name suggests, students of the program concentrate on a popular or vernacular music (and its accompanying culture) prominently associated with the southern United States. I, for example, plan to focus my research efforts on exploring the role of politics in the traditional music of Appalachia. Other students of the program choose to delve more deeply into areas such as the Delta blues, the Memphis recording industry, and the musical evolution of Hank Williams, just to name a few.
Apart from my highfalutin academic pursuits, I have gained practical ethnomusicological experience through my work as a traditional music archivist and as a field researcher. Concerning performance, I have been involved with an African and Latin percussion ensemble, a Balinese gamelan ensemble, and an Irish traditional group. It is my because of my ethno interests (not because of my staggering intellect and uncompromisingly good looks, as I may wish to think) that I have been invited into the Musicological Musings family.
I look forward to offering another perspective on music and the culture that surrounds it. Future posts will include, but will not be limited to, the experience of field research and archival work, reactions to ethnomusicological sources, and the role of music in today’s America.