Pathology, Fandom, and the Society for American Music

I recently presented my paper at the Society for American Music Conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts. My panel--"Noise, Silence, and Musical Embodiment"--featured presentations from Will Cheng, Sara Ballance, and Megan Murph. Here's a short abstract for my paper titled "Pathology, Fandom, and the Origins of Air Guitar": In the 1980s, people used the term “air guitar” …

Defining My Fields, Qualifying Exams

Preparation for my qualifying exams provided a great opportunity to broaden my knowledge of ethnomusicology and popular music studies, and, in particular, it gave me an excuse to read some incredible monographs that have been collecting dust on my bookshelf since I began this program. Developing these exams also involved developing abstracts that delimit the boundaries …

Out of Thin Air at the Society for Ethnomusicology

At the annual Society for Ethnomusicology meeting in Austin, Texas, I presented a paper titled "Out of Thin Air: Technology, Media, and the Air Guitar World Championships." Here's the abstract for the presentation: At the 2014 Air Guitar World Championships, Eric “Mean” Melin impaled himself with an air guitar. During one-minute competition routines, air guitarists …

Research Presentation in a Sauna: The History of Air Guitar

The folks at Air Guitar World Championships LLC asked me to present my research at the 20th Anniversary Air Guitar World Championships, and, honored by the request, I agreed to present on whatever terms they felt would be appropriate. I initially wanted to develop a little roundtable discussion of air guitar, hoping to include many voices …

Pete Drake and Sound Magic: A Grant from ARSC

I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to Association for Recorded Sound Collections for financing research at the Center for Popular Music at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro. The folks at the Center provided invaluable insight and enthusiasm for my project, sending me down great rabbit holes and pushing me in new directions. Here are …