Exit (Still) Writing

Jonathan Bellman

Really, it’s not for friends’ lack of effort.  Friend Eric has persistently sent me stuff to prime the pump, get something going . . .

Jason Freeman’s column in the NYT:

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/05/24/compose-your-own-part-2/

Chris Wilson’s piece in *Slate* about David Cope’s latest the-computer-assembles-it-for-you effort:

http://www.slate.com/id/2254232/?wpisrc=eDialog

And I feel like I’ve said it all already: acidly commenting on misguided attempts to make New Music relevant to audiences in the Computer Age (archness intended), or more often registering disgust for the way people write about it.  Both are relevant here, to my mind, but you’re heard it already.  To harp on another too-familiar string, I must have done a dozen or more blogs on the subject of You can do it, you grad students! Every rung just makes you stronger!  And stuff in higher education per se—I’ve always got an opinion on that, and it must be pretty predictable now.

Thing is, this has been a punishing year in some ways.  With the exception of my father’s death last July, it was all good stuff, I hasten to say: I played the “Emperor,” I went to Poland and gave a paper, I’ve been writing lots and lots and lots in my specialty, things are wonderful on the home front and my son is excitedly getting ready for college after a very successful year, etc.  It’s been a Chopin year—bicentennial of his birth—so business continues to be good, so to speak.  I’ve still got a series of projects to do, more piano to play, and so on.

But I, at least (not speaking for Phil here), am keenly aware that if I’m not exactly a One-Trick Pony, readers know this pony’s very few tricks too well.  I live in the mountain west, and am not exposed to the newest/latest/most interesting musical developments at all.  Further, as a certified Homebody, I wouldn’t necessarily experience them even it they were available to me.  (Sounds shameful, but there it is.)  So I’m hardly exposed to the cutting edge.

What this means is that I think I’m probably done as a blogger.  It’s been an adventure, and I want to thank everyone who read and commented and engaged and so on.  I’m not moving or changing jobs, so you know where to find me.  I appreciate all the connections and discussions, and have every confidence that they will continue in other venues.

Accept, then, this bow of farewell.  Thank you all.

About jonathanbellman

Professor of Music History and Literature and Head of Academic Studies in Music at the University of Northern Colorado. Author, *The _Style Hongrois_ in the Music of Western Europe* (Northeastern University Press, 1993), *A Short Guide to Writing About Music* (2e, Longman, 2008), *Chopin's Polish Ballade: Op. 38 as Narrative of National Martyrdom* (Oxford University Press, 2010), Editor, *The Exotic in Western Music* (Northeastern University Press, 1998), author of bunches of articles and reviews and so on. Likes to play the piano, the mandolin, and even guitar sometimes. A. M. and Jo Winchester Distinguished Scholar at UNC, 2011.
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10 Responses to Exit (Still) Writing

  1. I’ll miss your comments here, Jonathan, but I’m grateful for the years of posts you gave to the blogosphere. You’ve always provided good food for thought.

  2. roy says:

    hi guys……….just use Fleximusic Composer to compose your own music…….free trail avail………

  3. Dan W. says:

    As a musicology student about to begin the Ph.D., I have to thank you for writing as candidly and generously as you have in this space. Everyone who has been in my shoes (deciding to Ph.D. in music) has gone through some form of doubt about doing a Ph.D. in music, and yours is one of the few places on the Internet that offers real and useful advice. So thank you, and all the best!
    By the way, I’ve tackled the David Cope article for you: http://bit.ly/d2Ey1N So you’re not alone.

  4. jonathan says:

    I like your take on the *Slate* piece, Dan. Where are you going to be doing your Ph.D.?

  5. Lisa Hirsch says:

    Oh, Jonathan, NOOOOOOO.

  6. Peter Kaye says:

    All the graceful arcs… such as for blogging. So many of us launch, burn brightly and then, ahem, Peter out.
    “I wouldn’t necessarily experience them even it they were available to me. (Sounds shameful, but there it is.)”
    Another graceful arc. Yet the excitement I feel for your launching of a son into the world reflects an age where what you wrote (above) seems appropriate. A composer friend of mine (we used to share composing duties on an NBC drama series circa 1990) is taking his 18yo (off to college in the fall) to Europe. Somehow the “off to college” moment seems so much more sweetly important then any new music.
    Your, and Phil’s writings, are still inspirational, even in just going back and reviewing some of the great posts. I hope you may leave it up, and I send my best wishes for all that’s coming. Thank you.

  7. Rebecca M says:

    I respect your decision to leave, Jonathan (says she who has not blogged for months as well), but I needed to comment on this: “So I’m hardly exposed to the cutting edge.”
    I don’t read blogs for exposure to the cutting edge. We are told, many of us, that’s what conference papers and journal articles are supposed to be. I read blogs, and in particularly your posts, for honest, thoughtful, insightful writing that is timely, uncensored, and open to a much wider community than academia normally offers.
    Thank you for your work here and inspiration.

  8. Jonathan, I’ll miss your intelligent commentary here on the state of the field (and ideas for changing it). Thanks for doing this.

  9. Thank you for everything, Jonathan. Amusicology–the whole musicology blogosphere for that matter–mightn’t have been were it not for you and Phil’s steadily compelling and insightful work.

  10. Ralph Locke says:

    Sorry to hear you feel blogged out at the moment. I don’t believe for a minute that you won’t have some thoughts you’d like to share. I hope you cave in to the urge, on this or some other blog!
    Thanks for the wonderful initiative that you and Phil took in creating Dial M for Musicology. I was greatly stimulated by post after post, and even (at your kind invitation) submitted a few myself, on topics that I wouldn’t normally have had occasion to address (e.g., in a scholarly journal).
    Good luck with your many worthy ongoing projects! And let your blog-public hear from you from time to time!

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