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Researching Popular Music (Vorlesung)

Dozent/in: Monika Schoop

wöchentlich | Mittwoch | 10:15 - 11:45 | 02.04.2024 - 05.07.2024 | C 16.207 Musik | C 16.207 (Musik)

Inhalt: Purr-fect Tunes: Researching Popular Music Online For years, cats have captivated the internet, becoming a ubiquitous phenomenon that has caught the interest of many. Quite recently, cats on the internet have even garnered scholarly interest (e.g., Maddox, 2022; Podhovnik, 2023). However, despite the seemingly inextricable connection between cats and the internet, their role in musical practices in the online realm has largely remained unexplored. Even the field of Popular Music Studies, usually attentive to the latest musical trends and fashions, has so far ignored the viral felines of TikTok and Instagram. This is surprising given that examples are abundant: On popular social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram, cats have inspired various forms of what we term, drawing on Christopher Small (1998), "musicking with cats." They serve as both muses and active participants in musical creations: Felines star in music-themed memes. They are animated to dance and even play musical instruments. Their vocalizations are the foundation of musical compositions and interspecies collaborative music-making ventures. All this while very likely remaining blissfully unaware of their musical contributions. In this research seminar, we will venture into uncharted territory and take on the challenge to fill this scholarly gap. Starting our journey, we equip ourselves with a solid methodological toolkit comprised of qualitative research methods. These include ethnographic methods, such as participant observation and interviews, as well as questionnaires. We will reflect on research ethics, and explore the method of content analysis. All of these approaches will be applied practically, with a special focus on our seminar's central theme: the Internet’s purr-fect tunes! The discussion of selected readings on cats and the Internet (e.g. on memes, collaborative music making, intimacies and cuteness, language, etc.) will inspire us to develop different research designs. Towards the end of the class, participants will conduct their own projects on the topic (in groups of 3) and will learn to present the findings in the form of an academic poster. The oral exams will be held as a mini-conference/exhibit, in which we share our – hopefully paw-some – findings.

Researching Popular Music (Tutorium)

Dozent/in: Monika Schoop

Inhalt: This seminar will introduce you to specific methods and current fields of research on popular music. The seminar focuses on the methodological aspects of these studies with a hands-on approach. You will gain access to empirical material and you will be asked to perform small data collections or field work yourself. You will be asked to contribute to the data analysis by forming study groups, as well as individually working on an end-of-term project that will be presented during the oral examinations. This course inquires into songs as media of memory of political events looking at selected examples from the research project “Sounding Memories.” Through the discussion of texts from the field of memory studies as well as project outcomes, students will be provided with a theoretical and methodological toolkit for researching songs as sounding memories. Students will conduct research on a song of their choice and will learn to present their findings in the form of a conference-style presentation.