Well. Forgive me, fellow readers but it has been over a year since my last blog on Notes From Last Night. I know, I know. That’s the thing with blogs, diaries, exercise plans – you start out with the best of intentions, with a definite itch to scratch, with a point a view. But then you forget what the original intention was, and why sharing your thoughts with the world seemed so very important. In all honesty, other stuff simply got in the way. Important things like caring for family, completing a dissertation, continuing a career, fitting in hobbies various and varied. All this, plus the desire to have a break from big thinking and regroup for a while!
One of the difficult issues with the blog’s initial incarnation was that it was borne out of a desire to write about my interactions with music, partly through an interest to see what I could write about and how I could write about it. The resulting content has been quite eclectic. Mostly, the posts have concerned things that struck me about my own music experiences – listening to music, my response to it, performing music, or simply hearing an unexpected musical sound and finding a story in it. In writing this way, I also found myself being asked to write a few performance reviews. Whilst extremely flattering, I felt pressure to write in a particular way and a definite sense of imposter syndrome! The realisation soon dawned that review writing wasn’t quite what Notes From Last Night (ok, now NFLN for short!) should be about and that my own musical discoveries were more interesting to write about. If the blog was to continue, it needed to be more about observation and discovery and less about the traditional ways of writing about music.
Two happy occurrences came out of studying for my Masters degree. The first was that I discovered and started to develop particular areas of interest, the primary one being the developments in music from the immediate post-war period to somewhere around the mid-1970s. How music communities were rebuilt and evolved in the years after the second world war, how and why performance repertoires were constructed, aspects of amateur music-making is all quite fascinating to me. This era in music history is something I’m going to continue to dig around in for a while – we’ll see what comes up.
The other happy coincidence was finding a wonderful cohort of fellow musicology students, each with their own particular area of interest. For example, there’s Yvette, who researched how minority languages are maintained through folk song, Mez, whose area of interest is in Middle Eastern music and song, and Jen, who studied different performance practices of George Crumb’s Black Angels. All unique studies but the writers have one big thing in common – a shared desire to continue writing about their musical passions. In light of this, NFLN is going to continue on its journey with the ambition to create a vibrant musicology community. One where we talk about what music is, what music does and what music means to us in today’s ever-evolving societies. I can’t wait to see what happens!
Debbie, Notes from Last Night
About Debbie Nichol: A lifelong lover of music of all types, Debbie Nichol has recently completed an MA in Music with the Open University, focussing on music repertoires, reception and social histories. By trade she’s a marketing and training specialist and when not studying or working, spends time singing with a chamber choir and writing a music blog: www.notesfromlastnight.co.uk