Sustainable Music


Wednesday, February 28, 2024

The trouble with the trouble with wilderness

Roaring Falls, Glacier Bay National Park. Courtesy National Park Service.

      Toward the end of the last century, William Cronon deconstructed the prevailing definition of American wilderness, as nature apart from the influence of humankind. Henry Nash Smith's classic in American studies, Virgin Land (1950), had summed up the role that the myth of the frontier, as unexplored and unsettled wilderness, had played in American life. As long as American settlers, Cronon argued, had conceived of the American frontier as wilderness, the land was available for possession and settlement. The trouble with wilderness, Cronon pointed out, was that it ignored millennia of Native American settlement on this same land; indeed, Natives were erased from the land both literally, and then figuratively by the idea of wilderness. 

    But when did this particular idea of wilderness actually arise? Was it present during the days of settlement when the Natives were being erased? It would not appear so. William Bradford, Colonial Governor of Massachusetts, described a different kind of frontier: a "hideous wilderness, filled with wild beasts and wild men." The wilderness Bradford described was populated with Natives and animals that were a threat to the settlers. Wilderness was not, for the early settlers, land absent the hand of mankind. It would seem that while the idea of wilderness as "the natural world" apart from human influence was present among intellectuals like Emerson and Thoreau, it didn't become fully established in American culture until the Conservation Movement. Starting in the late 19th century, when National Parks were beginning to be constructed in order to preserve nature, because "it was morally right to do so," as John Muir had argued, this idea of wilderness as land in its natural state became prevalent in American public discourse. Not coincidentally, the Conservation Movement arose at a time when the American Frontier had been formally declared closed (1890).

    The trouble with the trouble with wilderness, then, is that American settlers had not always conceived of it as empty land ready for possession. It was not, in fact, until it had been fully possessed that the modern idea of wilderness, which Cronon critiqued, came to prevail, fueled by the ideas that were rooted in the Conservation Movement. In effect, Cronon's critique, as he came to recognize, was not so much a critique of American settlement as a critique of the Conservation Movement's idea of wilderness.

Saturday, December 16, 2023

Keeping Track of Writing Projects -- end of 2023

Robert Winslow Gordon, founder of the Archive of American Folk Song, c. 1923, examining an archeological artifact in California. Courtesy of the American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

An update to keep track of my writing projects has become an annual event. Since my last update, on Dec. 28, 2022, which writing projects have progressed, which have been published, and which have seemingly stagnated? On my page and also in my twitter (now X) profile @jefftoddtiton I suggest that readers who want to know the answer to the question “What research and writing are you working on?” come to this blog to find out. Several projects that I'd been working on for years were published in 2023, while one more is in press, and another has been completed but must go through further stages before publication. Here is the list:

1. I’d finished a short essay on musical icons, introducing a section of a book entitled Social Voices: The Cultural Politics of Singers Around the Globe, edited by Levi Gibbs, in 2021.  That book was published in September this year by the University of Illinois Press.

2. I’d completed the chapter “Eco-trope or Eco-tripe? Music Ecology Today” in 2021 for the book  Sounds, Ecologies, Musics, edited by Aaron S. Allen and myself, which was published in September of this year by Oxford University Press. Aaron and I also co-wrote the first chapter, “Diverse Ecologies for Sound and Music Studies.” The book contains fourteen essays written by scientists, scholars, environmental activists, and musicians, each concerned with music, sound, nature, culture and the environment in a time of environmental crisis.

3. In 2019 I’d completed my section of “The Sound Commons and Applied Ecomusicologies,” an article co-authored by Aaron Allen, Taylor Leapaldt, Mark Pedelty, and myself, for The Routledge Companion to Applied Musicology, edited by Chris Dromey. The book was published in 2023.

4. “Ecojustice and Ontological Turns: a Response to Marshall and DeAngeli.” This was part of an E-seminar that the Ecomusicology Review has been conducting in the fall of 2021 within the ecomusicology Google Group. Kimberly Marshall and Emma DeAngeli wrote an essay to which Sebastian Hochmeyer responded, whereupon they wrote a rejoinder. Mark Pedelty followed with a second response. Aaron Allen asked me if I too would respond, and so I wrote a brief response, starting with my reaction to a disagreement between Marshall and DeAngeli on one hand, and Hachmeyer on the other, over the relevance of the so-called ontological turn in anthropology to the project of social justice. Rather than take sides, I proposed that ecojustice would resolve the disagreement by including social justice in the larger framework of relationality and by extending reciprocity and respect to all living beings, not just humans. This is congruent with the writings of Indigenous scholars such as Robin Kimmerer and Zoe Todd in past dozen years or so as well even though they don’t use that term. Whether these essays and responses and rejoinder will be published in Ecomusicology Review, as Aaron Allen had intended at the time, I don't know.

5. In early 2022 Robert Baron, on behalf of the Fellows of the American Folklore Society, invited me to contribute an essay to a forthcoming issue of the Journal of American Folklore, to be derived from my 2021 oral presentation on folklife, heritage and environment for an American Folklore Society webinar. I completed the essay in October, 2022. Its title is "Folklife, Heritage, and the Environment: A Critique of Natural Capital, Ecosystem Services, and Settler Ecology." This 10,000-word essay is in the proof stage now and is scheduled for publication in the Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 137, no. 543, pp. 61-84, sometime in the spring of 2024.

6. In January of 2023 Ross Cole invited me to contribute a chapter on “Observing and Collecting” for The Cambridge Companion to Folk Music. Other prospective authors included Phil Bohlman, Rachel Mundy, Peggy Seeger, Caroline Bithell, Dave Harker, and Jake Blount. I haven’t often accepted invitations to write on assigned topics, but this one interested me and, as Ross and I discussed why he’d asked me, and as I thought about what I might say about the history of observation, collecting, and fieldwork in folklore, folklife, and especially folksong studies, I decided to see if I'd find the writing congenial. As I began I found myself with quite a bit to say. I completed a draft over the summer, then revised it a little in November to bring it within the 7000-word limit. It contains the swashbuckling illustration, which stands atop this blog entry, of folksong collector Robert Winslow Gordon, who in 1928 established the Archive of American Folksong at the Library of Congress. Ross was happy with the chapter and has it now. After he gathers up all the chapters for the book, I assume it will go through an external review process, then further revision, and finally it will be published, I'm guessing sometime in 2025 or 2026.

Among the lectures and seminars I gave during this past year was a webinar lecture for the Society for Ethnomusicology. The title was “Applying ethnomusicology: from the study of people making music to the study of beings making sound,” and it was broadcast on May 4 and 11. The lecture contrasted my 1989 definition of ethnomusicology as the study of people making music, first presented in 1989 at an ethnomusicology conference and later published in the 3rd edition of Worlds of Music (1993), with my shifting interests in this century toward the study of beings making sound. I've put the text of the lecture in the section on conference presentations on my page.

Monday, November 6, 2023

Balance of Nature as Ecological Imaginary (AFS presentation)

Tarangire National Park, Tanzania. Courtesty of Zenith 4237, Wikimedia Commons.


 On Saturday, November 4, our DERT (Diverse Environmental Research Team) group led a forum at the American Folklore Society annual conference on the subject of Ecological Imaginaries. My brief presentation was on the idea of the balance of nature as a Euro-American ecological imaginary. Here's what I said:

      I want to speak about one of Euro-America’s enduring myths, the ecological imaginary that is called the balance of nature. By myth here I don’t mean something supernatural. I mean a metanarrative that imbues history with teleology; that is, nature exhibits aesthetic and ethical purpose. Nature is said to be balanced in the sense that just as water seeks its own level, nature possesses a kind of economy. In other words, left pretty much to its own devices, nature finds an equilibrium about which it can sustain itself indefinitely. In scientific terms, balanced natural ecosystems are self-regulating, like a pendulum, or like a thermostat moving the temperature about a set point. A corollary is the diversity-stability hypothesis: that ecosystem stability increases with biodiversity.

     Of course, you’ve heard of the virtues of balance in daily life. We’re told to eat a balanced diet. If you’ve streamed television lately you’ve surely seen ads for the dietary supplement called balance of nature, with one pill containing vegetables and the other fruits in powdered form. Talk about ultra-processed foods! and yet they’re advertised as healthful. And surely you know the folkloric expression “don’t keep all your eggs in one basket.” This actually is a proverbial expression of the diversity-stability hypothesis.

     Well, the balance of nature is an old idea that one can find from ancient and medieval European history through the Enlightenment and Modernity. About “the economy of nature” the great naturalist Linnaeus wrote that “Providence not only aimed at sustaining, but also keeping a just proportion amongst all the species.” Darwin’s evolutionary natural selection is but a secular expression of natural balance. In the 20th century, the idea of the ecosystem, with its food chain and food web, its producers, consumers, and decomposers, became the model for ecological study, taken as instances of natural balance. Balance of nature among organisms, populations, communities and ecosystems organized the major ecology textbooks throughout most of the last century.

     Ecology also provided scientific support for the efforts of conservationists and environmentalists in the last century. Some ecological scientists, such as Rachel Carson and Eugene Odom, also became environmentalists and helped bring about the EPA and its public policies that are intended to protect endangered species (including ourselves) from pathogenic industrial civilization and restore ecological balance.

     Probably the most far-reaching contemporary example of natural balance is Gaia. Gaia, as you know, is the name for the hypothesis that the Earth itself is alive—that is, that the Earth considered as a whole, all the plants and animals and geological formations and its atmosphere, is naturally self-regulating and seeks a sustainable equilibrium. In other words, Gaia represents balance of nature and diversity-stability writ large. Gaia theory has been endorsed by environmentalists of all stripes, from practical problem-solvers to so-called deep ecologists.

     There is, however, a problem with balance of nature in the 21st century. Not only do the vast majority of ecological scientists not accept Gaia, balance of nature has been discarded by ecological science. As early as 1973 ecologist Robert May demonstrated that the more diverse was an ecosystem, the more fragile it was. It now seems as if stability does not depend on biodiversity. Other ecologists observed environmental complexity that could only be explained by chaos theory, leading to the current ecosystem paradigm, which indicates that when confronted with significant disturbances, complex ecosystems disintegrate. Today's ecological scientists portray the state of nature not in terms of economy and balance but by its opposite: instability, flux, and complexity (chaos), whether humankind’s hand is present or absent.

     Nevertheless, the myth of a balanced nature persists among environmentalists and in the public mind. It even affects public policy. I don’t have time to get into details here, but consider whether, if and when carbon neutrality or net zero emissions is actually achieved, the Earth’s climate will swing back into its previous, desirable balance point, or remain in its then-current regime and continue to wreak havoc.

     Summing up, then: balance of nature is a powerful ecological imaginary. Balance of nature is also a national myth, the kind of myth that folklorists such as Alan Dundes wrote about in Work Hard and You Shall Be Rewarded (the Horatio Alger myth) or Dick Dorson wrote about, such as the frontier myth, when his topic was folklore in America versus American folklore. The expressive culture of balance of nature offers a fertile field for folkloric exploration, whether the subject is dietary supplements or climate change. Many of us are going to end with a question for everyone in the room. Mine is this: how does balance of nature figure in your ecological imaginary, and how does it figure in the ecological imaginaries of the people who are your field partners?

Saturday, September 30, 2023

Ecological Imaginaries 3

     If you’ve watched much cable news or streamed other programs lately you’ve probably seen the ads for a dietary supplement called “Balance of Nature.” These are pills that, even though they are not whole foods, are said to contain nutrients present in fruits and vegetables. The name of this product benefits from two widely-held and related beliefs: one, that people should eat a balanced diet; and two, that the natural world is (or should be) balanced: it is self-regulating and in the absence of significant human meddling an ecosystem such as a forest corrects disturbances and moves over time in the direction of balance, as for example in the fluctuating populations of a predator species and its prey.
    These two beliefs are so widely held that they are thought to go without saying. But if one is asked about them, the usual reply is that according to scientific studies, a diet of too high in its proportion of fat, carbohydrate, or protein has been shown to be unhealthful. Similarly, scientists have observed and studied self-regulation and dynamic but balanced equilibria in natural ecosystems such as lakes for more than a hundred years. Nevertheless, each of these beliefs has undergone significant challenge. Think, for example, of high protein or low carbohydrate diets; these are not balanced in the usual sense, yet they are said to be more healthful. As regards balance in the natural world, scientists for the past fifty years have found so many instances in which nature absent meaningful human influence does not return to a previous balance after significant disturbance but, rather, changes to a different state or regime with different components and a different kind of equilibrium, that within the field of ecological science the idea of natural balance has by now been discredited and abandoned. I return to "balance of nature" because some members of our DERT (diverse environmentalist research team) will be speaking in a forum five weeks from now on the subject of ecological imaginaries, and as I wrote in this blog a year ago, balance of nature is an ecological imaginary--and I intend to say some more things about it. 

     Here, then, a few further thoughts. Despite it having been discarded by ecological scientists, the belief in natural balance persists in the public sphere and especially among people concerned with the current environmental crisis. Oversimplified, the idea goes something like this: human beings have so disturbed the natural world through extraction of natural resources like fossil fuels and the ensuing emissions, unsustainable economic growth and endless construction that destroys natural habitat, and so on and on, that the result is an environmental crisis whose symptoms are climate change and species extinction. The natural world is obviously now out of balance but if we stop emitting carbon and stop destroying habitat the world will come back into balance. As a result, environmentalists are keen to reverse the major cause of this unbalance and replace fossil fuels with the natural energy of solar and wind power.
    My point here isn’t to promote or discourage dietary supplements or to agree or disagree with the opposing views of ecological scientists and environmentalists concerning natural balance, but, rather, to consider the idea of natural balance as an “ecological imaginary”—that is, a network of ideas and beliefs that a particular group of people have about the natural world, what it is, how it operates, and how we should behave in relation to it. Such an ecological imaginary rises in contemporary America to the status of cultural myth. By myth I don’t mean to imply a superstition or something false, as myth is commonly understood, but rather a belief so powerful and pervasive that it usually goes unquestioned, regardless whether it is true or false. A contemporary example of such a myth is the belief that continuous economic growth is required for national prosperity and wellbeing. American myths that were powerful when I was younger included "e pluribus unum" (out of many, one) -- that is, the melting pot; and the idea that hard work and virtue will be rewarded because America was a "land of opportunity" -- equal opportunity. Today the opposite of those myths are prevalent: that instead of assimilation and harmony Americans are increasingly fractured and at odds with one another; and that due to growing inequality of opportunity, rewards come from not from diligence and integrity but from gaming the system.
    I associate the folklorist Richard Dorson with the idea that these American cultural myths are examples of folklore; that is, they are better understood as folk beliefs than as belonging to the world of verifiable fact.
I haven't yet found just where Dorson's wrote about these myth-symbols as folklore. He did write about American (national) folklore, however, and in a 1978 article, "American Folklore vs. Folklore in America," he wrote briefly about the frontier and its influence on the formation of American folk traditions. As J. L. Austin would have said, these folk beliefs and traditions are “performative”: they were affirmed in the process of being enacted, and they brought about change in the world by virtue of their performances as speech acts. As a graduate student after World War II, Dorson had been immersed in the so-called “myth-symbol school” of American Studies. Its guiding idea was that Americans shaped their lives on the basis of deeply held beliefs related to certain symbols, such as the American frontier, thought to encourage a belief in the abundance of natural resources, as well as personality traits such as courage, forbearance and ingenuity, along with the belief that merit was based on ability, not birth or status. If he were alive today he would say that Americans perform their beliefs in expressive cultural forms related to those symbols. Examples would be environmentalists performing their beliefs by protesting the progress of fossil fuel pipelines, and rural people sharing stories about the land and sustainability of its resources, what Mary Hufford has called a “narrative ecology.”
    To return to “balance of nature,” then, as both an ecological imaginary and a folk belief that environmentalists perform and ecological scientists debunk, is there a way to reconcile these opposing viewpoints? In the next entry I will discuss one possible way to do this, looking at different ways that the two scientists who proposed the Gaia Hypothesis, Lynn Margulis and James Lovelock, have approached planet Earth as a holistic entity. It turns on the difference between function (Margulis) and purpose (Lovelock).

Monday, July 31, 2023

Sustainable Colleges and Universities: the Maine problem

The University of Southern Maine


Public education is under fire in Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Arkansas and elsewhere from political figures who have been trying to implement a conservative curriculum. The Florida controversy over the Advanced Placement course in African American History is but one example of many. Media stories have highlighted the activities of consultant Christopher Rufo, of Hillsdale College, and other individuals and organizations with a conservative educational agenda.


Thankfully, this political infection hasn't spread to the state of Maine but, Maine being a poor New England state with a fiscally frugal population, the state legislature has gradually strangled public education by reducing the funding it provides higher education: today 43% of the funding for the university system, whereas in 1972 it paid 70%. Tuition for private liberal arts colleges in Maine like Colby and Bowdoin is about $60,000 annually, whereas for the University of Maine at Orono, the flagship state university, tuition costs a full-time student only $12,000 per year. Yet, the legislators expect UMaine somehow to maintain standards and offer a quality education to all who qualify. In truth, 96% of its applicants are admitted, so there is no question about qualifying; moreover, more than 40% of the students enrolled in Maine's higher educational institutions system-wide are first-generation college students, while more than half of all enrollees qualify for Pell grants, signaling exceptional financial hardship. Meanwhile, tuition income for the university is down because overall in-state enrollment at UMaine has slipped in recent years as much as 25%. This slippage is due partly to a declining school-age population, but chiefly because the vast majority of Americans now view higher education vocationally, and they evaluate it not in terms of what is learned but rather by its financial costs versus benefits. Burgeoning student debt fuels this attitude and as a result fewer students choose higher education in Maine and elsewhere. Meanwhile, a liberal arts education at a private college or university like Bates or Brown is considered a luxury for the wealthy few whose families have benefited from increasing income inequality. Although these liberal arts institutions have diversified mightily in terms of race and ethnicity, to the point that almost half the student body identifies as people of color, the fact is that they have not diversified nearly so much economically: most of the minority students come from middle-class backgrounds, or they were privileged to be identified early for their abilities and tracked into college-prep high school courses.


The land-grant universities in every state, including the state of Maine, were established in the 19th century so that students would be able to learn not only the career-oriented "useful arts" but also the humanities and the sciences. They would learn about the broader world outside the narrow compass of family, place, and personal history; they would learn about the past so they could live more effectively in the future. The idea was that more broadly educated individuals made the best leaders, and that all would contribute to society as knowledgeable and effective citizens. This higher aim has been all but lost, and the result is obvious: an electorate increasingly ignorant of science and of history.


To combat financial hardship, the University of Southern Maine, the second largest campus in the state after UMaine Orono, has just announced a strategic plan aimed at belt-tightening. The plan proposes to eliminate courses with low enrollments. However, low enrollments are a fact of life in specialized, advanced courses, particularly in graduate schools. Low-enrollment courses are indeed expensive to teach, so universities fund them, as it were, with high-enrollment undergraduate courses to even things out. Moreover, universities have been spending less per course by hiring part-time faculty members (adjunct professors) whose salaries are poverty-level low, and who receive fewer or no perquisites: no medical benefits, for example. Fifty years ago part-timers accounted for less than 20% of university faculty; today that figure is more than 50%. Such has already been the belt-tightening in response to decades of lower and lower funding from state legislatures. And while colleges and universities were pruning full-time faculty, they were expanding the number of full-time administrators. Most of these institutions are now top-heavy with managers, deans, associate deans, assistant deans, development officers, assistant development officers, financial managers, and so on.


The implementation of free (or low-cost) public education in the United States was a radical move more than 150 years ago. The idea behind it, of course, is that a good education is a right, not a privilege; and that its benefits would accrue not just to individuals but to the nation as a whole. Many of our citizens and political leaders appear to have forgotten this. The solution to the financial problems facing public education today is not charter schools, nor is it belt-tightening, nor is it a curriculum determined by political agenda. Rather, the solution is to restore the higher funding levels of fifty years ago, to increase the percentage of full-time faculty, and to reduce the number of managerial positions.

Friday, June 30, 2023

Mid-year update on a couple of writing projects

    Two of my long-term writing projects are finishing up now: a book that has been in production at the publisher (Oxford University Press) for several months, and the other (an article to be published early in 2024 in the Journal of American Folklore) has just undergone copyediting.

    The book, Sounds, Ecologies, Musics, which I've co-edited with Aaron Allen, now has a website. Rather than describe the book and contributing authors here, may I suggest that readers check out the website where that information is available? Regarding the production, it's been a pretty long slog, what with having to work with our contributing authors (and ourselves) through revisions at the copyedit and proof stages, and also to work with the production company that Oxford is using, which is located in India. There have been numerous backs-and-forths, most of which were routine although time consuming. The one exception was a late reflection by one of the authors that something written could possibly result in a slap suit, so as a result several paragraphs had to be re-written at the last minute, the number of paragraphs in the chapter increased, and the changes rippled through the rest of the production. Luckily, that wasn't Aaron's and my problem to take care of. But we did have to make various corrections and additions to the Index, which we had (wisely) farmed out to a professional indexer. At the moment the production team is working with our corrections to the second proofs, and we will need to make sure these are properly implemented, before we can sign off and they can put the book further along and into the queue for printing later this summer. 

Lobster fishing in a peapod, as was done in the 1800s. Courtesy of the Northeast Folklore Archives, University of Maine.
    The article for the Journal of American Folklore, which I've mentioned on this blog before, is a critique of the natural capital/ecosystem services philosophy of environmental planning which in turn affects the way natural (environmental) heritage is framed for tourism, an activity (tourism, especially cultural tourism) that public folklorists have been deeply involved in for several decades. In effect, ecosystem services (that is, the services that the natural environment provides for people) has for more than a hundred years been regarded in terms of costs and benefits, an economic equation that does not play well with the cultural values that tourists, particularly ecotourists, place upon travel. At the same time, the natural capital/ecosystem services framework is applied to certain extractive industries, such as ocean fishing, downplaying the experiential folklife of the workers themselves, whose relationship with the work often transcends economic considerations, especially when the work becomes a way of life and forges cultural value beyond price for a close-knit community, while simultaneously damaging the environment. This summary is of course very abstruse, and so in a later blog post closer to publication I will offer some more concrete detail about this critique; but its major outline should be familiar to readers of this blog because these ideas about the tension between economic value and cultural values have been swirling around here for a dozen or more years. Meanwhile, the article has just undergone copyediting and my review, and the ball is back in the editors' court as the manuscript moves toward the proofs stage.


Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Will orcas sink whale-watching boats because of noise pollution?


Orca whales jumping. Photo by Robert Pittman, Wikimedia Commons.

            Even if they haven't read the novel, most everyone knows the ending of Moby-Dick: the white whale sinks Captain Ahab's whaling boat, the Pequod, and all perish save Ishmael, who survives to tell the tale. So it may not have been entirely surprising to hear recent news reports of orcas (killer whales) attacking and seriously damaging fishing boats--already twelve boats this year. As it happens orcas have been well studied by not only by biologists but also by ecomusicologists interested in the sounds they make. Orcas find their food by echolocation; that is, by sending out sound signals and listening for the echoes to located prey. Orcas, like other whales, also communicate with one another via sound.

            Ecomusicologist Mark Pedelty made a documentary film, Sentinels of Silence, about how the propeller noise from powerful whale watching boats in the Salish Sea (the waters off the northwest coast of the United States and the southeast coast of Canada) upsets the orcas that live there, making it impossible for them to locate their food or one another. Whale-watching is a major tourist business in the area, but orcas are an already endangered species. This intrusion into the ocean sound commons undoubtedly makes it more difficult for orcas to survive. Animal rights activists fought the whale-watching industry and, with the help of Pedelty's film, were able to convince the government to regulate the noise pollution from the whale boats.

            The dozen orca attacks this year all occurred off the coasts of Spain and Portugal. Some scientists hypothesize that these orcas may be attacking those fishing boats for vengeance: either because the boats are interfering with the orcas' food supply, because the orcas get entangled in the fishing gear, or even because one of them was struck by a fishing boat. None of the scientists mentioned the possibility that propeller noise was a reason for the orca attacks. The scientists attribute agency to the orcas and have observed a female named White Gladis "teaching" the other orcas to attack the boats. This behavior hasn't yet been observed in the Salish Sea, but it's not beyond possibility.

Sunday, April 30, 2023

Global Webinar: Why I Do Applied Ethnomusicology. May 4 & 11, 2023.

Jeff Titon (electric guitar, left) and Lazy Bill Lucas (electric piano, right) performing at the People's Park, Dinkytown, Minneapolis, 1970. My work in applied ethnomusicology was an outgrowth of my friendship with Bill Lucas.


        The Applied Ethnomusicology Section of the Society for Ethnomusicology is sponsoring a global webinar, May 4 & 11, on the subject, "Why I Do Applied Ethnomusicology." Three speakers will be presenting, each for 20 minutes, followed by 10 minutes for questions. I was invited to be one of the speakers. I had declined at first but the sponsors coaxed me into accepting. Yesterday I recorded my presentation on video, and uploaded it so that the technical experts could play it back for the webinar on those two dates. I'll be present in person on May 4 for the Q&A session, but it's unlikely that I'll be able to make it for the 11th on account of the time schedule, which places the global webinar at an hour (5 a.m.) when most people in my part of the world are asleep.

         In case the global webinar is of interest to readers of this blog, it's possible to for you to participate for free; but to do so you need to pre-register. Information on pre-registering is in the links below. 

Here are the titles of the presentations:

 1. Michael Frishkopf, "AI-generated soundscapes for stress reduction: From the intensive care unit to the library." 


 2. Jeff Todd Titon, "Applying ethnomusicology: From the study of people making music to the study of beings making sound." [Note: the text of my presentation is on my page.]


 3. Sally Treloyn, "The work of return: Digital media, sustainability, and applied ethnomusicology."

And here is the time schedule and registration link for each of the two times that the global webinar will be presented:

Addis Ababa and Nairobi: 9 pm, May 4 


Cairo and Cape Town: 8 pm, May 4 


Copenhagen and Paris: 8 pm, May 4 


London and Dublin: 7 pm, May 4 


Sãu Paulo: 3 pm, May 4 


New York and Toronto: 2 pm, May 4             

Jeff Todd Titon (recording, with Q&A live)  

Alberta: 12 pm, May 4                                        

Michael Frishkopf (speaking live) 

Los Angeles: 11 am, May 4 


New Zealand: 6 am, May 5 


Sydney: 4 am, May 5                                     

Sally Treloyn (recording) 

Japan and Seoul: 3 am, May 5 


Beijing and Kuala Lumpur: 2 am, May 5 



Register in advance for this meeting on May 4:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. 



May 11, 2023 

New Zealand: 9 pm, May 11 


Sydney: 7 pm, May 11                                    

Sally Treloyn (speaking live) 

Japan and Seoul: 6 pm May 11 


Beijing and Kuala Lumpur: 5 pm, May 11 


Addis Ababa and Nairobi: 12 pm, May 11 


Cairo and Cape Town: 11 am, May 11 


Copenhagen and Paris: 11 am, May 11 


London and Dublin: 10 am, May 11 


Sãu Paulo: 6 am, May 11 


New York and Toronto: 5 am, May 11               

Jeff Todd Titon (recording) 

Alberta: 3 am May 4                                           

Michael Frishkopf (recording)   

Los Angeles: 2 am, May 11 



Register in advance for this meeting on May 11: 

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.