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Sun Ra's Fletcher Henderson
This talk develops some ideas for imagining what a queer music theory might look like, following Gavin Lee's recent elaboration of some of the ways such a project might potentially unfold. It focuses on three themes: a concept of “fabulation” borrowed in part from Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, development and deployment of the concept of “queer temporality” that draws upon innovative recent work in that area (especially that of José Esteban Muñoz), and a focus on musicking bodies, relationalities, and what Sara Ahmed would describe as orientations in space and time as essential aspects of music-theoretical engagement. It uses the music and persona of composer-pianist-poet-activist Sun Ra, as well as those of the members of his “Arkestra,” to develop these ideas and bring them into dialogue, culminating in an analysis of Sun Ra's reimagining of Fletcher Henderson's swing-era song “Queer Notions.”
Chris Stover’s research on improvisational interaction and rhythm, meter, and micro timing develops concepts from music theory, phenomenology, affect theory, queer and feminist theory, and philosophies of time and process. He is co-editor of Rancière and Music (Edinburgh University Press, 2020) and Making Music Together: Analyzing Musical Interaction (forthcoming, University of Chicago Press, 2021) and editor of the online magazine Practice: the journal of the CTA Center for Creativity. Other areas of interest include theorizing and implementing ‘artistic research’, Brazilian popular music, the music of Sun Ra and Cecil Taylor, and affect and play in music education. He is currently finishing a monograph on temporal/relational processes in a class of African and Afro-diasporic practices he calls ‘timeline musics’. He is a Senior Lecturer in Music Studies and Research at the Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University, and a Research Fellow at the RITMO Centre for Interdisciplinary Study in Rhythm, Time and Motion at the University of Oslo. He is also very active internationally as an improvising trombonist and composer.
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