Blog Post

Hello, HASTAC!

Hello! I am so excited to join the HASTAC community this year, and am looking forward to engaging with the incredible projects already happening on this site as well as (hopefully) get involved in some new ones. I'm a second year in the MA/PhD program at the University of Connecticut, studying American Literature with a focus on multiethnic literature and music. My interest in DH really stems from this last component of my scholarship. As I write about intersections of music and text, I continue to face a problem of semantics: how does one create a vocabulary for music for a reader of text? How does a scholar convey musical terminology in relation to text to readers who may not be well-versed in musical ideas? How can I show similarities between forms of music and structures in literature without requiring those I share with to read sheet music? One way around this, as I see it, is immersing myself in the DH world. Thus, I'm interested in ways DH can create a shared space for music and text - a space where we can see and listen simultaneously, and interact with both mediums together. 

Specifically, I'm currently engaged with work on the African American folk song and jazz and how those forms appear in texts by authors ranging from Claude McKay to Toni Morrison. I am in the very beginning planning stages of a digital project that would allow a viewer to  see excerpts from Morrison's Song of Solomon on the same page as sheet music and audio, in hopes that such an immersive experience might convey more clearly arguments about the similarities between the structures of folk songs and the structure of the novel itself, as well as the cultural implications of such mirroring. 

I'm really interested in finding and working with projects that engage with sound more broadly, as well (such as Emily Thompson's "The Roaring Twenties" project on Vectors: http://vectors.usc.edu/projects/index.php?project=98&thread=AuthorsState...). Soundscape is such an exciting way to work with literature, history, culture, and human nature, and I think DH provides us exciting new mediums with which to do so. I'm always looking for new ways to understand and work with sound, so would love to hear some of your ideas and discoveries along these veins. 

I'm very much a newcomer to the Digital Humanities, and have little experience working with technology on a scholarly level, so I am looking forward to learning from all of you and hopefully growing into it all as the year continues. If you have interest in soundscapes or music, I would love to hear about your projects, and I'm really looking forward to collaborating on some work and discussion throughout the year! 

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