On Saturday 27th April 2013, the SMA’s Postgraduate Writing Club met for the second time at the University of Manchester, and what a productive meeting it was!
The session hit the ground running with Joseph Knowles’ chapter ‘Gesualdo, Composer of the Twentieth Century’, which will be published in the edited collection Critical Music Historiography: Probing Canons, Ideologies and Institutions. The proposed output of Joseph’s work initiated much fruitful discussion about how to nurture your argument to make an analytically based chapter appeal to the reader of a non-specialist publication. My own contribution—a conference paper on Schenker’s engagement with the radio, which I am now writing up as a journal article—opened a dialogue about how to package your research to appeal to the readership of specific journals. Olga Sologub’s chapter on ‘Symphonic Explorations’ in Prokofiev’s Fifth Symphony closed the session. By far the meatiest offering, her chapter was met with a lengthy discussion on structuring your writing with thematic (as opposed to chronological) markers; the group’s response also touched upon strategies of bringing analytical prose to life through employing active language. Our guest chair, Dr Laura Tunbridge, sparked the final discussion of the day with the neatly provocative question: ‘is analysis important?’. Whether feeding back into our own work as practising musicians, elucidating the qualities in music that move us, or satisfying a proclivity towards close textual study, analysis was, and indeed continues to be, a highly valued tool to all present.
The SMA is extremely grateful to Dr Laura Tunbridge for giving up her Saturday to chair the session, and to Olga Sologub, who—in her continuing involvement with the society—graciously offered to host the meeting. I would also like to personally thank Becky Thumpston and Daniel Elphick, who provided much fuel for the discussion. The next meeting of the Writing Club will take place at Keele University in the autumn. If you are interested in getting involved, or if you would like to nominate your institution to host a meeting, I would be delighted to hear from you. You can get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kirstie Hewlett, SMA Student Representative