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JMM 5, Summer 2007, section 1


We are delighted to bring you the fifth issue of The Journal of Music and Meaning no more than five months after JMM4.

When Edward Green brought to our attention in January 2006 that 2006 was the 100th anniversary of Mahler’s Sixth Symphony, we invited him to write a paper for JMM regarding this work. Although we are settling into a more stable rhythm of publication, our hiatus between issues 3 and 4 has resulted in the presentation of Green’s “Aesthetic Realism & Mahler’s Sixth: Some Philosophic Light on a Symphonic Masterpiece in its Centennial Year” in 2007, rather than in 2006, as we had intended.

Green’s article is a scholarly tribute to Mahler; it is also an extended meditation on the relationship between art and life. This relationship is also explored in Shersten Johnson’s peer-reviewed paper “‘Strange, Strange Hallucination’: Dozing and Dreaming in Benjamin Britten’s Death in Venice.” Johnson examines the manner in which Freud analyzed the dreams of fictional characters as well as his own dreams, and she then applies these techniques in order to see what they can reveal about Britten’s Death in Venice.

The work of yet another twentieth-century composer is examined in a peer-reviewed paper by Nicholas McKay entitled “‘One for All and All for One’: Voicing in Stravinsky’s Music Theatre.” An exploration of Stravinsky’s absent and surrogate authorial voices results in a detailed and wide-ranging analysis of operas, ballets and other works of music theatre created by this great Russian composer throughout the various periods of his career.

In the last of the peer-reviewed papers in this issue, “How World Views May Be Revealed by Armchair Conducting: Composer-Specific Computer Animations,” Nigel Nettheim begins by describing Gustav Becking’s 1928 attempts to use armchair conducting as a tool for characterizing the musical personalities of composers. Nettheim then examines Becking’s ideas by employing computer technology to carry out measurements of performance excerpts and to provide animated versions of the associated Becking curves, utilizing preferred, deliberately faulty and mismatched versions of the animated curves.

The reader will catch him- or herself in the act of armchair conducting while reading/participating in Nettheim’s article! If you would like to share your reactions to the article, or to comment upon any other article in this issue, this might be a good opportunity to enroll in our newly updated forum. Due to problems with spamming, you are now requested to register as a user before being able to post comments. This is of course free – simply try posting a comment and you will be redirected to a page with links to forum registration. Once you have registered, you will have to enter your username and password every time you post messages in the forum.

In the previous issue of JMM we had two research reports, but book reviews were lacking. This time we do have two book reviews, but research reports are lacking. This is merely incidental and does not mean that the appearance of one section excludes the appearance of the other. Biologist Jakob Christensen-Dalsgaard offers a review of and commentary on Steven Mithen’s controversial book, The Singing Neanderthals: The Origins of Music, Language, Mind and Body, a book that tries to sketch a picture of the role of music in the evolution of mankind. Our Managing Editor, Søren R. Frimodt-Møller, who is a welcome combination of PhD fellow and heavy metal journalist (among other chores), reviews the anthology Metallica and Philosophy: A Crash Course in Brain Surgery, edited by William Irwin.

With the latter examination of a contemporary rock and metal band, Metallica, JMM5 has brought you up to the present day. Here is a taste of the future for JMM:

The 5th International Symposium on Computer Music Modeling and Retrieval, CMMR 2008 will be held in Copenhagen, May 19-23, 2008. The theme of CMMR 2008 is Genesis of Meaning in Sound and Music. An award for the best paper presented at the conference will be given under the auspices of JMM. The call for papers can be read here.

The Journal continues to gain attention worldwide. The appearance of JMM4 in May 2007 resulted in more visits to than ever before in the history of the journal. This monthly record of 6002 visitors in May (an average of 193 per day) has already been surpassed by the month of June 2007 where no less than 6173 visitors have taken a look at our website – 205 visitors per day! What is even more impressive, these visitors seem to be actual readers: In May 2007 we had 48264 page views (one article equals one page), an average of 1556 pages per day. June was a shorter month and hence “only” had 47934 page views, but this nevertheless equals 1597 pages per day – in other words, our readers are getting more attentive it seems. This tendency is confirmed by the statistics for July that show no less than 55989 page views - an average of 1806 pages per day.

Just to put things into perspective: In 2004, the first full year during which JMM existed, the website had an average of 27 visits per day and a year total of 9887 visits. In 2006, we had an average of 148 visits per day and a year total of 54063. In 2007, the average so far (as of October 4) is 182 visits per day, 50469 in total – and we have yet to see the impact of the release of JMM5.

The list below shows the top 20 countries (out of 72) that have generated hits on our website in July 2007. This gives a good overview of the wide international awareness of JMM.

11597025.651600United States
623523.78139Great Britain (UK)

An important update: We have recently assembled a style sheet based on the standards used by the American Psychological Association (APA) in order to make manuscript preparation before submission even easier. The style sheet reflects sharpened guidelines that will be put in to practice from JMM6 and onwards.

We hope you will enjoy JMM5!

Best regards,

On behalf of the Editorial Staff,

Cynthia M. Grund
Søren R. Frimodt-Møller