The Rocky Horror research moved forward substantially today – not in actual words written, but in how it needed to be shaped. It looks like I’ll be examining Frank N. Furter as a simulacrum of traditional gender roles. The nice thing is, I can apply the same analysis to the evolution of Brad and Janet over the course of the show. Preliminary research is showing that there are some musical ways to show this, above and beyond the recognized affectations of rock music vis-a-vis tonality as shown in the works of Walt Everett and others. I can still incorporate the “othering” aspect from queer theory, but I’m really thinking the simulacrum is the way to go.

It feels good to pull this back from the brink and salvage the research. The more stuff I can put out there, the better my tenure case.


There may be more to this tomorrow, though tomorrow is an insanely long day and I don’t know if I’ll have time to update the blog. (I have been doing better lately!)

I’ve been working on some analyses of The Rocky Horror Show. I was originally going to do it through the prism of queer theory and the “othering” of the aliens vis-a-vis the humans, but it’s looking more and more like a Baudrillardian simulacrum might be the operative model. Of course, this is not new for me, as my work on Susannah used Baudrillard as well.

My fear is that, because I understand the Baudrillardian approach, I’ll try to shoehorn everything I analyze into that. So I ask you, Gentle Reader, to help me keep my focus.

More bulletins as events warrant.


I don’t know if this will take off in the way that Theory Thursday (or even Tuba-Euphonium Tuesday) has done so,* but it’s worth a shot.

I’ve been writing an analytical paper on Carlisle Floyd’s opera Susannah and drawing upon post-structuralist theory as postulated by Jean Baudrillard. To my knowledge, this is the first time Baudrillard’s writings have been used as philosophical underpinning for a paper on a musical idea. Since literary theory tends to skew closer to musicology than to music theory/analysis, I guess you could say this paper is half-and-half from each discipline.

Personally, I think the disciplinary dividing lines are becoming a bit hazier. No musicologist does work without rigorous analysis of the music, and no theorist/analyst does work without a thorough understanding of the history, reception and stylistic trends present in the piece under investigation. Both disciplines require an extensive knowledge not just of the how of analysis, but the why and wherefore. I further believe this is starting to be reflected in the job market, as I’ve seen (and applied for!) multiple jobs that require teaching of music theory/analysis *and* musicology/history. While I’m not up to code on my white note/mensural notation or ways to investigate reception, I do believe my analytical techniques are strongly influenced by musicological modes of inquiry.

What do you say? Are the lines more or less sharply defined than in the past?

*for very small values of “done so”