Welcome to the Popular Music Research Centre. Currently led by Professor David Sanjek, the Centre takes the term “popular” in its widest sense, to include:
- work which explores music’s social meanings and contexts, especially in the form with which it reaches a mass audience.
- compositions which operate within the stylistic frameworks of musical genres that have, until recently, been excluded from academic investigation (pop, rock, rhythm and blues, country, brass and wind band music).
- work which focuses on the histories and accompanying theories of the various genres affiliated under the rubric of popular music – hip hop, trance, heavy metal, mass improvisation.
With recent appointments, the PRMC has expanded its investigations into four new directions:
- archives and historical musicology: how music is preserved for future generations as well as what material falls into a virtual limbo; how popular music history is rendered into narrative form and illustrates a variety of themes and theory about its subject.
- copyright and intellectual property: how statutes, both national and international, protect and, on occasion, virtually imprison music such that the public benefits only limitedly from its existence.
- jazz history and theory: complimenting existing strengths amongst the membership, members of the Centre takes its place amongst the groundbreaking scholarship being written abut the genre.
- practical composition related to popular music: how various contemporary composition erode and explore the purported boundaries between popular and concert music.