Center for American Music board member and Assistant Professor of Musicology, Dr. Hannah Lewis, and CAM Post Doctoral Fellow, Dr. Eric Dienstfrey, recently delivered presentations at the The Society for Cinema Media Studies’s Annual Conference. The conference was held in Seattle, March 13-17 and featured an international lineup of scholars and artists. The conference aims to “provide a forum for scholars and teachers of film and media studies to present and hear new research; to provide a supportive environment for networking… and collaboration among scholars otherwise separated by distance, language, or disciplinary boundaries.”
Prof. Lewis’s talk was titled “Cinematic Expectations in the Live Television Musical.” Lewis describes the focus of her work:
“In my talk, I surveyed the aesthetic decisions made in the recent spate of live television musicals, discussing the ways in which the genre negotiates expectations of televisual immediacy and the cinematic, and showing how these adaptations have, to different extents, highlighted their proximity to their film versions. I argued that the manners in which recent live television musicals negotiate cinematic expectations reveal how film adaptations have fundamentally altered audiences’ understandings of the original stage musical’s text and have presented new sets of expectations and challenges when translated to other media.” – Dr. Hannah Lewis
Dr. Dienstfrey delivered a paper titled “Invisible by Design: Star Wars, the ISO, and the Adoption of Wide-Range Volume.”
It looked at how in the late 1960s the International Organization of Standardization (ISO) developed a wide-range acoustical standard for cinemas, and how the 1977 release of Star Wars became a tentpole release that helped the ISO market its standard to the film industry. My paper was part of a panel that looked at the struggles of sound technicians during the 1970s, and it sparked a lively Q&A about the difficulties when tracing the history of acoustics and listening habits. Overall I found the conference rewarding. There’s some truly extraordinary archival research coming out of the field of sound and music studies at the moment, both in North America and in Europe, and it’s always exciting to attend a panel that can change the way you think about media history. I was fortunate that a number of SCMS papers had that type of effect on me. – Dr. Eric Dienstfrey
Besides their activities presenting research, both Dr. Lewis and Dr. Dienstfrey enjoyed attending papers on music/sound and connecting with colleagues who study music in film and other media.
More info about the annual conference here: Society for Cinema Media Studies