Reviews of ECHO

The Lancet

The following review was published in The Lancet as part of their December 23, 2000 issue. (Free registration required to see their version of this review.)

A vibrant ECHO

Music enthusiasts and anyone interested in perusing a well-designed, interactive, peer-reviewed online journal will appreciate ECHO, a biannual publication of the Musicology Depart-ment of the University of California, Los Angeles, USA. The journal aims to "broaden discourse about music and culture to include readers of diverse backgrounds," says editor Jacqueline Warwick.

The articles and reviews make for provocative, engaging reading on topics relevant to both classical and contemporary music. For example, the spring 2000 issue includes "Concerto con amore," an exploration of the function of romantic piano concerti in Hollywood films; the current issue, posted late last month, includes a discussion of the aesthetics of French music in the court of Louis XIV; a profile of the German expressionist composer, Arnold Schoenberg; a comparison of analog and digital recording techniques in contemporary music; and an interactive roundtable about the ramifications of the Napster (software that permits the free exchange and downloading of music from the web) controversies. The reviews—eg, the musical version of James Joyce's The Dead, Seattle's Experience Music Project—are refreshingly candid and probing.

ECHO uses audio and video clips, and links to external websites, to enhance content and to free writers from relying solely on music notation, says Warwick. The strategy works; it was exciting to hear snippets of Jimi Hendrix's Voodoo chile and Ory's Creole trombone while reading about their place in music history. "Echo repeats the last words spoken and gives back the last sounds she has heard" (Ovid's Metamorphoses; homepage). This ECHO does much more.

Marilynn Larkin

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