Responses to ECHO

Letters to the Editor

Billy Higgins (ECHO 2.1)

Really enjoyed 'discovering' and reading ECHO, fine design of the webpages, stimulating content—found the interview with Billy Higgins (met him during his touring of Europe days in the 1970s, he encouraged and motivated me musically). I'll alert my students to the site.

Kindest regards,
Dr. L.D.M. Mutsaers
Utrecht University and University of Groningen (Netherlands)

Sidney Bechet and Blue Horizon (ECHO 1.1)

My culture has always been confusing to me. When I was younger I would just say I am Creole. If they asked for an explanation I would say, "well, black, but Creole" people would usually get the picture. Once I got a little older people began to tell me that I was just denying I was black and that there was no such thing as Creole. So I started referring to myself as black. Then other blacks would treat me like I was different than them. Obviously this is a huge issue for me. I cringe whenever I am asked my race …

I can only imagine what my parents’ generation’s experiences were dealing with this issue, considering the civil rights movement and all … I was extremely impressed by David Ake’s article on Sidney Bechet and Creole culture. I will spread the word.
Jade Pappion
University of New Orleans

West Side Story (ECHO 2.1)

I heard about your journal in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Congratulations on a very fine publication, accessible to interested non-musicologists, and a good example of the increased access that multimedia publication can provide.

I grew up in Washington Heights in the 50s and 60s, listening to Tito Puente, and have seen the film version of West Side Story more than twenty times, as well as several stage productions. So, I was delighted to find the article by Elizabeth Wells, which presents some interesting background information about Hispanic musical influences.

However, I am surprised that no peer reviewer caught the inversion of Piri Thomas' name in the first page of the article. "Down These Mean Streets" is a classic, and he's quite well known.

That slight quibble aside, it was a fine article.

Barbara Gersh
San Francisco, California
Editor's Note: We have corrected Piri Thomas's name. Please see our corrections page for more information.

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

The Chronicle for Higher Education

... the journal's editors want to appeal to scholars outside of musicology who write about music ...
October 25, 2000


Most musicology journals write 10,000 word treatises on Wagner's use of harmonic triads and the like. But ECHO is a journal that's not just for eggheads and longhairs. A recent issue has an excellent Napster roundtable, a review of the Exprerience Music Project (Paul allen's Seattle tribute to Jimi Hendrix) and an article on "old technoliges in new recordings" that explores the music of Portishead and Pink Floyd. But the articles are only part of the fun. Most hournals print the actual score to illustrate musical points; ECHO actually plays back the music—with a video clip of the performance, when available.
February 5, 2001

Refried Elvis (ECHO 2.1)

I just read the review of Refried Elvis. Excellent. I was thinking of using the book in a course syllabus I am working on. The Phillip Serrato review helped a good deal—except now I have to rewrite a syllabus section!

Hugh Davidson
Corvallis, Oregon

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