The mission of Dr. Guy’s MusiQology is to make musicology accessible to the greater public through combining performance, composition, writings and collaborative projects with the teaching of American musical history and culture of the past and present day. ~Dr. Guthrie Ramsey
“Why are these people listening to this music in this place at this time?”
This quote, from music scholar Christopher Small, sums up my approach to my research, teaching, and other activities. It provides me with a framework for understanding the important cultural work that music does in societies at different historical moments and locations. As a musician, I’ve long been aware that certain styles and gestures speak to people profoundly. I see a big part of my work as trying to understand how music achieves this powerful affect and sharing what I’ve learned with others, both inside and outside of the academy. Audiences decide what music means, and I enjoy teaching and writing about this process as well as participating as a performer.
Dr. Guthrie Ramsey is changing the way people view musicology–traditionally known as the scholarly study of music–by showcasing the subject as live, vibrant, and ever-changing through music itself and with projects that focus on the far-reaching impact of music on history and people’s everyday lives.
Through the courses he teaches in American popular music, jazz, and African American music at the University of Pennsylvania and in lectures at universities and conferences around the world, Dr. Ramsey utilizes his own brand of “MusiQology” to demonstrate how the study of music and music history is relevant to what is happening in the world today. From Count Basie to Kanye West, it’s all fair game to Dr. Ramsey as he weaves these diverse musical traditions and styles into the complex history of American popular music.
Dr. Ramsey reaches beyond the lecture hall and into the public with performances of his contemporary jazz ensemble, Dr. Guy’s MusiQology. From museum exhibitions he curates, to his collaboration with legendary jazz pianist Ramsey Lewis on “A Proclamation of Hope: A Symphonic Poem” for the 2009 Ravinia Festival, to the premiere of his own musical commission “Someone is Listening,” set to the words of the inaugural poet Elizabeth Alexander at the NAACP Centennial Convention, Dr. Ramsey infuses musical works with his rich knowledge of music history in a manner that all people can understand and enjoy.
With the launch of Dr. Guy’s MusiQology Blog, Dr. Ramsey continues to find new, innovative and creative ways to connect with the public by bringing together diverse perspectives on current issues regarding music and the music industry and its roots in musical history and culture. By bringing musicology to the people in an engaging and approachable way, Dr. Ramsey hopes to change the way people think about, embrace and appreciate music’s power one entry at a time.