This general issue of Current Musicology begins with a literature review that stresses the importance of ethnographic research within hip-hop scholarship. Kevin C. Holt writes that “one of the most basic concerns when approaching a sociomusical phenomenon critically is understanding the parameters of the subject one wishes to engage; many hip-hop scholars emphasize the work hip-hop does (or should do) without clearly defining what hip-hop encompasses.” In addition he deftly articulates the issues of how, based on the positionality of the author, various definitions of what hip-hop is or means creates not just differing opinions but that conducting ethnographic research is crucial in making sense of how hip-hop music and its accompanying culture has made an indelible impact in popular culture.
Similar to our past issues of Current Musicology, this one is musically and as culturally diverse as our contributors. Jim Coyle writes about Benjamin Britten, widely considered as the most prominent English composer, conductor and pianist in the 20th century; Jan-Peter Herbst contributes his results from his research on equipment and distortion preferences among hard rock/ heavy metal guitarists. Sean Parr writes about vocal practices in Richard Wagner’s opera works, and Christa Pehl Evans offers an overview of women’s music education in the late 18th Century.
In 2020, we will continue to highlight unique and thought-provoking musical scholarship, ensuring that we remain reflective of the ideas and concepts that has maintained Current Musicology’s reputation of being an important academic music journal throughout its 50 years of publication.