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Welcome to one of the nation's leading research and programming centers devoted to the full study of popular and folk music in the United States and beyond.

Join Us for the Next Popular Music Studies Brown Bag

Dr. Avila on Oct. 22Dr. Jacqueline Avila of University of Tennessee School of Music will be joining us for the second brown bag of the Fall semester. She will be discussing “Musicalizing the Revolutions: The Function of the Corrido in Cine Mexicano (1935–2010)” 

During the first half of the twentieth century, Mexico underwent transformative social, political, and economic changes resulting from the armed struggle of the Revolution (1910–20). In efforts to encourage solidarity and construct a newly formed national identity after the Revolution, several multivalent constructions of mexicanidad (Mexicanness)—the cultural identity of the Mexican people—surfaced in the arts, particularly in national cinema (cine mexicano), which afforded a significant and lasting impact. One of the industry’s most controversial and historically symbolic film genres was the Revolutionary melodrama, which provided varying interpretations of the armed struggle set against the musical strains of the corrido, strophic, narrative songs composed and performed during this period. This presentation explores the changing soundscapes of the Revolution in Cine mexicano, examining in particular how the use and function of the corrido helps reconstruct the memory and understanding of the Revolution for contemporary audiences.

Hip Hop Music and Car Culture in Houston, TX Langston Wilkins Event

Join us Monday, October 29 when Dr. Langston Wilkins will be on campus to discuss the hip hop music and car culture of Houston, Texas. Wilkins is a folklorist, ethnomusicologist, and writer living in Nashville. He holds a PhD in ethnomusicology from Indiana University. His research interests include hip hop music, African American popular music, and African American folklife. He recently published a chapter on slab car culture and hip hop music in the forthcoming volume Black Lives Matter and Music: Protest, Intervention and Reflection, edited by Dr. Fernando Orejuela and Dr. Stephanie Shonekan. He is currently writing an ethnographic manuscript on the cultivation of local identity within the Houston hip hop music scene.

Center for Popular Music Awarded National Endowment for the Humanities Grant

We are excited to announce that the Center for Popular Music has received a $205,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities! The award is part of the NEH's Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections program, and will allow us to make major renovations to the CPM's archival storage room in order to preserve our materials with increased sustainability, security, efficiency, and accessibility. It's going to be a busy year ahead as we ready our space for the continued vibrant growth of one of the nation's largest and most important American vernacular music research collections!

Read the official press release here.National Endowment for the Humanities Poster

Fundraiser to Preserve Work of Late Music Photographer Alan Mayor

Alan Mayor HeadshotThe Center for Popular Music acquired the Alan Mayor Photography Collection in late 2017. Mayor, a beloved photographer who passed away in 2015, documented more than four decades of Nashville’s musical life: the Opry, Fan Fair (now CMA Fest), music industry events, local shows, tours, and a treasure trove of behind-the-scenes photos of country’s biggest stars.

While the University employs two certified archivists who will manage this project, the Center needs to raise $50,000 to purchase materials to preserve the tens of thousands of photographs, negatives and slides. Once the project is completed, Mayor’s photos will be available to the public for reference and, pending his family’s permission, inclusion in publications and other media.

 Anyone interested in making a tax-deductible donation may text ALAN to 41444 or donate online



Marvin Hedrick Audio Collection

Brown County JamboreeThe MTSU Center for Popular Music announces the completion of the Marvin Hedrick Audio Collection website, a digitization and cataloging project funded by the GRAMMY Foundation (now part of the GRAMMY Museum). The collection includes historically significant recordings of bluegrass and country music made by influential documentarian Marvin Hedrick in Brown County, Indiana between 1954 and 1973. The Hedrick Collection was donated to the Center for Popular Music by Marvin’s sons, Gary Hedrick and David Hedrick in 2015.

Each item in the collection was evaluated, preserved, and digitized in the Center’s state-of-the-art audio preservation lab, then catalogued with essential data such as song titles, performers, and dates, using CONTENTdm archival management software. A Finding Aid was also created, giving an overview of the collection and its contents. The Marvin Hedrick Audio Collection is searchable through its dedicated website. One audio sample from each tape is provided as streaming audio for educational purposes. The entirety of the collection’s digitized contents is available to researchers on-site at the Center for Popular Music.

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The Center for Popular Music is rolling out a monthly newsletter in April. This newsletter will keep you up-to-date with everything happening at the Center, including new events, exhibits, collections, books, projects, Spring Fed Records releases, and more. Sign up today to be entered to win an album of your choice from the Spring Fed Records catalog! To sign up, please follow this link or click the subscribe button on the sidebar.

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1301 E. Main Street
Middle Tennessee State University
Murfreesboro, TN 37132

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