'With the increasing interest in globalization and the increasing commodification of world music in the marketplace, applied ethnomusicologists have a role to play as never before.' – Jeff Todd Titon
"Henry David Thoreau's ear vibrated in resonance with the sounds of crickets, frogs, birds, air, water, and especially to his beloved aeolian telegraph-harp, convincing him that humans were part and parcel of the natural world, not set above it to master its resources for the progress of civilization," says Jeff Todd Titon. "Thoreau's experiences with music and sound, which he called a 'language without metaphor,' enabled him both to enjoy ecstatic experiences of the natural sublime, and to look for relations within the natural world rather than to regard natural facts primarily as metaphorical vehicles for transcendence into the realm of spiritual truths. As both humanist and naturalist, his sound combination of ecstasy and ecology led him not only to a peculiarly modern understanding of nature but convinced him that 'in wildness is the preservation of the world.' Contemporary scientific research in acoustic ecology bears him out."
Jeff Todd Titon received a B.A. from Amherst College, and master's in English and Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Minnesota, where he studied ethnomusicology with Alan Kagan, writing his dissertation on blues music. He has done fieldwork on religious folk music, blues and old-time fiddling, with grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities. For two years he was the guitarist in the Lazy Bill Lucas Blues Band, then in the 1980s, he took up the fiddle and banjo, and most of his music-making today involves old-time string band music from the upper South. He also repairs and restores violins. He is the author or editor of seven books, including those on old time fiddle tunes and music traditions.
From 1990 to 1995 he was editor of Ethnomusicology, the Journal of the Society for Ethnomusicology. He is a Fellow of the American Folklore Society. His teaching began at Tufts University, where he was assistant professor of English, then associate professor of English and music. He has been a visiting professor at Carleton College, Amherst College, Berea College, the University of Maine and Indiana University. From 1986-2013, he was professor of music (ethnomusicology) at Brown University, retiring from classroom teaching in 2013 while continuing research, lecturing and publications. His more recent writings on music, sound and sustainability can be found in his blog.
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