coordinates

MUSIC LIBRARIAN


York University
4700 Keele St
Toronto, Ontario
M3J 1P3

bliek@yorku.ca

atacama

atacama

responsibilities and interests


As music librarian at the Sound and Moving Image Library (SMIL) at York University, I'm responsible for music reference and instruction and the acquisition of CDs, scores, books and online resources related to music.

As an associate faculty member of the Graduate Program in Music at York, I teach in the research methods and theoretical perspectives courses, supervise directed readings, and serve on thesis and dissertation committees.

My research interests include jazz, blues and popular music analysis and history and problems in the philosophy and aesthetics of music as they relate to recorded music.

I have been studying the music of Jimi Hendrix in the context of composition, performance, and production of popular music through (1) an examination of improvised variations and how they contribute towards the shaping of a piece, demonstrated through a tabulation and analysis of over 60 performances by Hendrix of his slow blues "Red House"; (2) thinking about the sound of the electric guitar through an analysis of the components that make up Hendrix's characteristic sound, in particular as exemplified in "Machine Gun"; (3) considering aspects of blues tonality through a study of Hendrix's use of the dominant seventh sharp ninth chord; (4) speculating on the nature of the musical work in the context of recorded music, facilitated through an examination of about 80 cover versions of "Purple Haze."

A second area of investigation is blues historiography. What we think of as the history of the blues is fraught with inconsistencies and logical fallacies, a result of general disagreement and confusion about the actual subject matter, its relation to other kinds of music, and a misunderstanding of the causal relations that contribute towards the development of a musical style. We can couch the musical evidence in peripherally related socio-economic evidence but the connections we need to establish in order to construct a coherent narrative can only go so far; there is simply too much evidence missing and too little agreement as to what the actual subject matter is. And this really is a problem endemic to the writing of a history of North American vernacular music in general, where marketing labels, media representations, and socio-economic barriers have obfuscated whatever historical narratives there might be.

I'm also involved with the Canadian Association of Music Libraries, Archives and Documentation Centres (CAML), an organization of music librarians from across the country who get together once a year to exchange ideas and information.

publications and presentations

Book and articles

"The Hendrix Chord: Blues, Flexible Pitch Relationships, and Self-Standing Harmony," Popular Music 26, no. 2 (2007): 343-364.

The Thelonious Monk Reader, Oxford University Press, 2001.

"A Selection of Monk Sources," Black Music Research Journal 19, no. 2 (1999): 245-252.


"Wes Montgomery: A Study of Coherence in Jazz Improvisation," 
Jazzforschung/Jazz Research 23 (1991): 151-178.

Presentations (selected)


“Historical Explanation and the Writing of Blues History,” paper presented as part of "Listening and Reading Closely: A Symposium in Honor of Professor Stephen Blum," CUNY Graduate Center, New York, 2015.

"Every Listener His or Her Format: What Kinds of Sound Recordings Should We Be Collecting for Libraries?," paper presented at the joint annual meeting of the Canadian Association of Music Libraries, Archives, and Documentation Centres and the Canadian University Music Society, Victoria, 2013.

"'Purple Haze': A Brief History of Imitations, Transgressions, and Unresolved Aesthetic Tensions," paper presented at the joint annual meeting of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music (U.S. Branch) and the Society for American Music, Cincinnati, 2011.

“Building a Heavy Metal Collection,” panel presentation at the joint annual meeting of the Canadian Association of Music Libraries, Archives, and Documentation Centres and the Canadian University Music Society, University of Regina, 2010.

“AAAA@York: Acquiring and Accessing the Avant and the Alt,” panel presentation at the joint annual meeting of the Canadian Association of Music Libraries, Archives, and Documentation Centres and the Canadian University Music Society, York University, 2006.

“Google Scholar and Scholars Portal,” presentation as part of the “Ontario Scholars Portal: Taking Stock, Looking Forward,” OCUL forum held at University of Guelph-Humber, 2004

"The Sound of Hendrix," paper presented at the "Symposium on Improvisation and the Guitar," University of Guelph, 2004.

"The Musical Ideas in Jimi Hendrix's Performances of 'Red House'," paper presented as part of "Crafting Sounds, Creating Meaning: Making Popular Music in the U.S.," held at the Experience Music Project, Seattle, 2002.


"The New Grove II Online," presentation as part of a panel discussion "Electronic resources for music reference" at the annual meeting of the Canadian Association of Music Libraries, Archives, and Documentation Centres, Quebec City, 2001.

"The Thelonious Monk Reader," paper presented at the joint annual meeting of the Canadian Association of Music Libraries, Archives, and Documentation Centres and the Canadian University Music Society in Lennoxville, 1999.


"What Should We Expect from the Digital Audio Databases of the Future?" paper presented as part of a joint session for Canadian Association of Music Libraries, Archives, and Documentation Centres and the Canadian University Music Society, titled "The Impact of the Internet on Music Research and Teaching" and held in St. Johns, Newfoundland, 1997.


"Music Resources on the Internet," paper presented for the Commission on Service and Training at the annual meeting of the International Association of Music Libraries, Archives, and Documentation Centres, Ottawa, 1994.


"The Otherworldliness of World Music: Problems in Selecting and Accessing Non-western Sound Recordings," paper presented as part of the session "Non-western Music in Western Music Libraries," at the annual meeting of the Canadian Association of Music Libraries, Archives, and Documentation Centres in Windsor, 1993.


"Music Materials in Libraries," Continuing education workshop held at the Faculty of Information Studies, University of Toronto, 1992.


"The Levine Collection of Jazz and Blues Recordings," paper presented at the annual meeting of the New York State/Ontario Chapter of the Music Library Association, Buffalo, 1992.


"Design and Evaluation of Interactive CD Packages Using HyperCard," part of the session "Microcomputer Applications in the Music Library," delivered at the annual meeting of the Canadian Association of Music Libraries, Archives, and Documentation Centres, Charlottetown, 1992.

Reviews


Music and Capitalism: A History of the Present, by Timothy Taylor, in CAML Review 44. no. 3 (2016): 33-34.

Music in Range: The Culture of Canadian Campus Radio, by Brian Fauteux, in CAML Review 44, no. 2 (2016): 64-65

The Music of Joni Mitchell
, by Lloyd Whitesell, in CAML Review 37, no. 3 (2009): 32-34.


Shakin' All Over: Canadian Pop Music in the 1960sCAML Review 36, no. 2-3 (2008): 43-44.


Oliver Jones: The Musician, The Man, by Marthe Sansregret, in CAML Review 35, no. 1 (2007): 30.


"Going with the Flow: Music Streaming Services for Libraries," CAML Review 33, no. 1-2 (2005): 32-35.

One Long Tune: The Life and Music of Lenny Breau, by Ron Forbes-Roberts, in CAML Review 34, no. 3 (2006): 30-32.

"Phil Nimmons. Canadian Composers Portraits," CAML Review 34, no. 1 (2006): 54-55.


A Jazz Odyssey: The Life of Oscar Peterson, by Richard Palmer, in CAML Review 30, no. 3 (2002): 31-32.


New Grove II Online, in CAML Review 29, no. 2 (2001): 41-42.


Music Reference Services Quarterly, in CAML Newsletter 27, no. 1 (1999): 23-24.


The Land Where the Blues Began, by Alan Lomax, in Yearbook for Traditional Music (1995): 163-165.


I Say Me for a Parable: The Oral Autobiography of Mance Lipscomb, Texas Bluesman, by Glen Alyn, in Ethnomusicology 40, no. 1 (1995): 97-99.

Chicago Soul, by Robert Pruter, in Notes 49, no. 1 (1992): 142-144.

Selected Musical Terms of Non-Western Cultures: A Notebook Glossary, by Walter Kaufmann, in Fontes Artis Musicae 38, no. 4 (1991): 342-343.


The Traditional Music of Britain and Ireland: A Research and Information Guide
, by James Porter, in Fontes Artis Musicae 38, no. 3 (1991): 243-244.