Nerd Nite 11: Soviet Bloc Party

Nerd Nite is a monthly lecture event that strives for an “inebriated, salacious, yet deeply academic vibe.”

An informal gathering at which nerds get together for presentations and drinking. Nerds and non-nerds alike gather to meet, drink and learn something new. This month, three speakers all focusing on a topic related the Soviet Union or an Eastern European country and music.

You Sunk My Citizenship? – The Estonian Singing Revolution & Citizenship Dilemma by Dave Trimbach

Dave addresses the Estonian singing revolution and independence movement in relation to the current Estonian citizenship dilemma. The singing revolution freed the once independent Republic of Estonia from illegal Soviet occupation, yet spurred the revocation of citizenship from over one third of the country’s population. The revocation of citizenship entrenched deep political and social divisions within Estonian society that continue to hinder minority integration.

Notes from the Underground: Dissident Music in the Soviet Union by Austin Charron

Despite strict ideological guidelines and censorship of the arts in the Soviet Union, there existed a vibrant underground and “unofficial” music scene made up of creative musicians who sought to disassociate themselves and their work from the banality of Soviet life. With the reforms of glasnost’ in the late 1980s, rock and other forms of dissident music finally burst into the Soviet mainstream, contributing to an exhilarating new cultural atmosphere which helped bring down the Soviet regime in 1991. The story of Soviet dissident music reminds us that, even under the most seemingly oppressive conditions, artistic expression and the spirit of non-conformity can still prevail.

Bar Talk: Bela Bartok, Polymodal Chromaticism & Modern Classical Composition by Steve Dahlberg

In the early 1900′s in the Carpathian Basin on the boundary of Eastern Europe, Bela Bartok, later to become one of that centuries most renowned classical composers, became obsessed with the “unexplored” folk music of the various peoples in that region and began rummaging around the area listening to and documenting what he discovered from a composer’s viewpoint. He made many strange discoveries that heavily impacted his own classical composition and I was particularly intrigued with one such discovery and allowed my fascination with the idea of so-called polymodal chromaticism kick some major structural ass in one of my own classical compositions. We will take contextual, historical and functional (sonic!) glimpses of this small idea with large possibilities and contrast with other more dominant trends in modern composition at the time.


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