Negotiating Sound and Union: Reading and Reviewing Music in the American Diasporic Wedding

Music in the American Diasporic Wedding by Inna Naroditskaya, ML3551.9 .M87 2019

What does it mean to be an immigrant? To be American? To be both? You might not expect on first instinct to explore these questions when perusing the New Book Shelf in Mendel, but they arise nonetheless in the complex, ethnomusicological novel, Music in the American Diasporic Wedding. 

Distances between countries seem to shrink by the second as travel and technology becomes more sophisticated; what was once an insurmountable journey across the ocean has now become a summer vacation, an annual retreat, a second home. The definition of American has also changed rapidly in the past century, expanding and transforming into the multiethnic diaspora that it is today. Music in the American Diasporic Wedding examines the issue of compromise and negotiation: when two different cultures come together, what makes it into the wedding? 

This book is a collection of essays that feature contributors with a tapestry of cultural fusions, from “klezmer-tinged Mandarin Tunes at a Jewish and Taiwanese American wedding” to “Puerto Rican cultural activists dancing down the aisles […] to the thunder of drums and maracas and rapping their marriage vows.” Edited by Inna Nadoritskaya, this collection highlights the importance of music in identity, and creating multiethic, intersectional identities filled to the brim with color, culture, and sounds. 

One of my personal favorite essays from the book is Soulful Same-Sex Wedding, Aretha Franklin, Love, and the Politics of (Un)Freedom by Professor Nina C. Ohman at the University of Pennsylvania. The essay reviews Aretha Franklin’s landmark performance at the Bill White and Bryan Eure wedding, one of many same-sex marriages that would occur in the months following the passing of New York’s same-sex marriage bill on June 24, 2011. The essay contends with important issues of sexuality, race, and music, and brings to light the true gravity of that performance in relation to the LGBTQ+ movement. If you’re interested in music as it relates to justice, culture, and weddings, this essay is a must read. 

Music in the American Diasporic Wedding just recently entered our collection here at Mendel on September 6th. Come check it out and more books like it on your next stop through Woolworth!

Music and the Mind: Highlighting The Oxford Handbook of Music and the Brain

The Oxford Handbook of Music and the Brain Edited By Michael H. Thaut and Donald A. Hodges (MUS) ML3830 .O84 2019

Are you a Music major with a certificate in Neuroscience, or vice versa? Are you interested in learning about the way that music interacts with our brains on a scientific level? Look no further than this exciting add to Mendel’s new book section, The Oxford Handbook of Music and the Brain

This book is a verifiable anthology, a collection of work by 54 authors from 13 countries, spanning the past fifty years of research. The handbook is divided into several sections, covering topics from the history of music and neuroscience to the cultural implications of neuromusical research to the future of the field as a whole.

If you’ve ever been curious about popular myths like whether learning music at a young age improves motor skills and intelligence, or if listening to a Mozart sonata while studying helps you concentrate, you’ll likely be able to find the answers in this anthology. The balance between musical and scientific analysis will hold the interest of people from all disciplines and interests! The specific answer to the first question is on page 424 in a section by Dr. Virginia B. Penhune titled “The Interaction Between Development and Training.” If you’ve been curious about the validity of this myth, check for the answer in this research paper!

The Oxford Handbook may seem dense and intimidating upon first glance, but don’t be afraid of approaching the reasonably large book, if you don’t have a strong background in science and music – this book is readable to all! Check it out in the new book section in Mendel, and plop down in one of our lovely studying corners for some musically and scientifically stimulating material. 

A Beginner’s Guide to Mendel Online

It’s a fact that Princeton students are busy, and that the campus’ physical area is reasonably large. As a result, you may not always make it to Mendel in person and explore our plethora of resources, from music scores to CDs to literature on your favorite artists.

If this sounds like you, but you’re now wondering how you can still take advantage of the Princeton musical web, look no further than this blog post. Below is a list of some online musical resources to get you started from the comforts of your very own dorm room. All you’ll need is a Princeton User ID and you’ll be all set!


BabelScores is a wonderful resource for musicians interested in exploring the world of contemporary music. The library is constantly growing in its vast library of scores from the last 40 years. You’re able to subscribe to an online library where you can read for free, or rent or buy scores directly through their website. If you’re interested in browsing contemporary music in the last couple of decades, BabelScores is the place to be!

Berlin Philharmonic Digital Concert Hall

This Digital Concert Hall is a rare opportunity for you to experience concerts live in action. This incredible resource allows you to tune into live streams of concerts happening in real time of the Berliner Philmaroniker. If you can’t make a concert, that’s also not a problem – this website also has a large archive of past concerts, from the ones that have played in the past few weeks to performances dating back to 1966. Check out the Berlin Philharmonic Digital Concert Hall if you’re interested in listening to and watching professional musicianship take place!

Digital Theatre + 

Digital Theatre + is a more recent addition to our resources, but a valuable one nonetheless. Founded in 2009, DT+ is an educational resource that collaborates with theatre companies all over the world to capture live performances in HD, bring insights from behind the scenes, and much more. They believe that “the arts are for everyone, not just the few,” and commit to this mission by creating content that can be used and accessed by everyone. 

Database of Recorded American Music

DRAM is a not-for-profit resource that contains everything you need to know about American music. The catalog is extremely diverse, with genres from folk to opera to classical to rock to everything in between. With essays, notes, and audio streaming of the highest quality, DRAM is your one-stop-shop for contemporary American sound. is another excellent resource to watch events, live and recorded, from wherever you can manage to find a computer! is not restricted to music, and also contains performances like ballets, workshops, and documentaries. If you’re not quite sure what you’re feeling like watching but you know you want to experience some form of art, is a great place to start your search. 

Met Opera on Demand

The name explains it all! If you’ve always wanted to go to the Met Opera, but haven’t been able to find the time to take NJ transit all the way to New York, Mendel has got you covered. This resource is updated quite regularly, so if there’s an opera that you wanted to see but never got around to, take a peek here! 

Alexander Street

Alexander Street is a giant of a resource that has literally millions of tracks to choose from. Primarily an audio streaming service, the resource is divided into several sub-categories because there is simply too much music available to be grouped into a general one. Search what you’re feeling and it’s more likely than not that Alexander Street will have you covered. 

Naxos Music Library

Naxos Music Library boasts the world’s largest online classical music library, streaming more than 120,000 CDs. Naxos also has Jazz and World music sections, with music from a wide range of record labels, genres, and artists.

Launched in 2010, delivers high quality contemporary performance to your desktop. They are one of the first organizations to begin filming contemporary works. You’re bound to find a performance to your liking in the 41+ performance films and 42+ artists from all around the world. 

There’s so much more in the online musical database of Mendel and Princeton University that is exciting, but this is a good start if you have no idea where to begin. If you’re interested in exploring more, check out the databases page under the Princeton University Library. Happy listening!