Publication Date

5-2019

Advisor(s)

Eric Charry; Kate Galloway; Roger Grant

Department

Music

Abstract

In August of 2005, Hurricane Katrina, most catastrophic storms in United States history, decimated the city of New Orleans, revealing an unfathomably high level of extreme poverty and the lurid “Third World” conditions in which the city’s poorest black residents lived. How are United States citizens subjected to living in such a poor, neglected, and oppressed state? How are these citizens able to survive and exist in such deplorable conditions? Using the music of the TBC Brass Band of New Orleans, LA as a case study, this thesis explicates the power of TBC’s music to move, bond, and save culture and community. In spite of the extreme oppression and dehumanizing living conditions in which they live, members of the TBC Brass Band, one of the culture bearers of the New Orleans brass band and second line community, continue to create and perform music that moves people’s hearts, souls, and feet. Through the transcription and analysis of original TBC Band compositions, this thesis locates connective threads that bind notes and sounds to feelings and actions. Beginning with an ethnographic report, Chapter 1 presents introductory material which situates employed theories and research methods utilized in the paper. Chapter 2 begins with a brief history of New Orleans brass bands then presents biographic information about the TBC Brass Band. The final three chapters, Chapter 3: Structure of Feeling, Chapter 4: Social Bonding, and Chapter 5: Resiliency provides the insight into how the music of TBC is a location of resilience and survival.

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