TSU Music Professor Contributes to New American Music Dictionary

Chip Henderson
Chip Henderson

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A music professor from Tennessee State University is one of the latest contributors to one of the largest reference works geared toward music and musicians.

Chip Henderson, an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Music, contributed to The Grove Dictionary of American Music, the principal research source for generations of musicians, and has been widely acclaimed as an indispensable resource.

The new edition, often called AmeriGrove, doubles the original four volumes first published in 1986, and will grow to eight volumes, with 5,592 pages. Of the more than 9,300 articles, more than 4,800 are new.  Henderson, who teaches commercial guitar and music appreciation, submitted five articles to the updated edition.

“It was an exciting project,” said Henderson. “It was a great experience to be a small part of such a large project. I was one of 1,500 writers asked to take part in this great undertaking.”

Henderson submitted articles on Elmer Snowden, Johnny Smith, Scott Hamilton, Larry Coryell and James Blood Ulmer, and will be part of the more than 4,800 new articles.

In an interview on the Oxford University Press website, the editor of the new edition, Charles Hiroshi Garrett, associate professor of musicology at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theater and Dance, said that the shape of the updated AmeriGrove reflects a remarkable effort of teamwork and scholarly cooperation. Nearly seventy editors and advisors—specialists in American music representing top universities and research institutes from across the United States and around the world—devoted substantial time to the project.

“This new edition is a significant makeover. Each of these participants, each assigned to key subject areas, helped design the coverage, scope, and content of the dictionary,” said Garrett. “The editorial team also received and reviewed suggestions from Grove readers and many scholars of American music. Over the course of the project, the contents of the dictionary continued to expand as editors and contributors recognized potential areas of growth and commissioned new articles.”

Garrett added that the new version would take an expanded view of certain American musical forms – country music, for example. To illustrate the scope of the change, he noted that the first edition had about 90 entries about country music.

“In response to the sustained impact of and scholarly interest in country music,” Mr. Garrett said, “the updated dictionary features a newly commissioned, extensive article on country music as well as nearly 300 articles dedicated to individual country musicians, groups and subgenres.”

In addition to country, the dictionary will also expand to capture a wider spectrum of musical activity, and to discuss musical practices often lost in the margins, including Latino, Asian-American, Native American, and Hawaiian music and musicians.

The new dictionary is expected to be published Dec. 2 and will cost $1,195.




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