What is the Blues: Musicology Lecture with Sarah Hankins & Matthew Blackmar

September 23, 2017: Is the blues a feeling? A chord progression? A culture? For newcomers and serious music nerds alike, Sarah Hankins & Matthew Blackmar’s special musicology lecture will put the blues into cultural and historical context.

Always 100% FREE for blues musicians, in order to promote a better understanding of the history and culture of the blues amongst dancers. All ages welcome.

In the late afternoon preceding our Live Music Night with Missy & Heine Andersen, this lecture will overview the historical, political, and cultural context of the Blues. In addition, the presentation will include some interactive listening and discussion of a selection of song samples. Confused about the differences between the blues and “bluesy” / moody pop tunes, slow jazz, and swing? What about fusion tunes? We’ll do some critical listening to identify where the music is similar or inspired by the blues and where it differs.


Presale is open until Friday, September 15th. Save an additional $5 ($15 total) when purchased with tickets to Live Music Night with Missy & Heine Andersen that evening. That’s a 2.5 lecture + practice and 3 hours live music for only $25! Optionally, add on the 1-hour lesson for $5.

Lecture + Live Music Lecture Only
($1 credit card fee included)

Tell your friends – tell everybody!


Following the lecture, there will be a 30-minute open practice / question time using the music that we sampled during the presentation. This is a guided practice session, where we will be available to demonstrate to how different music inspires different movement.

About Sarah Hankins

Dr. Sarah Hankins is Assistant Professor of Sound Studies at the University of California, San Diego. As an ethnomusicologist, Hankins’ research interests include Afro-diasporic popular musics, sound studies of conflict and globalization, histories of technology, music and gender, and psychoanalysis. Her work has appeared in Black Music Research JournalCity and SocietyWomen and Music, and Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society. Hankins’ book project, Black Musics, African Lives, and the Israeli Imagination, is forthcoming with the University of Michigan Press. She has held teaching positions at Brown University, the University of Massachusetts, and Wellesley College, and received her Ph.D from Harvard University in 2015. Hankins is a DJ and dance music producer.

About Matthew Blackmar

Matthew Blackmar is a musicologist, musician, and sound scholar with a research background in nineteenth-century sheet-music publishing and print culture and twentieth-century recording engineering and sound design. His publications include contributions to Sensate: A Journal of Experiments in Critical Media Practice, Musicology Review, and a forthcoming article in the Thurnauer Schriften zum Musiktheater. Prior to graduate study at Harvard and CSU-Long Beach, he attended Pitzer College and worked as a performing and recording musician in Los Angeles, contributing keyboards, programming, and string arrangements to an eclectic assortment of rock, pop, hip-hop and heavy-metal recordings. He now lives in San Diego.


Party Fitness Studio (4659 Mission Gorge Pl, San Diego, CA 92120) is located just minutes from the I-8 freeway and San Diego State University.

As usual, we ask that you respect the space. Please make sure your shoes are non-marking and CLEAN so that you do not bring in debris from outside and mark the lovely floors! No spiked/narrow heels, please.

Etiquette / Code of Conduct

Code of Conduct / Grievance Policy

In order to ensure that this event is safe, comfortable, and fun for everybody, please take a moment to read our etiquette page. By attending any Blue Note event, you acknowledge that you have read, understand, and agree to abide by our Code of Conduct / Grievance Policy.

Terms & Conditions

Full Terms & Conditions.

Because of the size and nature of the event, we will not be able to refund registration fees if you are unable to attend. If you pay and are unable to make the event, you may transfer your registration to someone else.