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Research website tracking campaign music increases efforts as election approaches

As the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 8, 2016, draws closer and the campaigns run with full force, Trax on the Trail, a research project and website that tracks music usage in the 2016 presidential campaign, is also gaining momentum. Since its launch in December 2015, the project has grown steadily in content and engagement. In addition to the project’s classroom collaborations, research presentations and podcasts, the website has now published 14 essays penned by contributors from a variety of fields, including musicology, political science and communication studies.

Trax, which is sponsored by Georgia College, has participated in many successful collaborations with professors and students from Western University and NC State University. To continue these efforts, Trax creator Dana Gorzelany-Mostak and Trax Education and Outreach Coordinator Kassie Kelly (Trinity University) are working with the digital education staff at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame to create lesson plans for high school students.

Trax co-editors Gorzelany-Mostak and James Deaville (Carleton University) also host regular podcasts on WRGC 88.3 FM, addressing topics such as rally playlists, music in campaign advertisements, candidate performances of music on the trail and political parodies. Recent guests have included Naomi Graber (University of Georgia), Justin Patch (Vassar College), Elissa Harbert (DePauw University) and Matthew Jordan (Pennsylvania State University).

In September, the Trax staff will perform campaign songs and educate college students and faculty about the project’s findings at the Constitution Day Festival at Georgia College. In November, Gorzelany-Mostak will join research assistants Sarah Kitts and Cannon McClain to demonstrate the capabilities of the site’s database at the American Musicological Society Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia. 

Musicologists, educators, scholars and organizations interested in collaborating with Trax on the Trail are encouraged to contact Dana Gorzelany-Mostak, creator and co-editor of the project and assistant professor of music at Georgia College. She can be reached at or 478-445-8630.

Dana Gorzelany-Mostak
Assistant Professor of Music
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