Georgia College Front Page

Student researchers coordinate project to track music of 2016 presidential campaign

Sarah Kitts and Cannon McClain research music used in the 2016 Presidential Campaign.From opera to classic rock, the 2016 presidential candidates’ campaign music speaks volumes about their political stance and how they reach out to their constituents. Several Georgia College students and faculty members are coordinating a project through which, for the first time, a presidential campaign will be documented by the beats and lyrics played on the trail.

“Presidential campaign music is a growing topic of interest in both academic and journalistic circles,” said project creator and co-editor Dr. Dana Gorzelany-Mostak, assistant professor of music at Georgia College, who is also developing the site with co-editor Dr. James Deaville, professor of music at Carleton University. “Trax on the Trail is a website where scholars, educators, journalists, students and the public can learn about American presidential campaign music and gain insight into how sound participates in forming candidate identity. Our thirty-five-member interdisciplinary team includes students and academic experts from the fields of political science, musicology, sociology, history, communications, media studies and ethnomusicology.”

Two Georgia College student researchers are working tirelessly to bring it together.

“Primarily, we document the music used by candidates,” said junior music major Sarah Kitts. “We search for music used in campaign ads, at rallies and in parodies, as well as identify new candidate-themed songs posted on sites such as YouTube and SoundCloud, then add them to the Trail Trax database. It’s been a great opportunity to learn how much music can impact a presidential campaign.”

Kitts and senior music major Cannon McClain both jumped at the opportunity to get involved with the project and have not only gained valuable research experience but also learned a lot about music and politics through the process.

“I think for me what’s been interesting is the concept of strategy behind the certain types of music or patterns of musical choices each candidate uses,” said McClain.

From Bernie Sanders’s use of “Rockin’ in the Free World” to Donald Trump playing “Eye of the Tiger” at his rallies, the students track the music to add to the growing database. Kitts and McClain are also working with faculty to co-author research papers for the site.

"This is the first time anyone has ever tracked the music for an entire presidential campaign for all candidates,” said McClain. “It’s been an amazing opportunity to be a part of something like this.”

Creating quite a buzz since its launch in December 2015, the Trax on the Trail project has been featured by media outlets including the Boston Herald and Atlanta Business Chronicle, among others.

The opportunity to be a part of such a dynamic and topical project has given Kitts and McClain valuable experience and a leg up as they prepare for the future.

“I decided to come to Georgia College because I saw how involved the faculty were with the students here,” said Kitts. “Experiencing that firsthand, I know opportunities like this will help us stand out from other applicants as we apply for grad school. We’ve been able to do a lot of things students at other universities might not get to do.”

With plans for graduate school to pursue a career in teaching voice, Kitts will continue to work on the project through the election in November 2016. McClain, who will graduate in May 2015, has his sights set on graduate school for choral conducting to eventually teach at a magnet school or work in a church music setting.

"Georgia College emphasizes the importance of interdisciplinary inquiry, faculty-student research, engaged citizenship and community outreach. Trax on the Trail’s goals tie in with this mission,” said Gorzelany-Mostak.

Musicologists, educators, scholars and organizations interested in collaborating with Trax on the Trail are encouraged to contact Dana Gorzelany-Mostak at traxonthetrail@gmail.com or 478-445-8630.

 

@GeorgiaCollege Tagged Tweets
Georgia College Twitter Feed

Georgia College Kicking Off Program for Middle Schoolers: https://t.co/6vJcSDuDAv https://t.co/QlmIgWa4uE -margiemeacham

Georgia College Twitter Feed

At SESAPS 2017 on the beautiful campus. First up, talks on the high intensity frontier of particle… https://t.co/nLQI6uvzKu -ThatBenjiL

Georgia College Twitter Feed

2018 Top 10 Business Intelligence Trends, pay attention to number 2 - Liberal Arts Impact & then recruit my… https://t.co/qnUTyIzn0S -DocKevinElder

Georgia College Twitter Feed

See the result of student artists' hard work in our newest exhibit now on display "Exploring Race:… https://t.co/jDroZFgg7v -SallieEDavis

Georgia College Twitter Feed

to when Homecoming was this week in 1982. This year's Homecoming will be on February 16-17, 2018… https://t.co/8xbwyrmyjX -GeorgiaCollege

Georgia College Twitter Feed

to when Homecoming was this week in 1982. This year's Homecoming will be on February 12-17, 2018… https://t.co/DxMpsdKCdB -GeorgiaCollege

Georgia College Twitter Feed

Dogs Make You Healthier, so say Swedish Researchers! We are studying this as one of 23 projects in https://t.co/JzOsWZr1My -DocKevinElder

Georgia College Twitter Feed

Are you a GC alumni with an exciting story that has happened such as a new job, children, marriage, or maybe even g… https://t.co/qWADBpUaKg -GeorgiaCollege

Georgia College Twitter Feed

Stop by and see the UVA table at SESAPS 2017 !! Ask these 2 graduate students your toughest question… https://t.co/beEe1EyVJ7 -UVaPhysicsDept

Georgia College Twitter Feed

Getting ready for the first game of the ! vs ! Then @ 8 pm YOU… https://t.co/StzTaSeYrT -caupanthers

Georgia College Twitter Feed

Yost to Finish College Career at Finals Saturday, Joins Runners in Volunteer Effort Friday… https://t.co/d2izxwzMO7 -GCBobcats

Georgia College VimeoGeorgia College FacebookGeorgia College LinkedInGeorgia College Front Page RSS FeedGeorgia College Twitter