Skip to content

Holding Court: William Cheng

Photograph of William Cheng
Photograph of William Cheng

In this week's edition, we speak with William Cheng, Associate Professor of Music.  His most recent book Loving Music Till it Hurts is a capacious exploration of how people's head-over-heels attachments to music can variously align or conflict with agendas of social justice.

What is your book about?

How people's loving attachments to music can variously align or conflict with agendas of social justice.

Where did you get your idea(s) for this book?

This is the book I've always wanted to write ever since I began studying music. I've sought to understand why and how people judge music, and how these judgments soak and color our societal fabrics.

What does research look like for you? What element of research could you not live without?

It's difficult. As I research and write, I'm easily distracted by emails, pop-up windows, videos, and video games. The "oh crap!" awareness of a deadline is what usually pulls me back into a diligent headspace.

What do you think the library of the future will look like?

The library of the future should strive for maximum accessibility. Beyond digitization and remote access, our books, articles, and musical scores should ideally be adapted/adaptable to accommodate all learners.

What advice would you give to an aspiring scholar or writer?

Be kind when appraising the writing of others.

And finally, what do you read for fun? 

If I had more time to read for fun these days (and I say this knowing I could always work harder to make more time for this), I would reread the full Dragon Ball (Z) manga by Akira Toriyama. Also, Eliot's Middlemarch--I've had it on my Kindle for years; about once a year, I ritualistically start the book, then get distracted by work stuff. Maybe 2020 will be the year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *