By Brittany Morse
Dan Blim is the newest addition to Denison’s Music Department, and far from your average music historian. Blim earned a BA in music and art history from Swarthmore College, and a PhD in musicology and a graduate certificate in Screen Arts and Cultures from The University of Michigan.
Before coming to Denison, Blim taught courses at Drew University and Carleton College.
His dissertation focused on what he refers to as a “collage” in American music.
“I was interested in performers and composers who would pull from lots of different sources and then use collage as a way of talking about and thinking about diversity issues.”
While an avid listener of classical music, Blim likes to explore all different kinds of music, including some less conventional genres.
He has published on Bernard Herrmann’s score to Vertigo and on John Adams’s On the Transmigration of Souls, and is currently pursuing projects on country music in 1970s cinema, hip hop songs that sample Obama and authenticity in the music of Weezer.
When asked what he has been listening to most recently, he responded with “musical theater” along with a variety of artists and genres including Franz Schubert, James Blake and indie rock.
Blim is teaching Music History I and Introduction to Classical Music this semester and is looking to incorporate more recent artists and styles into the classroom.
“I feel like the syllabus that I create is always like a starting point and then figuring out new stuff to bring in each day,” Blim said. “I got really excited this summer when I realized I could compare Rihanna’s Umbrella with Taylor Swift’s Wonderland in terms of showing on beats and offbeats.”
Blim lives in Columbus and is glad to finally have a place to settle down for a while.
“It’s really exciting to be in a place where I’m planning on staying for more than a year,” Blim said. “I grew up in Kansas City, so it’s nice to be back in the Midwest.”
Coming from the East Coast did require a little bit of a lifestyle change. “This is my first time owning a car,” he said. “I seem to be adjusting pretty well to that.”
The perfect word to describe Blim would be quirky. Even though Blim was awarded the H. Wiley Hitchcock Dissertation Award, an award given annually by the Society for American Music, he seemed the most enthused about his love for puns.
“When I was living in Brooklyn and teaching at Drew, I went to this thing called Punderdome which is a competition for puns, and I won.”
Punderdome is a wacky, tournament-style pun contest that takes place once a month. Contestants are given a general topic and have 90 seconds to write down as many puns as possible. They then have two minutes at the mic to tell as many pun jokes as possible.
“It’s good to solidify your nerd credentials every once in a while,” he said.
Make sure to keep an eye out for Blim around campus and try to slip him a pun or two.