Roberta Freund Schwartz

Roberta Schwartz
  • Associate Professor

Contact Info

Office Phone:
Murphy Hall, room #434


Roberta Freund Schwartz is an Associate Professor of Musicology, and has taught at the University of Kansas since 2001. She holds a Ph.D. in historical musicology from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, with specializations in the music of the Renaissance and African American music. Her areas of research interest include the early music of Spain, musical patronage, the history of recorded sound, transnational interpretations of African American music, the blues, and rock and roll. She is the author of How Britain Got the Blues: the Transmission and Reception of American Blues Styles to the British Isles (Ashgate, 2007), which won the 2008 Association of Recorded Sound Collections award for best historical writing on the blues. Schwartz is heavily involved in rock music pedagogy; she developed Reverb: A Digital Rock Anthology for the W. W. Norton textbook What's That Sound? (W. W. Norton, 2005, 2007) and the instructor's manual for Rock and Roll: An Introduction, 2nd ed. (Centgage, 2006), and has contributed material to several other rock texts. Her work has appeared in a number of compilations and Festschrifts, and she has published articles on the Spanish melomane and composer Saint Francis of Borja; Spanish music manuscripts; the patronage of music by the Spanish nobility in the Renaissance; Iowan identity in The Music Man; British blues rock; American roots music on the BBC; and the role that British jazz critics played in popularizing African American music in England. Schwartz has also presented papers and lectures on various topics at major conferences in the United States, Spain, and England. She is currently working on a monograph about the Chicago or "city" blues of the 1930s. Schwartz is also an advocate for the preservation and care of early sound recordings; she was Director of the KU Archive of Recorded Sound from 2001-2005 and currently serves as the Archive's advising director.


University of Iowa, (1986-1990), 1990
Music History and Literature, University of Iowa, (1990-1993), 1993
Musicology, Major Area: Music of the Renaissance, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, (1993-2001), 2001


Publication of books and scholarly articles about the music of Renaissance and early modern Spain; musical patronage by the Spanish nobility; transnational interpretations of jazz and blues, and American popular music, especially blues and rock music.

Research interests:

  • Renaissance
  • Spain
  • patronage
  • jazz
  • blues
  • recordings
  • transnational


Responsible for teaching all courses on Medieval and Renaissance Music at the graduate level and the second part of the undergraduate music history sequence (Renaissance and Baroque), courses on African-American influenced popular music (rock and roll, jazz, and African-American music), as well as doctoral seminars and independent studies on select musicology topics, and other graduate courses as needed.

Teaching interests:

  • Musicology
  • Medieval and Renaissance Music
  • African-American influenced popular music (rock and roll
  • jazz
  • and African-American music)

Selected Presentations

<div class="fp-presentations fp-container"><div class="aca-presentation">Interrogating the Bluebird Beat, aka "The Melrose Machine" - N/A. Location: Virtual - Hubilo platform. (5-20-2022).</div><div class="aca-presentation">1928: The Big Bang of Black Popular Music: A Story in Three Acts - Milton Steinhardt Speaker's Series. Location: University of Kansas. (12-05-2022).</div></div>