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MP103 Music & Culture

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Ian Hurd

on 31 March 2014

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Transcript of MP103 Music & Culture

Grand Narratives: Marxism: Modes of Exchange, Capitalism, Religion.

Hegemony: Purposeful reification of cultural values, The Culture Industry.

Ideology: popular culture (English is the dominant language in popular music)

Globalisation: Cultural Hybridity, Cultural Imperialism/dominance, Global and 'Local' musics, Glocalisation etc.

...that typify globalisation
Avant Garde Movements:
Broad Contemporary Cultural Theory:
Timeline of Modern Music Technology
Popular Music Movements
1877 - Thomas Eddison, first sound recording mechanism

1900 – Gramaphones for flat discs produced throughout Europe and Asia

1921 – Black Swan, the first Black owned record company was formed in New York.

1927 – The Jazz Singer; the first feature length musical film using Warner Brother’s ‘Vitaphone’
1928 – Leon Theremin (from Russia) patented the Theremin – the first electronic microsound device.

1931 – The ribbon microphone (RCA)

1936 –BAS in Germany developed magnetic recording using iron-oxide tape.

1945 LP records using vinyl and microgrooves

1948 Columbia introduced fine groove LP’s
Early Jazz musicians: use of drumming

Country Music / Rock n Roll: fusion of
European and African origins

Minimalism: Hip Hop and Rap

K-Pop / C-Pop

Thursday, March 20, 2014
Globalisation & Music
Historical Factors
…that exemplify movements and or theories in action.
Specific Practitioners / Artists:
The Kingdom & Courts

The Printed Press / Sheet Music
& Publishing


Nationalism – cultural dominance

Folk Music

Brian Eno: The studio as compositional Tool

Pierre Henry: Music Concrete

John Cage: Chance music

Steve Reich: Drumming

Paul Simon: Gracelands

James Brown / Ray Charles: Gospel

MP103 Music & Culture
Timeline of Modern Music Technology
1949: RCA Victor marketed 7” 45rpm vinyl discs

1950 Major Labels released LP’s – distribution of iconic albums and film soundracks

1956 All major labels were producing stereo recordings

1963 Columbia issued cassettes with narrow tapes

1970 Denon (Columbia of Japan) developed digital recording

1982 Sony & Philips developoed CD

1982 MIDI

1989 WWW

1989 Cubase 1.0 + Sound (Pro) Tools

How have the following impacted on music?

Tape recording, MIDI, Plug-ins, Laptops, Transistor radios, Telephone, Tape cassettes, Walkman, headphones, MP3’s

Globalisation & Music
Media Theory: Popular culture, Identity & Representation,

Modernism: Structuralism, Semiotics (signs and signifiers)

Post-structuralism: Feminism, Postmodernism (meaning in music?)

Broad Contemporary Cultural Theory:
Simon Frith on 'Rock': “It refers also to an audience (young, white), to a form of production (commercial), to an artistic ideology (rock has a creative integrity that “pop” lacks). (Frith, ‘On Record: Rock, Pop, And The Written Word’, 1990)

How are femininity and masculinity, sexuality, love etc. represented in the media / music videos?
"Post-structuralism and deconstruction can be seen as the theoretical formulations of the post-modern condition. Modernity, which began intellectually with the Enlightenment, attempted to describe the world in rational, empirical and objective terms. It assumed that there was a truth to be uncovered, a way of obtaining answers to the question posed by the human condition. Post-modernism does not exhibit this confidence, gone are the underlying certainties that reason promised. Reason itself is now seen as a particular historical form, as parochial in its own way as the ancient explanations of the universe in terms of Gods.

The postmodern subject has no rational way to evaluate a preference in relation to judgements of truth, morality, aesthetic experience or objectivity. As the old hierarchies of thought are torn down, a new clearing is formed on the frontiers of understanding: quite what hybrids of thought will metamorphose, interbreed and grow is this clearing is for the future to decide." (http://www.philosopher.org.uk/)
Modes of Listening: Adorno (regressive listening), Ian Chambers (the aural walk), Pierre Henry (reduced listening).

Susan McClary: "Feminine Endings: Music, Gender and Sexuality"

Gender in the Music Industry: Rock, Discourse and Girl Power.
“Contemporary debate – broadened study of gender from a focus on women to an analysis of institutions and discourses of masculinity and femininity. …Gender is produced and maintained through discourses, institutions, groups and individuals operating within the music industry” Marian Leonard.
Musicians interactions: Journalists, sound engineers, Photographers, promoters, A&R representatives

All identities are socially constructed
Gender identities are not static; they change over time relating to contexts of their production

Music: iconography, portrayal of sexuality and gender

Specific Cultural Theories (music):
"the ways in which Music is shaped by the constructions of gender, ...by pleasure and desire in music"
Adorno: ‘the counterpart to the fetishism of music is a regression of listening. It is contemporary listening which has regressed, arrested at the infantile stage. Not only do the listening subjects lose, along with freedom of choice and responsibility, the capacity for conscious perception of music, but they stubbornly reject the possibility of such perception. They are not childlike, as might be expected on the basis of an interpretation of the new type of listener in terms of the introduction to musical life of groups previously unacquainted with music. But they are childish; their primitivism is not that of the undeveloped, but that of the forcibly retarded.’ (1978:286).
Specific Cultural Theories (music):
Keith Negus - Cultural Production and management of Musical genres

Susan McClary – Feminist Endings

Andy Bennet - culture and pop music (Chapter 6)

Erlmann - The Aesthetics of the Global Imagination- Reflections on World Music in the 1990s

Portnoff - Control, cultural production and consumption

What are the main points of discussion?

What theories do they offer and or refer to?

What examples of influence over music production, performance or composition do they give?

How are any of these influences affected (negatively and or positively) by globalisation?

What overall theories about Globalisation do these texts relate to?

Globalisation: impact on music composition, performance and production.
Distribution, transportation, online-music sales, piracy, subscriptions, content-based filtering, marketing and promotion, recording budgets, advances, profit/loss, audience reach, 360 deals, finances.

Revenue: Tours, Records, Publishing, Merchandise, - more income streams now – advertising, commercials, endorsements, sync deals, ring tones, ...what do you focus on as an artist/record company?

Aesthetic choices on rhythm, tempo, instrumentation, lyrics, voices, melodies – economy of scale.

Diaspora: instrumentation / genre,'spirituals’ and Christianity (call/response), fusions, world music.

Music Technology: Tape recording, Transistor radios, The studio as compositional Tool, MIDI (stability, playability, polyphony, instrumentation, standardization, timing, rhythm), Plug-ins, Laptops.

Atonal/Serialism/ World Music/Futurism/ Dada/ Modernism/ Music Concrete/ Chance / Minimalism / Polytonal 'New' Classical.
Essay Structure
How? Possible Structures

What? Possible Content

Why? Forming an argument

Seminar group activity: Prepare potential structure (intro, sections, conclusion etc.) – present and explain ideas to group.

Discuss: Strategies for forming argument and drawing conclusions

The essay (2000 words) will explore the impact of globalisation upon music production and practice (spread of popular music). Through suitable research students will demonstrate understanding of key cultural theories and the function and effect of music within contemporary society.
The essay should not focus on a specific practitioner or movement, but should focus on exploring the key relevant cultural theories, providing evidence and examples of these theories in action through reference to artists, work and movements.

Essay Structure
Possible Structures:
Broad, specific, intro, disucssion, conclusion etc.

Possible Content:
History, Technology, Media industry, Politics, Ideology, Music Corporations, distribution, Popular Music v's Mass Culture, Identity, Representation, Music Sales, evidence of direct impact of globalisation, theories about globalisation, evidence of globalisation in work of artists or movements, the internet, the digital revolution, competing perspectives, the function and effect of music in contemporary society, specific theories on the changing nature of music that might counteract theories about globalisation (feminist, glocalisation etc).

Forming an argument:
What elements of the debate can you focus on that tie together well and form a coherent, flowing argument that takes the reader on a journey?

What would make sense generally? Chronological order, discussion of related phenomena (industry creates audiences, audiences create industry), Music Production and Music Practice as separate sections.
"The process by which businesses or other organizations develop international influence or start operating on an international scale"

"This is the integration of economies, industries, markets, cultures and policy-making around the world. [1]
Globalisation describes a process by which national and regional economies, societies, and cultures have become integrated through the global network of trade, communication, immigration and transportation."

"Globalisation can be seen as a positive, negative or even marginal process. And regardless of whether it works for good or ill, globalisation's exact meaning will continue to be the subject of debate among those who oppose, support or simply observe it."

In what ways might Globalisation be seen as a positive phenomena?

"The familiarity of a piece [of music] is a surrogate for the quality ascribed to it. To like it is almost the same thing as to recognize it
An approach in terms of value judgements has become a fiction for the person who finds himsewlf hemmed in by standardised musical goods.
The Categories of autonomously orientated art have no applicability to the contemporary reception of music; not even for that of serious music, domesticated under the barborous name of classical, so as to enable one to turn away from it again in comfort"
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