Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

List of illustrations

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pp. ix-x

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Preface to the 2007 edition

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pp. xi-xvi

People are always complaining that things aren't the same as in some golden age in the past - which for some is now the period twenty years ago when I first carried out this study of the amateur musicians in the English city of Milton Keynes. It is true that the local choir I sing in has dwindled drastically since its earlier heyday. ...

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Preface

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pp. xvii-xviii

This book began from my own unquestioning participation in local music, which only later turned into active curiosity. I had been involved in amateur music as both consumer and participant for many years, particularly in the town I had lived in since 1969 - Bletchley, later part of the 'new city' of Milton Keynes. ...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xix-xx

I have much gratitude to express. Among my more formal thanks - but no less sincere for that - are those to the Faculty of Social Sciences at the Open University for research funding and other support, to the Milton Keynes Development Corporation (MKDC) for a generous grant towards the cost of the illustrations ...

Sources for Illustrations

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pp. xxi-xxii

List of abbreviations

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pp. xxiii-xxiv

Part 1 Introductory

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1 The existence and study of local music

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pp. 3-11

A choir of local residents - men, women and children - file in special costume on to the platform for their annual concert accompanied by visiting soloists and an orchestra of local amateurs. A jazz and blues group play to enthusiastic fans over Sunday lunchtime in the foyer of a local leisure centre. ...

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2 'Amateur' and 'professional' musicians

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pp. 12-18

Before the more detailed account of local musical practice I must comment briefly on one key term in this book: 'amateur musicians'. The word 'amateur' is of course widely used and, more or less, understood. But it is also surprisingly elusive, and some discussion of the complexities involved is a necessary preliminary to the later description. ...

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3 Introduction to Milton Keynes and its music

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pp. 19-30

In Milton Keynes local music was unquestionably flourishing. A quick preview of the music-making going on between 1980 and 1984 can give a preliminary indication of its extent. ...

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Part 2 Musical worlds in Milton Keynes

This part gives some account of the differing musics in Milton Keynes in the early 1980s. It is difficult to know how to present the inevitably overlapping and heterogeneous material of so complex a study as that of the musical activities of a whole town. ...

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4 The classical music world at the local level

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pp. 33-46

Classical or 'serious' music is what many readers will first think of when music is mentioned. For its participants this is the world of music, the type of music which in its repertoire, teachers, and performance is music par excellence, validated through state and church patronage and by its acceptance as part of the artistic heritage of European Christian civilisation. ...

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5 The brass band world

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pp. 47-57

Given the well-known association of brass bands with the North, the strength and continuity of the local brass band tradition came as something of a surprise. For there were five to eight main brass bands in and around Milton Keynes in the early 1980s (the exact numbers depending on just where one draws the boundaries): ...

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6 The folk music world

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pp. 58-70

Active performers of the music known as 'folk' were a select minority in Milton Keynes, in contrast to the wider distribution of many other local forms. But for the performers their participation in the folk music world was a source of the greatest satisfaction, often taking up just about the whole of their non-working time and playing a large part in their self-definition. ...

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7 The world of musical theatre

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pp. 71-77

There was a strong operatic and pantomime tradition in Milton Keynes, stemming from the older towns on to which the city was grafted. The Bletchley and Fenny Stratford Amateur Operatic Society was already putting on Gilbert and Sullivan operas before the First World War, ...

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8 Jazz

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pp. 78-89

The world of jazz was more fragmented than those discussed so far, in its musical styles, social groupings, training, and the model drawn on by participants. Jazz was regarded as distinctive, but at the same time as shading on one side into rock or folk, on the other into brass band or classical music. ...

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9 The country and western world

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pp. 90-102

Among certain sections of the Milton Keynes population the music labelled 'country and western' was extremely popular, and country and western events attracted a large and regular following. There were two established bands with regional - even national - reputations as well as local engagements; other more fluid bands; ...

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10 Rock and pop

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pp. 103-130

Milton Keynes was swarming with rock and pop bands. They were performing in the pubs and clubs, practising in garages, youth clubs, church halls and school classrooms, advertising for new members in the local papers and lugging their instruments around by car or on foot. ...

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Part 3 Contrasts and comparisons

The musical worlds of Milton Keynes have so far been presented as if autonomous and separate systems providing an essential, if often unnoticed, framework for local music-making. But they can also be seen in relation to each other. Some comparisons have already been implied, but this part adopts a directly comparative approach. ...

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11 Learning music

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pp. 133-142

It will be clear already that the many contrasts between the musical worlds of Milton Keynes were not haphazard differences but fell into a series of more or less consistent patterns. These related to such things as how people learnt and performed their music, the relation between 'originality' and 'performance', or the concept of what essentially constitutes a musical work. ...

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12 Performances and their conditions

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pp. 143-159

Local music is not just a matter of musical works encapsulated in musicians' memories or in written scores, as so many accounts of music have assumed, but, more centrally, of the active practice of local people: above all their performance of music. This has so far been taken as given, but some more detailed consideration is also needed both of the varied performance conventions of the differing musical worlds and their implications, ...

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13 Composition, creativity and performance

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pp. 160-179

It is commonly believed, especially within the classical music world, that all composers worthy of that name are either dead or (if alive) men of genius far removed from ordinary life. Even for cynics (or social scientists) who might question the absolute superiority of the accepted canon of 'great composers', ...

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14 Plural worlds

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pp. 180-190

Local music, it will now be clear, is not just unrelated individual events, but structured in a series of differing musical worlds. These worlds, further, are themselves both divided and united by a number of systematic, if sometimes unappreciated, conventions for organising the learning, performance and creation of music. ...

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Part 4 The organisation and work of local music

This part moves away from the description and comparisons of distinctive musical worlds to some more general questions. Case studies from the grassroots amateur groupings of Milton Keynes musicians are still used for illustration, but the concentration is now on the social contexts and problems that to some degree or another run through local musical practice whatever the particular musical world. ...

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15 Music in the home and school

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pp. 193-206

Cutting across the musical worlds discussed earlier are the settings in which music is regularly performed and organised, some common to most or all of these worlds, some associated particularly with just a few. Some will be obvious from the discussion so far - the halls in which concerts or rehearsals take place, the recognised music and leisure centres, ...

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16 The churches and music

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pp. 207-221

In the past the church was one major patron and facilitator of music - not just the church in general but the series of churches up and down the country, providing the locale and impetus for musical activity. Something of this role is still played by local churches in the 1980s. ...

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17 Club and pub music

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pp. 222-235

Music is also often performed and organised in pubs and social clubs. These musical contexts may be less familiar to some readers, so it is worth stressing once again that within any English town - certainly in M i l t o n Keynes - there are many different locales for music. These further settings are illustrated in this chapter. ...

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18 Working at it: organisation and administration in music groups – the case of the Sherwood Choir

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pp. 236-254

Music, like any other performed art, does not just float up naturally, but has to be made to happen. This should already be clear from the earlier discussion, but in this chapter is explored more directly and related to the problem of organisation underlying the musical practices described earlier. ...

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19 Small working bands and their organisation

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pp. 255-272

The last chapter illustrated the organisation behind local music in a relatively established formal society, but there are also the less formalised groups, above all the huge numbers of small bands. This multiplicity of groups, with their personal and often ephemeral membership, constantly breaking up and reforming, looks at first sight disorganised and anarchic. ...

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20 Resources, rewards and support

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pp. 273-294

For musicians to practise their art there has to be some system for the supply of the necessary equipment and for the material and non-material support that musical performance demands. Even at the local level music rests on a system of suppliers, of patronage and of costs and rewards for the various participants. ...

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Part 5 The significance of local music

Are there wider implications that can be drawn out from this system of local music-making? This part builds on the earlier ethnographic material to explore such questions as what local music practice and its pathways mean for those who live out their lives in the urban (perhaps impersonal?) setting of modern society ...

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21 Pathways in urban living

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pp. 297-326

This study has tried to uncover the system that lies behind the practices of music-making in a modern English town. Given the existence of this underlying structure, and the way that local music involves its practitioners in the locality they live in - the extensive interactions discussed in the last chapter, the many-sided work necessary for the enactment of music, ...

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22 Music, society, humanity

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pp. 327-341

This study has focussed on the often unrecognised practice (rather than the more familiar works or theory) of music, and so has kept away from philosophical or aesthetic speculation. This has mainly been on the grounds that grander abstractions or evaluations bring little illumination without some appreciation of how music is in practice actualised by its practitioners. ...

Appendix: A note on methods and presentation

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pp. 342-347

Notes

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pp. 348-357

References

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pp. 358-370

Index

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pp. 371-378

Series Page, About the Author

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