Taking It to the Bridge
Music as Performance
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: University of Michigan Press
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Title Page, Copyright Page
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James Brown, the “Godfather of Soul,” was famously adept at “taking it to the bridge.” The term bridge, of course, has various meanings in addition to “a structure carrying a pathway or roadway over a depression or obstacle.” In musical terms, a bridge is “a musical passage linking two sections of a composition” ...
A Backward-Looking Foreword
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It is a well-known feature of the composition of books that the material that ends up positioned at the beginning is usually the last thing written. I write this Foreword from the happy but not unusual vantage point of having been able to read the entire book which it precedes. ...
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The wonder is not that music and performance studies come together in this book, but that they ever needed to be brought together. After all, what is music if not performance, real-time collective practice that brings people together as players and listeners, choreographs social relationships, and expresses or constructs individual or group identities? ...
U2 3D: Concert Films and/as Live Performance
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Concertgoers have finally made it into the stadium, and they run, barreling through turnstiles and into the vast expanse of the arena, vying for a place near the stage—up against it, if at all possible. The journey to their destination is frantic, chaotic, fast; bodies move at full speed, exerting maximum effort for what they hope will be a big payoff: ...
Performing Collective Improvisation: The Grateful Dead’s “Dark Star”
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Journalistic writing on the Grateful Dead, the San Francisco–based band that was active from 1965 until the death of lead guitarist Jerry Garcia in 1995, tends to focus more on the band’s countercultural fan base—the hordes of devoted followers that followed the band from city to city—than the actual music they played. ...
Jazz Improvisation as a Social Arrangement
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My starting point is an essay by the philosopher Lee B. Brown entitled “Phonography, Repetition and Spontaneity” in which he argues that the repetition of musical performances made possible by recording is “the enemy of improvised music,” for which jazz is his point of reference.1 ...
Bridging the Unbridgeable? Empirical Musicology and Interdisciplinary Performance Studies
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The term “music as performance” has had some currency among musicologists in recent years, but it is more specifically associated with theatre studies: as mentioned in the Introduction, it is the name of a study group within ATHE, the North American Association for Theatre in Higher Education. ...
The Written and the Sung: Ornamenting Il barbiere di Siviglia
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There is an extreme branch of performance studies in which singers are believed to “subvert” the “text” of an opera, in which their participation is believed to transform a “work” in ways of which the composer might or might not have approved. (I am most emphatically not referring here to staging but to the actual music an audience is hearing.)1 ...
Enacting the Revolution: Thalberg in 1848
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On May 3, 1848, the Viennese pianist Sigismond Thalberg, official court Kammervirtuos and one of the most famous pianists in Europe, played a concert in Vienna’s Musikvereinsaal. The program was standard fare for Thalberg and followed the conventional “mixed” format of its time. ...
Cutting Loose: Burying “The First Man of Jazz”
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A New Orleans jazz funeral is a parade you can’t watch. Your line of sight is traversed by the swirling crowd of mourners and revelers called the “Second Line.” They follow the brass band, the corpse, and a logic of their own. As they approach, the choice you have to make is between standing on the sidewalk feeling stupid or joining the procession, ...
Abbey Lincoln’s Screaming Singing and the Sonic Liberatory Potential Thereafter
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To see a sound, to hear the narrative sung in a scream, is to listen to Abbey Lincoln. With sounds toying with conceptions of music and noise, skirting round the boundaries of annotatability, resisting reiteration, Lincoln disrupted the 1960s New York jazz scene. ...
Got to Get Over the Hump: The Politics of Glamin the Work of Labelle and Parliament
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In “The Foundations of Glitter Rock,” Van M. Cagle cites the “primary themes of flamboyance, style and image construction, polymorphous sexuality, and multimedia montage as performance art” as key elements of the genre, typically associated with David Bowie, Roxy Music, and other white, male, primarily British artists from the early 1970s.1 ...
“Bring the Pain”: Post-Soul Memory, Neo-Soul Affect, and Lauryn Hill in the Black Public Sphere
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“Do you love what you feel?” Pioneering funk and R&B diva Chaka Khan once belted out these words in the 1970s as the disco era was coming to a close, but it is Lauryn Hill, the latter-day reclusive hip-hop/ neo-soul genius who has perhaps most powerfully reanimated that musical question to her fans by way of one emotionally trenchant performance in the fall of 2005.2 ...
Don’t Stop ’til You Get Enough: Presence, Spectacle, and Good Feeling in Michael Jackson’s This Is It
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There’s a fantastic moment I can’t shake in Columbia Pictures’ Michael Jackson’s This Is It, the 2009 film posthumously cobbled together from raw video footage of Michael Jackson during his final rehearsals. While re-staging 1988 synth-funk jam “Smooth Criminal” at Los Angeles’s Staples Center, co-director Kenny Ortega asks the wiry pop superstar, ...
Carles Santos: “Music in the Theatre”
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Carles Santos has been a feature of Catalonia’s avant-garde music scene since the mid-1960s, when he began collaborating with the artist and poet Joan Brossa. For over forty years now, working in the intersections between opera, art, and theatre, he has been involved in interdisciplinary ventures that have sought to find new paradigms of music performance. ...
Tchekisse: Neba Solo’s Senufo Counterpoint in Action
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Notoriously difficult to capture and communicate, the experience of performance has always eluded the conventions of the scholarly article. Charles Seeger despaired of this situation by declaring that at the heart of musicological study lies the linguocentric predicament: the incommensurability between “music knowledge and feeling in music” ...
Playing Games with Music (and Vice Versa): Ludomusicological Perspectives on Guitar Hero and Rock Band
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Centuries from now, one might imagine, archaeologists combing landfill sites in Africa in search of clues concerning musical culture at the beginning of the millennium will be confronted with bewildering evidence. The organic materials from which traditional instruments are currently made will have decayed, their metal turned to rust. ...
Beyond Performance: Transmusicking in Cyberspace
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An ensemble of thirty performers prepares to improvise music together. With only basic conceptual sketches agreed upon beforehand and a language of improvised conducted gestures to guide them, this performance already carries a considerable degree of risk. ...
Afterword: Music as Performance: The Disciplinary Dilemma Revisited
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First of all, I would like to thank Nick Cook and Richard Pettengill for giving me the last word in this collection. I am flattered, but also a bit daunted at the prospect of having to follow so many excellent writers and their inspiring work. ...
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Nicholas Cook is 1684 Professor of Music at the University of Cambridge. Formerly Director of the AHRC Research Centre for the History and Analysis of Recorded Music (CHARM). His books include A Guide to Musical Analysis (1987); Music, Imagination, and Culture (1990); ...
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Page Count: 392
Illustrations: 14 color illustrations, 24 musical examples, 2 tables, 1 map
Publication Year: 2013