Absolute Music, Mechanical Reproduction
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: University of California Press
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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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List of Illustrations
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This book was a joy to write— because of the importance and timeliness ofits subject, certainly, but also because it brought me into contact with quite afew enthusiastic and very knowledgeable people. Book and author profitedespecially from the expert insights, assessments, and corrections, not tomention kind encouragement, of the anonymous readers selected by Uni-...
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...“When you buy a record there are always cuts that leave you cold. You skipthem. You don’t approach a record as a closed book that you have to take orleave. Other cuts you may listen to over and over again. They follow you.You find yourself humming them under your breath as you go about yourdaily business.”1 Brian Massumi urges readers to approach Gilles Deleuze...
1. THE RECORDED MUSICAL TEXT
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Just what is a musical per for mance? This is a difficult question, one thatmusic scholars have been slow to ask and even slower to answer. We couldbegin our definition by saying a per for mance of Western art music tran-spires with a reading that is more or less normative and executed accordingto the composer’s instructions. But such a description comes up short be-...
2. RECORDING, REPETITION, AND MEMORY IN ABSOLUTE MUSIC
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Edison’s early cylinders wore out after only several plays, so aural his-tory begins with one par tic u lar refinement of his invention: the electro-plated “phonogram” disk devised by Charles Sumner Tainter in 1881.Emil Berliner further developed this method for commercial markets,making multiple stampings from master discs onto a hard resin that could...
3. SCHNABEL’S RATIONALISM, GOULD’S PRAGMATISM
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To judge from their recordings, Artur Schnabel and Glenn Gould were ex-traordinarily different musicians. Their most obvious points of contrastconcern keyboard address. Gould is commonly faulted for emphasizing pi-anism over ser vice to the composer: “Gould had total command of his in-strument,” reads one review, “through which he projected his studiously...
4. DIGITAL MYTHOLOGIES
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Music aesthetics became closely intertwined with recording and distributiontechnologies in the second half of the twentieth century. This fact is ac-knowledged in pop u lar music but also holds true in art music: large- scalechanges in recording techniques precipitated change in compositional aes-thetics, and vice versa, in a symbiotic pro cess that mimics and carries on the...
5. BEETHOVEN AND THE IPOD NATION
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The long- playing record, popularly known as the LP, appeared shortly af-ter World War II. Columbia Rec ords introduced it to the American marketas a medium for classical music, under the assumption that longer discshad greater commercial potential with Beethoven than they might withBing Crosby: the company’s first LP ads promised “a truly new experience...
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Susan Sontag called photography an “ethics of seeing,” and by analogyrecording could be termed an “ethics of hearing.”1 Photography’s traditionaltruth- telling powers stem from its long association with photojournalism.Recording owes such truth implications to the absolute- music heritage, thework concept, and to the art- religion idea originating with Friedrich...
7. MAHLER AS IMAGIST
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Mahler’s symphonies, though never truly neglected, didn’t achieve widepopularity until the later de cades of the twentieth century. Why theywere so late finding broad appeal remains an absorbing question. Was itsimply a matter of musical style? No, the wider public’s late embrace isn’tentirely consistent with the cliché of the ahead- of- his- time composer...
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Page Count: 336
Publication Year: 2010