Wesleyan University Press

Music Culture

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Music Culture

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Listening and Longing

Music Lovers in the Age of Barnum

Daniel Cavicchi

Listening and Longing explores the emergence of music listening in the United States, from its early stages in the antebellum era, when entrepreneurs first packaged and sold the experience of hearing musical performance, to the Gilded Age, when genteel critics began to successfully redefine the cultural value of listening to music. In a series of interconnected stories, American studies scholar Daniel Cavicchi focuses on the impact of industrialization, urbanization, and commercialization in shaping practices of music audiences in America. Grounding our contemporary culture of listening in its seminal historical moment--before the iPod, stereo system, or phonograph--Cavicchi offers a fresh understanding of the role of listening in the history of music.

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Listening to Salsa

Gender, Latin Popular Music, and Puerto Rican Cultures

Frances R. Aparicio

For Anglos, the pulsing beats of salsa, merengue, and bolero are a compelling expression of Latino/a culture, but few outsiders comprehend the music's implications in larger social terms. Frances R. Aparicio places this music in context by combining the approaches of musicology and sociology with literary, cultural, Latino, and women's studies. She offers a detailed genealogy of Afro-Caribbean music in Puerto Rico, comparing it to selected Puerto Rican literary texts, then looks both at how Latinos/as in the US have used salsa to reaffirm their cultural identities and how Anglos have eroticized and depoliticized it in their adaptations.

Aparicio's detailed examination of lyrics shows how these songs articulate issues of gender, desire, and conflict, and her interviews with Latinas/os reveal how they listen to salsa and the meanings they find in it. What results is a comprehensive view "that deploys both musical and literary texts as equally significant cultural voices in exploring larger questions about the power of discourse, gender relations, intercultural desire, race, ethnicity, and class."

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Making Beats

The Art of Sample-Based Hip-Hop

Joseph G. Schloss

Despite having created one of the most important musical cultures of the last fifty years, hip-hop composers who use digital sampling are rarely taken seriously as artists. But hip-hop deejays and producers have collectively developed an artistic system that features a complex aesthetic, a detailed array of social protocols, a rigorous set of ethical expectations and a rich historical consciousness.

Based on ten years of research among hip-hop producers, Making Beats is the first work of scholarship to explore the goals, methods and values of this surprisingly insular community. Focusing on a variety of subjects--from hip-hop artists' pedagogical methods to the Afro-diasporic roots of the sampling process to the social significance of "digging" for rare records--Joseph G. Schloss examines the way hip-hop artists have managed to create a form of expression that reflects their creative aspirations, moral beliefs, political values and cultural realities.

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Making Beats

The Art of Sample-Based Hip-Hop

Joseph G. Schloss

Based on ten years of research among hip-hop producers, Making Beats was the first work of scholarship to explore the goals, methods, and values of a surprisingly insular community. Focusing on a variety of subjects—from hip-hop artists’ pedagogical methods to the Afrodiasporic roots of the sampling process to the social significance of “digging” for rare records—Joseph G. Schloss examines the way hip-hop artists have managed to create a form of expression that reflects their creative aspirations, moral beliefs, political values, and cultural realities. This second edition of the book includes a new foreword by Jeff Chang and a new afterword by the author.

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Metal, Rock, and Jazz

Perception and the Phenomenology of Musical Experience

Harris M. Berger

This vivid ethnography of the musical lives of heavy metal, rock, and jazz musicians in Cleveland and Akron, Ohio shows how musicians engage with the world of sound to forge meaningful experiences of music. Unlike most popular music studies, which only provide a scholar's view, this book is based on intensive fieldwork and hundreds of hours of in-depth interviews. Rich descriptions of the musical life of metal bars and jazz clubs get readers close to the people who make and listen to the music.

Of special interest are Harris M. Berger's interviews with Timmy "The Ripper" Owens, now famous as lead singer for the pioneering heavy metal band, Judas Priest. Owens and other performers share their own experiences of the music, thereby challenging traditional notions of harmony and musical structure. Using ideas from practice theory and phenomenology, Berger shows that musical perception is a kind of practice, both creatively achieved by the listener and profoundly informed by social context.

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Monument Eternal

The Music of Alice Coltrane

Franya J. Berkman

Alice Coltrane was a composer, improviser, guru, and widow of John Coltrane. Over the course of her musical life, she synthesized a wide range of musical genres including gospel, rhythm-and-blues, bebop, free jazz, Indian devotional song, and Western art music. Her childhood experiences playing for African-American congregations in Detroit, the ecstatic and avant-garde improvisations she performed on the bandstand with her husband John Coltrane, and her religious pilgrimages to India reveal themselves on more than twenty albums of original music for the Impulse and Warner Brothers labels.

In the late 1970s Alice Coltrane became a swami, directing an alternative spiritual community in Southern California. Exploring her transformation from Alice McLeod, Detroit church pianist and bebopper, to guru Swami Turiya Sangitananda, Monument Eternal illuminates her music and, in turn, reveals the exceptional fluidity of American religious practices in the second half of the twentieth century. Most of all, this book celebrates the hybrid music of an exceptional, boundary-crossing African-American artist.

Ebook Edition Note: All images in center photo section have been redacted.

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Music and Cyberliberties

Patrick Burkart

Musicians and music fans are at the forefront of cyberliberties activism, a movement that has tried to correct the imbalances that imperil the communal and ritualistic sharing and distribution of music. In Music and Cyberliberties, Patrick Burkart tracks the migration of music advocacy and anti-major label activism since the court defeat of Napster and the ascendancy of the so-called Celestial Jukebox model of music e-commerce, which sells licensed access to music.

Music and Cyberliberties identifies the groups—alternative and radical media activists, culture jammers, hackers, netlabels, and critical legal scholars—who are pushing back against the “copyright grab” by major labels for the rights and privileges that were once enjoyed by artists and fans. Burkart reflects on the emergence of peer-to-peer networking as a cause célèbre that helped spark the movement, and also lays out the next stages of development for the Celestial Jukebox that would quash it. By placing the musical activist groups into the larger context of technology and new social movement theory, Music and Cyberliberties offers an exciting new way of understanding the technological and social changes we confront daily.

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Music and Technoculture

René T. A. Lysloff

Moving from web to field, from Victorian parlor to 21st-century mall, the 15 essays gathered here yield new insights regarding the intersection of local culture, musical creativity and technological possibilities. Inspired by the concept of "technoculture," the authors locate technology squarely in the middle of expressive culture: they are concerned with how technology culturally informs and infuses aspects of everyday life and musical experience, and they argue that this merger does not necessarily result in a "cultural grayout," but instead often produces exciting new possibilities. In this collection, we find evidence of musical practices and ways of knowing music that are informed or even significantly transformed by new technologies, yet remain profoundly local in style and meaning.

CONTRIBUTORS: Leslie C. Gay, Jr., Kai Fikentscher, Tong Soon Lee, René T. A. Lysloff, Matthew Malsky, Charity Marsh, Marc Perlman, Thomas Porcello, Andrew Ross, David Sanjek, jonathan Sterne, Janet L. Sturman, Timothy D. Taylor, Paul Théberge, Melissa West, Deborah Wong.

Ebook Edition Note: Four of the 26 illustrations, and the cover illustration, have been redacted.

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Music of the Common Tongue

Survival and Celebration in African American Music

Christopher Small

In clear and elegant prose, Music of the Common Tongue, first published in 1987, argues that by any reasonable reckoning of the function of music in human life the African American tradition, that which stems from the collision between African and European ways of doing music which occurred in the Americas and the Caribbean during and after slavery, is the major western music of the twentieth century. In showing why this is so, the author presents not only an account of African American music from its origins but also a more general consideration of the nature of the music act and of its function in human life. The two streams of discussion occupy alternate chapters so that each casts light on the other. The author offers also an answer to what the Musical Times called the "seldom posed though glaringly obtrusive" question: "why is it that the music of an alienated, oppressed, often persecuted black minority should have made so powerful an impact on the entire industrialized world, whatever the color of its skin or economic status?"In clear and elegant prose, Music of the Common Tongue, first published in 1987, argues that by any reasonable reckoning of the function of music in human life the African American tradition, that which stems from the collision between African and European ways of doing music which occurred in the Americas and the Caribbean during and after slavery, is the major western music of the twentieth century. In showing why this is so, the author presents not only an account of African American music from its origins but also a more general consideration of the nature of the music act and of its function in human life. The two streams of discussion occupy alternate chapters so that each casts light on the other. The author offers also an answer to what the Musical Times called the "seldom posed though glaringly obtrusive" question: "why is it that the music of an alienated, oppressed, often persecuted black minority should have made so powerful an impact on the entire industrialized world, whatever the color of its skin or economic status?"

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Music, Politics, and Violence

Susan Fast

Music and violence have been linked since antiquity in ritual, myth, and art. Considered together they raise fundamental questions about creativity, discourse, and music's role in society. The essays in this collection investigate a wealth of issues surrounding music and violence--issues that cross political boundaries, time periods, and media--and provide cross-cultural case studies of musical practices ranging from large-scale events to regionally specific histories. Following the editors' substantive introduction, which lays the groundwork for conceptualizing new ways of thinking about music as it relates to violence, three broad themes are followed: the first set of essays examines how music participates in both overt and covert forms of violence; the second section explores violence and reconciliation; and the third addresses healing, post-memorials, and memory. Music, Politics, and Violence affords space to look at music as an active agent rather than as a passive art, and to explore how music and violence are closely--and often uncomfortably--entwined.

CONTRIBUTORS include Nicholas Attfield, Catherine Baker, Christina Baade, J. Martin Daughtry, James Deaville, David A. McDonald, Kevin C. Miller, Jonathan Ritter, Victor A. Vicente, and Amy Lynn Wlodarski.

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