Wesleyan University Press

Music Culture

Published by: Wesleyan University Press

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Music Culture

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Music, Society, Education

Christopher Small

Cited by Soundpost as "remarkable and revolutionary" upon its publication in 1977, Music, Society, Education has become a classic in the study of music as a social force. Christopher Small sets out to examine the social implications of Western classical music, effects that until recently have been largely ignored or dismissed by most musicologists. He strives to view the Western musical tradition "through the mirror of these other musics [Balinese and African] as it were from the outside, and in so doing to learn something of the inner unspoken nature of Western culture as a whole."

As series co-editor Robert Walser writes, "By pointing to the complicity of Western culture with Western imperialism, Small challenges us to create a future that is more humane than the past. And by writing a book that enables us to rethink so fundamentally our involvements with music, he teaches us how we might get there."

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Musicking Bodies

Gesture and Voice in Hindustani Music

Matthew Rahaim

Indian vocalists trace intricate shapes with their hands while improvising melody. Although every vocalist has an idiosyncratic gestural style, students inherit ways of shaping melodic space from their teachers, and the motion of the hand and voice are always intimately connected. Though observers of Indian classical music have long commented on these gestures, Musicking Bodies is the first extended study of what singers actually do with their hands and voices. Matthew Rahaim draws on years of vocal training, ethnography, and close analysis to demonstrate the ways in which hand gesture is used alongside vocalization to manifest melody as dynamic, three-dimensional shapes. The gestures that are improvised alongside vocal improvisation embody a special kind of melodic knowledge passed down tacitly through lineages of teachers and students who not only sound similar, but who also engage with music kinesthetically according to similar aesthetic and ethical ideals. Musicking Bodies builds on the insights of phenomenology, Indian and Western music theory, and cultural studies to illuminate not only the performance of gesture, but its implications for the transmission of culture, the conception of melody, and the very nature of the musicking body.

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Musicking

The Meanings of Performing and Listening

Christopher Small

Extending the inquiry of his early groundbreaking books, Christopher Small strikes at the heart of traditional studies of Western music by asserting that music is not a thing, but rather an activity. In this new book, Small outlines a theory of what he terms "musicking," a verb that encompasses all musical activity from composing to performing to listening to a Walkman to singing in the shower.

Using Gregory Bateson's philosophy of mind and a Geertzian thick description of a typical concert in a typical symphony hall, Small demonstrates how musicking forms a ritual through which all the participants explore and celebrate the relationships that constitute their social identity. This engaging and deftly written trip through the concert hall will have readers rethinking every aspect of their musical worlds.

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My Music

Explorations of Music in Daily Life

Susan D. Crafts

My Music is a first-hand exploration of the diverse roles music plays in people's lives. "What is music about for you?" asked members of the Music in Daily Life Project of some 150 people, and the responses they received -- from the profound to the mundane, from the deeply-felt to the flippant -- reflect highly individualistic relationships to and with music. Susan Crafts, Daniel Cavicchi, and Project Director Charles Keil have collected and edited nearly forty of those interviews to document the diverse ways in which people enjoy, experience, and use music.

CONTRIBUTORS: Charles Keil, George Lipsitz.

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Planet Beethoven

Classical Music at the Turn of the Millennium

Mina Yang

In Planet Beethoven, Mina Yang makes the compelling case that classical music in the twenty-first century is just as vibrant and relevant as ever—but with significant changes that give us insight into the major cultural shifts of our day. Perusing events, projects, programs, writings, musicians, and compositions, Yang shines a spotlight on the Western art music tradition. The book covers an array of topics, from the use of Beethoven’s “Für Elise” in YouTube clips and hip-hop, to the marketing claims of Baby Einstein products, and the new forms of music education introduced by Gustavo Dudamel, conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. While the book is global in its outlook, each chapter investigates the unique attributes of a specific performer, performance, or event. One chapter reflects on Chinese pianist Yuja Wang’s controversial performance at the Hollywood Bowl, another explores the highly symbolic Passion 2000 Project in Stuttgart, Germany. Sure to be of interest to students, professionals, and aficionados, Planet Beethoven traces the tensions that arise from the “classical” nature of this tradition and our rapidly changing world.

Ebook Edition Note: One image has been redacted.

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Radicalism and Music

An Introduction to the Music Cultures of al-Qa’ida, Racist Skinheads, Christian-Affiliated Radicals, and Eco-Animal Rights Militants

Jonathan Pieslak

A comparative study of the music cultures of four radical groups

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Running with the Devil

Power, Gender, and Madness in Heavy Metal Music

Robert Walser

A Choice Outstanding Academic Book.

A musicologist and cultural critic as well as a professional musician, Robert Walser offers a comprehensive musical, social, and cultural analysis of heavy metal in Running with the Devil. Dismissed by critics and academics, condemned by parents and politicians, fervently embraced by legions of fans, heavy metal music attracts and embodies cultural conflicts that are central to our society. Walser explores how and why heavy metal works, both musically and socially, and at the same time uses metal to investigate contemporary formations of identity, community, gender, and power.

Ebook Edition Note: Ebook edition note: all photographs (16) have been redacted.

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Running with the Devil

Power, Gender, and Madness in Heavy Metal Music

Robert Walser

Dismissed by critics and academics, condemned by parents and politicians, and fervently embraced by legions of fans, heavy metal music continues to attract and embody cultural conflicts that are central to society. In Running with the Devil, Robert Walser explores how and why heavy metal works, both musically and socially, and at the same time uses metal to investigate contemporary formations of identity, community, gender, and power. This edition includes a new foreword by Harris M. Berger contextualizing the work and a new afterword by the author.

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Some Liked It Hot

Jazz Women in Film and Television, 1928–1959

Kristin A. McGee

Women have been involved with jazz since its inception, but all too often their achievements were not as well known as those of their male counterparts. Some Liked It Hot looks at all-girl bands and jazz women from the 1920s through the 1950s and how they fit into the nascent mass culture, particularly film and television, to uncover some of the historical motivations for excluding women from the now firmly established jazz canon. This well-illustrated book chronicles who appeared where and when in over 80 performances, captured in both popular Hollywood productions and in relatively unknown films and television shows.

As McGee shows, these performances reflected complex racial attitudes emerging in American culture during the first half of the twentieth century. Her analysis illuminates the heavily mediated representational strategies that jazz women adopted, highlighting the role that race played in constituting public performances of various styles of jazz from “swing” to “hot” and “sweet.” The International Sweethearts of Rhythm, Hazel Scott, the Ingenues, Peggy Lee, and Paul Whiteman are just a few of the performers covered in the book, which also includes a detailed filmography.

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Stance

Ideas about Emotion, Style, and Meaning for the Study of Expressive Culture

Harris M. Berger

Why does music move us? How do the immediate situation and larger social contexts influence the meanings that people find in stories, rituals, or films? How do people engage with the images and sounds of a performance to make them come alive in sensuous, lived experience? Exploring these questions, Stance presents a major new theory of emotion, style, and meaning for the study of expressive culture. In clear language, the book reveals dimensions of lived experience that everyone is aware of but that scholars rarely account for.

Though music is at the heart of the book, its arguments are illustrated with a wide range of clear examples—from the heavy metal concert to the recital hall, from festivals to dance, stand-up comedy, the movies, and beyond. Helping ethnographers get closer to the experiences of the people with whom they work, this book will be of immediate interest to anyone in ethnomusicology, folklore, popular music studies, anthropology, or performance studies.

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