In the first decade of the twentieth-century, many composers rejected the principles of tonality and regular beat. This signaled a dramatic challenge to the rationalist and linear conceptions of music that had existed in the West since the Renaissance. The 'break with tonality', Neo-Classicism, serialism, chance, minimalism and the return of the 'sacred' in music, are explored in this book for what they tell us about the condition of modernity. Modernity is here treated as a complex social and cultural formation, in which mythology, narrative, and the desire for 're-enchantment' have not completely disappeared. Through an analysis of Schoenberg, Stravinsky, Boulez and Cage, 'the author shows that the twentieth century composer often adopted an artistic personality akin to Max Weber's religious types of the prophet and priest, ascetic and mystic. Twentieth Century Music and the Question of Modernity advances a cultural sociology of modernity and shows that twentieth century musical culture often involved the adoption of 'apocalyptic' temporal narratives, a commitment to 'musical revolution', a desire to explore the limits of noise and sound, and, finally, redemption through the rediscovery of tonality. This book is essential reading for those interested in cultural sociology, sociological theory, music history, and modernity/modernism studies.
The rich conceptual and experiential relays between music and philosophy--echoes of what Theodor W. Adorno once called Klangfiguren, or "sound figures"--resonate with heightened intensity during the period of modernity that extends from early German Idealism to the Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School. This volume traces the political, historical, and philosophical trajectories of a specifically German tradition in which thinkers take recourse to music, both as an aesthetic practice and as the object of their speculative work. The contributors examine the texts of such highly influential writers and thinkers as Schelling, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Bloch, Mann, Adorno, and Lukács in relation to individual composers including Beethoven, Wagner, Schönberg, and Eisler. Their explorations of the complexities that arise in conceptualizing music as a mode of representation and philosophy as a mode of aesthetic practice thematize the ways in which the fields of music and philosophy are altered when either attempts to express itself in terms defined by the other. Contributors: Albrecht Betz, Lydia Goehr, Beatrice Hanssen, Jost Hermand, David Farrell Krell, Ludger Lütkehaus, Margaret Moore, Rebekah Pryor Paré, Gerhard Richter, Hans Rudolf Vaget, Samuel Weber
Sweet Air rewrites the history of early twentieth-century pop music in modernist terms. Tracking the evolution of popular regional genres such as blues, country, folk, and rockabilly in relation to the growth of industry and consumer culture, Edward P. Comentale shows how this music became a vital means of exploring the new and often overwhelming feelings brought on by modern life. Comentale examines these rural genres as they translated the traumas of local experience--the racial violence of the Delta, the mass exodus from the South, the Dust Bowl of the Texas panhandle--into sonic form. Considering the accessibility of these popular music forms, he asserts the value of music as a source of progressive cultural investment, linking poor, rural performers and audiences to an increasingly vast network of commerce, transportation, and technology.
From Tin Pan Alley to grand opera, player-pianos to phonograph records, David Suismans Selling Sounds explores the rise of music as big business and the creation of a radically new musical culture. Around the turn of the twentieth century, music entrepreneurs laid the foundation for todays vast industry, with new products, technologies, and commercial strategies to incorporate music into the daily rhythm of modern life. Popular songs filled the air with a new kind of musical pleasure, phonographs brought opera into the parlor, and celebrity performers like Enrico Caruso captivated the imagination of consumers from coast to coast. Selling Sounds uncovers the origins of the culture industry in music and chronicles how music ignited an auditory explosion that penetrated all aspects of society. It maps the growth of the music business across the social landscape-in homes, theaters, department stores, schools-and analyzes the effect of this development on everything from copyright law to the sensory environment. While music came to resemble other consumer goods, its distinct properties as sound ensured that its commercial growth and social impact would remain unique. Today, the music that surrounds us-from iPods to ring tones to Muzak-accompanies us everywhere from airports to grocery stores. The roots of this modern culture lie in the business of popular song, player-pianos, and phonographs of a century ago. Provocative, original, and lucidly written, Selling Sounds reveals the commercial architecture of Americas musical life.