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Music Anthropology - Essay Example

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Cultural artifacts themselves are useful ideological constructs. As an artistic and cultural form music can be a valuable tool for reading ideological intentions and the changing political and economic tenor of the times. This is evident in its own development and written history as music itself has been endlessly categorized and divided against itself.
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Music Anthropology
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Music Anthropology

Download file to see previous pages... And since the 1930s there has been a rebellious sub discipline of sociology called 'critical theory' whose avowed purpose is to expose the workings of ideology in everyday life, revealing 'uncritically' accepted beliefs and so returning to individuals the power to decide for themselves what they will believe for, by presenting themselves as simply 'the way things are', ideologies suppress the very existence of alternatives. Critical Theory developed to become a comprehensive mode of culture critique whose effects have been felt in disciplines as varied as literary studies, film and media studies, art history--and, more recently, musicology. Theodor Adorno, one of the founders of critical theory, was not only a sociologist but also an accomplished musician (he studied composition with Schoenberg's most famous pupil, Alban Berg), and he wrote as much on music as he did on sociology. Critical theory is in essence a theory of power, and it sees power largely in terms of the institutions through which it is channeled. In musicology, this approach has stimulated historical research into the formation of the canon (the repertory of masterworks on display in the musical museum) and the role of musical institutions in constructing, maintaining, and naturalizing this canon. But you can see the process at work today in the most important of such institutions, those at which music is taught (schools, conservatories, and universities). It is most obvious in the repositioning of rock within the academy.
Pittman evoked the specific, pre-existing ideological discourse of rock and roll. While on the surface 'rock music' is a neutral label that distinguishes a particular kind of music, it also comprises a set of ideological assumptions about music creation and social life. Rock emerged as not only a musical genre, but a system of discourse through which the effects of the commercialization of music and the industrialization of music production can be negotiated, and by which social inequalities can be activated in a cultural arena. In an ideological division reminiscent of the high culture or popular culture distinction, rock discourse forged a hierarchy within popular music by creating a structure of value against which 'pop' music could be devalued. Rock was made to stand as a higher form of popular music, as the representative of art and artfulness.
The commercialization and industrialization of music has dramatically changed the way in which music is created. Music production is organized around the segmenting of creative processes and a hierarchical form of collective production that involves more creators and more stages of creation. To make music within the music industry, musicians work with a number of people songwriters whose songs are chosen for their repertoire (in the event the musician does not write the material); producers of albums; engineers of songs; record company officials who dictate release dates of albums and singles and handle marketing and distribution; and, most recently, directors of video promotion. The separation of individual creators into categories of creative work is a function of the industrial mode of divided labor and helps industry maintain control over production. It is important to the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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