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Mass Culture - Essay Example

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The distinction between 'serious' and 'popular' music was tackled by Adorno. Serious music is perceived as refined music compared to popular music. Serious music is regarded as highbrow as distinct from popular music which is considered lowbrow…
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Mass Culture
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Mass Culture

Download file to see previous pages... The distinction between 'serious' and 'popular' music was tackled by Adorno. Serious music is perceived as refined music compared to popular music. Serious music is regarded as highbrow as distinct from popular music which is considered lowbrow. (Witney, 2002).
However, Adorno rejects these categories as a basis for making a distinction between serious and popular music. Adorno stressed that the works of early Viennese classicism were rhythmically simpler than the common arrangements of jazz. He further pointed out that based on melody, the wide intervals of “Deep Purple' and 'Sunrise Serenade' makes these much more difficult to emulate compared to Haydn. In particular, he explained that the supply of chords of the classics is limited compared to a modern composer who culls from Debussy, Ravel and later sources' (Adorno 1990:305). The rallying point of Adorno was the question of whether culture validated the experience of the individual or whether culture had eclipsed it. (Ridlesss, 1984).
According to Adorno and Horkheimer, under monopoly, all mass culture is identical. Movies and radio are not art but businesses made into an ideology to reinforce the rubbish they produce. These businesses refer to themselves as industries. Some persons explain the culture industry in technological terms. They state that reproduction processes are necessary that would require similar needs in many places to be satisfied with identical goods. Adorno and Horkheimer stipulate that the standards were based on consumers’ needs. ' needs. The basis on which technology acquires power over society is the power of those whose economic hold over society is at its greatest. A technological rationale is the aim of domination itself. It is the coercive nature of society alienated from itself. The outcome is that the technology of the culture industry resulted in standardization and mass production. (Adorno and Horkheimer, 1993).

Moreover, Adorno and Horkheimer states that the man with leisure has to accept everything that the culture manufacturers offer him. The industry robs the individual of his function since the industry does the schematizing and classification for him. (Adorno and Horkheimer, 1993).
Adorno and Horkheimer stated that style is significant in every work of art. The artistic expression is imbedded in the style or into the language of music, painting and words. The promise a work of art holds depends on how it will create truth by lending new shape to the conventional social forms. The fulfillment of art lies in their aesthetic derivatives. (Adorno and Horkheimer, 1993).
The culture industry is basically a spectacle which is illusory. In the face of the person who isstimulated by all those brilliant names and images there is an ode to the depressing everyday world it sought to escape. The culture industry is essentially pornographic and prudish. Love is further downgraded to romance. After the descent, license becomes a specialty, it is knows as "daring. The stronger the positions of the culture industry become, the more it can handle consumers' needs by manufacturing them, manipulating them, disciplining them, and even by withdrawing amusement from them. (Adorno and Horkheimer, 1993).

In the culture industry, the individual is an illusion due to the standardization of the means of production. The reactions of human beings have been reified that the idea of anything specific to themselves shows as an abstract notion. The emphasis is on bodily perfections devoid of distinction. The triumph of advertising in the culture industry is that consumers feel compelled to buy and use its products even though they see through them. (Adorno and Horkheimer, 1993).


Stuart Hall's encoding and decoding diagram is closely related to the works of Eco, Adorno and Horkheimer. Hall showed that production practices in television translate into a message, a sign-vehicle which is organized by means of a set of codes ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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