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Music and Cultural Theory

ISBN: 978-0-7456-0864-8
240 pages
August 1997, Polity
Music and Cultural Theory (0745608647) cover image
In this book Shepherd and Wicke make a bold and original contribution to the understanding of music as a form of human expression. They argue that music is fundamental to social life. Music is not merely a form of leisure or entertainment: it is central to the very formation and reproduction of human societies.


The authors pursue this argument through a wide-ranging assessment of some of the major cultural theoretical contributions to understanding music. Theories of culture, linguistic theories, structuralist and post-structuralist theories and psychoanalytic theories of music are carefully explained and critically examined. The authors then develop their own account of music as a non-referential yet material form of human expression which embodies and conveys principles of symbolic structuring. They emphasize the human body as a principal site for the musical mediation of social and symbolic processes.


Music and Cultural Theory establishes new links between musicology and cultural studies, showing how each discipline can inform and enrich the other. It will be recommended reading for students and professionals in musicology, media and communication studies, cultural studies and the sociology of culture.

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Preface.

Introduction.

1. The Problem of Affect and Meaning in Music.

2. Music and Cultural Theory.

3. Music and Psychoanalysis.

4. Theorizing Difference in Language and Music.

5. Music as a Medium in Sound.

6. Music as Structure.

7. Music's Semiological Moment.

8. Music - a Performative Semiological Model.

9. Music and Language in the Constitution of Society.

10. Towards a Sociology of Sound.

Bibliography.

Index.
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* Original contribution to the understanding of music as a form of human expression - argues that music is a central, rather than a peripheral activity for individuals and society.
* Reassesses existing theories in musicology by examining the contributions made to music by cultural, linguistic and psychoanalytic theory, and offers a new method of understanding theories of musicology.
* Provides new links between musicology and cultural theory.
* Original contribution to the understanding of music as a form of human expression - argues that music is a central, rather than a peripheral activity for individuals and society.
* Reassesses existing theories in musicology by examining the contributions made to music by cultural, linguistic and psychoanalytic theory, and offers a new method of understanding theories of musicology.
* Provides new links between musicology and cultural theory.
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"This book actually moves popular music studies forward and offers a significant challenge to cultural theory. It asks a most difficult question: what might cultural criticism look like if music were at its center, rather than literature or the visual arts? It is one of the most important and exciting contributions in recent years to the study of popular music and popular culture." Lawrence Grossberg, University of North Carolina

"This book accomplishes an important task, mapping the theoretical territory between musicology and cultural studies in order better to understand the processes of "meaning and affect" in music. It is a challenging and substantial contribution to the project of moving cultural theory towards an accommodation with musicology - an accommodation that, despite the best of intentions, is long overdue." Graeme Turner, University of Queensland

"This ... is the first to tackle the relationship between music and cultural theory systematically, as its central task. The authors are eminently well qualified for the job, and the book should immediately become required reading in cultural studies, popular music studies and critical musicology." European Journal of Communication

"This book is a significant contribution to theoretical analysis of music through cultural theory. I recommend it for those who are especially interested in the relationship between culture and music ... thought-provoking." Contemporary Sociology

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