For a century and more, the idea of democracy has fuelled musicians’ imaginations. Seeking to go beyond music’s proven capacity to contribute to specific political causes, musicians have explored how aspects of their practice embody democratic principles. This may involve adopting particular approaches to compositional material, performance practice, relationships to audiences, or modes of dissemination and distribution.
Finding Democracy in Music is the first study to offer a wide-ranging investigation of ways in which democracy may thus be found in music. A guiding theme of the volume is that this takes place in a plurality of ways, depending upon the perspective taken to music’s manifold relationships, and the idea of democracy being entertained. Contributing authors explore various genres including orchestral composition, jazz, the post-war avant-garde, online performance, and contemporary popular music, as well as employing a wide array of theoretical, archival, and ethnographic methodologies. Particular attention is given to the contested nature of democracy as a category, and the gaps that frequently arise between utopian aspiration and reality. In so doing, the volume interrogates a key way in which music helps to articulate and shape our social lives and our politics.
Introduction: looking for democracy in music and elsewhere
ROBERT ADLINGTON AND ESTEBAN BUCH
1. ‘Unsociable sociability’: orchestras, conflict and democratic politics in Finland after 1917
TINA K. RAMNARINE
2. Dismantling borders, assembling hierarchies: Percy Grainger and the idea of democracy
3. How democratic is jazz
4. Curating difference: Elliott Carter and democracy
5. Getting exercised: ensemble relations in Christian Wolff’s Exercises
EMILY PAYNE AND PHILIP THOMAS
6. Defining audible democracy: new music in post-dictatorship Argentina
VIOLETA NIGRO GIUNTA
7. Network music and digital utopianism: the rise and fall of the Res Rocket Surfer project, 1994–2003
8. As the band hit full throttle: live event, mediatization and collective identification in popular music concert films
9. Reinventing audiences: imagining radical musical democracies