As a sociologist Simon Frith takes the starting point that music is the result of the play of social forces, whether as an idea, an experience or an activity. The essays in this important collection address these forces, recognising that music is an effect of a continuous process of negotiation, dispute and agreement between the individual actors who make up a music world. The emphasis is always on discourse, on the way in which people talk and write about music, and the part this plays in the social construction of musical meaning and value. The collection includes nineteen essays, some of which have had a major impact on the field, along with an autobiographical introduction.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction; Bibliography; Youth and music; 'The magic that can set you free': the ideology of folk and the myth of the rock community; Rock and sexuality (with Angela McRobbie); Afterthoughts; Formalism, realism and leisure: the case of the punk; Art vs. technology: the strange case of popular music; The industrialisation of popular music; Playing with real feeling: making sense of jazz in Britain; The suburban sensibility in British rock and pop; The discourse of world music; Pop music; Look! hear! the uneasy relationship of music and television; Music and everyday life; Why do songs have words?; Hearing secret harmonies; Towards an aesthetic of popular music; Adam Smith and music; Music and identity; What is bad music?; Index.
Simon Frith has degrees in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Oxford University, UK, and Sociology from the University of California at Berkeley, USA. His main research interest is popular music on which his latest publication is Music and Copyright (2004). From 1995-1999 he was Director of the ESRC Media Economics and Media Culture Research Programme. He is currently Tovey Professor of Music at the University of Edinburgh, UK.
'...these essays deserve to be re-read...they merit such attention because, most of all, in their distinctive blend of critical journalism and academic scholarship, they show what it means to take popular music seriously...' Journal of Popular Music