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.
'…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
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.
The titles in this series bring together a selection of previously published and some unpublished essays by leading authorities in the field of critical musicology. The essays are chosen from a wide range of publications and so make key works available in a more accessible form. The authors have all made a selection of their own work in one volume with an introduction which discusses the essays chosen and puts them into context. A full bibliography points the reader to other publications which might not be included in the volume for reasons of space. The previously published essays are published using the facsimile method of reproduction to retain their original pagination, so that students and scholars can easily reference the essays in their original form.