The Place of Music  book cover
1st Edition

The Place of Music

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ISBN 9781572303140
Published May 21, 1998 by Guilford Press
326 Pages

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Book Description

Music is omnipresent in human society, but its language can no longer be regarded as transcendent or universal. Like other art forms, music is produced and consumed within complex economic, cultural, and political frameworks in different places and at different historical moments. Taking an explicitly spatial approach, this unique interdisciplinary text explores the role played by music in the formation and articulation of geographical imaginations--local, regional, national, and global. Contributors show how music's facility to be recorded, stored, and broadcast; to be performed and received in private and public; and to rouse intense emotional responses for individuals and groups make it a key force in the definition of a place. Covering rich and varied terrain--from Victorian England, to 1960s Los Angeles, to the offices of Sony and Time-Warner and the landscapes of the American Depression--the volume addresses such topics as the evolution of musical genres, the globalization of music production and marketing, alternative and hybridized music scenes as sites of localized resistance, the nature of soundscapes, and issues of migration and national identity.

Table of Contents

Introduction, Leyshon, Matless, and Revill
1. The Global Music Industry: Contradictions in the Commodification of the Sublime, John Lovering
2. The Early Days of the Gramophone Industry in India: Historical, Social, and Musical Perspectives, Gerry Farrell
3. Welcome to Dreamsville: A History and Geography of Northern Soul, Joanne Hollows and Katie Milestone
4. Victorian Brass Bands: Class, Taste, and Space, Trevor Herbert
5. Locating Listening: Technological Space, Popular Music, and Canadian Mediations, Jody Berland
6. Borderlines: Bilingual Terrain in Scottish Song, Steve Sweeney-Turner
7. England's Glory: Sensibilities of Place in English Music, 1900-1950, Robert Stradling
8. Samuel Coleridge-Taylor's Geography of Disappointment: Hybridity, Identity, and Networks of Musical Meaning, George Revill
9. Global Undergrounds: The Cultural Politics of Sound and Light in Los Angeles, 1965-1975, Simon Rycroft
10. From Dust Storm Disaster to Pastures of Plenty: Woody Guthrie and the Landscapes of the American Depression, John R. Gold
11. Sounding Out the City: Music and the Sensuous Production of Place, Sara Cohen
12. Desire, Power, and the Sonoric Landscape: Early Modernism and the Politics of Musical Privacy, Richard Leppert

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Andrew Leyshon, PhD, is Reader in Geography at the University of Bristol, United Kingdom.

David Matless, PhD, is Lecturer in Geography at the University of Nottingham, United Kingdom.

George Revill, PhD, is Lecturer in Geography at Oxford Brookes University, United Kingdom.


A truly interdisciplinary endeavor, this book not only gives music its place, but also begins the more difficult task of making space sing. This unique and rigorously accomplished juxtaposition questions the various meanings and the very ontology of space even as it challenges us to rethink the way music functions as culture. Contributors explore the relationship of music and space empirically, conceptually, historically, and socially. They point toward a new direction, shape, and timbre for future work in music studies, geography, and social theory. --Lawrence Grossberg, PhD, Morris Davis Distinguished Professor of Communication Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

This refreshingly eclectic and impressively interdisciplinary volume builds some much needed bridges between musicology and the social sciences. The editors have constructed an engaging tour through the political economy of noise and the cultural politics of sound to the aesthetics of listening and the poetics of performance. The result is a fascinating overview of the powerful engagement between music, space, and identity. The Place of Music is a quintessential geographical affair, which serious scholars throughout the arts, humanities, and social sciences ignore at their peril. --Susan J. Smith, DPhil, Ogilvie Professor of Geography, University of Edinburgh, Scotland