Ubiquitous Musics : The Everyday Sounds That We Don't Always Notice book cover
1st Edition

Ubiquitous Musics
The Everyday Sounds That We Don't Always Notice

ISBN 9781472460974
Published February 19, 2016 by Routledge
228 Pages

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Book Description

Ubiquitous Musics offers a multidisciplinary approach to the pervasive presence of music in everyday life. The essays address a variety of situations in which music is present alongside other activities and does not demand focused attention from (sometimes involuntary) listeners. The contributors present different theoretical perspectives on the increasing ubiquity of music and its implications for the experience of listening. The collection consists of nine essays divided into three sections: Histories, Technologies, and Spaces. The first section addresses the historical origins of functional music and the debates on how reproduced music, including a wide range of styles and genres, spread so quickly across so many environments. The second section focuses on more contemporary sound technologies, including mobile phones in India, the role of visible playback technology in film, and listening to portable digital players. The final section reflects on settings such as malls, stores, gyms, offices and cars in which ubiquitous musics are often present, but rarely thought about. This last section - and ultimately the whole collection - seeks to foster a wider understanding of listening practices by lending a fresh, critical ear.

Table of Contents

Contents: Foreword; Introduction: a day in the life of a ubiquitous musics listener, Elena Boschi, Anahid Kassabian and Marta García Quiñones; Part I Histories: Caliban’s ear: a short history of ambient music, Lawrence Kramer; Early mood music: Edison’s phonography, American modernity and the instrumentalization of listening, Tony Grajeda; Radio symphonies: the BBC, everyday listening and the popular classics debate during the people’s war, Christina Baade. Part II Technologies: Sound, perception and mobile phones in India, Amit S. Rai; Seen and heard: visible playback technology in film, Tim McNelis and Elena Boschi; Body and context in mobile listening to digital players, Marta Garcia Quiñones. Part III Spaces: The non-aggressive music deterrent, Jonathan Sterne; An anthropology of soundtracks in gym centres, Serena Facci; Taboo listening (or, what kind of attention?), Franco Fabbri; Bibliography; Index.

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Marta García Quiñones is a PhD candidate at the University of Barcelona, where she is preparing a thesis on music listening. In 2008 she edited the collection La música que no se escucha. Aprocimaxiones a la escucha ambiental. She is also a member of the international research network 'Sound in Media Culture: Aspects of a Cultural History of Sound' (2010-2013), funded by the German Research Foundation. Anahid Kassabian is the author of Ubiquitous Listening: Affect, Attention, and Distributed Subjectivity (2013) and Hearing Film (2001). Anahid is a past editor of Stanford Humanities Review and of Journal of Popular Music Studies, as well as a co-founding editor of Music, Sound, and the Moving Image and a past chair of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM). She serves on the Board of Directors of Aunt Lute Books, a feminist multicultural publisher, and the Board of Trustees of the Liverpool Arabic Arts Festival, the oldest and largest festival of its kind in the UK. Elena Boschi is a Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow in Visual Communication at Liverpool Hope University. She completed her PhD on popular songs and cultural identities in contemporary Italian, Spanish and British cinema at the Institute of Popular Music (University of Liverpool) in 2011. She has published on songs in Radiofreccia (Luciano Ligabue, 1998), musical simulacra in Barrio (Fernando Léon de Aranoa, 1998) and the audiovisual style in the films of Wes Anderson (with Tim McNelis). Elena is also Translations Editor for the journal Music, Sound, and the Moving Image, and has published a translation of Ennio Morricone’s essay ’A Composer Behind the Film Camera’.


’The diverse chapters collected in this book address the ways in which our contexts of action are nearly always musicalized. Ubiquitous Musics tells us about popular and folk music in the broadest - and most powerful - manner possible and contributes richly to the study of organizations and everyday life.’ Tia DeNora, University of Exeter, UK 'This volume accepts the world as a place that is full of sounds that come to us uninvited or that we utilize for a number of purposes other than pure listening pleasure ... This innovative book should get people to listen in new and enlightening ways to the continuous music that surrounds us all'. Rock Music Studies ’... recommended for academic libraries serving departments of musicology, sociology, communication, and history’. Music Reference Services Quarterly 'In a sense, Ubiquitous Musics itself is a call to action. Although modest in size, this impressive collection is ambitious in its scope and goals, and by offering a sampling of the history of ubiquitous music and the technologies and spaces through which it is mediated, we are - in the best sense - left wanting more.' Technology and Culture 'This collection, and the idea of ubiquitous musics, provides music scholars with a conceptual and disciplinary space for addressing the vast amounts of non-structural musical consumption that occurs globally.' Music Research Forum ’... readers from many academic disciplines will find something within these pages to which they will want to give nothing less than their full, undivided attention’. Popular Music