Listening to the Sound Music Makes

Authored by: Allan F. Moore

The Routledge Companion to Popular Music Analysis

Print publication date:  October  2018
Online publication date:  September  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138683112
eBook ISBN: 9781315544700
Adobe ISBN:


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In the face of increasing demands for publicly funded research to demonstrate direct social value, what is the use of music analysts? The old arguments for humanities scholarship, powerful as they are, make little headway under neo-liberalism. 1 Even for many people sympathetic to the academic study of music, music analysis seems to be of even less relevance; Simon Frith’s view that musicologists don’t address the text to which non-musicologists listen still resonates. 2 In that context, I take issue in what follows with one of the guiding principles of this collection, that methods of analysis for contemporary art music can say useful things about popular music. I begin this chapter with a series of anecdotes, remembrances and idle thoughts which I use to set the context for the rather ungainly swerve I make in its latter part, in the spirit of the “practice as research” paradigm shift which requires all practitioners to be aware of the context for their practice (and analysis is no less a practice than viola playing, choreography, or surgery).

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