Musicking: The Meanings of Performing and Listening

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Wesleyan University Press, Mar 1, 2011 - Music - 238 pages
Extending the inquiry of his early groundbreaking books, Christopher Small strikes at the heart of traditional studies of Western music by asserting that music is not a thing, but rather an activity. In this new book, Small outlines a theory of what he terms "musicking," a verb that encompasses all musical activity from composing to performing to listening to a Walkman to singing in the shower.

Using Gregory Bateson's philosophy of mind and a Geertzian thick description of a typical concert in a typical symphony hall, Small demonstrates how musicking forms a ritual through which all the participants explore and celebrate the relationships that constitute their social identity. This engaging and deftly written trip through the concert hall will have readers rethinking every aspect of their musical worlds.
 

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Contents

Music and Musicking
1
1 A Place for Hearing
19
2 A Thoroughly Contemporary Affair
30
3 Sharing with Strangers
39
Interlude 1 The Language of Gesture
50
4 A Separate World
64
5 A Humble Bow
75
6 Summoning Up the Dead Composer
87
Interlude 3 Socially Constructed Meanings
130
9 An Art of the Theater
144
10 A Drama of Relationships
158
11 A Vision of Order
169
12 Whats Really Going On Here?
183
13 A Solitary Flute Player
201
Was It a Good Performance and How Do You Know?
207
Bibliography
223

Interlude 2 The Mother of All the Arts
94
7 Score and Parts
110
8 Harmony Heavenly Harmony
120

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About the author (2011)

CHRISTOPHER SMALL is author of Music, Society, Education (Wesleyan, 1996), Music of the Common Tongue (1987; Wesleyan, 1998), and Schoenberg (1978). Senior Lecturer at Ealing College of Higher Education in London until 1986, he lives in Sitges, Spain.

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