Musicking: The Meanings of Performing and Listening

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Wesleyan University Press, Mar 1, 2011 - Music - 238 pages
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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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Music and Musicking
1 A Place for Hearing
2 A Thoroughly Contemporary Affair
3 Sharing with Strangers
Interlude 1 The Language of Gesture
4 A Separate World
5 A Humble Bow
6 Summoning Up the Dead Composer
Interlude 3 Socially Constructed Meanings
9 An Art of the Theater
10 A Drama of Relationships
11 A Vision of Order
12 Whats Really Going On Here?
13 A Solitary Flute Player
Was It a Good Performance and How Do You Know?

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

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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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