STM-Online
STM-Online vol. 11 (2008)
Johannes Brusila

Abstract

But where Did the Music Go?: Aspects of Music's Aural Properties and New Modes of Distribution

Johannes Brusila

Music cultures have often been classified according to transmission techniques, mainly based on a division between oral (aural) and literate (notation based) music cultures. Lately this classification has been extended with that of electronic, or “secondary” transmission of music on records, and digital, or “tertiary” transmission of music with the help of Information Technology and the Internet. This article discusses these categories drawing on analysis examples ranging from traditional Zimbabwean music, interpretations of Sibelius’s solo songs to musical practices within jazz and popular music.

Generalized explanation models, which are based on a simplified categorization of transmission modes, often contain a seed of unwanted technological determinism. On the other hand, neglecting the transmission aspect totally would leave out many important facets of the music studied. The article suggests that it is worth abandoning the idea of transmission techniques and music as separate, autonomous phenomena. Instead they should be seen as culturally intertwined elements, which always encompass several entangled processes that generate meanings and multifaceted interpretations. Even records, with unique performances of written scores, are tied to several cultural contextual factors, making them subject to constant reinterpretation. These aspects have become even more important as a result of the digital development and the breakthrough of the Internet, which have lead to new forms of learning and creating music, or “musicking” in general. Thus, for music research it is more important than ever to notify these aspects when analyzing any form of music, as well as when transmitting the results of the analysis to colleagues and the public.

©Johannes Brusila, 2008

STM-Online vol. 11 (2008)
http://musikforskning.se/stmonline/vol_11

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ISSN: 1403-5715