Absolute Music, Mechanical Reproduction / Edition 1

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Overview


Recordings are now the primary way we hear classical music, especially the more abstract styles of “absolute” instrumental music. In this original, provocative book, Arved Ashby argues that recording technology has transformed our understanding of art music. Contesting the laments of nostalgic critics, Ashby sees recordings as socially progressive and instruments of a musical vernacular, but also finds that recording and absolute music actually involve similar notions of removing sound from context. He takes stock of technology's impact on classical music, addressing the questions at the heart of the issue. This erudite yet concise study reveals how mechanical reproduction has transformed classical musical culture and the very act of listening, breaking down aesthetic and generational barriers and mixing classical music into the soundtrack of everyday life.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Displays an acute sensitivity to the parallels between the evolution of compositional processes since late Beethoven and the evolution of 'musical life' from... early nineteenth-century Vienna to the 'digital age'"—Musical Times

"In Ashby's refreshing reading, [recordings' displacement of composers' texts] is neither a doomsday moment nor bland techno-utopianism: it's a chance to re-engage with classical music in the vernacular."—Times Literary Supplement

"Ashby raises crucial and often agonising issues for those who care about the marginalisation of classical music."—The Wire

"This formidable work of scholarship . . . has the capacity dramatically to change thinking."—Classical Music Magazine

"Ashby really stakes out the place of instrumental art music in a digital world, never backing away from hard questions that make us examine the very nature of musical performance itself."—Journal Aesthetics & Art Criticism

Times Literary Supplement

“In Ashby's refreshing reading, [recordings' displacement of composers' texts] is neither a doomsday moment nor bland techno-utopianism: it's a chance to re-engage with classical music in the vernacular.”
The Wire

"Ashby raises crucial and often agonising issues for those who care about the marginalisation of classical music."
Classical Music Magazine - Andrew Green

"This formidable work of scholarship . . . has the capacity dramatically to change thinking."
Journal Aesthetics & Art Criticism

“Ashby really stakes out the place of instrumental art music in a digital world, never backing away from hard questions that make us examine the very nature of musical performance itself."
CRITICISM - Gustavus Stadler

“Compelling, insightful, [and] occasionally head-spinning. . . . [Ashby’s] move between philosophy and cultural history is deft. . . . Immensely useful.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520264793
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 6/7/2010
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author


Arved Ashby is Professor of Music at the Ohio State University. He is the editor of The Pleasure of Modernist Music, and has published articles on twelve-tone composition, film music, minimalism, and Frank Zappa. He was an American Musicological Society (AMS) 50 Dissertation Fellow, and won the AMS Alfred Einstein Award in 1996.
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction 1

1 The recorded musical text 27

2 Recording, Repetition, And Memory in Absolute Music 60

3 Schnabel's Rationalism, Gould's pragmatism 91

4 Digital Mythologies 123

5 Beethoven and the Ipod Nation 162

6 Photo/Phono/Porno 194

7 Mahler As Imagist 221

Notes 253

Selected Bibliography 299

Index 309

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