Banding Together: How Communities Create Genres in Popular Music [NOOK Book]

Overview

Why do some music styles gain mass popularity while others thrive in small niches? Banding Together explores this question and reveals the attributes that together explain the growth of twentieth-century American popular music. Drawing on a vast array of examples from sixty musical styles--ranging from rap and bluegrass to death metal and South Texas polka, and including several created outside the United States--Jennifer Lena uncovers the shared grammar that allows us to ...

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Banding Together: How Communities Create Genres in Popular Music

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Overview

Why do some music styles gain mass popularity while others thrive in small niches? Banding Together explores this question and reveals the attributes that together explain the growth of twentieth-century American popular music. Drawing on a vast array of examples from sixty musical styles--ranging from rap and bluegrass to death metal and South Texas polka, and including several created outside the United States--Jennifer Lena uncovers the shared grammar that allows us to understand the cultural language and evolution of popular music.

What are the common economic, organizational, ideological, and aesthetic traits among contemporary genres? Do genres follow patterns in their development? Lena discovers four dominant forms--Avant-garde, Scene-based, Industry-based, and Traditionalist--and two dominant trajectories that describe how American pop music genres develop. Outside the United States there exists a fifth form: the Government-purposed genre, which she examines in the music of China, Serbia, Nigeria, and Chile. Offering a rare analysis of how music communities operate, she looks at the shared obstacles and opportunities creative people face and reveals the ways in which people collaborate around ideas, artworks, individuals, and organizations that support their work.

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Editorial Reviews

Times Literary Supplement
Banding Together is an essential read for fans of popular music, thanks in no small part to Lena's wealth of music knowledge, as the book draws together the studies of music communities and music genres into a coherent whole.
— Martin James
Choice
This book should be required reading for anyone interested in the role of music—all music—in culture. Although Lena's focus is on the rise of 20th-century American popular idioms, the questions she asks are appropriate for and applicable to a number of significant canons. . . . A significant contribution to the literature.
Times Literary Supplement - Martin James
Banding Together is an essential read for fans of popular music, thanks in no small part to Lena's wealth of music knowledge, as the book draws together the studies of music communities and music genres into a coherent whole.
American Journal of Sociology - Amir Goldberg
Sociologists of music, as well as musical practitioners and fans, will find in Banding Together an engaging story about the commonalities shared by a variety of musical genres, despite their inherent stylistic differences. Through its wealth of examples, the book puts flesh on the otherwise counterintuitive contention that artistic creativity is a collective endeavor. Yet it goes beyond this well-established sociological observation to demonstrate how these musical art-worlds share a strikingly unified developmental grammar.
From the Publisher
One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2012

"Banding Together is an essential read for fans of popular music, thanks in no small part to Lena's wealth of music knowledge, as the book draws together the studies of music communities and music genres into a coherent whole."—Martin James, Times Literary Supplement

"This book should be required reading for anyone interested in the role of music—all music—in culture. Although Lena's focus is on the rise of 20th-century American popular idioms, the questions she asks are appropriate for and applicable to a number of significant canons. . . . A significant contribution to the literature."Choice

"Sociologists of music, as well as musical practitioners and fans, will find in Banding Together an engaging story about the commonalities shared by a variety of musical genres, despite their inherent stylistic differences. Through its wealth of examples, the book puts flesh on the otherwise counterintuitive contention that artistic creativity is a collective endeavor. Yet it goes beyond this well-established sociological observation to demonstrate how these musical art-worlds share a strikingly unified developmental grammar."—Amir Goldberg, American Journal of Sociology

"Lena demonstrates a remarkable scope of knowledge in American popular music. Integrating it with a wide research body in cultural sociology, she delivers a delightful reading for sociologists who are popular music fans. The clear analysis, rich examples and insightful observations should make this book a staple in music sociology and indeed in cultural sociology as a whole."—Motti Regev, Sociologica

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400840458
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 2/12/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: Course Book
  • Pages: 258
  • Sales rank: 1,179,221
  • File size: 429 KB

Meet the Author

Jennifer C. Lena is visiting assistant professor of sociology at Barnard College.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Chapter 1: Music Genres 1
What Is a Theory of Sociocultural Classification? 4
What Are Genre Forms and How Are They Identified? 8
Organizations and Money 10
Genre Ideals and Style 15
What Genres Are Not 20
Outline of the Book 22

Chapter 2: Three Musics, Four Genres: Rap, Bluegrass, and Bebop Jazz 27
Avant-garde
Genres 28
Scene-based
Genres 33
Industry-based
Genres 41
Traditionalist Genres 46
After the Tradition 52
Conclusion 55

Chapter 3: Music Trajectories 65
Two Genre Trajectories 69
Scene-based
Origins 74
IST Trajectories 76
On Genre Trajectories 84
Inhibiting Factors on Musical Trajectories 86
Absorption into Other Musics, Other Streams 86
Niche Music 91
The Racist Organization of Musical Production 98
Conclusion 109

Chapter 4: The Government-purposed
Genre 117
Attributes of Government-purposed
Genres 119
China 120
Chile 128
Nigeria 132
Serbia 136
Conclusion 139

Chapter 5: On Classification Systems 145
Classification in Music 146
Toward a Model of Classification Systems 156
On Science, Markets, and Memory 160
The Future of Music 164
In Closing 168

Notes 171
References 205
Index 233

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