Metal, Rock, and Jazz: Perception and the Phenomenology of Musical Experience

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Overview

This vivid ethnography of the musical lives of heavy metal, rock, and jazz musicians in Cleveland and Akron, Ohio shows how musicians engage with the world of sound to forge meaningful experiences of music. Unlike most popular music studies, which only provide a scholar's view, this book is based on intensive fieldwork and hundreds of hours of in-depth interviews. Rich descriptions of the musical life of metal bars and jazz clubs get readers close to the people who make and listen to the music.

Of special interest are Harris M. Berger's interviews with Timmy "The Ripper" Owens, now famous as lead singer for the pioneering heavy metal band, Judas Priest. Owens and other performers share their own experiences of the music, thereby challenging traditional notions of harmony and musical structure. Using ideas from practice theory and phenomenology, Berger shows that musical perception is a kind of practice, both creatively achieved by the listener and profoundly informed by social context.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Berger, revising his doctoral dissertation, tries to place the early 1990s death metal, hard rock, and jazz of Cleveland and Akron, within a social context. He introduces his study with an academic discussion of an ethnomusicology based on the theory of philosophers like Edmund Husserl. He then details the hard rock and African American jazz scenes in Cleveland and Akron's Caucasian jazz and heavy metal cultures, explaining the fashions and even the layout of the clubs. Berger next offers a comparison of the onstage experiences of the musicians. He moves on to a careful analysis of a hard rock and a death metal song, trying to link the songwriters' experience to their sound and lyrics. In the last part of the book, Berger places death metal in the numbing, dead-end social context of Akron. Though basing his research on interviews with local musicians, Berger seldom captures the passion of the various music scenes he considers. He observes his surroundings like an overintellectualized voyeur, adding little to the wealth of existing material. Not recommended.--David P. Szatmary, Univ. of Washington, Seattle Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780819563767
  • Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
  • Publication date: 7/30/1999
  • Series: Music Culture
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 350
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

HARRIS M. BERGER is Assistant Professor of Music at Texas A & M University. A guitarist since the age of ten, he currently plays and sings with The Bee Dreams.
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
1 An Introduction to Central Issues in Ethnomusicology and Folklore: Phenomenology and Practice Theory 1
I The Ethnography of Musical Practice
2 Commercial Hard Rock in Cleveland, Ohio: Dia Pason and Max Panic 31
3 Heavy Metal in Akron, Ohio: Winter's Bane and Sin-Eater 56
4 Two Jazz Scenes in Northeast Ohio 76
II The Organization of Musical Experience and the Practice of Perception
5 The Organization of Attention in Two Jazz Scenes 119
6 The Organization of Attention in the Rock and Metal Scenes 149
7 Tonality, Temporality, and the Intending Subject (1): Chris Ozimek and "Turn for the Worse" 174
8 Tonality, Temporality, and the Perceptual Subject (2): Dann Saladin and "The Final Silencing" 200
9 Conclusions: Perceptual Practice and Social Context 242
III Music, Experience, and Society: Death Metal and Deindustrialization in an American City
10 Death Metal Perspectives: Affect, Purpose, and the Social Life of Music 251
11 A Critical Dialogue on the Politics of the Metal Underground: Race, Class, and Consequence 276
12 Conclusion: The Scope of Ethnomusicology 295
Notes 299
Glossary 311
Selected Bibliography 315
Index 325
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