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Capitalism, industry and the mainstream
Nick Crossley

This chapter argues that musical interaction is often also economic interaction, involving interdependence and power. It elaborates upon these ideas, discussing both the music industry and the interplay of music and capitalism in doing so. It concludes with a discussion of the distinction between mainstream and alternative music.

in Connecting sounds
Abstract only
Nick Crossley

This chapter introduces the book, outlining its main argument, setting it in context and providing a brief summary of the content of the chapters which follow.

in Connecting sounds
The musical universe and its worlds
Nick Crossley

This chapter picks up on the idea of the mainstream, introduced in the previous chapter, and also the concept of ‘music worlds’, briefly discussed earlier in the book. It elaborates further upon both, developing a concept of a musical universe comprising both a mainstream and multiple alternative music worlds. The chapter concludes with an empirical demonstration of some of these ideas.

in Connecting sounds
Embedded, embodied and multivalent
Nick Crossley

This chapter begins by asking what music is. It first considers the idea that music is ‘humanly organised sound’ before progressing to a definition of music as social interaction. This idea is unpacked throughout the chapter and it is argued that musical interaction is embodied, multivalent and multiply embedded.

in Connecting sounds
Abstract only
Nodes, ties and worlds
Nick Crossley

This chapter picks up and further develops the idea of ‘networks’, which has been introduced in earlier chapters. Drawing upon formal social network analysis and the body of literature associated with it, it explains how we might think about networks in relation to music, how and why they develop and why they are important. There is an extended discussion of social capital and its relevance to music.

in Connecting sounds
Publics, protest and the avant-garde
Nick Crossley

The final chapter considers the various ways in which musical interactions might be considered political interactions. It begins with a critical discussion of Adorno’s account of the politics of avant-garde and popular music respectively, moving on to a discussion of the ways in which music might help to create a public sphere. It then considers both how music might serve as a political resource and politics as a musical resource, before discussing the ways in which music worlds sometimes serve to incubate alternative values and identities, potentially prefiguring wider political changes. Music worlds can be political worlds too.

in Connecting sounds
Use, taste, identity
Nick Crossley

Continuing and further developing the theme of meaning from the previous chapter, this chapter explores how music is used by listeners, particularly in the context of their identity work, and how this affects their tastes. It is argued that our stronger musical preferences are often for pieces, artists or genres who have in some way become bound up with our identities and the ongoing work of maintaining them.

in Connecting sounds
Meaning, communication and affect
Nick Crossley

This chapter argues that musical interactions orient around meaning, that the meaningfulness of music is one key reason for its sociological importance, and it offers a discussion of one facet of musical meaning: semiotic meaning. Drawing upon the work of C.S. Peirce in particular, it is argued that various aspects of music function as (meaningful) signs, and that music has both internal and external meanings.

in Connecting sounds