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Embedded, embodied and multivalent
Nick Crossley

In this chapter, I argue that music is social interaction. This argument connects to one of the central claims of relational sociology, discussed in the Chapter 1 ; namely, that social interaction is the most basic unit of sociological analysis and a building brick from which the more complex structures of the social world are composed. That is one reason for making the argument. By showing that music is social interaction, I frame it appropriately for relational analysis and understanding. However, it is also important to establish that music is social

in Connecting sounds
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The social life of music
Author: Nick Crossley

This book argues that music is an integral part of society – one amongst various interwoven forms of social interaction which comprise our social world; and shows that it has multiple valences which embed it within that wider world. Musical interactions are often also economic interactions, for example, and sometimes political interactions. They can be forms of identity work and contribute to the reproduction or bridging of social divisions. These valances allow music both to shape and be shaped by the wider network of relations and interactions making up our societies, in their local, national and global manifestations. The book tracks and explores these valances, combining a critical consideration of the existing literature with the development of an original, ‘relational’ approach to music sociology. The book extends the project begun in Crossley’s earlier work on punk and post-punk ‘music worlds’, revisiting this concept and the network ideas underlying it whilst both broadening the focus through a consideration of wider musical forms and by putting flesh on the bones of the network idea by considering the many types of interaction and relationships involved in music and the meanings which music has for its participants. Patterns of connection between music’s participants are important, whether they be performers, audience members or one of the various ‘support personnel’ who mediate between performers and audiences. However, so are the different uses to which participants put their participation and the meanings they co-create. These too must be foci for a relational music sociology.

Publics, protest and the avant-garde
Nick Crossley

I argued in Chapter 2 that social interaction is multivalent, such that musical interaction is often simultaneously also economic interaction, political interaction and has many other dimensions besides. Much of what has followed has unpacked and supported this claim. In this chapter, I return to it one final time by considering music's political dimensions. I begin by considering the political potential which Adorno identifies in avant-garde art music and revisiting, from a political perspective, his critique of popular music. Adorno's views

in Connecting sounds
Capitalism, industry and the mainstream
Nick Crossley

In Chapter 2 I argued that musicking draws upon resources such as skills, equipment, time, energy and often money. This is true in a minimal sense in all cases. Humming a tune in the shower involves time and energy. However, a step change occurs when artist and support roles are separated out from that of audience member and are professionalised, with their incumbents seeking to make a living through music. Musicking does not directly put food on their tables, clothes on their backs or a roof over their heads and some form of social relationship must be

in Connecting sounds
Meaning, communication and affect
Nick Crossley

Having argued in Chapter 2 that music is social interaction, I argue in this chapter that musical interaction orients to ‘meaning’ and I consider both what musical meaning is and how it is achieved. This is important, sociologically, because it allows us to better appreciate the place of music within social life. Social interaction draws upon, diffuses, reproduces, shapes and is shaped by meanings which are to some extent shared but also sometimes fought over and are open to question. Societies are constituted, in some part, by agreement over and

in Connecting sounds
The musical universe and its worlds
Nick Crossley

In the previous chapter, I introduced the idea of a mainstream music world connected to various alternative worlds in what I will henceforth call ‘the musical universe’ (see also Crossley and Emms 2016 ). The musical universe is the set of all musical activities within a particular society, either national or global. It comprises different worlds of musical activity, including – but not exclusively – a mainstream world. In this chapter, I unpack and discuss these ideas, sharpening up my concept of ‘music worlds’. I begin with ‘the mainstream

in Connecting sounds
Musicking in social space
Nick Crossley

Contemporary societies are divided along lines of race, gender, class, age, sexuality and disability, to name only the most obvious, and the effects of these divisions are numerous. I have already touched upon them in this book in relation to a number of themes, including the operation of the music industry, musical meaning, taste and identity. In this chapter I introduce a way of thinking about social divisions which integrates them more centrally into my approach, reflecting both upon their impact on musicking and the ways in which musicking might act

in Connecting sounds
Use, taste, identity
Nick Crossley

In the last chapter, I discussed the semiotic meaning of music; the ways in which aspects of music function as signs, affecting listeners by virtue of their relation (for those listeners) to something else. This is only one facet of musical meaning. Music also takes on meaning by virtue of the uses to which we put our participation in it: e.g. relaxing, dancing, escaping into our imagination, seducing, etc. In this chapter, I explore this further facet of musical meaning and two related concepts: taste and identity. Our preference for particular songs

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

In the previous chapter, I suggested that music worlds are social networks, or more precisely – as the festival network demonstrated – distinctive clusters within the broader network comprising the musical universe. Musicking is interaction, but not just dyadic interaction. It is collective action involving multiple parties whose interactions and relations concatenate, simultaneously drawing upon and generating a wider network. All musicking belongs to this network, but it is possible to identify distinct clusters of activity – sub-networks – within it

in Connecting sounds
Abstract only
Sound and music
Andrew Dix

For the distinguished pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim, hearing, as a sense, lacks prestige. In a world of multiple, heterogeneous visual stimuli, we tend, he says, to ‘neglect the ear’ ( 2009 : 39). Given his own area of expertise, Barenboim is especially vexed by inattention to music even as it achieves ‘a cacophonous omnipresence in restaurants, aeroplanes and the like’ (3). However, his thesis of inequality between the senses can be productively extended to film, where, historically, the ear has been outranked by the eye. The very names

in Beginning film studies (second edition)