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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Musicking by Christopher Small. Extending the inquiry of his early groundbreaking books, Christopher Small strikes at the heart of traditional studies of Western music by asserting that music is not a thing, but rather an activity.
In this new book, Small outlines a theory of what he terms "musicking," a verb that encompasses all musical activity from composing to performing to listening to a Walkman to Extending the inquiry of his early groundbreaking books, Christopher Small strikes at the heart of traditional studies of Western music by asserting that music is not a thing, but rather an activity.
In this new book, Small outlines a theory of what he terms "musicking," a verb that encompasses all musical activity from composing to performing to listening to a Walkman to singing in the shower. Using Gregory Bateson's philosophy of mind and a Geertzian thick description of a typical concert in a typical symphony hall, Small demonstrates how musicking forms a ritual through which all the participants explore and celebrate the relationships that constitute their social identity. This engaging and deftly written trip through the concert hall will have readers rethinking every aspect of their musical worlds.
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To ask other readers questions about Musicking , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 4. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Dec 05, Stephen Jenkins rated it it was amazing. I have spent my professional music life such as it is telling myself and others that music is something you do. That's what this book is about. Not only the performer does music, but Small insists that any human who comes into contact with music from the composer to the person who sets up chairs for people to sit in while they listen or play is doing the music.
Nov 20, K rated it really liked it Recommends it for: people who like talking about music. Shelves: musicology. The reason why I decided to become a musicologist back when I didn't even know what musicology was.
Sep 11, Bennett rated it it was amazing. Nov 16, Makiko Hirata rated it liked it. We take from the action of loving, for example, or hating, or performing good and evil acts, or telling the truth, or worshiping, or musicking, the abstractions we call love, hate, good and evil, truth, God and music, and if we are not careful we find ourselves coming to treat the abstractions as if they were more real than the actions.
Important enough to share. And I applaud the author for having taken a strong stand against a mainstream attitude toward classical music, and how it should be delivered, especially back in I think he was very daring in pointing out to things like racism, class-ism, and elitism in classical music in its history and industry.
Often, I laughed out loud the way people laugh when true things that are difficult to actually verbalize is said by someone else. However, it became more and more difficult to read toward the middle of the book, and I am giving up on ever finishing the book. He goes on and on, describing how music should be, without actually presenting any music. He does offer examples, but Anyways, it was amusing in the beginning, too much details in the middle it may be because I just wrote a doctoral thesis on this topic, and so a lot of his claims were familiar to me , and I didn't read the end.
Aug 30, Stefan Szczelkun rated it really liked it. Musicking is music as activity rather than music as an object. The next step is that this score is printed and published to claim the originality of its singular authorship. The second idea is that when this score is performed it is a one-way communication from com Musicking is music as activity rather than music as an object. The second idea is that when this score is performed it is a one-way communication from composer to audience, usually through the medium of an orchestra.
Neither the audience nor the musician should contribute meaning although they are allowed a modicum of interpretation. Third is that there is no feedback from the audience nor communication between the audience whilst the performance is in progress - silent listening and stillness of body are required.
Fourth the score sets the upper limit of what can be achieved. Fifth, the quality of serious musical works is autonomous of context - and so assumed to be universally valid. He calls this process musicking. He deconstructs the symphony concert as an example. It has now become global and aspirational.
A central musical rite of the new bourgeois classes as capitalist production spread around the globe. Small seeks to find the meaning of the concert in the relationships between the people who make and attend this event rather that the relationships of notes in the score. He notes the growth of prestige concert halls around the world in the second half of the C20th. To have a concert hall is a civic essential "to signal entry into the developed world".
There are perhaps as many recently-built concert halls as ones that date from when the music was mainly composed in the previous century. The become somewhat self-conscious lowering their voices, muting their gestures, looking around them, bearing themselves in general more formally. They may even feel something like awe. There is wealth here, and the power that wealth brings….
Second, they allow no communication with the outside world. Performers and listeners alike are isolated here from the world of their everyday lives. The concert experience is that of passive and elite consumption. We can see it as a submission of the regular audience to bourgeois relations. This conservative canon is extended in a sophisticated way into the playlist of BBC Radio 3 and, in a banal way, to Classic Fm. Small does not extend his argument to the avant garde. The logistics and infrastructure of a modern performance are very far from spontaneous.
There is a vast management structure that promotes and defends the exclusive nature to the art form. Performers can only take part is they make their way through layers of competitions that serve to exclude most musicians.
There is no place for amateurs except in a few Youth Orchestras. The repertory that attracts a profitable audience is frozen in the first decades of the C20th. A finite number of classic works to be shared out further restricts the programme.
The effect of all this is a high culture that can challenge or relate to nothing in our contemporary experience. It simply celebrates a formative moment in European Bourgeois imperialist and the ritualised gathering of a thousand or more bourgeois persons at such an event, is simply a ritual self-affirmation of their superior status.
It creates in cultural form the image of industrial production with its core myth that it is the bourgeois who are the creators composers and the proletarians merely trained bodies who rigorously follow the score of the mastery. In spite of this the canon of classical music is promoted it would seem quaint if it was not delivered with such authority as the only Real or serious music.
Sep 13, Sureshkumar rated it it was amazing. An incredible perspective and scholarly discussion on the politics that informs the very nature and format of the western classical music and its live performances. Though, is extremely subjective, and author himself admits the dichotomy of him enjoying the pleasure of classical music, while being annoyed by the racial superiority and discriminative politics the very act of the performance of the piece represents.
As a frequent concert goer, I will definitely read this book many times in the fut An incredible perspective and scholarly discussion on the politics that informs the very nature and format of the western classical music and its live performances.
As a frequent concert goer, I will definitely read this book many times in the future. May 31, Emma rated it liked it Shelves: music. The modeling is reciprocal, as is implied by the three words I have used persistently through this book: in exploring we learn, from the sounds and from one another, the nature of the relationships; in affirming we teach one another abo "When we perform, we bring into existence, for the duration of the performance, a set of relationships, between the sounds and between the participants, that model ideal relationships as we imagine them to be and allow us to learn about them by experiencing them.
The modeling is reciprocal, as is implied by the three words I have used persistently through this book: in exploring we learn, from the sounds and from one another, the nature of the relationships; in affirming we teach one another about the relationships; and in celebrating we bring together the teaching and learning in an act of social solidarity. The simultaneous inward and outward flow of information that goes on throughout the performance is made possible by the fact that the language of the information is not that of words but of gestures" p.
Sep 03, Sarah Beaudoin rated it really liked it. Small uses Musicking to deconstruct a symphony orchestra and as a result is able to create an inclusive definition of music that includes virtually everyone who may have any influence on the outcome of a performance, reaching far beyond the composer, musicians, and audience to also include building workers, popcorn vendors, and more.
I appreciate what he is trying to do but think that his ideas begin to falter once they are applied beyond the narrow range in which Small applies them.
He privileg Small uses Musicking to deconstruct a symphony orchestra and as a result is able to create an inclusive definition of music that includes virtually everyone who may have any influence on the outcome of a performance, reaching far beyond the composer, musicians, and audience to also include building workers, popcorn vendors, and more.
Richard Rischar, Christopher Small. Musicking: The Meanings of Performing and Listening. Most users should sign in with their email address. If you originally registered with a username please use that to sign in. To purchase short term access, please sign in to your Oxford Academic account above.
Musicking: The Meanings of Performing and Listening
Christopher Neville Charles Small 17 March — 7 September was a New Zealand-born musician, educator, lecturer, and author of a number of influential books and articles in the fields of musicology , sociomusicology and ethnomusicology. He coined the term musicking , with which he wanted to highlight that music is a process verb and not an object noun. Small was born in Palmerston North , New Zealand, to a dentist and former schoolteacher, and was the youngest of three children. He taught at Horowhenua College at the same time working at Morrow Productions Ltd making educational animated films from to , and at Waihi College from to