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Lecture 2

Lecture 2 (January 17th, 2012).pdf

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University of Toronto St. George
Jeremy Strachan

th Lecture 2 (January 17 , 2012) Morad Moazami   Musical  Notation  and  Technocultural  Institutions  (Gay,  1999).     Instruments  and/as  Technology:  the  Upright  Piano  and  Player  Piano     Notating  Music:     Most  of  us  have  this  idea  that  a  piece  of  music  on  notation  is  a  piece  of  paper  with  a  bunch  of   icons  on  it,  but  they  way  that  music  has  been  notated  through  history  has  been  different.  We   need  a  certain  kind  of  literacy  to  know  how  to  translate  that  into  music.       There’s  different  kinds:  Chinese  notation  from  17  c,  Tibetian  Yang-­‐Yig  graphic  music  notation   th th from  Tibet  in  the  19  c,  and  Mongolian  notation  from  the  19  century.  You  have  to  learn  to   translate  this  kind  of  notation  onto  an  instruments.  There’s  also  North  Indian  sargam  notation:   there  is  some  sort  of  even  unit  of  time  being  expressed  and  would  require  its  own  literacy.   There  is  also  Koto  music  notation  from  1811  from  Japan.  An  extraordinary  one  is  Egyptian   th th notation  from  5  to  7  century.       They  are  all  totally  different  and  they  all  look  like  they  were  hand-­‐written  so  it  is  unlikely  that  a   machine  wrote  this.     Compare  it  from  the  notation  from  the  Harmonice  Musice  Odhecaton  A  (1501),  which  was  a   collection  of  French  chanson  that  was  compiled  and  collected  by  a  Venician  print-­‐maker  called   Ottaviao  dei  Peterucci.  This  is  one  of  the  first  musical  notation  examples  in  the  Western   world.  There  is  some  sort  of  synchronization  in  terms  of  pitches  in  this  notation.       Compare  that  to  its  immediate  predecessors:  Medieval  Illuminations     Medieval  Illuminations:     They  differ,  and  visually  it  is  a  stunning  document  and  you  can  see  the  detail  that  it  is  created   with.     Medieval  Music  Notation:     Medieval  music  notation  was  basically  a  communal  and  labor  intensive  process.     • It  wasn't  done  from  machinery  or  technology.  It  was  done  by  scribes  who  would   work  together  to  generate  these  pieces  of  sheet  music.     • It  is  not  standardized,  so  it  is  not  like  it  is  reproducible,  and  that  leads  to  the  theme   that  it  is  not  directly  tied  to  the  economic  sphere.     o It  is  not  immediately  tied  to  any  kind  of  market  or  system  of  commerce  that   we  think  about  today,  so  if  it  is  not  tied  to  commerce,  it  is  not  made  to  travel.     o These  documents  don’t  travel,  so  they  are  a  time-­‐biased  media.     It  is  a  time-­‐biased  medium  in  a  sense  that  it  endures  in  one  place  over  a  long  period  of  time,  as   opposed  to  a  newspaper.  They  are  disseminated  across  vast  spaces,  so  it  endures  throughout   time  and  articulates  its  importance  over  one  period  of  time  in  one  space.       Compare  that  to  early  music  publishing  as  music  technology.     th We  know  that  Gutenberg's  printing  press  of  the  15  century  was  a  transformative  form  of   technology  which  ushered  in  the  foundation  of  our  mediated  technology  and  our  ability  to   disseminate  it  through  culture  and  territorial  space.     Petrucci  cashes  in  on  this  printing  press  and  found  that  he  can  sell  this.  He  is  called  the  father   of  music  publishing.  He  made  a  lot  of  money.     As  opposed  to  medieval  music  notation  the  idea  to  be  able  to  reproduce  musical  notation  and   sell  it  across  space  can  make  us  think  that  this  kind  of  technology  has  a  spatial  bias.  Its   effectiveness  resides  in  its  ability  to  travel.  So  in  that  sense  music  becomes  tied  to  commerce.     Music  Publishing:  400  Years     th th Over  15  to  the  20  century,  we  have  this  idea  that  music  notation  as  an  idea  becomes   standardized  and  codified.       An  interesting  thing  about  that  is  that  scores  more  than  anything  else  becomes  locusts  of   authority:  authorship  and  power.  There  is  this  idea  that  is  music  a  thing  or  is  it  something  we   do?  With  the  standardization,  the  shift  goes  more  towards  the  score.     Much  of  Western  art  music  has  been  essentially  a  visual  thing.       This  leads  to  a  whole  score  of  specialized  vocations:  if  you  don't  read  music,  you  cant  play   music.     • You  have  to  sight-­‐read:  translate  something  visual  into  something  musical.     There  is  a  specialized  language  that  is  a  bi-­‐product  of  learning  musical  notation.     The  industrialization  of  music  publishing  leads  to  this  huge  changes  as  how  music  is   experienced  and  performed  as  a  cultural  phenomena.       Songsheet  Publishing:  a  Technocultural  Institution     As  we  get  into  talking  about  the  piano,  the  author  notes  that  by  the  late  19  century,  there  are   200,000  published  works  for  voice  and  piano  (Sanjek).     This  points  to  an  existence  of  a  huge  demand  for  the  works  of  voice  and  piano.     th We  think  of  the  US  Civil  War  of  the  mid-­‐19  century,  so  one  of  the  major  changes  for  the  US   after  the  war  are  huge  infrastructural  changes  across  the  country  (roads  and  railways),  so   movement  in  this  industry,  including  music,  becomes  easier,  and  it  becomes  cheaper  and  more   accessible  to  a  higher  diversity  of  people.     • There  is  a  term  called  the  “transregional  technoculture,”  related  to  this  industry.     Technoculture  is  the  idea  of  looking  at  a  cultural  practice  as  how  the  impact  of  technology  on  it   and  its  impact  on  technology  manifests  different  things.     For  this  transregionalism  to  happen,  there  has  got  to  be  some  sort  of  similarity,  so  for  this  to   work,  there  is  a  huge  homogenization  of  a  number  of  things.     • There  is  a  homogenization  of  content  and  the  aesthetic.  There  is  a  homogeny  that   starts  to  emerge  as  this  transregional  technoculture  becomes  more  prevalent  in  the   th 19  century,  and  this  begins  to  impact  the  form  of  the  music  too.     o Why  is  it  that  all  the  music  from  the  1920s  have  the  same  form?  This  comes   from  music  publishing.  It  is  a  byproduct  of  its  industrialization  and  it  starts  to   impact  the  music  itself.  There  are  different  publishing  houses  in  the  US  that   springs  up.     The  author  calls  it  "transectorial  interdependence.”  You  now  have  song  sheet  publishers,  piano   manufacturers,  marketing  and  retail  industries  all  working  together,  creating  a  technocultural   institutions.       The  Upright  Piano     Berland,  “The  Musicking  Machine”     Jodie  Berland’s  article  is  called  the  Musicking  Machine.     She  and  many  before  her  suggest  that  the  upright  piano  transformed  19  century  culture  into   th modern  practices  and  ideals  of  consumerism.       She  talks  about  how  it  had  a  central  role  in  the  containment  of  culture.  We  talked  last  week   about  how  the  media  has  agency.  The  piano  as  a  medium  does  this  too.     The  piano  defines  the  domicile  and  the  house,  and  transformed  it  into  a  place  of  leisure,   discipline,  and  culture.     The  piano  also  articulated  gender  roles:  it  had  this  huge  influence  on  what  prompted  ideas  of   gentility  and  femininity  in  the  19  century.   th   It  was  a  civilizing  agent  in  the  New  World.       Musicking:     There  is  this  important  idea  of  "musicking."     It  was  a  term  coined  by  Christopher  Small  in  1998.  He  was  an  influential  thinking,  and  his   suggestion  on  musicking  is  that  there  is  no  such  thing  as  musicking.  He  says  that  music  is   actually  an  activity  and  a  practice:   • "To  music  is  to  take  part,  in  any  capacity,  in  a  musical  performance,  whether  by   performing,  by  listening,  by  rehearsing  or  practicing,  by  providing  material  for   performance  (what  is  called  composing)  or  dancing.”     A  work  of  music,  its  primary  means  of  us  understanding  it,  is  given  to  us  by  a  document,  so  it   influences  how  people  read  music.  It  took  this  influential  musicologist  to  comes  up  with   musicking.  So  there  is  a  lot  in  that  quote  that  we  must  keep  in  mind.  You  don’t  just  have  to  be   the  person  playing  the  music  to  be  “musicking.”  You  can  be  listening  or  thinking  about  the   music  or  tapping  your  foot  and  that  is  musicking.  So  it  is  this  paradynamic  shift  in  the  way  we   look  at  the  sociodynamic  culture  of  music.  It  shifts  it  less  towads  an  object-­‐oriented  practice,  to   a  cultural  one.       Music  and  Mass  Production     In  the  early  20  century,  we  have  the  industrialization  of  sheet  music,  and  it  is  not  just  the   th th piano,  but  there  is  this  need  to  music  by  non-­‐professionals.  In  the  late  19  and  early  20   century,  ukuleles  were  manufactured  widespread.       The  reason  that  all  music  stores  have  a  ukulele  is  a  holdover  from  the  late  19th  century  that   ukuleles  became  widely  available  to  get  people  to  make  music.  It  was  a  way  of  cultivating  a   superior  comportment  and  self-­‐identity.  You  had  to  play  music.  It  was  kind  of  as  if  you  were   doing  a  good  thing  for  society.       The  early  20th  century  were  a  time  that  the  saxophone  was  being  mass-­‐produced  in  crazy   th amounts.  So  you  have  the  rise  of  popular  culture  in  the  early  20  century.       There  was  this  dichotomization  of  high  culture  and  low-­‐culture.       The  piano  is  right  at  the  center  of  all  these  things.     Capitalizing  Machine     th The  piano  is  a  machine.  Think  of  it  as  a  capitalizing  machine.  We  have  this  shift  in  the  late  19   century  and  early  20  century  that  culture  is  turning  into  something  that  one  buys.  The  piano   is  one  of  these  examples  where  that  shift  of  culture  from  something  that  you  do  to  something   that  you  buy  begins.       So  we  have  the  rise  of  amateurs  and  non-­‐professional  musicians  that  attend  to  this.  One  of  the   things  that  the  piano  was  instrumental  in  was  the  idea  that  home-­‐pianos  became   commoditized.  They  were  actively  transformed  into  a  commodity  and  put  into  the  capital  flow   of  exchange.  It  is  important  to  remember  that  pianos  are  transformed  into  a  piece  of   commerce.  Through  advertising  and  marketing  campaigns,  the  piano  was  very  easily   transformed  as  a  commodity.     Between  the  1850s  and  1920s,  Canada  became  a  massive  industry  in  Canada,  because  of  the   temperature  and  the  Canadian  identity  and  the  wood  and  resources.  Canada  needed  culture   too,  so  it  needed  an  industry  to  capitalize  on  that.     Civilizing  Machine:     th The  piano  represents  that  geography  of  colonization  in  the  19  century  Canadian  society.  As   Europe  of  the  19  century  spreads  throughout  Asia  and  Africa,  it  is  not  a  coincidence  that   pianos  went  with  them.  There  is  this  idea  that  European  gentility  and  elitism  are  part  of  the   piano.       It  helps  the  piano  evolve  into  this  sight  or  place  where  superiority  is  shown.  You  can  show   your  ability  as  a  person  to  exercise  your  middle  class  or  upper-­‐middle  class  identity.     This  tune  “Red  Wing”  that  we  listened  to  is  said  to  be  one  of  the  most  popular  music  tunes   that  all  fiddle  players  learned.  It  is  based  on  this  melody  by  Schumann.    So  you  can  see  this   dichotomy  between  high-­‐music  and  low-­‐music.       You  can  also  see  this  similarity  with  Pete  Seeger’s  “Union  Maid.”  Seeger  was  singing  to  the   tune  of  “Red  Wing”  to  “Union  Maid,”  an  early  protest  song,  so  you  can  see  that  through  the   dissemination  of  this  tune  through  the  technoculture  of  songsheets,  you  see  how  this  music   gets  transformed  to  different  cultural  practices  to  fit  with  different  forms  of  culture.     Gendering  Machine:     One  of  the  things  that  the  piano  did  was  to  basically  dictate  and  articulate  rules  of  male  and   female  not  only  in  domestic  spaces  but  in  larger  social  formations.  So  the  house  is  not  only  a   place  that  women  learned  how  to  play  piano,  but  it  also  added  to  the  identity  of  femininity.  As   a  woman  you  had  to  be  a  good  piano  player.  It  had  to  also  do  with  the  cult  of  domesticity.  This   idea  that  women  belong  in  a  domestic  space  playing  piano  and  cooking  and  cleaning  is  part  of   this  cult  of  domesticity.       There  is  also  this  idea  that  playing  the  piano  as  a  woman  you  acquire  cultural  capital   (Bourdieu).     We  display  ourselves  to  society  through  not  only  economic  capital,  but  cultural  capital:  the   clothes  that  we  wear,  music  we  listen  to,  etc.  Playing
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