Chapter 1 provides an overview of possible answers to the question of its title by establishing the terminology, then moving through considerations of what one might call the opera industry and the institutions that support it, of the artists who engage in it in the theater, of the repertory from the Baroque period to modern times, and of the issues and techniques that might underpin a given libretto and how it is set to music. This leads to a discussion of the oft-claimed exoticism and irrationality of opera and how one might best respond.
Katie M. Lever-Mazzuto
This chapter analyzes the sound quality and music capabilities of mobile devices. It provides a summary of reviews of mobile phones from carriers in the United States and cites the result of a study that reveals user preferences for the availability of Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) technology, radio applications, and music players in mobile phones. It also discusses how users are creating an ever-increasing number of meanings about their mobile phones and what these devices should be able to do, and it suggests that these meanings and demands are part of goal-directed behavior.
Wayne Bowman and Ana Lucía Frega
Philosophical inquiry is a lively and provocative, daunting yet rewarding practice that questions received views, and challenges habits and assumptions. Historically, music education's philosophical practice has been left to a small cadre of specialists: philosophical habits and skills have not been cultivated or refined in the profession at large. In music education, philosophical inquiry seeks to render practice more effective and more satisfying. This article examines the music education profession's neglect of philosophy. It argues that the question confronting music education professionals is not whether to engage in philosophical practice, but in what manner, and how effectively.
What’s International About International Country Music?: Country Music and National Identity Around the World
Nathan D. Gibson
Drawing attention to the increasing study of “international country music,” this chapter attempts to define this field as well as provide a classification system for analyzing the different ways “international” and “country music” have been paired. It challenges the assertion that country music remains a purely American art form by tracing the international roots, international reach, and international representation within American country music and by presenting three different country music case studies in Australia, Brazil, and Canada. These case studies illustrate how national identity and country music are linked in places outside of the United States and how international permutations are often reflections of local, lived experience. Ultimately, this chapter presents alternatively interpreted identity associations with class, gender, race, and politics that are distinctly separate from the Nashville-based American country music industry and that lead to a more complex, multicentered understanding of country music throughout the world.
“What’s Your Name, Where Are You From, and What Have You Had?”: Utopian Memories of Leeds’s Acid House Culture in Two Acts
This discussion considers the utopian/dystopian dialect in relation to Acid House culture in Leeds during the late 1980s. It utilizes an ethnographic, autoethnographic, and fictional/nonfictional narrative method to illustrate the key signifiers and relations of Acid House culture, including utopian ideals, social class, and the significance of geographical location. Overall the chapter serves to illustrate the significance of individual and group identities, the importance of embodiment and the changing intersection of social constructs such as class. Chas Critcher had defined Acid House as “no more that music associated with LSD,” but this chapter highlights the richly textured sense of feeling, space, place, and social relations that demonstrate Acid House was something much more than that. This chapter also has a direct association with the themes of agency, identity, meaning, and cultural appropriation.
Jean-Baptiste Barrière and Aleksi Barrière
The authors reflect on their own experience of developing a specific form of multimedia live performance: the visual concert. The various video projects they realized for works by Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho serve as examples illustrating a more general aesthetic question: what can video art bring to music within the concert ritual? Answers are suggested first in a general assessment of the scientific (perception and cognition research) and cultural roots and parameters of cross-media art forms, and second in an analysis of the contemporary technological tools that allow the visual concert to move beyond the antiquated paradigms of synesthesia, synchronization, or aleatory autonomy of juxtaposed media, and thus to meet the challenges of contemporary music. These mostly unexplored links between new musical techniques and video art open new opportunities that expand the listener’s experience of music and suggest a practice that can become an art form of its own.
When the Music Surges: Melodrama and the Nineteenth-century Theatrical Precedents for Film Music Style and Placement
Michael V. Pisani
This chapterexamines the influence of the theater music of the nineteenth century on modern film music practices. It shows that the soundscape of the theater was considerably richer and more varied than has previously been suggested and that the techniques of the nineteenth-century melodrama also leapt beyond the silent film to influence underscoring practices in the sound film of the 1930s and 1940s. It provides examples to illustrate that many more useful connections could be made between the practice of composing music for the theater and composing for film melodramas.
Where Is the Choreography? Who Is the Choreographer?: Alternate Approaches to Choreography through Editing
This chapter examines editing as a springboard to envision new types of choreographic practices for screendance and proposes choreographic editing as a dance-making approach embedded within the process of editing, encouraging further headway into screendance practices. Martin Heidegger’s thinking provides insightful tracks to follow in theorizing the role of contemporary screendance choreography and mediated dances/bodies on screen. Erin Braningan’s concept of micro-choreographies and Harmony Bench’s essay on anti-gravitational choreographies in screendance suggest ideas of choreographic editing as an alternate approach to contemporary choreography. These are illustrated by editing strategies in three screendance works—Pas de Deux by Norman McLaren, An Ostrich Proudly by Xan Burley and Alex Springer, and Béla Tarr’s The Turin Horse. The films show how techniques ranging from reediting of dancers’ motions to a quasi-absence of cuts that reveals strong kinesthetic empathy for the viewer all open up new possibilities of using editing in a powerful way.
The popularity of guitar has ensured that it has become a significant aspect of music in leisure. This chapter explores and reflects on the author’s personal leisure guitar experiences through six autoethnographic meditations. Themes from the meditations include tacit experiences, closeness, community, curiosity, and ethical dimensions associated with leisure guitar culture. These themes suggest an embodied view of music and a social connectedness with a living music culture. Using a Foucaultian lens, these themes are critically positioned alongside the experience of the neoliberal, schooled musical subject, who encounters expressions of power and subjectification in narrow, limiting terms. The chapter concludes by suggesting that the reflective process of autoethnography, an awareness and sensitivity of the body, and explorations of emergent subject positions are critical for a reconstituted music education and that leisure and music education can be envisaged together as synchronic forms of musical action.
Jocelyn R. Neal
This chapter describes and interprets social dance within country music’s fan culture beginning with a historical summary and then focusing on 2005–2015. It explores how dances are learned within fan communities, using the Sweetheart Schottische as a case study. It then traces the adoption of hip hop, rock, and pop into country line dancing, a return to regional differentiation of dance styles, and the migration of more traditional forms of country dancing out of country nightclubs. These shifts correspond to a significant change in how country music defines and incorporates aspects of musical history, especially the adoption of a more rock lineage. In an era marked by “bro-country,” both country music and the accompanying dance styles show an assimilation into mainstream popular culture, confronting and adapting aspects of country identity including dance that historically created a stark differentiation between country and other genres.