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date: 08 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article appears in the Oxford Handbook of New Audiovisual Aesthetics edited by John Richardson, Claudia Gorbman, and Carol Vernallis. Referring to the relationship between visual and audible dimensions of music performance as an “economy” suggests that they may not work hand-in-hand. There can be competition for the audience’s attention and to influence its understanding of the performance. Relationships between sight and sound can be normative or traditional, or challenge norms. The “traditionalist” view emphasizes visible causality: what the audience sees should provide information about how the sound is being produced and perhaps about the musician’s affective state. Visual information that does not contribute to this is interference. The relative value of sound and visual information varies by genre. But even performers operating within traditionalist values sometimes challenge them by manipulating the relationship between the auditory and visual aspects in ways that go against the grain. An example is the use of light shows in both psychedelic rock and classical music concerts in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Keywords: psychedelic rock, performance, light shows, 1960s, 1970s, classical music, sight, sound, competition

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