Sociology of Music
What is the Sociology of Music?
One person might prefer rap while another likes country
music. One person might like jazz while another person likes classical. Every person
developes a particular taste because of particular culture or society in which they live.
Who Studies the Sociology of Music and Why?
Sociology of music has been an area largely left to European sociologists. Fewer occupations or cultural projects are more social than making music. Weber's Sociology of Music combines urban theory, class/labor theory, rationalization theory, and even climatic changes. Sociology of music studies the social components of music.
Production perspectives in the sociology of music: The emergence of the Production of Culture and Art Worlds perspectives in the 1970s was a pivotal moment in the study of musical production. In subsequent years, the musical production literature experienced a notable growth both in the number of works and theoretical perspectives. This paper addresses six constraints that shape the creation, performance, and dissemination of music. - Abstract: - Timothy J. Dowd, Department of Sociology, Emory University
Max Weber and the Sociology of Music: The sociology of music has been an area largely left to European sociologists. Fewer occupations or cultural projects are more social than making music, and the domestic sociological community's absence from the debate is deplorable given the dominant position our country possesses regarding musical production. Weber's Sociology of Music, which combines urban theory, class/labor theory, rationalization theory, and even climatic changes, is an excellent place to begin a thorough discussion of the social components of music. Our present understanding of cultural theories, urban theories, and Habermas's Communicative Action Theory can be employed to improve on Weber's theory; toward a new approach for the study of the sociology of music. - Abstract - Alan C. Turley, Department of Sociology, State University of New York. - Journal Sociological Forum, Publisher Springer Netherlands
Sounds and Society: Themes in the Sociology of
The Social Construction of Musical Meaning. Martin carefully analyzes both the traditional empiricist and rationalist approaches to explaining meaning in music, the former characterized by a belief that music has inherent meaning and it is the listener's task to discover that meaning, and the latter characterized by a belief that the listener imposes meaning on music by means of rational faculties. The notion that meaning is socially constructed clearly flies in the face of those who view music, and particularly Western art music, as possessed of inherent meaning, a position that the author represents by the views of British musicologist Deryck Cooke.
Relationship between musical structure and social structure in various contexts and historical periods. Martin focuses on more recent theorists such as Christopher Ballantine, John Shepherd, Alan Lomax, and Susan McClary. While Martin finds each of them flawed for their partial insistence on "inherent meaning", his treatment of them is sensitive and balanced.
Music As Social Action. Martin aligns himself with the approach of Howard Becker, with the goal of developing a "sociological understanding of music that takes it to be actively and collaboratively produced in specific social contexts, rather than assuming that it represents the values of social groups or reproduces their organizational features".
The Music Business in Capitalist Society. Martin once again makes some interesting points; for example, in regard to the way in which major record companies have historically responded to the uncertainties of the popular market.
This is in most respects an excellent survey of the major
issues touching on the sociology of music, one that will be of significant value to
scholars interested in the subject.