Okay, its not all about the music, and I realise as of yet I have not filled in with much of a sociological perspective on it all. But its difficult to do. I am trying. Honestly.
I am the incredibly incompetent secretary of the newly established Sociology Society at the University of York. It has all been a bit haphazard and uncoordinated in getting it going. But its coming along. (If you would like any further information on this just contact me. Its exciting and we've got some amazing stuff planned. Plus we always want fresh exciting speakers.)
But by some insane miracle* we have Anthony Giddens coming to speak for us on Thursday 3rd May.
If you don't know who he is or nothing of the world of social science then basically this guy is tantamount to a modern day Karl Marx. He is a major celebrity in the sociological field. He has written more than his own weight in literature and books, he is a major contributor to the political climate that we currently experience, he issues on average a book a year (!!!), and he has written some amazing ideas about the processes of globalization and the effects on the world and the individual. More information on Giddens.
He is coming to talk to us days before the rumoured hand-over of power from Blair to Brown. I am so nervous I may wee myself just typing.
But I wondered what credit or recognition Giddens gave to music and music culture. So I grabbed my copy of Giddens' Sociology and flicked to the index and was directed to a two page excerpt. And it immediately flung lots of questions into my head just reading it. Take this:
"..music is able to transcend the limitations of written and spoken language to reach and appeal to a mass audience." (page 474)
This is largely true. But, and listen up you post-modern kids, music has not always been recordable. There was quite a long period of history that it was not reproducable in any other form than to actually play it or view someone else playing it. However, a massive and very recent phenomenon has completely changed the way we interact and consume music.
- Have we removed the personal touch? Is it wholly individualised and down to the ears of the reciever?
- Does that mean that those who are classically trained are now redundant and of no use? Do musicians claims to knowledge about music now go into a level playing field with that of the lay listener?
- Was it a far more communial ritual in years gone by? And does that reflect the ways in which gigs, DJ sets, club nights, festivals interact music listeners today?
- What about people with their own little worlds of headphones and MP3 players? Are the 'interacting' with anything at all whilst listening?
Just some ponderings. Maybe I'll ask Giddens when he comes.
* Its not actually a miracle just some hard-working students.