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Archive for December 4th, 2007

Moderation Script (12/2007): TALA – Indian Rhythm Cycles (Raga CDs of the Months)

Posted by ElJay Arem (IMC OnAir) on December 4, 2007


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Hennion, Antoine (Paris, 2007): Music Lovers – Taste as Performance

Posted by ElJay Arem (IMC OnAir) on December 4, 2007

Hennion, Antoine. 2001. “Music Lovers: Taste as Performance.” Theory, Culture & Society 18: 1-22.

(Original: Manuscrit auteur, publié dans “Theory, Culture, Society 18, 5 (2001) 1-22”)

Music Lovers. Taste as Performance
Antoine Hennion
CSI, Ecole des Mines de Paris
60 bd St-Michel, F-75006 PARIS, France
hennion (-at-)  or:  antoine.hennion (-at-)

Antoine Hennion is the Director of the Centre for the Sociology of Innovation (CSI), in Paris, Ecole des Mines. He has written extensively in the sociology of music, and in the sociology of innovation and culture.

His main fieldworks include studies on disc, music, radio, design, advertising, etc. His present work deals with different kinds of ‘amateurisms’, passions, addictions, attachments. His recent publications include a book on music lovers (Figures de l’amateur (2000) La Documentation francaise, with S. Maisonneuve) and one on the use of Bach in 19th Century France (La grandeur de Bach (2000) Fayard, with J.-M. Fauquet). An translation of La passion musicale (1993) is forthcoming (Music as mediation). Recent papers in English:

  • ‘A Sociology of Attachment: Music Amateurs, Drug Users’ (with E. Gomart) (1999) in J. Law and J. Hassard (eds.) Actor Network Theory and after.
  • ‘Authority as Performance. The Love for Bach in Nineteenth Century France’ (with J.-M. Fauquet) Poetics (2004).
  • ‘Sociology of Art: New Stakes in a Post-Critical Time’ (with L. Grenier) (2000) in S.R. Quah, A. Sales (eds.) The international Handbook of Sociology.

This paper “Music Lovers: Taste as Performance” presents the implications, objectives and initial results of an ethnographic research underway on music lovers today. It looks at problems of theory and method posed by such research if it is not conceived as the only explanation of external determinisms, relating taste to the social origins of the amateur or to the aesthetic properties of the works. Focusing mostly on the case of classical music, our aim is, on the contrary, to concentrate on gestures, objects, mediums, devices and relations engaged in a form of playing or listening, which amounts to more than the actualization of a taste ‘already there’, for they are redefined during the action, with a result that is partly uncertain. This is why amateurs’ attachments and ways of doing things can both engage and form subjectivities, rather than merely recording social labels, and have a history, irreducible to that of the taste for works.

The importance, mentioned everywhere if not explained, of music in cultural practices and particularly among teenagers and young adults1, requires sociologists to take a fresh look at a number of questions. The exponential development of the record market and use of the media in the sixties, seventies and eighties went hand in  hand with the intensification of amateur practice, in particular the playing of instruments. At the same time, under the influence of a renewal of Baroque music, choirs freed themselves from their ties with religion or closed groups and entered into the world of music.

In our studies, this led us to adopt a broad definition of music lovers as ‘users of music’, that is active practitioners of a love for music, whether it involves playing, being part of a group, attending concerts or listening to records or the radio: as the surveys we refer to have shown, there are no grounds for claiming that some forms are merely passive consumption (attending a concert, listening to a record, etc.) and therefore not worthy of being included in amateur practice. Conversely, there is no reason either for instrument playing or singing to benefit from preferential treatment and automatically to be placed on a higher level. There is undoubtedly very passive playing of music and surely very active listening to it, in the sense of connoisseur expertise and the impassioned development of a competence (in a no less traditional sense of the word amateur, more usual in the case of cigars, wine or coffee).

Forms of attachment to music which fit less snugly into the traditional mould of the connoisseur are no weaker or less indispensable or vital for those who value them, and warrant as much attention as the classic format of development of good taste in a cultured domain—even if this forces us to jettison the word taste with its strong connotations, focused on the consumption of a valued object. Love, passion, taste, practices, habits, mania: the plurality of the vocabulary indicates the variety of possible configurations of the link with music. It is important not to define it too much a priori, and especially not to measure it in relation only to taste for an object whose appreciation necessitates scholarly learning. It is not only a matter of the choice of an over-selective social format, but also of not making hasty assumptions on the meaning of these practices in which the role and status of music itself is far from determined. We ‘play’ music, we ‘like it’, we listen to it, this piece or that genre ‘pleases’ us: verbs are more appropriate because they tend less to force a collective practice with objects to enter into a substantial category, oriented towards an object.

Source:  Manuscrit auteur, publié dans “Theory, Culture, Society 18, 5 (2001)

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Raga CDs of the Months (12/07): TALA – Indian Rhythm Cycles.

Posted by ElJay Arem (IMC OnAir) on December 4, 2007

Raga CDs of the Months

TALA – Indian Rhythm Cycles

Same as for Indian Ragas, there are different traditions and developments of the North Indian classical period over hundreds of years since the 16th century, the Hindustani music and South Indian Classical period (Carnatic) are reflected in the system of the rhythms.

date of broadcasting: 4th December 2007 – 09:00 p.m. (METZ)
(broadcasting plan | streaming (Internet Radio & Mobile Radio) | podCast)

Tala is a Sanskrit word (Talā) and means clap. It is the Indian system for rhythms of Hindustani Music.

Tala-s… the 10 standards + 3 special forms

One can approach over the harmony theory to the Tala-s, via the “cadences“, a succession of groups of sounds (groups of chords). This rather unstable sound system of strain and relaxation is the basis e.g. for the Indian Rhythmic composition Tikhai, Mukhard and Parvan. The alternative…

Arvartan… the concept of the cycles.

With Arvatan, the concept of cycles exists a music philosophical understanding of the Indian classical period. The Tala-s are much rather illustrated hereby and therefore Arvartan – the concept of cycles is the subject of our December 2007 show.

The cyclic concept reflects the understanding of Hindu philosophy of the universe, which follows the principle of repetitive cycles (Rhythm Cycles), too. The cycle of nature is represented in Indian Classical music and illustrated by the rhythmic principles of Tala-s.

System der Talas - Konzept der Zyklen…

The prominent percussion instrument of North Indian Classics is the Tabla. It is a pair of drums covered with goat skin and appears for Indian Ragas on stages as rhythmic accompanying instrument and in solo play for Raga interpretations. The Tabla sound characteristics are unmistakable.

Percussioninstrumente - Ghatam (Tonkrug) Percussioninstrumente - Hanjira Percussioninstrumente - Mridangam Percussioninstrumente - Pakhawaj Percussioninstrumente - Tabla

Ghatam | Hanjira | Mridangam | Pakhawaj | Tabla

The Tabla was developed from the Pakhawaj, a drum, which can be found in the Dhrupad, the eldest existing vocal style of India nowadays. Beside these two instruments we find the Mridangam and Ghatam for rhythmics in South Indian Classics. The Carnatic music has it’s own Raga scales (Ragam) and rhythmical system (Talam).

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