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Sounding Out Popular Music History: A Musicological Approach

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Richard Elliott

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Abstract

While the relationship between musicology and history has shifted considerably over time, the importance of each discipline to the other remains vital. This chapter argues for a way of doing popular music history that proceeds from and reflects on musical objects, specifically sound recordings. Recordings, it is argued, afford unique insights into the popular past while constantly posing questions relevant to the present. As objects with particular roots and multiple routes, recordings encourage critical reflection on time and distance in the mediation and remediation of musics from other places and eras. In order to illustrate this, the chapter presents three strands of historical practice related to popular music and sound recording. One strand examines recordings of the past as ways of illustrating broader scholarly concerns such as nation, empire and postcolonial struggle. A second engages with phonography, posing questions about fidelity, authenticity and representation. The creative practice of those involved with phonographic archaeology – crate diggers, collectors, DJs, producers, compilers and reissue labels – constitutes a third strand, which may welcome or reject historical musicology yet which still offers a way of doing history sonically. After discussing these strands, I reflect on the role of storytelling in musicological work.


Publication metadata

Author(s): Elliott R

Editor(s): Baker, S; Strong, C; Istvandity, L; Cantillon, Z

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: The Routledge Companion to Popular Music History and Heritage

Year: 2018

Pages: 46-54

Print publication date: 29/05/2018

Acceptance date: 21/08/2017

Publisher: Routledge

Place Published: London, UK

URL: https://www.routledge.com/The-Routledge-Companion-to-Popular-Music-History-and-Heritage/Baker-Strong-Istvandity-Cantillon/p/book/9781138237636

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9781138237636


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