Experience and Meaning in Music Performance

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How does the immediate experience of musical sound relate to processes of meaning construction and discursive mediation?

This question lies at the heart of the studies presented in Experience and Meaning in Music Performance, a unique multi-authored work that both draws on and contributes to current debates in a wide range of disciplines, including ethnomusicology, musicology, psychology, and cognitive science. Addressing a wide range of musical practices from Indian raga and Afro-Brazilian Congado rituals to jazz, rock, and Canadian aboriginal fiddling, the coherence of this study is underpinned by its three main themes: experience, meaning, and performance. Central to all of the studies are moments of performance: those junctures when sound and meaning are actually produced. Experience-what people do, and what they feel, while engaging in music-is equally important. And considered alongside these is meaning: what people put into a performance, what they (and others) get out of it, and, more broadly, how discourses shape performances and experiences of music. In tracing trajectories from moments of musical execution, this volume a novel and productive view of how cultural practice relates to the experience and meaning of musical performance.

A model of interdisciplinary study, and including access to an array of audio-visual materials available on an extensive companion website, Experience and Meaning in Music Performance is essential reading for scholars and students of ethnomusicology and music psychology.

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About the Author:


Martin Clayton is Professor of Ethnomusicology at Durham University. His books include Time in Indian Music: Rhythm, Metre and Form in North Indian Rag Performance (2000), Music, Time and Place: Essays in Comparative Musicology (2007), Music and Orientalism in the British Empire, 1780s to 1940s: Portrayal of the East (2007) and The Cultural Study of Music (2003/2012).

Laura Leante is Lecturer in Ethnomusicology at Durham University. Her research interests range over Indian classical and folk music, music of the South Asian diaspora, performance analysis, and popular music. Since 2005 she has been involved in a number of projects, investigating processes of meaning construction in musical performance and reception, with particular focus on Hindustani classical music.

Byron Dueck is Lecturer in Ethnomusicology at the Open University. His research interests include North American indigenous music and dance, rhythm and metre, musical publics, and role and recruitment in musical interactions. He is the co-editor, with Jason Toynbee, of Migrating Music (Routledge, 2011) and the author of Musical Intimacies and Indigenous Imaginaries: Aboriginal Music and Dance in Public Performance (Oxford University Press, 2013).

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