Musique Concrètization: Music, Technology and Critical Constructivism

Musique Concrètization: Music, Technology and Critical Constructivism

Jean Hébert (Simon Fraser University, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-774-4.ch009
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For the past several years, a crisis over copyright and control of music distribution has been developing. The outcome of this crisis has tremendous implications not only for the fate of commercial and creative entities involved in music, but for the social reproduction of knowledge and culture more generally. Critical theories of technology are useful in addressing these implications. This chapter introduces the concept of “concretization” (Feenberg, 1999), and demonstrates how it can be mapped onto the field of current music technologies and the lives and work of the people using them. This reading of popular music technologies resonates strongly with themes arising out of current scholarship covering the crisis of copyright and music distribution. Reading music technology in this way can yield a lucid account of the diverse trajectories and goals inherent in heterogeneous networks of participants involved with music technologies. It can also give us not only a detailed description of the relations of various groups, individuals, and technologies involved in networks of music, but also a prescriptive program for the future maintenance and strengthening of a vibrant, perhaps less intensively commercialized, and radically democratized sphere of creative exchange.

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