A Question of Balance: Charles Seeger's Philosophy of Music

Univ of California Press
Free sample

One of this century's most influential musical intellects takes center stage in Taylor Greer's meticulously wrought study of Charles Seeger (1886-1979). Seeger left an indelible mark in the fields of musicology, music criticism, ethnomusicology, and avant-garde musical composition, but until now there has been no extended appreciation and critique of Seeger's work as a whole, nor has an accessible guide to his texts been available.

Exploring the entire corpus of Charles Seeger's writing, A Question of Balance highlights the work of those persons who most influenced him, especially Henri Bergson, Bertrand Russell, and Ralph Perry. Invited to inaugurate the music department at the University of California's Berkeley campus in 1912, Seeger became keenly aware of his deficiencies in general education and put himself on a rigorous regimen of intellectual development that included studying history, anthropology, political theory, and philosophy. For the remainder of his life his ideas about music heavily influenced the development of ethnomusicology and systematic musicology.

Charles Seeger is perhaps best known as the father of the folk singers Pete, Mike, and Peggy Seeger and as the husband of the innovative American composer Ruth Crawford. This book makes clear that Seeger was an extremely important thinker and educator in his own right. Seeger's intellectual curiosity was as eclectic as it was enthusiastic, and Greer skillfully weaves together the connections Seeger made between music, the humanities, and the sciences. The result is a luminous tapestry depicting Seeger's ideal schemes of musicology. At the same time it reflects the turbulence and vitality in American musical life during the early decades of the century.
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About the author

Taylor Aitken Greer is Associate Professor of Music at Pennsylvania State University.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Univ of California Press
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Published on
Dec 22, 1998
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Pages
278
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ISBN
9780520920132
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Music
Music / Ethnomusicology
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Drawing from over twenty years of classroom experience, the author organizes the text into five units: Common Bases, Qualitative Research, Quantitative Research, Performance Science, and Review. Research is presented as an accessible process, one facilitated by brainstorming and question-asking, the systematic collection of information, and the analysis and synthesis of information—all with the aim to develop a succinct conceptual framework. In explicating this process, the author introduces traditional Western thought alongside contemporary and Eastern philosophy. Experts in the field of performance science explore novel approaches to studying the audience, incorporating various measuring devices and methods. In the final chapter, the author offers strategies for disseminating and publishing research reports.

Scholarly Research for Musicians demystifies the research process for musicians and music students alike, demonstrating the common principles of cohesive research plans. PowerPoint presentations are available to instructors, covering chapter discussion points in summary format. This text explores interdisciplinary methods that merge with and focus on the study of music while emphasizing concepts and materials relevant to all types of research.

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A Tribe Called Quest • Beastie Boys • De La Soul • Eric B. & Rakim • The Fugees • KRS-One • Pete Rock & CL Smooth • Public Enemy • The Roots • Run-DMC • Wu-Tang Clan • and twenty-five more hip-hop immortals

It’s a sad fact: hip-hop album liners have always been reduced to a list of producer and sample credits, a publicity photo or two, and some hastily composed shout-outs. That’s a damn shame, because few outside the game know about the true creative forces behind influential masterpieces like PE’s It Takes a Nation of Millions. . ., De La’s 3 Feet High and Rising, and Wu-Tang’s Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). A longtime scribe for the hip-hop nation, Brian Coleman fills this void, and delivers a thrilling, knockout oral history of the albums that define this dynamic and iconoclastic art form.

The format: One chapter, one artist, one album, blow-by-blow and track-by-track, delivered straight from the original sources. Performers, producers, DJs, and b-boys–including Big Daddy Kane, Muggs and B-Real, Biz Markie, RZA, Ice-T, and Wyclef–step to the mic to talk about the influences, environment, equipment, samples, beats, beefs, and surprises that went into making each classic record. Studio craft and street smarts, sonic inspiration and skate ramps, triumph, tragedy, and take-out food–all played their part in creating these essential albums of the hip-hop canon.

Insightful, raucous, and addictive, Check the Technique transports you back to hip-hop’s golden age with the greatest artists of the ’80s and ’90s. This is the book that belongs on the stacks next to your wax.

“Brian Coleman’s writing is a lot like the albums he covers: direct, uproarious, and more than six-fifths genius.”
–Jeff Chang, author of Can’t Stop Won’t Stop

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From the Trade Paperback edition.
Ethnomusicologists believe that all humans, not just those we call musicians, are musical, and that musicality is one of the essential touchstones of the human experience. This insight raises big questions about the nature of music and the nature of humankind, and ethnomusicologists argue that to properly address these questions, we must study music in all its geographical and historical diversity. In this Very Short Introduction, one of the foremost ethnomusicologists, Timothy Rice, offers a compact and illuminating account of this growing discipline, showing how modern researchers go about studying music from around the world, looking for insights into both music and humanity. The reader discovers that ethnomusicologists today not only examine traditional forms of music-such as Japanese gagaku, Bulgarian folk music, Javanese gamelan, or Native American drumming and singing-but also explore more contemporary musical forms, from rap and reggae to Tex-Mex, Serbian turbofolk, and even the piped-in music at the Mall of America. To investigate these diverse musical forms, Rice shows, ethnomusicologists typically live in a community, participate in and observe and record musical events, interview the musicians, their patrons, and the audience, and learn to sing, play, and dance. It's important to establish rapport with musicians and community members, and obtain the permission of those they will work with closely over the course of many months and years. We see how the researcher analyzes the data to understand how a particular musical tradition works, what is distinctive about it, and how it bears the personal, social, and cultural meanings attributed to it. Rice also discusses how researchers may apply theories from anthropology and other social sciences, to shed further light on the nature of music as a human behavior and cultural practice. About the Series: Oxford's Very Short Introductions series offers concise and original introductions to a wide range of subjects--from Islam to Sociology, Politics to Classics, Literary Theory to History, and Archaeology to the Bible. Not simply a textbook of definitions, each volume in this series provides trenchant and provocative--yet always balanced and complete--discussions of the central issues in a given discipline or field. Every Very Short Introduction gives a readable evolution of the subject in question, demonstrating how the subject has developed and how it has influenced society. Eventually, the series will encompass every major academic discipline, offering all students an accessible and abundant reference library. Whatever the area of study that one deems important or appealing, whatever the topic that fascinates the general reader, the Very Short Introductions series has a handy and affordable guide that will likely prove indispensable.
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