C O M M E N T S
From: "Johan Wikberg" <email@example.com>
This is a Ph. D. assertation in musicology from the University of
Stockholm, 1999 - it was up for oral defense today, December 16. It's in
three parts, and the third part (some 60 pages) has to do with Zappa:
there, the author applies the methods put forward in the first two parts
to some of Zappa's "serious" music, particularily "Sinister Footwear"
(especially the third movement) and the piano introduction to "Little
House I Used to Live in". Yours truly has helped the author with an
article, and is thanked in the preamble. :)
Here's the abstract, from their web site (www.music.su.se):
This dissertation argues that music is always ideological. For this
thesis two lines of argument are given. The first states that music is
always ideological because it requires verbal discourses about itself.
The second line of argument states that music is always ideological
because it influences the listener affectively.
That language is necessary for talk about music is trivial. The point is
rather that talk about music is necessary for auditive behaviour to turn
into complex cultural artefacts. Without language humans would have no
more music than birds, whales or duetting apes.
At the other extreme, musical experiences are affective in nature. To
have a musical experience is to experience an affective unfolding
through time. Affect (as distinguished from the emotions) refers to the
amodal properties of perception - such as intensity, shape, rhythm - and
lies at the heart of human communication. With its roots in early
mother-infant interaction, affective communication is inherently social.
Together with discourses about music, the affective properties of
musical experiences makes music into an extremely subtle, and thereby
efficient, ideological manipulator in various types of social contexts.
Finally, the theoretical conclusions reached will be exemplified by
introducing a virtual listener, the various facets of whose listening
experiences are captured by different analytical methods and listening
reports as applied to some of the "serious" music by Frank Zappa.
Central for the explanation of these listening experiences are the
"passions," that is, the affects, moods and emotions that the music
evokes in the listener, or that the listener takes the music to express.