A Brief His­tory of Mu­si­cal Au­thor­ity


Session Title:

  • Tyrannies of Participation

Presentation Title:

  • A Brief His­tory of Mu­si­cal Au­thor­ity



  • Panel: Tyrannies of Participation

    This pre­sen­ta­tion fo­cuses on the re­la­tion­ship be­tween record­ing, au­thor­ship and the idea of com­po­si­tion. Work­ing across three dif­fer­ent pe­ri­ods, I ex­am­ine the ten­sions be­tween in­di­vid­ual and col­lec­tive mu­si­cal cre­ation and look at music as a liv­ing so­cial prac­tice as op­posed to an ob­ject. West­ern no­ta­tion im­mor­tal­ized in­di­vid­ual com­posers and cre­ated a mu­si­cal hi­er­ar­chy in which music be­came a less col­lab­o­ra­tive so­cial prac­tice and more an in­dus­trial fac­tory re­pro­duc­ing the com­poser’s prop­er­ties. In the early twen­ti­eth cen­tury, record­ing tech­nol­ogy chal­lenged the in­di­vid­ual com­poser’s au­thor­ity by grant­ing the same im­mor­tal­ity to im­pro­vis­ing mu­si­cians and other live per­form­ers. Since the year 2000, new tech­nolo­gies have en­abled col­lec­tive tools for col­lab­o­ra­tive com­po­si­tion (e.g., Rocket Music, Ind­aba). Though these tools promise dis­trib­uted au­thor­ship, they may also be re­in­forc­ing in­di­vid­u­al­is­tic ten­den­cies in mu­si­cal cre­ation, com­po­si­tion, and recog­ni­tion.


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