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Music and Manipulation

Music and Manipulation: On the Social Uses and Social Control of Music

Steven Brown
Ulrik Volgsten
Copyright Date: 2006
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 400
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  • Book Info
    Music and Manipulation
    Book Description:

    Since the beginning of human civilization, music has been used as a device to control social behavior, where it has operated as much to promote solidarity within groups as hostility between competing groups. Music is an emotive manipulator that influences attitude, motivation and behavior at many levels and in many contexts. This volume is the first to address the social ramifications of music's behaviorally manipulative effects, its morally questionable uses and control mechanisms, and its economic and artistic regulation through commercialization, thus highlighting not only music's diverse uses at the social level but also the ever-fragile relationship between aesthetics and morality.

    eISBN: 978-0-85745-714-1
    Subjects: Anthropology, Sociology, Music

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-ix)
  4. Foreword: Manipulating Music—a Perspective of Practicing Composers
    (pp. x-xi)
    Örjan Strandberg and Bengt-Arne Wallin

    Music is an essential form of human communication and has probably been so since before the dawn of speech. Research suggests that there are interesting parallels between ritual music in humans and structured communication sounds used by several species of birds and mammals, providing compelling evidence for the antiquity of musical sound patterns. One of the most important features shared between these various forms of communication is their efficacy in influencing the behavior of individuals and even whole groups.

    The term “manipulation” has a very broad meaning when applied to music. In the present context, we will consider it to...

  5. Preface
    (pp. xii-xvii)
    Steven Brown and Ulrik Volgsten
  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xviii-xix)
  7. List of Contributors
    (pp. xx-xxii)
  8. Introduction: “How Does Music Work?” Toward a Pragmatics of Musical Communication
    (pp. 1-28)
    Steven Brown

    This opening essay highlights basic themes associated with the topic of music and manipulation by addressing the essential question “How does music work?” Can one describe music’s most fundamental social functions and mechanisms? In order to address this question, the essay outlines a communication model for music, arguing that music is, in its most basic sense, anassociative enhancer of communicationat the group level. This view has several important ramifications: (1) music is, psychobiologically speaking, an emotive reward and reinforcer, one that acts to modulate arousal, affect, and mood; (2) music’s principal mode of operation at the cultural level...


    • Part I Music Events

      • Chapter 1 Ritual and Ritualization: Musical Means of Conveying and Shaping Emotion in Humans and Other Animals
        (pp. 31-56)
        Ellen Dissanayake

        Emotional experiences of music are notably difficult to describe and have resisted philosophical and psychological as well as vernacular explanation. This essay uses a new departure by taking an ethological approach to questions of musical experience—that is, treating music as a behavior that evolved in ancestral humans because it contributed to their survival and reproductive success. In particular, I describe interesting and suggestive similarities between the evolutionary (biological) process of ritualization in animal communication and the ritual (cultural) uses of musical behavior in human rites or ceremonies. In both ritual and ritualization, stylized (i.e., formalized, rhythmically repeated, exaggerated, and...

      • Chapter 2 Music, Identity, and Social Control
        (pp. 57-73)
        Peter J. Martin

        The focus of this chapter is a consideration, from a specifically sociological point of view, of the “effects” of music on people in everyday social settings. It is argued that, to the extent that they depend on a “sender-receiver” model of musical communication, studies of mass media effects—including those of Adorno and the critical theorists—fail to take account of the significant ways in which musical meanings are constituted through, and embedded in, wider configurations of social relationships. Rather than conceptualizing music’s effects in terms of the sending of a “message,” or attempting to decipher the decontextualized “meaning” of...

      • Chapter 3 Between Ideology and Identity: Media, Discourse, and Affect in the Musical Experience
        (pp. 74-100)
        Ulrik Volgsten

        Music as a human cultural artifact presupposes two things. The first is an affective substrate that has its source in early non-verbal communication. Music builds on the same affective qualities as does communication between mother and infant. The second presupposition is verbal discourse. Music as a human cultural artifact requires verbal discourse about itself. In other words, for our sound-making to become music, we need to talk about it. Why this is so will be argued here in a rather novel manner. Although I shall not present any definition of the term music, I suggest as one condition that to...

    • Part II Background Music

      • Chapter 4 Music in Business Environments
        (pp. 103-125)
        Adrian C. North and David J. Hargreaves

        This chapter reviews studies of the effects of music in business settings, and argues that the research can be organized according to two basic theoretical processes, namely, psychobiology and knowledge activation. Psychobiological research concerns the effects of music on customer activity, employees in the workplace, and purchasing and affiliation. Knowledge-activation research considers the effects of music on purchasing and affiliation, and also television advertising. Research on music and time perception/waiting time contains elements of both psychobiology and knowledge activation, and is also reviewed. It is concluded that music can be used effectively in business environments, that two basic processes underlie...

      • Chapter 5 The Social Uses of Background Music for Personal Enhancement
        (pp. 126-160)
        Steven Brown and Töres Theorell

        Background music is used in two different kinds of contexts at the social level. First, it is used as a form of “milieu music” in public places to enhance the production and consumption of commercial goods. Second, it is used in a more individualized manner as a form of what we call “personal enhancement background music.” The latter includes the uses of background music in clinical and educational settings as well as its ubiquitous use by individuals for the purposes of emotional and motivational control. The current chapter discusses this second set of uses. Four general features of personal enhancement...

    • Part III Audiovisual Media

      • Chapter 6 Music, Moving Images, Semiotics, and the Democratic Right to Know
        (pp. 163-186)
        Philip Tagg

        Although about a third of all music heard by the average Westerner comes through television, TV music has been virtually neglected as an area of serious inquiry. Since the logistics of TV production tend to demand that music for the medium be (1) cheap and quick to produce or acquire, and (2) efficient and unequivocal in communicating the intended mood and connotations, television constitutes a highly suitable area for the study of musical “meaning” in everyday life. TV music affects its listeners in several ways, one being the nonverbal, nonvisual formation of attitudes, emotional and ideological, toward particular types of...

      • Chapter 7 Music Video and Genre: Structure, Context, and Commerce
        (pp. 187-206)
        Rob Strachan

        Music video has become a central component of the promotional strategies of the global entertainment industries, and the body of writing on the subject has addressed its visual and structural conventions. However, there has been little academic work that addresses how the structural elements of music video are inextricably linked to the ideological constructions and marketing processes of popular music. The multinational music industry’s need for genre classification demands that the successful video must be adept at tapping into well-established visual and cultural associations. There is thus a need to locate the musical text within certain contextual parameters in order...

      • Chapter 8 The Effectiveness of Music in Television Commercials: A Comparison of Theoretical Approaches
        (pp. 207-236)
        Claudia Bullerjahn

        Advertising devices such as music are used in a systematic fashion to influence a target group’s purchasing behavior. Various models have been proposed to explain the effect of advertising on behavior and to clarify the relationship among the different components of the influencing process. Older “step models” presume a hierarchical sequencing of the components of the influencing processes. Such processes are assumed to occur automatically and unavoidably. The newer “involvement models,” on the other hand, require neither obligatory sequences nor hierarchical structuring. In addition, they do not require directed attention to commercials, which is more in line with today’s television-viewing...


    • Part IV Governmental/Industrial Control

      • Chapter 9 Music Censorship from Plato to the Present
        (pp. 239-263)
        Marie Korpe, Ole Reitov and Martin Cloonan

        The current chapter describes the motivations and mechanisms of music censorship from both a historical and cross-cultural perspective. It focuses especially on religion and government as the two principal censorial agents, where censorship is generally driven by a desire to control mass behavior. While censorship has been applied to everything from musical intervals to musical genres to performance contexts, the most clear-cut examples are those in which musicians themselves are restricted, persecuted, imprisoned, expelled, or killed as a result of their musical activities. Along these lines, we examine a series of case studies of musicians who have been under fire...

      • Chapter 10 Orpheus in Hell: Music in the Holocaust
        (pp. 264-286)
        Joseph J. Moreno

        The contradictory role of music in the Holocaust is demonstrated in the ways music was used by the Nazis and for the intentional abuse of concentration camp prisoners for such purposes as deception, humiliation, and control. At the same time, the presence of music sometimes had clear therapeutic value for both the prisoners and their captors. Prisoner orchestras were organized in the camps primarily to perform military marches to accompany the long processions of prisoners departing for and returning from their daily work details, but they were also utilized to play regular concerts for the SS and their families. For...

      • Chapter 11 The Changing Structure of the Music Industry: Threats to and Opportunities for Creativity
        (pp. 287-312)
        Roger Wallis

        Digital production and distribution technology, in theory, provide powerful opportunities for creators and performers of musical works to reach a potential global audience without dependence on the series of intermediaries that is so typical of the established music industry. However, this does not appear to have occurred in practice via players in the traditional industry. This chapter looks at the resilient nature of the established music industry value chain and describes some of the forces that tend to support elements of the status quo. Many early assumptions concerning electronic commerce suggested that digital networks would guarantee a greater range of...

    • Part V Control by Reuse

      • Chapter 12 Music and Reuse: Theoretical and Historical Considerations
        (pp. 315-335)
        Ola Stockfelt

        “Classical music” is often used in commercial advertisements, as background music in public places, and in various audiovisual contexts—computer games, TV shows, cartoons, various genres of “popular music,” and so on. The music that is used often consists of extracts, rearranged and remixed to fit these situations. This reuse of well-known music is subject to criticism from not only a copyright perspective but also various moral positions. I suggest that this criticism is worthy of serious discussion and that its claims highlight some crucial aspects of contemporary musical life, not least the functions and utility of traditional musicology. The...

      • Chapter 13 Copyright, Music, and Morals: Artistic Expression and the Public Sphere
        (pp. 336-364)
        Ulrik Volgsten and Yngve Åkerberg

        We begin this chapter with a few examples highlighting how moral intuitions are frequently violated in the production and consumption of music. To prevent such infringements, laws exist that specify the rights and obligations of musical senders and receivers. These include intellectual property rights, which consist of economic rights (or copyrights) and moral rights. The basic question we ask is: What can these rights do to prevent the violation of moral intuitions? We then briefly trace the notion of intellectual property throughout history, discuss its relations to other kinds of rights, and then analyze arguments for and against musical copyright,...

  11. Aesth/ethic Epilogue: Is Mozart’s Music Good?
    (pp. 365-369)
    Steven Brown and Ulrik Volgsten

    The title of this epilogue refers to the relationship between aesthetics and ethics: Is something that is aesthetically pleasing necessarily morally proper as well? What is the general relationship between aesthetics and ethics?

    As pointed out by aestheticians and art historians, aesthetics as a discipline was not originally intended as a theory of art. Founded in 1750 by Andreas Baumgarten, it was meant as a logic of the senses (see Gross, 2002). Nor did a unified concept offine artemerge until the eighteenth century (Kristeller, 1980). Moreover, what became central concepts of aesthetics as it turned into a theory...

  12. Index
    (pp. 370-378)