(Philip Tagg, Montréal, June 2005)
of this review
An encyclopaedia à lencyclopédiste
Structure and content Part 1: Research and tendencies Part 2: Other musics
Part 3: Business and dissemination Part 4: Intersections
Assessment Presentation Content (The crisis-of-modernism theme | Art and other | Big pictures)
Feasibility, strategy and destination Bibliography Endnotes
Two main factors have contributed the late appearance of this review. One is the very size of the work to review, nothing in comparison to the monumental enterprise of producing the encyclopaedia, of course, but still a daunting enough task. The other is the extent, variety and depth of knowledge contained in the first volume of this encyclopaedia. These qualities demand attentive reading and time for reflection on the part of the reviewer. Put simply, skimming through the book and presenting hasty opinions would not do it justice.
Musics: an encyclopaedia for the 21st century, edited by Jean-Jacques Nattiez assisted by Rosanna Dalmonte and Mario Baroni, consists of five volumes, published in Italian and French. The project seems to be the initiative of the editor himself and of Einaudi, the prestigious Turin publishing house. Volume 1, which starts with a general presentation of the complete encyclopaedia, first appeared in Italian in 2001, the French translation, reviewed here, in 2003. Volume 2, already published in both languages, deals with notions of music, its component parts (including its parameters of expression) and with related concepts like musician and musicality. Volume 3, entitled Musics and cultures, covers the traditional hunting grounds of ethnomusicology and the anthropology of music, while Volume 4 concentrates on the history of European music. Finally, Volume 5, which went to press this year, goes under the title The Unity of Music and discusses, among other issues, to what extent and in which ways we may be able, despite clear differences between musics (plural) around us, to treat them all as variants of the same phenomenon music (singular). This review deals solely with Volume 1, dedicated to Musics of the twentieth century.
In the introduction to this volume, Nattiez makes quite clear that this encyclopaedia is, as a whole, like none other currently available. It is neither dictionary of the New Groves type nor lexikon à la MGG, however discursive or exhaustive many entries in such works may be. Rather, writes Nattiez, this is more an encyclopaedia à la Diderot (p. 25), providing readers with a selection of texts that cover important issues concerning music from the varying viewpoints of a wide range of reputed musicians and musicologists writing at the turn of the millennium. The disadvantage here is, of course, that if you want to read up on such phenomena of twentieth-century music as Boulez or the Beatles, you have to use the index and turn to around 120 different pages for the former, about 40 for the latter, but that is hardly the point. Since New Groves, MGG and several other reputable compilations provide ample service for those requiring alphabetical access to information and ideas about styles, genres, proper names, etc., the volume under review has other, equally useful, taxonomic priorities. I would qualify these priorities as generic (relating to genre), professional (education, business, composing, etc.) and epistemological. These taxonomic priorities are motivated by the multitude of approaches to understanding music and of socio-aesthetic agendas (intrigues, p. 33) that emerged during the latter half of the last century. These factors, along with the untenability of a single set of aesthetic values, not to mention the crises of modernism and objectivity have, if I understand Nattiez rightly, necessitated the choice of a radically different encyclopaedic cross-section through the lived reality of whatever we mean by music and of how we think about it.
Volume 1, under review here, consists of 65 articles by 54 authors, covering 1424 pages, plus a 63-page index of proper names. The editor has asked the 54 authorities on music to write, within the general structure of the volume, about issues of twentieth-century music of particular concern to each of them. He has also invited them not to shun the expression of personal conviction, since clear statements of position are key elements in the variety of agendas characterising musical thinking at the turn of the millennium. This clarity of agenda, though not without its problems, is, I feel, a major strength of the work. However, it does cause difficulties for the reviewer because summarising over sixty informative, interesting and highly varied 23-page articles to no more than twenty lines each would produce over thirty pages of mere resumé. The rest of this review will therefore, after describing and commenting the general structure and content of the volume, attempt to assess its value in the spirit of the encyclopaedia itself, i.e. from a particular viewpoint drawing on particular approaches and experience and, of course, with a particular agenda that I promise will be explicit and concise. I do not promise, however, to refrain from critical remarks during the first part of the review (Structure and content) nor from adding information about the books content during the second (Assessment).
This first volume of the encyclopaedia is divided into four parts, preceded by a substantial summary section consisting of two contributions by Nattiez and one by Molino (pp. 23-85). This section sets out the overriding concerns and agendas (see Notre intrigue, p. 58, ff.) of these two authors. One story line emerging from these pages, and recurring in many contributions to the volume, is what I shall call the crisis-of-modernism theme. Another, in my view more important and productive, agenda is that no music can be disqualified as unworthy of serious study (Nattiez, p. 62-63). Now, Molinos Technology, globalisation, tribalisation (pp. 69-85) exhibits two problems of historical perspective: (i) music technology, we are told, starts with Edison, not with Stradivarius, Petrucci, organ building or with Neanderthal flutes; (ii) despite the almost canonic authorial status of, for example, Phil Spector or George Martin, we read that mixing and sound treatment are not part of the music itself. Nevertheless, the general gist of Molinos piece is sound, eloquently explaining the three concepts of its title and including a critique of notions of high and low culture (pp. 82-83). Molino ends by noting how online music sites demonstrate the seething creative activity of musicians in todays world (p. 85).
Perhaps we will be scalded for refusing to confuse it [`serious music] [...] with pop and commercial music? We think that their fusion is [...] a recent phenomenon which does not merit that the latter be included in a general account of twentieth-century music as a whole. Besides, we have reserved Section 2, Other musics, for the treatment of chanson, jazz, film music, music video, rave or rap (Nattiez, pp. 59-60).
I will return to these taxonomic, historical and ideological issues later, citing the editor at this point merely in order to recount the rationale behind the books structure as is.
Part 1 largely concentrates on issues of concern to keepers of the European art music seal. It is generally, from my particular viewpoint and for reasons I will explain later, the least rewarding of all four parts into which the volume is divided. Nevertheless, with the exception of one contribution that I was either too stupid to understand or which, as I thought, floated off into clouds of metaphysical vacuity (pp. 283-322), Part 1 contains many substantial and/or thought-provoking passages, for example: (i) Rizzardis Adorno critique and plea for a musicology of rap (pp. 158-174); (ii) Van Vlasselaers salutary discussion of music in Nazi concentration camps (pp. 195-212); (iii) Pasticcis presentation of Schönberg in the quasi-Messianic composers role as Guardian of Truth (pp. 338-332); (iv) Pozzis short but interesting account of the relationship between neo-classicism and Italian fascism (pp. 367-370); (v) Dalmontes article about the voice, not least in its recorded guise (pp. 441-467).
Two contributions to Part 1 are, I think, particularly worthy of special mention: Delalandes Electroacoustic paradigm (pp. 553-557) and Imbertys Continuity and discontinuity (pp. 632-655). Both deal with complex conceptual issues in a clear and thorough manner. I will certainly include reference to these outstanding texts in graduate course reading lists.
Among other subjects covered in Part 1, still almost exclusively in relation to only serious European music, are politics and ideologies, nationalism and national traditions, modernity, Darmstadt and its myth, religious music and spirituality, opera, the musician as actor, aleatorics (including happenings, improvisation, etc.), music and nature, science and technology as sources of inspiration, electronic music laboratories, composers and institutions in the UK and the USA, and notions of complexity vs. simplicity. Most of these articles contained at least something of interest, but several seemed unnecessarily long-winded (e.g. those on modernity and Darmstadt) while a few contributions seemed to miss essential points in the topic under discussion, chiefly because the phenomena discussed were viewed from quite a narrow contemporary art-music perspective. I will restrict my comments here to five short examples.  The global hegemony of music from Germanophone Europe in the early years of the last century is not explained in relation to German nationalism.1  The role of Dvorák , the Lomaxes and of film music are missed in the passages about the construction of a US musical identity.  Commodity fetishism (Haug, 1975), the main religion in our culture, is absent from the discussion of music and religion.  The definition of classical does not summarise how what we now call classical acquired that epithet in the early nineteenth century (Ling, 1989).  No Korngold, no Steiner and no other Hollywood sons of Mahler are mentioned in the piece on music and nature despite their composing numerous nature-related cues; Mahlers down with programme music outburst is misinterpreted2 and the extensive use of art music for nature scenes in film is not discussed at all.
Part 2 (pp. 659-897) may have a very unhappy title but it is where, in my view, this encyclopaedia really takes off. Molinos introductory article about pure and impure (pp. 659-673) is, however, partially problematic, not least because it seems to assume (p. 671) that music, imagined by a particular group of people to be without function (pure), can actually have no function, even though the qualifiers absolute or pure by their very application express the need to establish a sociocultural relationship of difference with music the same people choose to qualify as functional or impure. If such a relationship does not constitute something pretty functional, then Im a ducks uncle. This introduction is, I feel, conceptually out of kilter with the contributions that follow.
The rest of Part 2 is of a consistently high standard. Fabbri covers, clearly and efficiently, a lot of conceptual, historical, cultural and musicological ground in his article on the song (chanson; pp. 674-702), Vinays text on the musical (Comédie musicale; pp. 703-718) is useful and informative, while Villenueva provides a competent summary of jazz, its history and musical traits (pp. 719-749), even though I missed a paragraph on tritone substitution in bebop. All three articles will soon be on my students reading lists.
This second part of the volume continues with three contributions on film music, a field of musical activity where all aspects of twentieth-century music meet, from Darmstadt to Top of the Pops, from salsa to symphonic retro-romanticism, from socio-economic considerations to matters of musical structuration, from technology to musicology. If the placement of this veritable crossroads of twentieth-century music in the middle of the volume under review is unintentional, it is a fortunate coincidence.
Poiriers article on the functions of film music (pp. 750-776) is interesting but a little patchy because: (i) it makes little or no reference to existing taxonomies of film musics functions (e.g. Lissa, 1965, library music categories); (ii) it uses only academic vocabulary and avoids that of the industry (e.g. diegetic instead of source music); (iii) the section Music as subject (pp. 768-770) deals only with musical persons and performance on screen and not with other, equally common, ways of visualising music as a subject, as in many rock videos from the mid eighties, or as in many title sequences whose visual composition and processes are determined by the music rather than vice versa. Still, the article is informative, if a little off-beat, and contains plenty of food for thought. Equally useful is Réal de la Rochelles insightful interview with the Taviani brothers (pp. 777-794). Whoever finds it sacrilegious to use passages from such classics as the second movement of Mozarts Clarinet concerto in A major (K622) as part of a film score is encouraged to read this interview and to think again, after having of course revisited the two relevant scenes in the Tavianis Padre padrone (1977).
Morricones monologue A composer behind the camera may be tantalisingly short (pp. 795-806) but it is, I would claim, one of the gems in this encyclopaedia, mainly because it provides living proof of how, in practice, the problems of musical modernism, over which other contributors agonise for so many pages, are, in a much larger context of everyday musical creativity, not mountains but mole hills. This a central issue to which I shall return.
Marconis contribution Muzak, jingles and music videos (pp. 807-831) is a paragon of informative precision and insight. The Morricone monologue is already required reading for my Music and Moving Image undergraduates and Marconis article will be on the reading list for those taking History of English-Language Popular Music this autumn as, indeed, will be Moores Pop Music contribution (pp. 832-849), Pacoda and Stefanis Rave, techno, trance (pp. 850-861) and Souchards Rap and social protest (pp. 862-876). Shepherds Pop music and sexuality (pp. 877-897), on the other hand, is more suitable as discussion material for graduate students.
European art music and other musics coincide more in this part of the volume (pp. 901-1186). It starts with the authoritative account, by Jacques Hains, From wax cylinder to CD (pp. 901-938), another item for my students reading list, followed by La Rochelles sharp discussion of recording-industry multinationals and their permanent crisis (pp. 939-953). These articles, as well as Friths The industrialisation of music and questions of value (pp. 1132-1146), Baronis Social Groups and musical tastes (pp. 1147-1169) and Colberts two articles on the financing of music (pp. 1108-1131) deal with both art and other music. Frith, as usual, writes thoughtfully, exposing, as he goes, double-standards of value with deceptive simplicity and succinctly summarising two key aesthetic discourses, both fraught with contradictions: the music-as-art discourse and the folk discourse (authenticity). The merit of Baronis piece, on the other hand, lies more in its presentation of models, not least those inspired by Bourdieu, for explaining the construction of communities of musical taste. Colberts articles are written clearly and contain many useful facts about the differing economic conditions under which classical and popular music are produced and disseminated.
Of the remaining eight articles in Part 3, seven deal primarily, if not exclusively, with Western art music, Fabbris exemplary summary of Rock concerts and festivals (pp. 993-1008) being the sole exception (and another candidate for inclusion in my students reading list). These eight articles are nevertheless of considerable interest, not least because, by providing factual information about the management and organisation of Western art music, they all serve to put the aesthetic anxieties of its most adamant zealots into perspective and to provide practical clues as to how its precious qualities can be salvaged when public money and patience run out, as they inevitably will, on those who take its hitherto privileged status for granted.
LÉcuyers Classical music on the radio (pp. 954-968) is an interesting contribution, dealing with repertoire, organisational structure and aesthetics. The articles on adapting opera to film or video, on classical music festivals, on singers, soloists and conductors as prima donnas, on the organisation of classical music life in Tokyo, on classical music in New York and London, on music publishing, and on the Contemporary music audience (Menger, pp. 1169-1186) are also all worth reading, even if some of them come across as rather long-winded. For example, although Mengers article sometimes suffers from such verbosity, and even if the author does not clarify the obvious problem of boredom with the music he discusses that a novelty is no novelty if constant novelty is the order of the day , his is the first contribution to explicitly mention the chronic innovation anxiety afflicting so many would-be avantgardists. His passage on contemporary music as a particularly incestuous niche market (pp. 1176-1177) makes for very salutary reading. It is, I think, high time for someone to write an anthropology of this extraordinary totem group.
It is in this final section (pp. 1203-1391) that Nattiez has compiled contributions substantiating his vision, which I largely share, of music in our culture at the turn of the millennium, and which he partly expresses in his final article on Music of the future (pp. 1392-1424) by quoting L. B. Meyers prophetic words from 1967.
I would suggest that the coming period [...] will be characterised, not by the cumulative, linear development of one single style [...], but by the coexistence of a multiplicity of fairly different styles in a state of fluctuating and dynamic consistency. (Nattiez, p. 1395, citing Meyer (1967: 98); retranslated into English - P.T.)
Section 4 contains many pearls of wisdom. Murray Schafers rousing plea for aural awareness and for acoustic ecology (pp. 1189-1202) is peppered, as the reader would expect, with acute insights, for example about the gulf between theory and practice in noise pollution legislation (pp. 1196-1198). Schafers text is followed by an outstanding piece of musical scholarship by Kubik (pp. 1203-1238) who, tracing highly convincing and meticulously documented connections between the musics of Africa and various parts of the New World, makes a substantial contribution to filling one of the most embarrassing gaps in music history. Kubiks article is followed by Béhagues extremely informative Influence of African music on traditional and popular musics of Latin America (pp. 1239-1268). This article acts as an anthropological complement to Kubiks more musicological text, covering a wide range of music cultures in Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Surinam, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and Uruguay.
Pelinskis piece on the diasporic migration of the tango raises interesting issues of ethnicity, identity and authenticity. I do not agree with the authors qualification of Piazzolla as postmodern (whatever that really means3) but there are enough facts and ideas in this article to make it worth reading. By way of a personal parenthesis for Finns and tango fans, allow me to add that Pelinski mentions the Finnish town of Seinäjoki and its tango festival. It was in Seinäjoki that I discovered, in the early nineties and to my great delight, a complete row of nationally produced tango cassettes in a rack at a local gas station small world! Pelinski has, it seems in other words, covered his topic in some detail.
Macchiarellas contribution on Ethnic music and entertainment (pp. 1304-1321) may partly be an example of what Frith (see above) calls the folk discourse the Sardinians and Corsicans sticking faithfully to their tradition being the good guys but it does provide useful information about relatively unfamiliar music cultures and their values, as well as insights into such important phenomena as the effects of tourism on the Portuguese fado. The paragraph on Amália Rodriguez (p. 1315) is, I think, concise and particularly instructive.
World music and world beat by Deborah Pacini Hernandez (pp. 1322-1334) is yet another highlight in Part 4 of this volume. Short and sweet, this article deals clearly and succinctly with all the major issues of the problematic terms of the contributions title, making it quite clear that cultural mixture and contamination are the everyday norm, not some kind of problematic postmodern exception, for most people in most parts of the world. It is certainly the local reality in which I live in this district of Montreal (Côtes-des-Neiges). The crisis-of-modernism plot is nowhere to be found, neither here nor in Pacinis article.
Another interesting contribution comes from Dominique Olivier (pp. 1335-1346) who writes about the music festival at Victoriaville (Québec) which features contemporary alternative music (artists such as Fred Frith, The Kalahari Surfers, etc.). This music cannot be dubbed contemporary, thanks to the hijacking of this term by the devotees of Darmstadt and to the fact that the artists involved are usually more influenced by Zappa than by Stockhausen: musique actuelle (= topical music) is the clever term the Victoriaville organisers came up with. Still, it is a pity that Olivier does not compare notes with Italian (e.g. Stormy Six), Swedish (e.g. Zamla Mammas Manna) or British (e.g. Chris Cutler) exponents of alternative rock, nor with their organisational base (LOrchestra, Musiknätet Waxholm, Rock Against Racism/Recommended Records) because, at least in those three countries, in the seventies and early eighties, experimental bands were more concerned about their reception in popular music circles rather than with how they were perceived by the cultural establishment. Such comparison would have contributed even more substantially to the notion, expressed in this volume not only by Olivier himself but also by Nattiez and Molino, that high and low, classical and popular, are totally inadequate dichotomies for the categorisation of musical practices, of their evaluation and, consequently, of their financing.
Glenn Goulds text from the early sixties, Reflections on the creative process (pp. 1379-1391) made me reach for his recordings. Permeated with a tone of controlled humanist sanity, Gould expresses a firm belief in musical openness and moderation. His article calmly but firmly criticises innovation angst and posits a dynamic balance between imitation and originality as prerequisites for the progress and enjoyment of music. Superficially, Goulds text has nothing to do with my own specialities (popular music, film music, etc.) but in one sense the Canadian classical pianist says it all, because his careful dialectic about tradition and renewal applies to both sides of the strange divide which this volume has clearly sought to bridge.
Only two of the ten articles in Part 4 struck me as problematic: Tamasuza on Contemporary art music in Africa (pp. 1292-1303) and Rea on Postmodernism(s) (pp. 1347-1378). I struggled with the former because, to polarise the issue, I had witnessed, at Accra in 1987, how termite ants had reduced the Ghana Arts Centre grand piano to a rubble of no more than its ivory and metal components. I had also had to express, a few years earlier as external examiner, reservations about the Eurocentric art music values applied by an African postgraduate at a European university to the musics of his home country. Although Tamasuza, on the contrary, emphasises the essentiality of African music traditions to African art music composers, he avoids, I think, a cardinal question that needs to be explicitly addressed: what is the point of creating African variants of art music à leuropéenne, especially if, as Tamasuza himself states (p. 1302), it is mainly in Western countries that you can hear contemporary African art music? Is it really just to establish an African presence in the niche market of Eurocentric contemporary music? Or is it to further enrich, by interacting on a broad basis with the traditional and popular musics of the continent, the already rich musical life of Africa? If so, how should that process be put into action? Moreover, is there really, in the whole of sub-Saharan Africa, not even an approximate existing equivalent to the European notion of art music? Cant griots, for example, as bearers of time-honoured musical traditions, be in some sense regarded as representing one such equivalent? Furthermore, if the importation of external art music is considered desirable, why not choose another model, say, one of the learned traditions of the Arab world or of the Indian subcontinent? Surely the Tunisian nouba, for example, is no further away from the musical reality of peoples south of the desert than are the offerings of European contemporary music, despite centuries of colonisation? Or have I missed the point altogether? Despite these unanswered questions, Tamasuzas article is informative and provides insights into important questions of musical value in different cultural environments. The very fact that his text raises so many questions in this European readers head definitely warrants, I believe, its inclusion in the encyclopaedia.
With John Reas Postmodernism(s) the encyclopaedia reverts to the crisis-of-modernism plot that permeated several contributions to Part 1. Although fun to read in parts and spiced with some amusing but pertinent observations (e.g. the 7.5 cm speaker test, pp. 1362-1364), this rather rambling text implicitly posits, in my view, a restricted and, in some respects, authoritarian view of the world. For example, to qualify as pornophony (pp. 1373-1375) all music that immediately cuts to the chase Dont bore us, cut to the chorus: what use is boredom in a pop song?, as Fabbri (1998) put it , assumes, from an extremely conservative European art music standpoint, that the only valid parameters of musical expression are extensional rather than intensional (Chester, 1970). The bizarre implication here is that cyclic repetition containing complexities of timbre and rhythm, as in riff-based rock4 or as in a twenty-four-unit polymetric cycle from West Africa (see Nketia, 1975: 125-138), is so base as to warrant the prefix porno. I am aware that views like this still hold currency in certain circles but I question the wisdom of including such sad ignorance in an authoritative encyclopaedia, unless the intention is to document any old opinion in circulation at the time of going to press. In short, pornophony may be a suggestive neologism (bravo!) but it needs handling with much greater care.
Nattiezs final text, which acts as a theoretical summary of the whole volume, is definitely worth reading. Predictions of the present takes L. B. Meyers pretty accurate 1967 prophecy of the immediate future as a starting point (see above) to establish some Principles of a method [of prediction, as well as of understanding the processes of music history - P.T.] in which intramusical or intrastylistic (intrinsèque) and extramusical or extrastylistic (extrinsèque) processes of history need to be factored in. While I definitely agree with the general drift and direction of Nattiez text (pp. 1392-1418), it is, I think, necessary and coherent with the spirit of his text, to pick up on just three points of minor contention.
There is, in the first instance (p. 1397), a need to differentiate between Marxism and vulgar Marxism, the former ascribing relative autonomy (Garofalo, 1986) to the production and use of symbols (including music) in society, while the latter mechanistically applies the crude, one-way base/superstructure model that was so popular among student radicals in the late sixties and early seventies. It is clear that Nattiez is rightly criticising the latter and I mention this point only because, with the increasing popularity of regressive ideologies (e.g. the Christian right in the USA) and with the almost monolithic hegemony of neo-liberalism in many parts of the world, it would be irresponsible to throw out dialectical Marxism, including its use in understanding music history,5 the baby with the bath water of its vulgar variants. I insist on this point mainly because our students are going to need every possible conceptual tool of any use if they are to have the slightest chance of finding ways to improve their own lot and to exert positive influence on the future development of music. In the pages that follow, Nattiez, drawing on Meyer and on the history of European art music by way of illustration, provides the reader with what I interpret, partially at least, as a pretty (non-vulgar) Marxist account of the complex dialectic between stylistic and social change (pp. 1398-1401). In other words, my critique here concerns not Nattiez narrative as a whole but a particular point of terminology and its far-reaching political implications.
The second quibble I have is with the statement that it is possible to explain [structurally - P.T.] tonality from Bach to Wagner, even as far as Morricone, on the basis of the trinity tonic-dominant-tonic (p. 1398). From Bach to Wagner, even as far as Charlie Parker and Dizzie Gillespie, yes, but Morricone, no, or only partially. For example, the B section of the theme from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) may contain its fair share of modulation and V-I movement but no standard subdominants or dominants are anywhere to be heard in its dorian and minor-pentatonic A section. Similarly, while the main themes for 1900 (1974) or The Mission (1986) are, for obvious dramaturgical reasons, conceived in the idiom of Euroclassical tertial6 harmony and its V-I directionality, other cues from the same films are atonal, for instance I nuovi crociati for the fascists in 1900 or the music, resembling Pendereckis Thrénodie pour Hiroshima, which underscores the cardinals fateful letter at the start of The Mission.
The third and final point of contention I have with Nattiez closing article deals, like the first of these three, with implications of terminology. I refer here to Meyers and Nattiez use of ordinals (p. 1412) to designate categories which cannot logically be ordered either chronologically (first, second) or hierarchically (primary, secondary), or which, when so ordered according to one set of criteria, contradict the order of elements when arranged according to other criteria. For example, in the late nineties, Richard Middleton (2000) abandoned his initial use of primary and secondary as qualifiers of musical signification (Middleton, 1990) because, if I understand him correctly and to cut a long story short, primary signification (mainly somatic) is just as likely to be a consequence of secondary signification (mainly connotative) as vice versa. Put simply, the adjectives somatic and connotative denote much more efficiently the qualities of the phenomena to which they are applied than do mere ordinals: be they sequential (first, second) or hierarchical (primary, secondary), ordinals are at best vague and abstract, at worst misleading or even false. The same argument can be applied to Meyers and Nattiez categorisation of certain tonal aspects of music as primary parameters, while matters of timbre, tempo, dynamics, register, beat and contour (among others - P.T.) are categorised as secondary. Now, I strongly suspect that neither Meyer nor Nattiez hold the former to be literally or automatically of primary importance and the latter to be of merely secondary interest, even if those are the adjectives they actually use. However, this means that, if my suspicion has any grounds, I have to ask why their terminology fails to denote what they really mean. To be flippant, its a bit like the old joke number joke in which one comedian approaches another and, referring to a particular joke, says 164, whereupon the second comedian bursts into laughter and retorts 73, causing equal merriment on the part of his interlocutor. This joke about the inadequacy of a number (as the signifier) to designate an actual joke (as the signified) relies entirely on the commonsense assumption that mere numerals, cardinal or ordinal, are incapable of denoting anything meaningful to anyone except an abstract mathematician. Of course, it is different with numbers 1 and 2 in everyday semantics, because first and primary invariably precede, or take precedence over, second and secondary (e.g. first/second child, time, priority, choice; primary/secondary education, importance, reason, motivation). The real problem here is that readers obliged to conceptualise parameters of musical expression according to these ordinals can hardly be expected to guess that, in the case of Meyer and Nattiez, they may in fact denote neither chronological nor hierarchical precedence. I regret that I cannot provide an alternative to primary and secondary as applied by Meyer and Nattiez because I am not convinced that the two categories, however they are labelled, are taxonomically reliable. Why, for example, are register and contour not included in the tonal parameters? Why are not all temporal aspects (tempo, metre, rhythm, surface rate, etc.) lumped together in one category and tonal aspects grouped together with contour, register and timbre in another? Why are not a whole host of other combinations equally feasible?
Although the three issues just discussed fall outside the account of structure and content that I promised to deliver, I have chosen to include such discussion in order to demonstrate two points: (i) that it is possible to criticise parts of a text and to agree in general with the ideas presented in that text; (ii) that it is both possible and necessary, as well as the editors stated aim, to provoke serious discussion and critical thinking about (thinking about) music at a time of considerable upheaval. The three issues just raised are intended as contributions to that kind of debate.
One point of particular importance in Nattiez final text is that we need to take a fresh look at our own music history and to question conventional assumptions about its processes. As Nattiez (paraphrasing Meyer, p. 1401), puts it, if the notion of change is fundamental to the history of Western civilisation since the Renaissance, we need to understand why. Indeed: how do European notions of discovery, expansion, colonisation, scientific progress, capital accumulation and an ever-increasing BNP relate to developments in harmony, modulation and narrative syntax between, say, 1450 and 1950? How can any of these notions, musical or otherwise, be sustained when every territory and its people have been discovered and/or conquered? There is no doubt that music scholars could make a substantial contribution to understanding aspects of shared subjectivity that are central to the sort of macro-processes just mentioned.
I also thoroughly share the editors final optimism for the future of music on the planet (p. 1418), not least because of the multiplicity of aesthetic and cultural norms currently in circulation. Indeed, reverting to the historical perspective of the previous paragraph, it is perhaps worth noting that there would likely have been no Viennese classicism without Austrians, Germans, Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Hungarians and Italians rubbing shoulders in the Habsburg melting pot, no Liverpool sound without working mens clubs, hymns, skiffle, dance clubs, merchant seamen returning with recordings from North America, members of the US forces stationed near the city during World War II, Welsh choirs or Irish pubs. The only difference today is that the melting pots are even more complex and much larger, some of them global.
Hans-Jakob Zanetti7 is responsible for the very last contribution to the volume (pp. 1418-1423). Writing his introduction to the 28th compu-edition of the encyclopaedia in 2045, Zanetti slates Nattiez for being so wrong in his 2003 predictions and gives the reader a brief music history of the intervening years. This history is more utopian than dystopian, apart from Zanettis fears of the consequences of genetic manipulation in the interests of musical eugenics. Zanetti thinks its fine to cross the DNA from Berios hair or teeth with those of Umberto Eco, even those of Callas and/or Pavarotti with Michael Jacksons, but he warns strongly for the disastrous information short circuit that would be triggered by crossing Nono with Boulez.8
It should be clear so far that Volume 1 of Musics: an encyclopedia for the 21st century is a stimulating and useful book containing a wealth of ideas and information that deal with an exceptionally wide range of topics and approaches. Readers are kindly asked to bear this overwhelmingly positive impression in mind during any passages of critique that may follow.
The volume under review is extremely well presented and laid-out, using an attractive and easily legible font. Since the numerous pages are printed on thin but sturdy opaque paper, the book is light and compact enough to pop into a bag and carry around. It is also properly bound and shows very little sign of the abuse to which it has been subjected during this long review process as it slipped on the floor and was carted from study to bathroom to kitchen to bedroom, left open cover up or cover down, scrawled in, thumbed through and generally mishandled. The book still even opens and lies flat at any page. Publishers and binders are to be sincerely congratulated for providing the user with all those excellent features. Moreover, the volume is carefully edited and contains very few typos, although I have to mention just one: Nipper, the little white dog on the HMV logo, is referred to as Nigger (p. 444).
In fact, only one aspect of the volumes presentation to the user seems to me to be at all problematic: the restriction of index entries to personal names only. Now, having recently spent over a month generating and editing the 6000-entry index to a 900-page book, I am painfully aware of the extra work and expense that producing a comprehensive index to a substantial volume entails. Nevertheless, a full subject and proper-name index does not just help the reviewer find who said x about y on which page (something that would have saved me a lot of time); it also helps users access ideas and information about particular topics, styles, places, approaches and a whole host of other phenomena whose placement in this volume is anything but self-evident. Although the 14-page table of contents gives a rough idea of what each section and contribution contains, it is virtually impossible to access the interesting things all the excellent authors in the volume have to say about a particular subject. Take rebetiko, for example. The name of this famous Greek genre is not in the index, nor can it be found in a subheading under the Song article in the Other music section of the table of contents, even though that article discusses rebetiko in some detail (p. 689). However, rebetiko does appear in a subheading under the Ethnic music and entertainment article in the Part 4 section of the table of contents. That, frankly, is confusing. In fact, I think it is a real shame that the encyclopaedia, through its lack of comprehensive index, does not provide this sort of reference function because, given the quality of the volumes content and the originality of its conception, users are unable to access interesting perspectives on their particular topic which are less likely to appear in more conventional reference works. If a complete index to the whole encyclopaedia were to appear once all five volumes have appeared, I would buy it immediately.
One other small improvement to the volume would be to provide a very short biography of each contributor to the volume in order to give readers a greater chance of deducing each authors potential agenda (intrigue).
The general standard of contributions to the volume is high, in many cases excellent, in some even outstanding. Nevertheless, I think it may be useful to discuss a few issues about its general structure. It is not easy to explain these problems, even more difficult to solve them, since their discussion involves consideration of not only a multitude of topics, approaches and agendas, but also of what is and what is not, for a variety of reasons, practically feasible. I will deal with the feasibility aspect last, since it is an essential factor in assessing the value of the work under review.
I have singled out three main symptoms of the problems to which I just referred, all of which have been mentioned en passant; (i) the recurrent crisis-of-modernism theme; (ii) the proportion of the volume devoted exclusively to European art music; (iii) the omission of a few essential points in the history of music in the twentieth century. These three general symptoms are interrelated and may have, as we shall see, causes that mainly relate to feasibility. They are nevertheless worth discussing one by one.
This short section will need to start with a declaration of personal agenda because, although I have had my share of other crises, I have personally experienced no crisis of modernism. I have seen others suffer from it, seen them battle with Adorno and agonise about losing their authenticity or high-art originality cred, while I stood by wondering what all the commotion was about. Even as a young man, I was incapable of taking anyone seriously who, like Adorno (1941), saw fit to criticise the music most people listened to and who poured scorn on both the music and the people without apparently knowing the first thing about either of them. Nor have I harboured any avant-garde ambitions, especially having been treated, after winning quite a prestigious composition competition in 1962, as some promising young freak of musical innovation (I had not even thought about innovating, let alone tried to be innovative). In fact, such was the alienation I felt at the time that I have since composed not a single work of art music. In no way do I regret this turn of events in my life; on the contrary, I still thank my lucky stars that I have not had to deal with the often petty coteries of a self-styled cultural élite, but this experience does mean that I still have difficulty in grasping, even intellectually, let alone empathetically, what all the modernism anguish is about. Of course, these subjective aspects of my personal agenda are just tiny surface phenomena of much deeper issues of class, identity, values and ethics that are too far-reaching to be discussed here, but those surface phenomena will, I hope, at least partly clarify my reservations about the amount of space devoted to the crisis of modernism in an authoritative work on twentieth-century music, a work whose conception so clearly goes well beyond the particular concerns of just one of many cultural minorities. Is the crisis of modernism really such a central issue? If so, and if not for me, then for who, exactly? Certainly not for any author contributing to Part 2 of the volume (Other musics), nor for the majority of those writing in Parts 3 or 4, nor apparently for Morricone, Schafer or Gould, at least if my reading of their texts is anything to go by.
Among the contributions by the three musicians just mentioned, the only possible hint of problems relating to the crisis of modernism comes from Morricone. Answering to the accusation that his use of contemporary dissonance exclusively in film scenes of tension (pain, threat, horror, suspense, mystery etc.) does disservice to his colleagues in the avant-garde camp, he replies:
With the great classical masters, dissonance always has an expressive function. Using music in this way [in film] surely accustoms the ears of the audience [to unfamiliar sounds], which in my view favours the spread of contemporary music to a mass audience. (Morricone, p. 802, freely translated).
In this short statement Morricone hits two nails on the head. Firstly, dissonance in film music is one of many means of expression at the composers disposal, not a poïetic or aesthetic imperative. Secondly, mass audiences are much more familiar with dissonant music than misunderstood avantgardists tend to believe. Almost everybody in the Western world recognises Herrmanns famous bweep-bweep music for the shower scene in Hitchcocks Psycho (1960) and children chant the semitones and diminished fourths of Maurice Constants Twilight Zone TV jingle (1959) without batting an eyelid. This dissonant music, as well as Ligetis Atmosphères (1961) or the third movement from Bartóks Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta (1937), used in Kubiks 2001 (1968) and The Shining (1980) respectively, have all become popular public property. Nor would it be accurate to characterise the music of, say, Komeda (Polanskis Rosemarys Baby, 1968), Crumb (Friedkins The Exorcist, 1973) or Henze (Schlöndorffs Die verlorene Ehe der Katharina Blum, 1975), to name but three, as totally unfamiliar to a mass audience.
The two perspectives just presented lead me to suggest that, while it may be essential to include in-depth discussion of the crisis of modernism in one or two contributions devoted specifically to the problems of twentieth-century European art music, the amount of space allotted to the matter is out of proportion to all the other minority, not to mention majority, issues covered in Parts 2-4 of the volume. This opinion clearly segues into the next point of discussion.
Assuming my readership to be more substantially of the art than other music persuasion, I will need to preface this section with a second (and final) declaration of personal agenda.
Having abandoned a promising but, as it then seemed to me, mind-numbingly claustrophobic career as composer of modern music, I served an unpaid (actually loss-making) apprenticeship on keyboards with a number of bands (soul, mainstream jazz, R&B, rock), singing backing vocals, writing songs (very little actual writing) and co-producing a couple of albums. With a formal education that included such joys as deciphering lute tablature and instructions to complete this motet in the style of Palestrina, I was, in 1971, the only person with the necessary formal qualifications to apply for, and to be offered, what has to be one of the first jobs teaching popular music in tertiary education (try and work out the logic of those events!). Being the popular music expert in institutions whose musical repertoire in one sense constitutes the publicly subsidised icing on the cake of a largely non-art-music extramural reality (which, incidentally, includes the music, just mentioned, by Bartók, Ligeti, Crumb, Henze, Herrmann and Morricone), though not an unpleasant situation, sometimes borders on the surreal. To be a scholar of the music of the popular majority in institutions devoted overwhelmingly to the music of a minority means accepting the fact of being an exception to an exception to the rule. Accepting this incongruous yet incontrovertible institutional fact, however, does not imply acceptance of the intellectual, educational, ethical, artistic or aesthetic implications of that status quo and its historical ballast. With a foot in both the art and popular camps from as early as I can remember, I have found such dualisms of alterity to be major stumbling blocks, not only to my own development as a musician and scholar, but, more importantly, to the development of a musicology that goes well beyond the purely formalist, archivist or value-aesthetic concerns of colleagues still stuck in the mud of modernism, Adorno, absolute music or Tönend bewegte Formen.
It should be evident from earlier sections of this review that Parts 2, 3 and 4 of this encyclopaedia volume transgress the boundaries of conventional musicology by a broad margin. My only concern is whether the volume as a whole does so sufficiently. For example, was it really necessary to disqualify the musics of most people in most of the world as other? Used in such a context, other inevitably implies different, unfamiliar, foreign (alienus),9 thereby implying a one, representing, I assume, the ideas in Part 1 of the volume. Now, having just witnessed the second part of my personal agenda, no reader will be surprised if I express, as exception to the exception to the rule which I have both practised and studied (the popular), my disapproval of being labelled other, especially since I have also both practised and studied the exception that sets itself up as the norm (the Euroclassical One) in this curious dualism of alterity. More importantly, though, it is not just that I personally object to being split into two (a One and an Other, whichever is seen as which from whichever standpoint), but that large parts of the volume, including Nattiez own contributions, not to mention his research activities (Wagner and the Inuit, Boulez and Uganda), salutarily ignore the implications of the tired old dichotomy between a Euroclassical Us or One and all those Others Them. It is, in the context of this review, primarily from this perspective that I find the label given to Part 2 Other musics incongruous.
It seems probable that a practical problem of structure and proportion may lie behind Part 2s unhappy label because Part 1 not only starts and sets the tone of the volume as a whole but also occupies 40% of its total page space. Its initial position and very size determine its status as point de départ and reference point, as the One from which the Other diverges. It is, so to speak, the main theme in the home key even though, to continue this far-fetched metaphor, the book is definitely not in sonata form. The B theme (Part 2), despite its internal variety, is clearly in the relative major but the A theme, in the tonic minor of course, never fully recapitulates. In fact, Parts 3 and 4 more closely resemble an ongoing development section followed by an open-ended coda. I will shortly return, in a less frivolous manner, to what appears to be Volume 1s grand narrative, after discussing the last of the three issues of structure and proportion.
Of course, no work, however ambitious or encyclopaedic, can ever be exhaustive. Nor is any aspect of a review more frustrating than having to read, as author, that what you have written is fine as far as it goes, but that x or y should have been discussed, even though you had no intention or good reason to deal with either topic. What follows next does not belong to this category of irrelevant critique because Volume 1 of Musiques is amazingly informative and because I am convinced that major topics not covered in the book will surely appear in volumes 2-5. I am more concerned with the fact that a few key issues in the history of twentieth-century music are hidden away as discrete details in individual contributions dispersed throughout the volume and that their combined overall impact on developments during the last century does not come to light. To save time and space, I will merely list three missing big pictures.
Some of the individual elements in each of these key developments can be found, as I suggested, scattered among various articles in the volume. In my view, it would have been useful to include one or two articles summarising the multiplicity of factors behind the momentous changes just listed. This suggestion begs at least two questions: whose vision of which twentieth-century musics should determine which developments are most important and what kind of readership is expected?
In order to concretise the relative feasibility of different alternative views of the musics of the twentieth century in the volume under review, it is necessary to first address one final issue of content and structure concerning the problems of its Part 1. This part is called Research and tendencies but, as the editor states (pp. 59-60), it concerns research and tendencies relating solely to Western art music. This editorial restriction is motivated, as we recounted earlier, by the opinion that the fusion of Western art music with commercial music [...] is a recent phenomenon which does not merit that the latter be included in a general account of twentieth-century music as a whole. Readers of this review will not be surprised to discover that I strongly contest this opinion for a number of reasons. I will restrict this critique to two major issues.
The second of these two issues provides the clearest key to the problem because film music is not only marginalised in most conventional institutions of musical learning; it is also treated as a bit of an outsider in the institutionalised study of popular music (Tagg & Clarida, 2003: 29-32). Since it is neither the Euroclassical One nor the popular Other in fact it causes more confusion because it is both (popular music scholars, please reverse the alterity poles), it just does not fit the historical default categories of musical institutionalisation in the West. The fact that music for the moving image spans the whole century and the widest range of styles of any twentieth-century area of musical production of which I am aware does not seem to enter into the equation, even though its placement in Volume 1 is central. These observations lead me to believe that another strategy is at work in the book, one which may produce the evident anomalies just mentioned, but which does not contradict the implications of those observations, nor the overall agenda of the volume.
Continuing from where I dropped the sonata-form analogy, it seems to me that Volume 1 of the encyclopaedia takes a pragmatic starting point by at least appearing to accept the institutional status quo. After all, seats of musical learning still mainly tend to focus on some variant of the Euroclassical canon, and it is through such seats of learning that the majority of the books current readership are likely to pass. Hence it is strategic to make these readers feel at home from the outset, to ensure they are supplied with enough familiar material, and not to upset them too much. From this secure starting point, such readers may, I suppose, be more willing to venture out into what to them must seem like strange (alien/other) territory and to be confronted with unfamiliar ideas and challenging, perhaps even scary, perspectives. Volume 1, it seems to me, is constructed according this sort of narrative: art-music readers can meander around in their home territory for some time (the crisis-of-modernism theme in the minor tonic, following the silly sonata-form metaphor), then leave it to see a multitude of new people and places, never to entirely return (the B theme, the ongoing development section, the absence of a full recap and the open-ended coda). Since the vast majority of contributions in Parts 2 through 4 are so informative, well-written and thought-provoking, I think the intelligent reader is unlikely ever to regress to a permanent life in the parental fold. In this sense alone, Volume 1 of Musics is without doubt an invaluable and progressive educational tool.
Therefore, even if my notion of macro-processes in twentieth-century music is correct, it could well alienate the kind of reader that would be more willing to widen his/her horizons by consulting Volume 1 as it is. Of course, like such a reader, I must admit to preferring views of the world that resemble my own and my only remaining question is whether a future readership will feel more at home with my vision or with Volume 1s vision of twentieth-century music. To illustrate this point, let me briefly refer to a recent conversation I had with a first-year undergraduate whose band I had gone to hear at a local venue. Discussing their performance, either he or I referred to Frank Zappa, Larry Graham (funk bass player), Karlheinz Stockhausen and James Jameson (Motown bass session man) in the space of a few minutes. It felt neither strange, nor provocative (and certainly not postmodern!) to mention in the same breath musicians who would have been syphoned off into separate departments of the encyclopaedia. It was not until I found myself alone at the bus stop outside and started to think about trying to finish this review that the contradiction actually hit me. Even if there is still a single dominant canon in most seats of musical learning, its hegemonic status is being challenged in an increasing number of institutions, partly because students passing through the system have grown up in the kind of musical world envisaged by Meyer in 1967. In short, I think Nattiez Volume 1 is a daring enterprise that goes a long way to opening up new possibilities for thinking about music. I just think it would not hurt to have been even more daring. Whatever the merits of either strategy, it is very encouraging to read such a substantial volume and to realise, not least thanks to major portions of its editorial manifesto, that, even though its point of departure may be quite different from my own, its destination seems to be auspiciously similar.
There is, of course, much more to Volume 1 of Musics than I have been able to summarise or discuss here. The fact that it has caused me to ask so many questions, to criticise and argue, is in itself ample proof of its value. It has informed me, amused me, fascinated me, involved me, provoked me and annoyed me, but it has rarely bored me. The excellent articles I intend to put on reading lists (see above) will save me a lot of work and hopefully educate the students that read them. If Volume 1 is anything to go by, I will definitely invest in volumes 2 through 5, not to mention the index volume to the whole set, if and when that is produced. The encyclopaedia should be on the shelves of any self-respecting music library and it is strongly recommended to anybody who reads Italian or French, who is interested in music (be it the One or the Other, or, hopefully, both) and whose mind is not totally rusted up.
Incidentally, I sincerely hope an English-language edition is being planned...
ADORNO, Theodor W (1941). On Popular Music. On Record (ed. S. Frith, A. Goodwin: 301-314). London: Routledge (1990; first published in Studies in Philosophy and Social Science, 9)
CHESTER, Andrew (1970) Second Thoughts on a Rock Aesthetic: The Band. On Record (ed. S. Frith, A. Goodwin: 315-319). London: Routledge (1990; first published in New Left Review, 67, 1970).
FABBRI, Franco (1998). Dont Bore Us - Get to the Chorus: serve la `noia alle canzoni? Musical Signification Between Rhetoric and Pragmatics (ed. G. Stefani, E. Tarasti, L. Marconi: 103-114). Bologna: CLUEB.
FLOROS, Constantin (1987a). Gustav Mahler, Bd.1: Die geistige Welt Gustav Mahlers in systematischer Darstellung . Wiesbaden: Breitkopf & Härtel.
FORD, Charles (1991). Così? Sexual politics in Mozarts operas. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
GAROFALO, Reebee (1986). How Autonomous is Relative? Popular Music, The Social Formation and Cultural Struggle (1). Göteborg: Musikvetenskapliga institutionen.
HAUG, Wolfgang Fritz (1975). Kritik av varuestetiken. Stockholm: Pan / Nordstedts (first published in 1971 as Kritik der Warenästhetik, Frankfurt-am-Main: Suhrkamp),
LING, Jan (1989). Musik som klassisk konst. En 1700-talsidé som blev klassisk. Frihetens former - en vänbok till Sven-Eric Liedman: 171-187. Lund: Arkiv.
LISSA, Zofia (1965). Ästhetik der Filmmusik. Berlin: Henschelverlag.
MIDDLETON, Richard (1990). Studying Popular Music. Buckingham: Open University Press.
(2000). Editors introduction. Reading Pop. Approaches to Textual Analysis in Popular Music: v-vi. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
NKETIA, J. H. Kwabena (1975). The Music of Africa. London: Gollancz.
TAGG, Philip (1996). Mass Media Music Studies versus `The Other (symposium `Music and Life-world. Otherness and Transgression in the Culture of the 20th Century). http://tagg.org/articles/cascais.html.
& CLARIDA, Bob (2003). Ten Little Title Tunes. New York & Montreal: Mass Media Music Scholars Press.
4. For example Piazza degli affari by Stormy Six, on Al volo (1982, reissued on CD Fonit Cetra 2113, 1996); Shoot To Thrill by AC/DC, on Back in Black (1980, CD reissue Atlantic 7567-81472-2, 1990); I Aint The One by Lynyrd Skynyrd (1977, CD reissue The Essential Lynyrd Skynyrd, MCA MCD 11807, 1998).
5. By the dialectical understanding of music history I mean in this context the ability to explain why, how, to what extent and over what period of time a musical style relates to the socio-economic context in which it exists, which influences it and which it influences, either by prefiguring social change, by echoing it, by accompanying it, or by not changing at all, or by changing when no social change is evident.
6. It is necessary to distinguish between triadic and tertial in the same way as between tetradic and quartal. Please see pp. 7-8, ff. in Taggs Harmony Handout for an explanation of this anomaly of conventional music theory terminology (http://tagg.org/articles/xpdfs/harmonyhandout.pdf).
8. Allow me to suggest an alternative reading of 21st-century music history, by Ta Feili (Guangzhou, 2104, 6 pp.) at http://tagg.org/articles/xpdfs/C21Hist0401.pdf.
9. See Tagg (1996).
10. Milhaud, Satie, Honegger, Shostakovich, Britten, Copland, Prokofiev, Crumb and Henze all wrote film music. Korngold studied with Mahler, Steiner with Fuchs, Tiomkin with Glazunov and Rózsa with Honegger. Waxman, Herrmann, Goldsmith, North, Morricone and a whole host of other famous film composers are all conservatory trained. Is that too little art music to qualify as One rather than Other? How is it possible to think of, for example, Steiners incorporation of Hupfelds As Time Goes By into the score for Casablanca (1943) as recent or as not constituting fusion? The same question could be asked of the way Tiomkin uses his own Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darling in High Noon (1952) or of almost any score produced by Rota (e.g. The Glass Mountain, 1948) or Morricone (e.g. For a Fistful of Dollars, 1964), just to mention a few examples that would be difficult to qualify as recent.