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Categorizing SoundGenre and Twentieth-Century Popular Music$
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David Brackett

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780520248717

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520248717.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 23 September 2019

Introduction

Introduction

They Never Even Knew

Chapter:
(p.1) 1 Introduction
Source:
Categorizing Sound
Author(s):

David Brackett

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520248717.003.0001

This chapter examines the concept of genre through an array of theoretical lenses. The first point is that music genres are relational: they are defined by their similarity to and difference from other genres. The chapter then advocates for a genealogical approach to history, with an emphasis on the conditions of a genre’s emergence. Other concepts explored are the importance of scale or level in understanding how genres function as assemblages; that authorship in genres arises from collective dialogue among participants in a “genre world”; and that genre functions through repetition and difference in a process of iteration or citation. The latter half of the chapter proposes a model for a range of possible relationships between musical categories and group identities. The chapter closes with a discussion of the importance of “crossover” for understanding music-identity relations, and of the role that music industry popularity charts will play in the book.

Keywords:   genre, genealogy, historicism, authorship, assemblage, iterative, crossover, popularity charts

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