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Music and the Elusive RevolutionCultural Politics and Political Culture in France, 1968-1981$
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Eric Drott

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780520268968

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520268968.001.0001

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Contemporary Music, Animation, and Cultural Democratization

Contemporary Music, Animation, and Cultural Democratization

(p.203) Chapter 5 Contemporary Music, Animation, and Cultural Democratization
Music and the Elusive Revolution

Eric Drott

University of California Press

This chapter examines efforts to bring contemporary music to the masses, paying particular attention to how they evolved in tandem with discourses and practices of animation musicale. The narrative traced here unfolds along two separate but crisscrossing paths: those of cultural policy and compositional practice. In both cases, the actors involved, be they policy makers or composers, had to balance social demands with their own professional and political interests. For composers, it was necessary in the wake of May '68 to put an end to contemporary music's identification with social and cultural elites. It was this imperative that motivated a number of endeavors, including Luc Ferrari's efforts to propagate an amateur practice of musique concrète, the children's operas produced by the Atelier lyrique du Rhin, and Georges Aperghis's work in the banlieues of Paris. For policy makers within the center-right governments that governed France until 1981, it was necessary to demonstrate that the state's interventions on behalf of the arts were not simply a matter of shoring up “bourgeois culture” but acted in the interests of the entire French polity. For musical and political actors alike, consensus about the need for cultural democratization masked differences in what this phrase meant and how it was to be realized. Indeed, the project of making artistic practice more accessible raised as many questions as it answered.

Keywords:   animation musicale, cultural policy, compositional practice, composers, policy makers, cultural democratization

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