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Nate Bunnyfield

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[Feb. 26th, 2007|04:57 pm]
Nate Bunnyfield

There is no entry for Constrained Musicking.
Also there is no entry for Musicking.

[User Picture]From: cervantes02
2007-03-03 09:14 pm (UTC)

Constraint complaint

No, however aleatoric music is discussed briefly, and the extension of the concept of a lipogram to music is easily infered (i.e. no use of the C note). So, why don't you write the article?

This is assuming I am correctly understanding your use of the term musicking.

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From: natebunnyfield
2007-03-03 10:53 pm (UTC)

Re: Constraint complaint

Yeah, that was actually a musicology joke disguised as a silly linguistic joke.


First there's the term "musicking" itself, introduced in Music of the Common Tongue to underline Small's thesis that music is always an activity rather than a thing, but now, promoted as a title, showing up all over McClary's wing of academia and eventually, you bet, journalistic discourse as well. And then there's Small's climactic point, which is that music's ultimate function isn't to order time, that industrial fallacy, but to provide insight into relationships: between and among notes and chords and rhythms and meters and many other classes of sound, and also musicians and listeners, composers and conductors (not to mention producers and a&r folk, DJs and critics). As Small demonstrates vividly by outlining a few sample "secondary" and "tertiary" relationships in numbingly tortuous words, it's a very efficient way to embody and sum up relatedness, which is the essence of social if not human life. Thus, music becomes as integral to mental health as music chauvinists are forever claiming it is.

Small takes care to define "musicking" as broadly and kindly as possible. The concept definitely encompasses dancing and listening--a girl with a Walkman is one of his prime examples. But like so many pop sympathizers with folk affinities--I think of Robert Palmer in Rock & Roll: An Unruly History, of Robert Cantwell in Bluegrass Breakdown, and especially of Charles Keil, who's made a mission of teaching elementary schoolers and frat-rat klutzes to play the drums--he's enamored of live performance and suspicious of recordings. As is my practice, I brought a few CDs I thought would be down his alley to our meeting--alt-rappers Blackalicious, the glorious Senegalese Music in My Head. Small declined to put them on. In fact, he told me, he doesn't do much listening these days, certainly not to anything unfamiliar, although once in a while someone comes along and gives him a kick. Instead he spends extensive musicking time playing the piano as well as he can (better than he admits, I bet)--Mozart's sonatas have been a special revelation recently. And although he's working on a lecture he's been asked to deliver in New Zealand, he told me he has no plans for another book. After all, if past performance is any indicator, it wouldn't come out till he's 80.

And writing an article on something I don't know anything about is well outside my comfort zone.
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