Howard Becker’s theory for the sociology of art (including music) revolves around the simple, and often overlooked fact, “All artistic work, like all human activity, involves the joint activity of a number, often a large number, of people.” Among Becker’s writing about music, he presents an idea that I find is still relevant today, namely, that sociological and ethnomusicological work seem to be two hands of a single body that have little idea of what each other are doing. Drawing on the work of scholars such as Becker and Kay Kaufman Shelemay, I propose a model for the construction of the music event that highlights the relationship among the many systems behind the musical experience. I provide a case study of Inuit throat singing to demonstrate the effectiveness of this model in trying to explore the relationships among music, culture, and society.
The seed for this chapter was planted during the Graduate Seminar in Ethnomusicology at Northwestern University in the fall of 2011. Many thanks are owed to my colleagues in ethnomusicology and in sociology who have donated their time in reading the drafts of this work, most especially Joseph A. Kotarba and Inna Naroditskaya. Thanks are also due to my research participants in Arviat and to the 2012 Couch-Stone Symposium which provided the dual opportunity for my own research to be shared and to bring together sociologists and ethnomusicologists in a common panel exploring the possible shared influence of symbolic interactionism in these fields.
van den Scott, J. (2014), "Experiencing the Music: Toward a Visual Model for the Social Construction of Music", Revisiting Symbolic Interaction in Music Studies and New Interpretive Works (Studies in Symbolic Interaction, Vol. 42), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. 3-19. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0163-239620140000042000Download as .RIS
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