On Becoming a Rock Musician

By H. Stith Bennett | Go to book overview

Preface

This is a book about contemporary American popular music and the particular kind of musicianship that is appropriate to it. It is based on fieldwork that I did full-time for about two years (1970-72) in the state of Colorado and on about six years of sporadic fieldwork done in Illinois, Washington, California, Missouri, and southern France (Provence).

The bulk of the examples are taken from the period between 1970 and 1972. When I look at them now I occasionally notice that certain details appear dated. One example is the late popularity of cocaine as a drug of choice for musicians—something that was typically not encountered in Colorado before 1972. However, marijuana products have held their own with American popular musicians since their original (and legal) widespread use after World War I, and the same is true today. Such changes are interesting from a sociological perspective, but are not to be confused with my special interest in music. I have expended considerable energy over the last decade or so in various attempts at checking or ultimately disproving1 my findings. I found that although cultural trappings change from time to time or from location to location the musical identities of "small‐ time" popular musicians as well as the kinds of resources that make those identities possible have remained the same.

My research technique was based on a willingness (and in most cases, ability) to present myself as a musician to other musicians who had indicated in some way that they were interested in forming a group. I answered ads in newspapers, responded to notices on bulletin boards, inquired at music stores, and used an ever widening circle of contacts for word-of-mouth

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On Becoming a Rock Musician
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • On Becoming a Rock Musician *
  • Acknowledgments *
  • Contents *
  • Preface *
  • I - Group Dynamics *
  • Introduction *
  • Group Definition and Redefinition *
  • II - Rock Ecology *
  • Instruments and "The Outside World" *
  • Equipment and the Band Van *
  • Gigs *
  • III - Mastering the Technological Component *
  • Technology and the Music *
  • The Realities of Practice *
  • IV - Performance: Aesthetics and the Technological Imperative *
  • Playing *
  • "Other People's Music" *
  • Appendix *
  • Loudness and Equalization *
  • Notes *
  • A Guide for the Reader *
  • Bibliography *
  • Index *
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