On Becoming a Rock Musician

By H. Stith Bennett | Go to book overview

"Other People's Music"

Innovations in Playing Technique Up to this point I have shown the aesthetic career of becoming a rock musician as a sequence of imitative episodes: the acquisition of resources which are manufactured and specified by others, the accommodation to aesthetics which are produced and reproduced by the manipulation of electronic sound control parameters, and the transformation of studio sound controls into the "real space" of the performance reality. Another set of seemingly imitative episodes— learning playing techniques—is the individual contribution to the collective development of copy groups. For a local beginner, pedagogical episodes of demonstration, copying, and correction are rare, and when they do exist—in the song-teaching and song-learning of group practice—they pair musicians of essentially identical skills. The question, then, remains: Where do local beginners learn the techniques which are passed on to contemporaries ? The interactional form of "the blind leading the blind" appears most plausible.

An imitative explanation establishes the derivative aspects of a local rock musician's enterprise: that is, things and ideas are imported intact from outside social realities. It is not, however, a sufficient explanation for establishing the connection between outside resources and the muscular movements which are the experiential necessity of performing music. Local rock musicians, by a series of economic exchanges and social negotiations, assemble the resources of a rock band, learn the aesthetics of The Music, and even learn to translate those aesthetics to the performance reality, independently of attaining the ability to play music within those industrially defined physical and ide

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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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