CHAPTER 6

Public Music Practices

Qualitatively distinct from young people's music media uses and influences, this chapter will interpret empirical findings into youth music cultures in public contexts where co-present consumer and producer practices provide the foreground for social interactions. Like the pervasive presence of music media in public contexts as shown in Chapter 5, the following findings will nevertheless reveal how public music consumers and producers often project media influences on to everyday performances. My use of the term 'practice' (as outlined in Chapter 4) is central to the intentions of this book to situate music within the routine and often mundane contexts of young people's everyday lives. The term 'use' is deployed more frequently in the previous chapter because mediated music was more usually consumed–albeit often for productive ends–than produced by respondents. However, it seems better suited to refer to young people's practices in public music contexts where the relationship between consumption and production tends to be ambiguous. Bakhtin's(1984) concept of the carnivalesque as a feature of everyday public life can be applied to the notion of public music practices. Carnivalesque practices as outlined earlier were defined as regular acts of human (or animal) agency, such as the speaking of a particular argot or 'cris'. The sixteenth-century carnivalesque marketplace according to Bakhtin's interpretation of Rabelais's novels was where 'Sound, the proclaimed word, played an immense role in everyday life as well as the cultural field. It was even greater than in our days, in the time of the radio' (1984: 182). Indeed, the cultural field and everyday life were 'all drawn into the same dance' (1984: 160) so that theatrical conventions were drawn into the art of hawking and poetic renditions served as oral advertisements for all to participate in without clear division between producers and consumers. Bakhtin's metaphor of a dance captures the sense of disorder in an informal economy where it is never clear who leads (performs) and follows (spectates). Public music practices

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