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Music as Social Life: The Politics of Participation (Chicago Studies in Ethnomusicology) Pap/Com Edition
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He breaks out of defining music by genres and defines it by function. He notes that we live in a culture that values 'presentational' music over 'participatory' music. Americans especially, literally buy into the idea of music as something that is 'consumed' like any other commodity. So musicians who want feel valued, groom themselves for presentations, live or recorded - instead of seeking participatory musical experiences by, for and of the people around them.
I admit the book is tedious in some ways but consciousness raising. I say tedious because it would seem that Prof. Turino attempted to write a book for both the general public and academics. It certainly deserves the respect of both but it veers between what seems like arcane disputation to pedestrian descriptions. Wade through whichever puts you off - there is great wisdom here for pickers, crooners, rockers and other music makers.
If you read this book and free yourself from only valuing presentational music, know that there are: jams all over the United States and Canada (Folkjam.org); a website for participatory music making (Community Music Circles); and that most of the world still values being part of the music more than being a mere consumer of it.
-JGW, amateur musician
He also brings all of his small, specific points together and makes broader conclusions and applications about the larger implications of these points, and makes it really relevant to our lives. The book wasnt solely about music; he often strayed away from music and talked about other social processes and change, so don't worry if you're not particularly interested in music. That being said, if you are interested in music, the other pieces are important for everyone to consider, so dont despair.
Also, the accompanying CD was great; it was really useful to have musical examples to refer to! It included some really cool tracks from several countries and made it a lot easier to really understand what he was talking about.