Living Genres in Late Modernity rehears the American 1970s through the workings of its musical genres. Exploring stylistic developments from the late 1960s through the early 1980s, including soul, funk, disco, pop, the nocturne, and the concerto, Charles Kronengold treats genres as unstable constellations of works, people, practices, institutions, technologies, money, conventions, forms, ideas, and multisensory experiences. What these genres share is a significant cultural moment: they arrive just after “the sixties” and are haunted by a sense of belatedness, loss, or doubt, even as they embrace narratives of progress or abundance. These genres give us reasons—and means—to examine our culture’s self-understandings. Through close readings and large-scale mappings of cultural and stylistic patterns, the book’s five linked studies reveal how genres help construct personal and cultural identities that are both partial and overlapping, that exist in tension with one another, and that we experience in ebbs and flows.
Living Genres in Late Modernity American Music of the Long 1970s
About the Book
Reviews"Some of the sharpest and most intelligent writing I have read in years, radically enriching my thinking on how popular music works. I have never before read a work on music that so successfully tackles issues I've known at some subconscious level were key but that I've never seen made so explicit."—Will Straw, Professor of Urban Media Studies, McGill University
"Combining an encyclopedic knowledge of repertoires with a conversational tone, Charles Kronengold is one of the best writers in music studies these days—and it is no exaggeration to say that. This book is a major reassessment of the role of genre in musical practice and experience."—Eric Drott, Associate Professor of Music Theory, University of Texas at Austin
Table of Contents
List of Musical Examples
Note on Musical Examples
Introduction: Listening for Genres 1
1 • Unengaging Histories: The Pop Song’s “More”
and Melancholy Democracy, 1968–69
2 • Space Issues: The Seventies-Soul Complex
3 • Exchange Theories: Disco, New Wave, and Album-Oriented Rock
4 • Senses: Nocturnes among the Smaller Genres
5 • Forces: The Late-Modern Concerto
- Introduction tracks 0:1–0:3
- Introduction bonus tracks
- Chapter 1 tracks 1:1–1:6, 1:8
- Chapter 1 track 1:7
- Chapter 1 bonus tracks
- Chapter 2 tracks 2:1–2:6
- Chapter 2 bonus tracks
- Chapter 3 track 3:1
- Chapter 3 bonus tracks
- Chapter 4 tracks 4:1–4:5
- Chapter 4 bonus tracks
- Chapter 5 track 5:1
- Chapter 5 track 5:2
- Chapter 5 tracks 5:3–5:11
- Chapter 5 bonus tracks
- web ex. 1: Bishop's "Air Force band" enters the texture just before the singer begins the second stanza of Carter’s "View of the Capitol from the Library of Congress." But what’s musically representing what here?
- web ex. 2: The opening of Carter's Esprit Rude / Esprit Doux: strong contrast between the "Boulez" motto and the blur that follows it (mm. 6–9), which is dominated by the chromatic tetrachord [set class 4-1 (0,1,2,3)].
- web ex. 3: Later in Esprit Rude / Esprit Doux, the chromatic tetrachord returns, presented in a way that recalls the texture of the opening motto.
- web ex. 4: Cage's Nocturne projects a long, interrupted line in the middle register, emphasizing B4.
- web ex. 5: The long, interrupted line extends to the final measures of Nocturne. Here the C5 coexists with the B4 but stretches upward at the end, perhaps creating a new, strange relation.
- web ex. 6: Would 1970s audiences have heard "jazz-influenced" harmonies at this moment in a twelve-tone nocturne by a Black composer like Kay?
- web ex. 7: About a minute and a half into Kim's Earthlight, the spotlight comes up on the soprano for the first time as she enters the texture.
- web ex. 8: Earthlight often comports itself like a late-modern nocturne: atmospheric, delicate, tentative, hesitant. This passage begins six minutes in.
- web ex. 9: For thirty seconds the soloist in Carter's Oboe Concerto just slowly honks out the oboe's low B♭.
- web ex. 10: Open strings for the soloist, but jittery: does Druckman's Viola Concerto open with a joke?
- web ex. 11: Kim's Violin Concerto: white-note scales for the soloist, becoming conventionally virtuosic
- web ex. 12: A slow major scale rises out of an inner voice at the opening of the 2nd movement of Claus Ogerman's Symbiosis, with Bill Evans as piano soloist.