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Absolute Music, Mechanical Reproduction Paperback – 21 May 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (21 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520264800
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520264809
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,359,741 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"In Ashby's refreshing reading, [recordings' displacement of composers' texts] is neither a doomsday moment nor bland techno-utopianism: it's a chance to re-engage with classical music in the vernacular." Times Literary Supplement 20101015 "Ashby raises crucial and often agonising issues for those who care about the marginalisation of classical music." The Wire 20101201 "This formidable work of scholarship ... has the capacity dramatically to change thinking." -- Andrew Green Classical Music Magazine 20100703 "Ashby really stakes out the place of instrumental art music in a digital world, never backing away from hard questions that make us examine the very nature of musical performance itself." Journal Aesthetics & Art Criticism 20110815 "Compelling, insightful, [and] occasionally head-spinning... [Ashby's] move between philosophy and cultural history is deft... Immensely useful." -- Gustavus Stadler CRITICISM 20121120

About the Author

Arved Ashby is Professor of Music at the Ohio State University. He is the editor of The Pleasure of Modernist Music, and has published articles on twelve-tone composition, film music, minimalism, and Frank Zappa. He was an American Musicological Society (AMS) 50 Dissertation Fellow, and won the AMS Alfred Einstein Award in 1996.

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Amazon.com: 4 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Classical Music Recordings as History 29 Aug 2010
By OgreOgress productions - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
By focusing on the recording careers of several populist and historic classical musicians such as Glenn Gould, Herbert von Karajan and Leopold Stokowski, Arved Ashby skillfully makes a case for recordings as absolute mediums of music history. That is, recordings have become just as important and perhaps more influential, as documents, than the published manuscripts themselves.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A superb analysis of how recording has changed the meaning of music 31 Jan 2012
By Ron Davis - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
With a spirit of broad inquiry and deep analysis, Arved Ashby shines a light on music and recording. The book is rich in insights and perspectives that can only enhance the way in which any music lover approaches recordings, and music in general.

If you prefer mindless listening and reading, this is not the book for you. If you are intellectually curious, and seek deeper understanding of recordings, music and our relation to it, this is a must read.
0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Convoluted 17 Dec 2011
By Capio - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
While the topic of the book is thought-provoking and seemingly relevant, Ashby never quite makes a definitive statement on the topic. Despite the fact that Ashby states that his intended audience is the non-musicologist, someone like his father, he style of writing is overly academic, riddled with name dropping and incessant references, as well as an obsession with Glen Gould. In all of his name dropping and use of Jargon, he misuses a literary term of Roland Barthe, "readerly text." I only noticed this because I was so entirely confused by the point of this passage that I looked up the term. This leads me to believe there are probably other misused jargon, but at some point I lost interest in looking everything up. In the first several chapters, Ashby fails to name any specific musical examples for what he is discussing leaving the reader lost and unclear. Once a reader reaches the end of the book, one still does not know where the author stands on the modernization of recording technology and the easy availability of music. If you are looking for a book that summarizes the views of hundreds of musicologists, devoid of many rich, musical examples, this book might be for you. Otherwise, steer clear. There have to be other, better books out there on the topic that do not seemingly attempt on alienate the intended audience at every turn.
0 of 6 people found the following review helpful
How Many Musical Angels Can Dance On The Head Of A Pin? 2 May 2013
By T. E. Layman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I agree with reviewer Capio from out west....thick, unnecessarily convoluted and dense, and certainly (IMHO) did not reach a conclusion I was aware of. My final statement: Wordy, wordy, wordy, more and more wordy, and finally, how many musical angels can dance of the head of a pin. I'd love to have a conversation with this man about recorded music, but I suspect you wouldn't get a word in edgewise and would soon disappear under a mound of horse-pucky. Forget it!
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