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‘“Not Necessarily Mahler”: Composed Artefacts, Samples, and the Philosophy of “Wiki”’

Barham, JM (2012) ‘“Not Necessarily Mahler”: Composed Artefacts, Samples, and the Philosophy of “Wiki”’ In: Annual Conference of the RMA Music and Philosophy Study Group (in association with the AMS Music and Philosophy Study Group), 2012-07 - ?, King's College London.

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‘Wiki’ promotes the instantaneous exchange, consumption and re-fashioning of phenomena across global networks. Within cultural contexts of geographically and temporally unrestricted accessibility, the last fifty years have seen an unprecedented accumulation of past musical material proliferating in ever-more protean webs of reception, interpretation, and re-interpretation. Together with the technologically assisted, individualized yet mass-communicated, multiplying of musical interconnections, crossovers, re-workings, citations and allusions in the professional and non-professional creative arenas, this is likely to present significant challenges to the ontological understanding of music and to the future of its coherent historiography. File sharing, sampling, remixing, found sounds, plunderphonics and mash-up may represent merely an intensified updating of the age-old co-operative improvisational practices of a pre-industrial ‘world’ music with its more recent echoes in jazz, hip-hop, AMM and the Spontaneous Music Ensemble. Such musics indeed call on philosophical tropes of collectivity, nominalism, provisionality, and pars pro toto unsympathetic to post-Enlightenment Western rationalist conceptions of art: private ownership is threatened; legal and political hierarchies disavowed or circumvented; textual stability undermined; values democratized and divested of former authoritarian frameworks; holistic identity compromised or pluralized; canons fragmented and canon formation transferred from the preserve of the few to the emergent thought of the many. Enlisting Mahler’s music and Deleuze’s rhizome philosophy of history, this paper examines the implications of these findings for prevailing models of understanding the history, production and consumption of music—models, largely inherited from politically and culturally alien past contexts, that struggle to be sustained by nonetheless intransigent socio-economic systems.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Authors :
Barham, JM
Date : 2012
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 16 Feb 2017 12:41
Last Modified : 16 Feb 2017 12:41

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