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MENC: The National Association for Music Education

The Sociology of Music Author(s): Johannes Riedel Source: Music Educators Journal, Vol. 49, No. 2 (Nov. - Dec., 1962), pp. 39-42 Published by: Sage Publications, Inc. on behalf of MENC: The National Association for Music Education Stable URL: . Accessed: 03/12/2013 17:40
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Unless such idealistic concepts are seen as the product of their time. however. the fascists. however. the communists.234. University Minneapolis. Likewise we become much more aware of the role and importance of the contemporary composer in this era of nuclear physics. composition. the "sacred" composer-sacred in the sense of non-practical-who thought little of such things as public approval. of Johann Sebastian Bach.The MANY of Music Sociology Johannes Riedel atizations of knowledge which should be applied to the reworking of biographies as well as to music research in general. The Music EDUCATORS JOURNALitself carries from time to time essays that are related to music and society. The trouble with most of the other sociological studies in music is that they are caught up within a pattern of pessimism and furthermore are reluctant to admit a systematic and extensive study of the sociology of music. Westrup in his An Introduction to Musical History sees our knowledge about the social background. A. they are only secondary aims to the great musician. and are closer to fiction than to real life. We begin with composers of the past in the light of their own time. their works. Our constant reassessment. composition and music education into the techniques of graduate study. to the mosaic of human understanding and culture in a counterpoint of continuously changing relationships between music and society. and performance. the Russians. their world. and the musician and his environment as absolute prerequisites for any serious study of music history. Thus we are challenged with the tremendous task of writing scores of new biographies in the light of our own time. Very often music magazines carry issues or essays on topics such as the state of government and the arts. they are absolutely useless and misleading. while persons in other occupations may consider wealth and fame the objects of their work. A considerable number of music history books include discussions of social institutions in connection with music. J. 3 Dec 2013 17:40:12 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . We can only profit by broadening our own education through contact with music sociological studies in addition to our specializations in music research. If we grant the usefulness of sociological studies in other fields. the patronage of the courts. our reinterpretations of men and music will not become obsolete if we can learn to use new perspectives to maintain and to enhance our knowledge and appreciation of music. presents difficulties. how can we suppose the musician and his environment to be outside the realm 39 of my colleagues I teach a music biblicourse which is designed to introduce the graduate student in music history/literature. Not only in research. I include in the latter the study of biographies not of performers and educators but of composers because their lives illustrate quite clearly the intimate relationship that exists between the musician who creates and the music he creates. their own social motivations. college. the influence of the church.] NOVEMBER-DECEMBER. We often read that. their own social environment. The inclusion of biographies in our graduate studies. who is portrayed as being well above the average man in ideals and goals.183 on Tue. Through some of the biographies we obtain a drawing room image of Beethoven who musically "liberates" the Germans. The sociology of music is one of these newer system- LIKE ography [The author is professor of music. At the same time the student is supposed to familiarize himself with historical and complete editions of musical works in addition to the basic literature on music itself. Musicians who capitalize upon their talents are criticized. and university levels as well do we need to apply this new approach to music scholarship.210. but in the teaching of music at the high school. This content downloaded from 112. No musician today is so rigid as to deny the existence of some sort of interrelationship between music and society. Through sociological studies of music we see music as related to the whole of human life. because the data are frequently unrelated and the interpretation of the composer and of his works all too often leads to a stereotyped image of the man. Many of the biographies maintain an idealistic image of the great musician. These concepts are essentially nineteenth century attitudes towards the composers. education. and by means of more recent methods of research and investigation. for their gifts are intended to be used in the attainment of high ideals rather than for personal gain. NINETEEN SIXTY-TWO of Minnesota.

organist and choir director. It investigates the social environment in which the musician lives: how he is raised. accompanist. and with it normally comes the need to relate the artistic style to other areas of human experience. and races. but covers Western and non-Western civilizations. and accorded little significance in our national undertakings in music research. The time has become ripe for systematic studies in the field of the sociology of music. and amateur operatic troupes. Moreover it elaborates on vocal and instrumental amateur groups of all times and of all nations. practiced by a few. It is absolutely imperative that it be made a study in its own right. Nevertheless. of all periods and races: the Gamelan orchestras in Java. Time and again the stone of sociological endeavor in music has been set in motion only to roll onwards into semi-obscurity or backwards into intellectually attractive. After all. they constitute a part of our "data. orchestral player. and editing. known only to a few. to the composer over the music educator. teacher and scholar. It concerns itself not only with the Arnold Sch6nbergs of each period. French. (2) Collective music producers (ensembles. Neither can one say anymore that the business of music research is to concern itself exclusively with historical investigations of styles and their evaluations. educated. the huge orchestras used by Berlioz. all creeds. While we strive for an intensified attention to the sociology of music we do not want to belittle or restrict the traditional fields of historical musicological research. instrumental MUSIC EDUCATORS JOURNAL This content downloaded from 112. we must use the old as a starting point for the new. The first entails the musician and the society to which he belongs. the aim being to shed light on a given culture. an extremely interesting course was offered by Carleton Sprague Smith at the University of Southern California during the second summer term of 1951. appointed and paid. The importance of such investigations must not be 40 denied. the second deals with the specific social causes of music production and appreciation. Only a few years ago this was a rather obscure field. however. It includes groups of all societies.of sociological methodology? Most of these studies dwell complacently upon indigestible and unimportant potpourris of topics such as musicians' salaries and patrons without relating them to the music performed by these musicians. and band) ensembles. conductor.234. the conductor over the music critic. how he works and how work is allotted to him. professional organizations). the magnificent grande bande of Lully. Let us accept it in the same fashion we have embraced ethnomusicology in this country. The first includes topics such as (1) The musician as a single producer of music. the easier it will be for the educator to see means through which he can amplify the scope and quality of this human experience. THERE AREfew books on the topic of "Music and Society. and (3) Patronage. collecting. and music literature and history. particularly if he is also a teacher of vocal or instrumental music. 3 Dec 2013 17:40:12 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . I am certain that dedicated study of the sociology of music would bear similar results in no time." On the contrary. This attitude prevailed toward the end of the nineteenth century. It was in conjunction with this approach that musicology produced the great German. and English historical editions. As a result. The time is past when this area would be used only as a tool to further background and peripheral information. (2) The changing society and its promotion of changing styles. the American symphony orchestras such as the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. no history" was a typical slogan of the fact-minded historian of the time. as well as medical orchestras. The knowledge obtained in one concentrated area has a happy faculty of overflowing into other areas. chamber music. including the vast majority of musicians of local and regional importance. the famous Mannheim orchestra of the eighteenth century. music publisher and dealer. the choral organizations of the medieval and Renaissance cathedrals. educational institutions. THE PURPOSE Of a sociological investigation of the collective music producer is to deal with vocal (choral) and instrumental (orchestral.210. solo singer. an expression of a particular economic and social order or an existing social regime. This includes such groups as American community orchestras. the perspective gained in one aspect of music research leads to a new level of insight from which further investigations in music can be made. Observe this field today! It has become one of the most important activities in American music research. oratorio societies. the Denkmiiler and Monuments with which every American music graduate student spends so much time in getting acquainted. the larger undertaking of evaluating a style in its historical context becomes a point of concern. (3) The relation between values which music reveals and values which are entertained by a corresponding society. plausible but imprecise generalizations. It does not give priority to one profession over the other. in the arrangement of its materials in a historical perspective through discovery. Eventually. both serve the same purpose. The Sociology of Music for the Undergraduate OFMUSIC THE SOCIOLOGY has two levels: a sociology of music at the level of the undergraduate student and a graduate study which is more sophisticated and experimental. music critic and agent. The more precise we can make our knowledge about human experience. The minutiae into which a given style may be resolved naturally occupy a great part of the time and attention of the scholar. one can no longer say that the purpose of music research lies only in the fields of music history and archaeology.183 on Tue. Furthermore it involves all musicians. solo instrumentalist. The objective of a sociological investigation of the individual music producer is the discussion of the various music career groups: composer. "No documents. nations." To be sure. community choral groups. Sociology of music on the graduate level may attempt to establish causal relationship between (1) The state and the level of music technology of a given society and the influence it leaves on the sounds produced.

Here. and orchestras in high schools. A sociology of the orchestra must not. the audience and the kind of orchestral composition a composer writes. bands. FRoM we may proceed to a more sophisticated level. The sociology of music for the undergraduate continues. compromises. As for the problem of changing performing tech41 This content downloaded from 112. who pays the salaries and wages. Music in a Marxian State exists at the discretion of the State. a characteristic pedagogical institution in American life. The aesthetic problem lies beyond the sociological problem. and the public concert belong to the sociology of collective music producers as well. Does music possess only utilitarian values? Does music indicate the aesthetic values that a society uses to make value judgments about that music? What social groups talk about music as a critic talks about literature? Is this a valid concern of society? These latter questions belong.234. This includes such problems as the development of instruments. to the sociology of music for the graduate. we should not confuse them with aesthetic evaluation in music. and the status of an orchestral musician in relation to other members of the community. who commissions composers to write? This extremely interesting and obvious chapter is followed up by discussions related to music forms: What kind of music is sponsored by the patrons? Here a consideration of the opera. chamber. suite and symphony. Although the singing schools were originally intended to develop choral singers. The first category of a sociology of music on the graduate level deals with the state and level of music technology in a given society. The various types of house. choices made in terms of preferences. the traditional for the contemporary. and emphatic rhythmic devices which will come through. Musical values are dictated for social music by a group whose interests are largely antagonistic to the determination of social values by an individual engaged in a free creative expression.organizations of industrial groups. popular and folk music is in place. the string orchestra. If Marxian theories in music carry with them connotative implications of the Marxian State. To the latter belongs the American singing school. The immense concentration of people who live in large cities with their increased interest in music ask for the performance of orchestral music in large concert halls. or an entire nation.e. who provides for further study. but a variety of instrumental classes were given as well. the phenomenon of the opening night. Initially it provided only choral instruction to the laymen. The Sociology of Music for the Graduate the sociology of music for the undergraduate. Arnold Schinberg's Gurre Lieder (1900 and later). concerts available for a limited and privileged number of consumers. Audiences have turned to concerto music of the baroque era and to chamber music. and cantata. and Arnold Schinberg come to mind. their goals were adjusted to a more "socially" true function in the nineteenth century: Not only choral music. On the contrary. the formation of musical taste within a community and educational institutions as created by the orchestra. and universities. the overture. That a composition pleases only one person. 3 Dec 2013 17:40:12 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . composers have written symphonies for emsembles smaller than the large symphony orchestra. As a matter of fact a major objection against Marxian theories is the lack of differentiation between social and musical values. Accordingly. and Messiaen's Turangalili (1950). restrict itself to the counting of orchestras of many sizes and purposes: It must investigate the causal relationship between the audience and the repertory of the orchestra. examples of Johann Sebastian Bach. however. composers will select powerful sound effects. A composition may be extraordinarily important and epoch-making yet be applauded by only a few. The history of this music institution can be examined as a case example of organizational emergencies and their struggle to survive. leaving the familiar for the unfamiliar. dance. Max Reger. and it did not derive support from any ecclesiastical or secularpolitical but rather from secular sources. changing performing techniques in unison with a changing world of instruments. colleges. NINETEEN SIXTY-TWO Who pays for the upbringing of the musician. This does not imply. then with the very popular topic of patronage: NOVEMBER-DECEMBER. however. that composers write huge symphonic "show" pieces with mass appeal themes or that mass audiences ask only for symphonic works which have the orchestral apparatus of Richard Strauss' Ein Heldenleben (1899). and concert hall concerts. Only the sound of large orchestras will fill these halls. The sociology of collective music producers covers music education institutions as well. In the latter we distinguish public concert systems sponsored by government agencies as in the USSR versus concert systems sponsored by private citizens' trustee funds as in the United States. The success of the New Friends of Music in New York and its many imitators all over the country disproves the view that the spreading of an art among a mass audience necessarily dilutes its standards. Whether a piece is good or bad does not depend on any extramusical values but only on the artistic application of values innate in the crafts of music theory and composition. the abandonment of old instruments in favor of new ones. the role of the conductor. This may be concluded by the question: What do patrons expect music to do? Here the problem of music which fulfills specific functions with all its implications must be investigated. color contrasts. Throughout the history of music a distinction is made between pedagogical institutions that train professional musicians and those that educate laymen.183 on Tue. however. oratorio. By the same token favorable reaction of the masses bears no witness to the aesthetic quality of an art work. To a certain degree a composer will use a musical language which can be grasped best by the mass audiences: the symphonic form will be replaced by the symphonic poem or by orchestral suites drawn from original ballet compositions. bears no influence on the aesthetic evaluation of it.210. a word of warning is in order: When we investigate the causal relationships between music and society. however. The history of the public concert in America is full of accounts of support of private citizens in the founding of orchestral societies within a given city. i.. differentiation will be an unlikely development. Differentiation implies scales of values. his view of his own role in relationship to the orchestra.

St.C. 3 Dec 2013 17:40:12 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . In music the attempts to depict this confusion of norms and the restlessness and frustration of the twenties led to the overthrow of music tradition and a search for new rhythms." which constituted social compromise between acoustical experimentation and practical needs. composer. The Chinese theoretically knew equal temperament long before 1600. the most exciting and hazardous one-musical values and ethos-emerge from nineteenth century reflection. tonalities. Mo. orchestral colors. but in a state of social integration. In Greece. in a generation which witnesses the continuous rise of many new nations and their claim for social justice and political freedom.210. This category seems to have become the most popular approach in the publications on music and society. 1962 MENC Southwestern Division January 12-15.Calif. Ill. Va. With a sociological viewpoint of the composer. Arnold Sch6nberg pioneered in the upheaval against tradition by further intensification of expressionism and by establishing the twelve-tone serial system of writing. But here again. one example must suffice. When we consider that the organ has remained the main instrument of church music in Western lands.J. 1963 April 7-10. Louis. and Werckmeister (1691) resulted finally in "equal temperament. The second category of sociological investigations in music on the graduate level deals with the changing society and its promotion of changing styles. Philadelphia. Aristoxenos also suggested tempering the intervals to make each halfstep equal in ratio to every other one. 1963 MENC Eastern Division Southern Division March MENC 20-23. 1963 MENC North Central Division MENC Western Division MENC Northwest Division Interim Meeting of Board of Directors and State Presidents of the MENC 1964 MENC Convention March 29-April 1. The search for a solution by Schlick (1511). N. c.234. a high school student might better understand the music he studies. Bakersfield. and style. Mersenne (1635). in a music practice without keyboard instruments. BakersfieldCivic Auditorium Casper. Expressionism and atonality express artistically the state of social unrest in the nineteen twenties. then we may regard equal temperament as a "derivative" effect of Christianity. Both the type of society and the kind of art are an expression of the human mind. The state of "anomie" of William James' "lost generation" showed itself in the conflict between the traditional norms or patterns of a society rooted in Puritanism and Transcendentalism and the mores of a new industrial society with its scientific and realistic philosophy. Conrad Hilton Hotel Chase-ParkPlaza Chalfonte-HaddonHall Charleston Civic Center Radisson Hotel Minn. Wyo. 1963 March 11-17. but since they did not use keyboard instruments. The role played by music in China and Greece did not ask for a practical utilization of the equal-tempered scale. They are a materialistic attitude versus idealistic thinking. The materialistic approach says that the mode of production in material life determines the general character of the social. W. In a time which sees many social and political changes. Charleston. Washington. The idealistic viewpoint holds that it is the human mind which determines culture. The two most significant points of view on the third problem of the sociology of music on the graduate level. D. political. 1963 August 19-22. there was no demand for such a system. 350 B. the musician must begin to see himself not in a state of irresponsible isolation. I HAVE TRIED TO DO in this short rbsum6 was not to outline a complete presentation of the sociology of music but to call the attention of the musical scholar.C. Pa. and spiritual processes of life. Studies in the sociology of music will help him to become aware of his social function. 1963 March 1-4.. WHAT Dates to Remember MEETING DATES PLACE HEADQUARTERS College Band Directors National Association December 16-18. and performer to the establishment of a systematic sociology of music. 1964 Chicago. Zarlino (1562). A good example from the twentieth century is the decade of the nineteen twenties with the disillusionment of the post-World War I generation who had dreamed of furthering the ideals of social justice through participation in the war to end all wars. The change towards the homophonic music around 1600 caused specific problems of acoustical nature for the organ. Minneapolis.183 on Tue. a remarkable change of style of the composers of a changing society. Morgan Junior High School NEA Building SheratonHotel 42 MUSIC EDUCATORS JOURNAL This content downloaded from 112. the system never came into use.niques in unison with a changing world of instruments. 1963 April 17-20. Atlantic City. By subdividing this field into an area of undergraduate and of graduate study I wanted to stress that the study of the sociology of music is not a matter for the teacher alone but for the student as well. educator.