Listening Subjects: Music, Psychoanalysis, Culture
By: David Schwarz (author)Hardback
1 - 2 weeks availability
In "Listening Subjects", David Schwarz uses psychoanalytic techniques to probe the visceral experiences of music listeners. Using classical, popular, and avant-garde music as texts, Schwarz addresses intriguing questions: why do bodies develop goose bumps when listening to music and why does music sound so good when heard 'all around'. By concentrating on music as cultural artefact, "Listening Subjects" shows how the historical conditions under which music is created affect the listening experience. Schwarz applies the ideas of post-Lacanian psychoanalytic theorists Slavoj Zizek, Julia Kristeva, and Kaja Silverman to an analysis of diverse works.In a discussion of John Adams' opera Nixon in China, he presents music listening as a fantasy of being enclosed in a second skin of enveloping sound. He looks at the song cycles of Franz Schubert as an examination and expression of epistemological doubts at the advent of modernism, and traverses fantasy 'space' in his exploration of the white noise at the end of the Beatles' "I Want You (She's So Heavy)".
Schwarz also considers the psychosexual undercurrent in Peter Gabriel's "Intruder" and the textual and ideological structures of German Oi Musik.Concluding with a reading of two compositions by Diamanda Gales, he reveals how some performances can simultaneously produce terror and awe, abjection and rage, pleasure and displeasure. This multi-layered study transcends other interventions in the field of musicology, particularly in its groundbreaking application of literary theory to popular and classical music. Schwarz's theory of listening blends music history and theory, psychoanalysis, cultural contexts, technology, and the body - all concepts that inform the kinetic representation of sounds called 'music'. "Listening Subjects" will be a valuable text for students and scholars of musicology, psychoanalytic theory, and popular culture.
David Schwarz is Valentine Professor of Music at Amherst College.
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- ID: 9780822319290
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