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Noise: The Political Economy of Music [Paperback]

Jacques Attali
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 21.91 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Book Description

June 30 1985 Theory and History of Literature (Book 16)
“Noise is a model of cultural historiography. . . . In its general theoretical argument on the relations of culture to economy, but also in its specialized concentration, Noise has much that is of importance to critical theory today.” SubStance“For Attali, music is not simply a reflection of culture, but a harbinger of change, an anticipatory abstraction of the shape of things to come. The book’s title refers specifically to the reception of musics that sonically rival normative social orders. Noise is Attali’s metaphor for a broad, historical vanguardism, for the radical soundscapes of the western continuum that express structurally the course of social development.” EthnomusicologyJacques Attali is the author of numerous books, including Millennium: Winners and Losers in the Coming World Order and Labyrinth in Culture and Society.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A must read.. Dec 21 2000
By A Customer
... because it is so outrageous to be brilliantly thought provoking. Sometimes I think he is out to lunch and I am not confident that he understands everything he wrote. (or maybe the translation is not right.) Still, the mythology he presents is detailed and well developed and whether you agree with it or not, is fascinating.
There is a lot of coverage of European classical music in terms of "Who is paying whom" as well as the current recording industry. He also gets some things wrong, such as his coverage of Free Jazz (Carly Bley is black?), to which he nevertheless is sympathetic towards.
Therefore, I don't know how much you can trust his conclusions, but at the same time it gets the reader's mind to consider all sorts of new facets, and that is why this book is great.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This is an essential work for anyone interested in the sociology of music. The author follows 2 significant threads of thought in this work; the commidification of music, and music as indicator (predictor) of social change. Using sophisiticated but well written theories and examples Attali demonstrates how music acts as
the subconsciousness of society, validating and testing new social and political realities.

Among the powerful analogies he draws is that of how modern people stockpile musical recordings, in some instances more than can possibly ever listen too, much in the same way nations stockpile weapons. In describing the
evolution of the orchestra he compares the conductor to the king conducting his flanks
of violins and horns with the same dictorial
presence of command as one would dispatch foot
soldiers and calvaries.

Attali clearly has a passion for music drawing
examples from Bach to improvisational jazz. In the end this is an optimistic book, illuminating indications of both social and musical evolution
during the 20th century.

D.L. Jonsson <Reviewer>
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5.0 out of 5 stars Simply brilliant April 14 1998
This is simply one of the very best books I've ever read in my life. If you're interested in music, or maybe about, don't laugh, the meaning of life in general, this text is a total eye-opener. I just don't look at things the same way as I did before I read it. Very provocative and sophisticated, but very clearly written, needs 100% concentration on the subject and an open mind. Basically renders most of the traditional musicology and approach to music useless. Asks more questions than it answers, but hey, you'll gain new persepective. Rad
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