Attali: “Noise: The Political Economy of Music” (1977)

Attali’s wide-ranging exploration of music’s role in society and history has many applications to the study (& performance!) of 19th century music:

1977-Attali-NOISE-CoverNoise: The Political Economy of Music
by Jacques Attali (1977)

QUOTES:

Our sicence has always desired to monitor, measure, abstract, and castrate meaning, forgetting that life is full of noise and that death alone is silent: work noise, noise of man, and noise of beast.  Noise bought, sold, or prohibited.  Nothing essential happens in the absence of noise.

Today, our sight has dimmed; it no longer sees our future, having constructed a present made of abstraction, nonsense, and silence.  Now we must learn to judge a society more by its sounds, by its art, and by its festivals, than by its statistics.  [p.3]

~

Music is prophecy.  Its styles and economic organization are ahead of the rest of society because it explores, much faster than material reality can, the entire range of possibilities in a given code.  It makes audible the new world that will gradually become visible, that will impose itself and regulate the order of things; it is not only the image of things, but the transcending of the everyday, the herald of the future.  For this reason musicians, even when officially recognized, are dangerous, disturbing, and subversive; for this reason it is impossible to separate their history from that of repression and surveillance. [p.11]

~

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