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Title: Too important to be left to the musicians : un-musical activism and improvised fiction
Authors: Bramley, Charlie
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This thesis articulates a particular conception of improvisation and explores to what extent it can be thought of as a revolutionary socio-music practice that critiques dominant conceptions of musicality through micro-communities of existentialist-anarchist thought and practice. In particular, significant attention will be paid to the role that ideology, power and politics play in these dominant conceptions of musicality, and therefore, a broad yet rigorous analysis of the strands of education and culture in which these ideas are disseminated will be a central concern throughout the thesis. Various auto-ethnographic methods and case-studies will be utilised to explore the practical impact of what I call an un-Musical activism, which seeks to dismantle the binaries between ‘professional’/’amateur’; ‘musician’/’non-musician’; ‘musical’/ ‘unmusical’. I will argue that historically, there has been a strong tendency to want to specialise, stratify, and ultimately contain the musical environment through rigid and restrictive rules for inclusion; that this situation might be getting worse, not better; that various attempts at inclusivity, widening participation and musical ‘freedom’ have maintained the same core components of exclusion; and that it is only by thinking beyond colonial notions of inclusivity that improvisation can begin to make sense as revolutionary socio-musical activism which draws upon key components of existentialist and anarchist thought and practice.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Arts and Cultures

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