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Kurt Blaukopf on Music Sociology – an Anthology

2nd Unrevised Edition

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Edited By Tasos Zembylas

This anthology contains seven texts by Kurt Blaukopf (1914–1999) that exemplify the sociological and epistemological position of this pioneer of Austrian music sociology. Blaukopf’s efforts were aimed at a comprehensive, interdisciplinary approach and analysis of music as a cultural phenomenon and as social practice. The primary aim of this anthology is to make Blaukopf’s work better known in the English-speaking world. It offers the interested reader a fruitful analysis of the relation between music sociology and its sister disciplines, e.g. musicology, a solid analysis in terms of the philosophy of science on the possibilities and limits of music sociology, and a highly topical discussion about the significance of intrinsic artistic aspects in music sociology.
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Music Praxis as the Subject of Sociology

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1

The demand that research into the arts should be devoted not simply to the works but to the totality of people’s dealings with the arts was raised by a man who has gone down in history as a statistician, as a philosopher of science and a Rilke scholar: Richard von Mises (1883–1953) stated that the task of arts research was “to describe and to classify the observable phenomena in the area of art practice and to comprehend their connections with other facts of the individual and social life (as part of psychology and sociology)”.2

Following the pattern of the phrase “art practice” that Mises uses, one could form the term “music practice”. Because the word “practice” perhaps suggests something different in connection with music, I prefer to use the term “music praxis” in precisely the sense that Mises ascribes to “art practice”, namely for all kinds of dealings with music. For the rest, too, the following remarks are also oriented on the considerations of Richard von Mises. I owe the initial stimulus for this to Robert Reichardt, who contributed essentially to the understanding of the changes in music praxis in the 20th century with a study of the cultural and economic role of the record.3

Music Sociology

1.       Music sociology is the collection of all social facts relevant to changes in music praxis, the ordering of these facts according to their significance for the changes under investigation.

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