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Kurt Blaukopf on Music Sociology – an Anthology

2nd Unrevised Edition

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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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Preface

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This anthology contains seven texts by Kurt Blaukopf (1914-1999), which were published over the last 40 years, mostly in German. They 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. He recognised that music sociology often rather concerned itself with the general conditions of music, but at the same time he warned that music sociology should not lose sight of music as a creative practice and as a work of art.

Blaukopf’s passion for music is rooted in his biography. He grew up in Vienna in a middle-class Jewish family, and although he followed his father’s wish and studied jurisprudence his intellectual attention was devoted to music. From the early 1930s he did extended studies in musicology but at the same time he was deeply aware of the social roots of music, and thus he enriched his approach to music with insights from Max Weber’s writings. However, the rise of Nazism in Germany and the Wehrmacht’s invasion of Austria forced the young man to leave Vienna. During the years in exile he continued his informal studies in music sociology, but he also became increasingly interested in the epistemological foundations of his own ideas on the subject.

I believe it is no exaggeration to state that Kurt Blaukopf represents the solid Austrian scientific tradition that began with Bernard Bolzano’s and...

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