Progression of music

Topics: Popular culture, Culture, Sheet music Pages: 19 (3272 words) Published: October 21, 2014

In this literature review we will be looking at reading based around the idea of

progression within music. Comparisons between different pieces of text

regarding the current position of music, and if possible, the future of music

and how it can progress. 

The main books in discussion will consist of, “Simon Reynolds:Retromania”,

“David Gauntlett:Making is Connecting”, Attali:The Political Economy of Music.

A lot of the quotes that will be in discussion will revolve around the theme of

“post repetition”. This is a theory regarding the structure or stage of current

music, an idea Attali briefly discusses in context with three other previous

stages he believes to have occurred. This also explains the choice to discuss

“Retromania”, the themes from this book tie in with the concept of repetition

and revolves around firm beliefs that current music, and also society are

trapped in the past. However “Making is connecting” takes a more subjective

role in the discussion as it is primarily based around the individual creator in

the sense of their feeling and creativity, and does not so much involve the

influence of any capitalist ideas.

We will first draw some theories from Attali.

Attali’s book, (The Political Economy of Music) strikes an interest as Attali

draws up the comparison of Music running alongside society, and at points

beyond. In short, Attali draws the comparison in which music runs along side

social order and how the mindset of society, at any given time, is reflected

onto the art of music. Not just in the literal sense as would be applied to such

era’s as Punk, but in the progression of music over time. 

"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.” (Attali,1977)

Here Attali is referring to music as a sped up representation of society at any

given time. This is why his current claim on post repetition is interesting as

any other stage or progression in music, according to Attali, could replicate

that of societies in the future. The question regarding this is whether it is

possible for music or society, to considerably progress onto what could be

seen as another stage of progression.

If the idea of post-repeating is feasible, then it could be seen that society, let

alone music, are currently trapped in a repeating existence that isn’t

progressing, only expanding. However for the time being it is more important

to look back if there is any chance of looking forward. 

This is where Atalli’s four stages of music form in “Political Economy of

Music”, and during the last stage, the idea of post repeating is bought about.


This is the first stage from Political Economy of Music. The term Sacrifice

refers to the point in musical history where no sound was recorded, written,

and the art of music was completely detached from anything physical. It was

simply just an oral process. Music was simply a way of transferring current

cultural and social feelings from one person to another.


This term refers to the first printed music, 1500-1900 AD. Printed music was

the first form of music that was seen as a commodity, it could be seen as the

first time any form of technology had an influence upon human emotion. Attali

refers to this period as Representation because the performer would have to

represent and play the music that was printed for an audience.


The term repeating refers to the time period of around 1900 to the present.

The term is applied by Attali to any recorded sound of broadcasted sound

which was made possible by technological advancements. Even though this

meant music as an industry could really...
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