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7 History, Modernism, and the Time of Music

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Chapter Summary

The techniques inaugurated by the various schools of artistic modernism have sought to fragment, distort, or subvert any sense of time or history as a unitary, coherent, continuous, comprehensible process. What is interesting from the point of view of a study of groove music, is that groove emerges at precisely the same historical moment as artistic modernism, but represents an aesthetic of time which appears to be radically different from both modernism and the dominant norms of the nineteenth century. For Adorno, this bifurcation in musical style, which maps directly onto the popular/serious split, is an aspect of commodification, the colonisation of artistic products by the capitalist market and its prioritisation of exchange value over use value. As groove has its origins in this tumultuous historical moment, this chapter investigates whether there are other aspects of the aesthetic debates of the period which can illuminate it.

Keywords: Adorno; artistic modernism; commodity fetishism; groove music; historical time



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