The Present-day Composer: Performing Individuality and Producing on Commission

Alf Arvidsson
Umeå University, Sweden

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Ingår i: Current Issues in European Cultural Studies; June 15-17; Norrköping; Sweden 2011

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 62:54, s. 515-520

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Publicerad: 2011-11-22

ISBN: 978-91-7519-993-1

ISSN: 1650-3686 (tryckt), 1650-3740 (online)


The division of music into art; popular and folk music is a social rather than a stylistic one; and the distinctions between them are maintained through discursive work rather than through musical performance. Still; in research they are normally treated as distinct autonomous sectors functioning according to their own inherent logics. In the research program “The conditions of music-making – between cultural policy; economics and aesthetics”; including researchers at Umeå university Department of Culture and Media Studies and Svenskt Visarkiv (the Centre for Swedish Folk Music and Jazz Research); we try to apply a comparative perspective to them; by focusing on musicians relying on an image of autonomous artistic individuality; regardless of genre.1 This includes musicians/composers within contemporary art music; jazz; folk and rock/pop – genres all accepted in the Swedish cultural policy grants system; although treated in different ways. Immediately it should be said that although we put the musicians on par with each other; and that the crossing; blurring and dissolution of genre borders are constantly hailed as desirable qualities in music of artistic pretentions; the same borders are effectively at work in the ways music is socially organised; with different clubs; concert halls; radio shows; festivals and academic programs keeping up genre borders just by labelling. As the subtitle indicates; we study how music made with artistic ambitions is produced on fields where the forces of cultural policy; mediatisation; commercialism; event-making; and audiences are in various combinations forming the space available.


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