Get 20M+ Full-Text Papers For Less Than $1.50/day. Start a 14-Day Trial for You or Your Team.

Learn More →

Fraudulence and the Gift Economy of Music

Fraudulence and the Gift Economy of Music In his classic essay "Music Discomposed," Stanley Cavell draws attention to the threat of fraudulence that pervades contemporary art music. With the erosion of convention, not only is the ability of listeners to comprehend new music called into question, so too is their ability to ascertain whether or not works are being offered in good faith. Yet Cavell's choice of the word fraudulent to describe this situation is provocative. In everyday parlance, fraud describes an act of deception undertaken for the material benefit of some individual at the expense of another. But when imposture is passed off as art, what reward does the perpetrator stand to gain? What does the victim stand to lose? To flesh out the stakes involved in Cavell's notion of fraudulence, this article reframes the issue in terms of the peculiar economy of music. As Pierre Bourdieu and others have suggested, the art world is characterized by its disavowal of the market. Commercial transactions are disguised or renounced, while ostensibly altruistic gifts (of time, money, labor, or prestige) are valorized. Controversies involving pianist Joyce Hatto and composer Giacinto Scelsi are examined to show why fraudulence represents such a threat to the gift economy of music. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Music Theory Duke University Press

Fraudulence and the Gift Economy of Music

Journal of Music Theory , Volume 54 (1) – Mar 1, 2010

Loading next page...
 
/lp/duke-university-press/fraudulence-and-the-gift-economy-of-music-8ihfDr7AHW
Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Duke University Press
ISSN
0022-2909
eISSN
1941-7497
DOI
10.1215/00222909-2010-011
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In his classic essay "Music Discomposed," Stanley Cavell draws attention to the threat of fraudulence that pervades contemporary art music. With the erosion of convention, not only is the ability of listeners to comprehend new music called into question, so too is their ability to ascertain whether or not works are being offered in good faith. Yet Cavell's choice of the word fraudulent to describe this situation is provocative. In everyday parlance, fraud describes an act of deception undertaken for the material benefit of some individual at the expense of another. But when imposture is passed off as art, what reward does the perpetrator stand to gain? What does the victim stand to lose? To flesh out the stakes involved in Cavell's notion of fraudulence, this article reframes the issue in terms of the peculiar economy of music. As Pierre Bourdieu and others have suggested, the art world is characterized by its disavowal of the market. Commercial transactions are disguised or renounced, while ostensibly altruistic gifts (of time, money, labor, or prestige) are valorized. Controversies involving pianist Joyce Hatto and composer Giacinto Scelsi are examined to show why fraudulence represents such a threat to the gift economy of music.

Journal

Journal of Music TheoryDuke University Press

Published: Mar 1, 2010

There are no references for this article.