Current of music : elements of a radio theory by Theodor W. Adorno

By Theodor W. Adorno

Fleeing the Nazis, Theodor W. Adorno lived in big apple urban as a refugee from 1938 until eventually 1941. in the course of those years, he used to be intensively considering a research of ways the lately built innovations for the nation-wide transmission of track over radio have been remodeling the conception of song itself. This large ranging radio learn used to be conceived as not anything lower than an research, partially empirical, of Walter Read more...


a massive new booklet within the Polity sequence of courses which make on hand Adorno's formerly unpublished writings. This quantity includes a few of Adorno's most crucial writings on song and radio Read more...

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Written in English In his fifteen years as a refugee, T. W. Adorno wrote several major works, including Dialectic of Enlightenment (with Max Horkheimer, 1947), Philosophy of New Music (1949), and Minima Moralia (1951). Their dates of publication belie the years demanded by each of these seminal German texts that no doubt received Adorno’s most decisive conceptual energies. Yet, in addition to these and numerous other projects, Adorno in the same period also produced a substantial body of research written in English.

And then too, if it did somehow work, it would have the nightmarish quality of kitchen appliances swaying and singing to themselves. It is important to know, however, that, while Adorno pursued the logic of this speculation, he had no illusions such music existed and was plainly sceptical that such radio music could exist. Neither was he averse to the contradiction in his argument. On the contrary, he freely stated the need for such radio music even while debunking its possibility. ’39 But why would Adorno be both the proponent and so severe a sceptic of the thesis?

Although the exclusivity of music as amusement was ascendant, a contrary seriousness of listening was commonly acknowledged as legitimate and valued. When high and low were invoked, the thinking involved was complex in a way that is now unfamiliar, since in the minds of many what was high was often valued as what ought to become the possession of all. The evidence for this goes far beyond what can be derived from sets of terms. For the idea of culture itself had not yet suffered the catastrophic implication of World War II; culture was still thought to be a human privilege marked by, but no less distinguishable from, class privilege.

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