Writing on living composers and the problem of advocacy: failure and the experimental work of Mauricio Kagel

Heile, B. (2020) Writing on living composers and the problem of advocacy: failure and the experimental work of Mauricio Kagel. In: Aguilar, A., Cole, R., Pritchard, M. and Clarke, E. (eds.) Remixing Music Studies: Essays in Honour of Nicholas Cook. Routledge: London, pp. 164-179. ISBN 9781138359925 (doi:10.4324/9780429433405-13)

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Abstract

In his ‘Writing on Music or Axes to Grind: Road Rage and Musical Community’, Nicholas Cook critiques the tendency for musicology to provide advocacy. The worst culprits, according to Cook, are biographies and ‘writers on contemporary “art” music—what they [the writers] often call “new” music’. Having written a monograph on a composer of contemporary art music (with or without scare quotes), a good deal of my work falls into the intersection of all the practices Cook abhors-and I’ve even edited a book with the subtitle Essays on New Music! What better reason, then, to test some of Cook’s ideas? This chapter discusses the practical and theoretical problems of writing about living composers and musicians, in relation to the epistemology, methodology, and social function of musicology. The guiding questions are: who and what is musicology for, and, on that basis, how should it proceed? As I will outline, although Cook’s warning about advocacy is well advised, his proposed cure may be worse than the disease.

Item Type:Book Sections
Status:Published
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Heile, Professor Bjorn
Authors: Heile, B.
Subjects:M Music and Books on Music > ML Literature of music
College/School:College of Arts > School of Culture and Creative Arts > Music
Publisher:Routledge
ISBN:9781138359925
Published Online:30 July 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 The Contributor
First Published:First published in Remixing Music Studies: Essays in Honour of Nicholas Cook: 164-179
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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