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Music and Identity
Music and identity
SimonFrith

The academic study of popular music has been limited by the assumption that the sounds must somehow ‘reflect’ or ‘represent’ the people. The analytic problem has been to trace the connections back, from the work (the score, the song, the beat) to the social groups who produce and consume it. What's been at issue is homology, some sort of structural relationship between material and musical forms.

The search for homology is most commonly associated these days with subculture theory, with accounts of punk or heavy metal, for example;4 but the supposed fit (or lack of it) between aesthetic and social values has a much longer history in the study of popular culture. This is T.S. Eliot on Marie Lloyd:

It was her ...

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