chapter  12
The Dogma of Authenticity in the Experience of Popular Music
Pages 20

The neglect of the role of the listener has led to many inadequacies in the study of popular song and music. Where characterisations have been made of the audiences of popular music, they have often been built upon ~priori categories and assumptions, so that what is then said of the process of reception is deeply coloured by certain expectations and preconceptions about the 'mass' nature of the music, or of popular cultural 'effects'. Conclusions made about the cultural and ideological consequences of popular nusic are commonly made by reading these off from a study of the text or sound, and this practice is informed much more by pre-existent ideas about the kinds of music that are to be approved and denigrated than it is by knowledge of specific audience uses and meanings, in definite and concrete circumstances. What I shall argue in this paper is that the discourse of the experience of popular music remains too often locked into a duality of thought that permits no synthesis or transcendence, and whose opposite elements are complementary to each other, existing in a necessary antithesis.