This collection of essays, first published in 1987, provides a sociological treatment of many musical forms – rock, jazz, classical – with special emphasis on the perspective of the practising musician. Among the topics covered are the legal structures governing musical production and the question of copyright; recording and production technology; the social character of musical style; and the impact of lyrical content, considered socially and historically.

chapter 1|5 pages


ByAvron Levine White

chapter 2|27 pages

The Social Character of Music

Performance as ritual: sketch for an enquiry into the true nature of a symphony concert
ByChristopher Small

chapter 3|23 pages

The social interpretation of modern jazz1

ByAlan Lewis

chapter 4|21 pages

Towards a sociology of musical styles

ByJohn Shepherd

chapter 5|30 pages

Words and Music

Why do songs have words?
BySimon Frith

chapter 7|27 pages

Convention and Constraint in Working Life

Popular music and the law – who owns the song?
ByAvron Levine White

chapter 8|29 pages

A Professional Jazz Group

ByAvron Levine White

chapter 10|18 pages

Recording Music

Technology in the art of recording
ByStephen Steuthers

chapter 11|6 pages

Coda: making musical sense of the world

ByJohn Blacking