ABSTRACT

This chapter emanates from a recent UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) project whose explicit aim was the development of a hermeneutic strategy for the consideration of spatial location in popular song recordings. The theoretic assumptions underlying this enterprise are addressed in detail elsewhere,2 but it will be necessary to summarize some of them here. Foremost among these considerations is the very nature of the exercise itself, whose difficulty is laid bare by Paul Ricoeur: ‘[in interpreting the text,] what has to be appropriated [understood] is nothing other than the power of disclosing a world that constitutes the reference of the text. In this way we are as far as possible from the Romanticist ideal of coinciding with a foreign psyche. If we may be said to coincide with anything, it is not the inner life of another ego, but the disclosure of a possible way of looking at things, which is the genuine referential power of the text[…] .’3 Two points are crucial here. The first is that ‘the possible way of looking at things’ be subject to an activity, which is disclosure. Things are not self-evidently so, and the more explicit the process of disclosing, the better, since it is only a ‘possible’ way. The second is that this disclosure, in order to be communicable, needs to be based on explicit foundations. Both these points underlie what follows, even though I do not explicitly reiterate them.