Nick Cook “Classical Music and the Politics of Space”

Music, Sound and the Reconfiguration of Public and Private Space Conference continued:

When I chatted to Nick in the break, he told me that he used to have a “mobile music group” when he was teaching in Hong Kong, a group of musicians and instruments that all fitted into a minibus. His understanding of mobile music is refreshingly broad, and so were the case studies in his talk “Classical Music and the Politics of Space”: Vienna at the fin de siecle, classical music concerts in second life and Barenboim’s orchestra; stressing the continuities rather than the differences.


Cook discussed music’s function of marking space (e.g. in Second Life) and as gate keeper (e.g. Classical Music at train stations) as well as the binding and seperating potential of music. He described how sounds is penetrating space, how we perceive space with all our senses. Music is inherently a compound of time and space, and inherently moving. He made an interesting link between the spatial perception to tonality and perspective in art.
Cook suggests that musical space has its own reality. He likens the listeners in a classical concert to iPod listeners, as both do not communicate with one another, and both are in their own private communication with the music. Concluding, Cook describes how music acts as a central agent in constituting space.

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