What is the relationship between music and time? How does musical rhythm express our social experience of time? In Groove: An Aesthetic of Measured Time, Mark Abel explains the rise to prominence in Western music of a new way of organising rhythm: groove. He provides a historical account of its emergence around the turn of the twentieth century, and analyses the musical components which make it work.
Tracing the influence of key philosophical arguments about the nature of time on musical aesthetics, Mark Abel draws on materialist interpretations of art and culture to challenge those, like Adorno, who criticise popular music’s metrical regularity. He concludes that groove does not simply reflect the temporality of contemporary society, but, by incorporating abstract time into its very structure, is capable of effecting a critique of it.