Groove: An Aesthetic of Measured Time


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.

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Mark Abel teaches on the humanities programme at the University of Brighton, UK. He has also worked extensively as music lecturer and jazz educator and is a performing saxophonist and pianist.
Introduction: The Meaning of Musical Time

Chapter 1: What is ‘groove’

Chapter 2: Is groove African

Chapter 3: Bergsonism and unmeasurable time

Chapter 4: Schutz’s ‘vivid present’ and the social time of music

Chapter 5: Adorno and reified time

Chapter 6: Meter, groove and the times of capitalism

Chapter 7: History, modernism, and the time of music



Bibliography 351


Those interested in music and time, Marxist or materialist accounts of music and the arts, and the aesthetics of popular music.
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