The Function of Music in Social Transformation


Talking to music requires a state of conscious action, including inaction. You can imagine a causal imaginary between them that makes speaking with words "real". It is a purely sound technical fiction, a means of feeling/transmitting/sharing intuitive delusions or various emotional states detached from social realities in a very individual way within a certain period of time by composers, performers and listeners. These three canonical notions are commonly mentioned when talking about music. Of course, music carries these notions about its functioning and existence. But there is more to these three opinions. The craft side, which the institutionalized western-centered art perception has pushed down, the theory side as a theoretical field of study, the aestheticized communication tool (similar to other arts) are parts of the multi-layered structure of music.

From the time when music started to be separated from life/sociality towards the understanding of modern art.
From then on, as the artist/composer became “liberated”, it separated from its layers and started to commodify.
As the autonomization of art makes the artist “independent”, the art market that has matured has been created.
the shaping of the competition depending on the purchasing power of a certain class, as the price of the artist's independence.
It would not be wrong to think. The price paid is the artist's identity and/or social privileges.
objectifies the work of art, ultimately both its historical and social position.
This led to the dysfunction of art both in terms of individual productions. This dysfunction;
art only as an emptied practice has a distinct socio-political structure (bourgeois) of society.
not only to be produced according to
As a tool of thought production/communication, the work cannot say anything to the society at the rate it riveted.
it results in its transformation into a purely conceptual, formal/aesthetic object.

Of course, the achievements of the modern art approach in terms of the evolution of art cannot be denied, just as
such as the importance of bourgeois revolutions in social life and the progress of humanity. above all
humanity, the birth of the concept of the individual, secularization, rational approach and questioning of vital rights
It has experienced a historical leap in terms of its imagination of perceiving-interpreting-transforming the universe.
As a result, the evolution of revolutions/historical progress in art by feeding and giving birth to each other.
In response, modernism emerged. Problem; these historical achievements/concepts of the bourgeois
monopoly and manipulation. Historical for all
The gains, with its changing subject, are again the property of a certain class, and the relations of domination in all areas
It has turned into a rigid structure in the free market economy in which it has made itself evident. This solid structure
music as a counterpart to the autonomization of art, due to its nature away from words and images;
It has been the field that has become the most open to manipulation among the fields of art. The concept of composition is privileged
and attributed to geniuses (music's history was written accordingly), liberated from their distinguished patrons
Since the composer will gain income and status to the extent that he clinches the identity attributed to him, the compositions
its intensity, length, performance as much as possible by the understanding of the "ordinary"/"amateur" person and
a result-oriented production perception with the motive of getting ahead of its competitors by moving away from its application.
is imprisoned.

At this point, performance is the didactic and interpretation of the composer from a field of reproduction/interpretation.
who apply purely aesthetic judgments detached from sociality (how much the performer makes his own judgments)
imprisoned in a mechanical craftsmanship (so that it would be deemed so perfect if it pacified it). Moreover, this
new and essentially in-between, belonging to the middle class but serving the identity of the composer with all his being.
The group of performers, like the working class in the struggle for existence, is alienated from its own reality. executive,
It gains status/name to the extent that it excels in virtuosity in pursuit of the composer's desires.
He became estranged from music as he made a profit as a result. by K. Marx
If it is explained with the concept of alienation; the culmination of the break with the objective conditions of labor
In capitalism, the performer puts his life into objectified music, but his life is no longer his own.
(1) Moreover, due to its artisanal and performative nature, it will provide the carrier of the artistic/social functionality of music and share the meaning/expression with the audience.
Although the active subject of the state of action is the performer…

Music purified from otherworldliness with its autonomy and dysfunction; genius, magnificent
the monopoly of talented people was turning into a new myth. simultaneous listener possible
in his most passive form he worshiped idols on stage. To be universally accepted by historiography
"classical music" / "serious music" / "art music" in the desired myth
It has constructed its own concepts by excluding its characteristics. A performative craft by nature
The craft and communication part of the dominant features of music, which is one of the communication tools aestheticized as
(obscured) dismantled and discarded. Collective production, which is the result of this dominant feature that has been dismantled.
sharing, being a part of contemporary life (which will also transform it)
features are also frozen. The ruling class is creating a win-win system; art
while objectifying and marketizing, on the other hand, his fear of the transformation of social life,
one of the most powerful artistic communication tools that appeals to emotions and therefore affects people
He was taking the music under his control and eliminating it by suppressing it.

Today's response to this terrible picture is even worse. The latest in streaming and recording technologies
Classical or romantic era, listened to with cut/cut/paste perfection digital sounds
perhaps too far to say that their work serves the market/companies/distributors only and only
It may make you think that you are going to go to school or that it looks like conspiracy theories. But the mere writing of the music
Its value as/on paper is only theoretical. Purely theoretical evaluation of a performative art
would not be possible, its reproduction outside of its historical context is the subject of the subject performing it today.
Whatever he says becomes what he is. In the music market today, the enormous
the winners of the competitions, who had access to training, to serve the sales mottos of the market,
a sentence/thought they produce/say beyond their personal income and status gains.
We cannot speak of its existence. The performer, who is added to the privileged class with his income level and status,
mottos (“the most original classical composer”,
“The most lyrical man of romanticism” etc.) his contribution to the composer of the work, to the period and to the present, has gradually increased.
has become ambiguous. Written music performances on the market, just like pop art products, make money into art.
They are like the sonic products that feed the dystopia of a system that it has transformed into.

“Serious music” canon; to a hierarchical network of relations and a closed group to convey its ideology.
It belongs to the dominant discourse, which is stuck, presenting it as “the only condition of art music”. Music is only material
who undertakes the conscious carrier of what he tells with his free will and full responsibility beyond relationships.
it can be serious for the composer-performer-commentator. serious music; classical western music and
individuality on the plane of past-present-future, not its -mostly written-post-modern extensions.
A creative-expressive responsibility with the awareness that social situations are also a part/reflection of social situations.
It is born from the hands of the music producer who is after him.

Today, in the chaos of virtual realities that change from moment to moment, from person to person, what should we discuss?
It is not a matter of whether the work is art or which work has no artistic value. Art as part of society
which need/how it reproduces/organizes in an individual sense, which network of relations
Do not have the courage to openly discuss who is the bearer of the
need to show. And in contrast to the dominant art criticism, perhaps the last place in this debate
purely specific, which the "unique" art product under consideration seems to say.
sentences -which we know are mostly made-up-. (See: The Square) (2)

In which direction should the direction of art evolve and in which direction should the social transformation evolve?
directly related to what is required. This debate brings with it being a party or opposing it.
The power of performative art to be a state of action in terms of social transformation should not be forgotten. As B. Brecht said about writing the truth;
What is important for the musician is to produce as part of the effort to understand/tell/transform the truth.
should be. With the awareness of from whom he learned the truth and to whom he told it…(3)

Image: Treatise, Cornelius Cardew, 1967, p.183.

  1. Marx, K. (2007). Estrangement. (B. Erdost, Ed.) p.12. Ankara: Sol Publications.
  2. The Square: 2017 film by Ruben Östlund
  3. B. Brecht. (1934). “Five Difficulties in Writing the Truth”


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