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Earlier Projects

Klangkulissen des Politischen

bearbeitet von Dr. Sarah Zalfen

Klangkulissen des Politischen

Die Erforschung der Darstellung des Politischen hat durch den kulturalistischen Paradigmenwechsel in den Sozialwissenschaften eine Vielzahl an Facetten gewonnen – von der Rolle symbolischer Politik über die Theatralisierung und Medialisierung bis zum Verhältnis von Machtdarstellung und Darstellungsmacht, sind zahlreiche neue Bilder des Politischen in den Blick gerückt. Doch wie ‚klingen‘ diese Bilder? Anders als den visuellen Manifestationen wird der ephemeren Rolle der Musik für die Vermittlung und Erfahrbarkeit von Politik wenig Gehör geschenkt.

Im Fokus dieses Forschungsprojektes steht die musikalische Gestaltung von Parteitagen und Versammlungen von Parteien in Deutschland im 20. Jahrhundert. Der Einsatz von Musik  und insbesondere gemeinsamem Gesang interessiert als ein Medium und eine Praxis der emotionalen Vergemeinschaftung. Die musikalischen Elemente auf Parteitagen reichen der klassischen Konzertouvertüre über Arbeiterlieder, National- und Regionalhymnen und volkstümliche Blaskapellen bis hin zu Popstars.

 Selten erfüllen sie die Funktion der Aufführung eines Werkes sondern bildet eine Form der sozialen und emotionalen Partizipation, in der die Gemeinschaft erlebt wird. Musik ist hier keine Sprache der Gefühle, die individuelle und innerliche Emotionen auslöst, sondern eine Praxis, in der Gefühle mobilisiert, moduliert und kommuniziert werden. Die Vielfalt und Veränderlichkeit der Repertoires und Darbietungsformen verweist auf die Varianz auch der Bedeutungen und Empfindungen, die Musik in unterschiedlichen Parteikontexten erhält.

Die funktionale Rolle der Musik soll dabei nicht als ‚Missbrauch‘ verstanden werden – sie bildet vielmehr eine spezifische Strategie der Kontrolle und Selbstkontrolle, politische Ereignisse oder Gemeinschaften erlebbar zu machen. Sie ist ein Instrument „weicher Steuerung“, (der Steuerung mit und durch Emotionen).

“Can You Feel It, Too?”: Musik, Affekt, und Intimität in gegenwärtigen urbanen Elektronische-Tanzmusik-Szenen

bearbeitet von Luis-Manuel Garcia

“Can You Feel It, Too?”: Musik, Affekt, und Intimität in gegenwärtigen urbanen Elektronische-Tanzmusik-Szenen

Im Jahr 1988, als Chicagos post-disco “House Music” begann ein europäisches Publikum zu erreichen, veröffentlichte der Musikproduzent Larry Heard unter dem Namen „Fingers Inc.“ eine Schallplatte mit dem Titel „Can You Feel It?“ (Jack Trax JTX-20, vinyl EP). Der Titel-Track wies eine stimmliche Aufführung von Robert Owens auf, der den bombastischer Stil eines afroamerikanischen Predigers verwendete, um die House-Music und ihre zusammengehörige Tanzfläche als eine Utopie universeller und durch körperliche beziehungsweise affektive Erfahrung vermittelter Zugehörigkeit zu beschreiben. Eingestreut in Owens Rede war ein Sound-Sample einer Konzertaufnahme des Soul-Musik-Ensembles „The Jacksons,“ in der ein Musiker brüllend fragte, „Can you feel it?“ und ein erregtes Publikum mit brausend euphorischem Geschrei antwortete. Mehrfach und über verschiedene Kanäle stellte dieses House-Musik-Anthem eine utopische Fantasie von affektiver Zugehörigkeit zu einem noch zu entstehenden internationalen Publikum von Zuhöhrer_innen-Tänzer_innen der 1980er Jahre dar. Diese utopischen Fantasien werden immer wieder bei Elektronische-Tanzmusik (ETM) Veranstaltungen ausgelebt—so wohl in der Vergangenheit als auch heutzutage—während derer sich Massen von Unbekannten versammeln und überraschend intim miteinander umgehen; dabei nehmen sie an euphorischen und performativen Utopien eines Zusammensein teil, die aus Gesten von gesellschaftlicher Herzlichkeit, Momenten von Offenherzigkeit, und zusammen erlebten intensiven musikalischen Erfahrungen entstehen. Auf den Tanzflächen von Nachtclubs, Loft-Partys, und Raves beteiligen sich diese tanzende Musikfans an besonderen Formen von Intimität, die die herkömmlichen Narrative von Intimität umgehen und gegen die alltäglichen Etikette verstoßen. Wie entsteht und dauert solche Fremdenintimität fort? Auf welchen Ebenen wird sie gespürt, gefühlt, und artikuliert?

Dieses Projekt widmet sich diesen Fragen durch ein Verweben von: ethnografischer Feldforschung in den ETM-Szenen von Paris, Chicago, und Berlin; Analysen ihrer musikalischen Ästhetiken; und einer Auseinandersetzung mit der aktuellsten Forschung zu den Themen Affekt, Taktilität, und Intimität. Anhand von zwischen 2006 und 2010 durchgeführter ethnographischen Feldforschung in drei Städten fokussiert sich dieses „multi-sited“ Projekt auf gegenwärtige Tanzveranstaltungen, um die räumliche und körperliche Dimensionen in den Vordergrund zu rücken und dabei den Begriff „Stranger-Intimacy“ durch Raum, Affekt, und Musik neu zu konzipieren. Darüber hinaus setzt es sich mit den aktuellen Forschungen der Urbanistik und der kritischen Geographie auseinander, die die Beziehungen und Ströme zwischen sozialen Begegnungen, Affekt, und der bebauten Umwelt theoretisieren.

European Cultural History in the 19th Century

executed by Dr. Sven Oliver Müller

European Cultural History in the 19th Century

The long 19th century was not only the era of the industrial and political revolutions – it was also the heyday of “serious music”. Concerts of symphonic music and opera performances were an integral part of the leisure time of the European aristocracy and the bourgeoisie. These productions were not only a musical but also a social sphere. This research project concentrates on the social influence, cultural practice and political significance of leading musical productions in Berlin, London and Vienna in the 19th century. In a transnational perspective it tries to compare the development of common cultural practices and forms of public representation in three mayor European capitals of music. It intends to reveal the primarily social and political function of those entertainments by analysing the behaviour of audiences, rather than by looking at the music itself. Who went to the opera and the concerts? What do the conditions of participation, such as ticket prices, seating arrangements or dress codes, tell us about the images of the world and the values of the audience? Of equal importance was the development of a new mode of listening around the middle of the century. How did a more or less inattentive audience turn into “listeners” during the third quarter of the 19th century? Why did people start listening and stop talking and promenading? How important were the influence of symphonic music and a new concept of art in this process? And finally: Why did opera houses and concert halls became highly contested places of political demonstrations? To put the matter in a nutshell: Unlike any other kind of high culture, the opera houses and the great concert halls are the ideal places to analyse the social practices and cultural values of the European elite.

Richard Wagner and the Germans. A History of Hatred and Devotion

executed by Dr. Sven Oliver Müller

Richard Wagner and the Germans. A History of  Hatred and Devotion.

Why should one remember Richard Wagner on the 200th anniversary of his birth? The numerous publications about the composer tend to concentrate on his biography or compositions. Much rarer are examinations of Richard Wagner’s position in German society. The focus needs to therefore shift from analysing the musical oeuvre to looking into its impact. From a historical perspective, Wagner gained his meaning not only by the reproduction of his oeuvre, but through the unique way in which he was received as a composer by the public. In this project, Wagner’s impact will not only be described against the background of the history of the long 20th century, but it will be considered whether and to what extent the myth of Wagner changed the course of German history itself. Richard Wagner may be the only composer about whom discussions in the 20th century never ceased. It shall be discussed, which social classes banned or glorified the composer’s world view, cult status and cultural value of his compositions. Was the ‘Meister’ an ideal of the educated middle classes or a strange character for workers and employees? Was the cult around Wagner essentially a phenomenon of German conservatism, later an icon for the National Socialists or was he newly invented by the left wing intellectuals of the Regietheater after 1945?

Masterpiece-Fidelity

executed by Dr. Sarah Zalfen in cooperation with Dr. Gerhard Brunner (Executive Master in Arts Administration, Universität Zürich)

Masterpiece-Fidelity

The term „Masterpiece-Fidelity” (Werktreue) is commonly used as an expression of conflict or a confession of faith. It is a crucial category of reception utilized to implement a specific “historical” taste into a social process. The imagined tradition conveyed in “Masterpiece-Fidelity’s” terminology is not linked to an actual past of a certain piece of art music – it is rather the reference of the present to a currently relevant historicity facilitating the formation of groups and their communication. The discussion about fidelity and its disrespect relegate to the emotional dimension of this subject matter – the vulnerability of cultural values and perspectives upon history, the fear of losing undisputable forms of interpretation and lastly the pleasure of breaking a taboo and the thrill of an “escapade”.

But, what is a “Masterpiece”, and what does “Fidelity” mean in this context? These questions allow a broad spectrum of perspectives upon music and musical theater. The project documents the answers of renowned experts, artists, journalists and administrators of cultural institutions. It also opens up music-historical perspectives on the genesis of the “Masterpiece-“term and the concept of authorship, discusses the opportunities and boundaries of artistic (re-)creation based upon currently available material, contemplates the necessities and sensitivities of audiences and considers conflicts over copyright. This approach offers an interdisciplinary, theoretical as well as practical discussion on the suspenseful relations between “Text-“ and “Masterpiece-Fidelity”, current practices of theater performance and cultural memory, artistic ideals and institutional frameworks.

Soundscapes of Emancipation: Music and Jewish Modernization in Berlin, 1770-1830

Executed by Dr. Yael Sela-Teichler

This project is concerned with Jewish participation in art music and musical culture in Berlin between 1770 and 1830 and the role of music in Jewish modernization at intersections with German Enlightenment (Aufklärung) and early romanticism. Scholarship on Jewish participation in musical culture in German-speaking lands has largely focused on nineteenth- and twentieth-century climactic instances, particularly the lives and works of acknowledged Jewish musicians. The historiographical watershed marking the admission of Jewish-born professional musicians into musical culture in the public sphere seems to have been largely determined by the 1829 performance of Johann Sebastian Bach's St Matthew Passion, initiated and conducted by the 19-year-old Felix Mendelssohn. This performance also heralded the rise of German nationalism, in which music was pivotal, as Celia Applegate has pointed out.

Yet, already in the course of the eighteenth century, the ambivalence with which music was marked in traditional Judaism during the Middle Ages gave way to an engagement with art music and its aesthetics (next to German literature, theater, and philosophy) as part of an acculturation process. Although, as this study shows, some circles remained ambivalent in their attitude to music outside and in liturgical practices, an emergent Jewish elite that embraced the values of the Aufklärung and the ethics of Bildung, particularly in Prussia. Following the model of Moses Mendelssohn, this elite rapidly adopted music as a social practice and a hallmark of acculturation as collectors, interpreters, patrons, spectators, performers, and even as composers.

The project traces the genealogy of the process by which German Jews began cultivating art music in increasingly public forms of participation during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and the philosophical, institutional, and political transformations that enabled Jews to become proponents and even agents of musical culture, while retaining, to various extents, their Jewish identity. The study seeks to understand how music – being a social practice, knowledge, and a set of aesthetic ideals – operated as an emotional experience and as a vehicle in the negotiation of modern German-Jewish identities. This process, it is argued, was embedded in the intertwinement of two developments represented by the 1829 revival performance of J.S. Bach's St Matthew Passion: the role of music in the formation of German nationalism, and the civil emancipation of Jews. Berlin constitutes the main focus of this project being a paradigm both of German Enlightenment and Jewish modernization around 1800, while drawing on cultural transfers between Berlin and Vienna, Hamburg, and Königsberg.

Music, Memory, and Emotions in the German-Jewish Experience of Modernity

executed by Dr. Yael Sela-Teichler, with Philip V. Bohlman, University of Chicago/Hochschule für Musik, Hannover

The project focuses on memory as an emotional category pivotal to both music and Jewish civilization. The point of departure upon which we wish to expand is the place of music in the encounters of central European Judaism with modernity. Under scrutiny is the mutual embeddedness of music and memory and the memory work that music has facilitated – and continues to facilitate today – in modern European Jewish experience.

Musical traditions are all predicated on memory. In Judaism, memory is a “dual movement of reception and transmission, propelling itself toward the future” (Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi 1982). Yet memory also encapsulates emotional imports, and as such it is highly contextualized, negotiated, and contingent. The meaning and interpretation of memory in the German-Jewish experience grows ever more in current, emotional charged debates, in which many voices realize vastly different – and conflicting – ways of experiencing Jewish history in twenty-first-century Europe.

In this project we seek to critically address questions pertaining to the emotional spaces in which Judaism’s multiple encounters with its non-Jewish environment have taken place and the mechanisms through which emotions and memory operate in music as an intersubjective mode of Jewish cultural participation, self-consciousness, and distinction. While we assume that emotions and memory bestow music its community-creating power, we wish to explore in a more differentiating manner how the Jewish experience underscores the limits of this assumption: how music’s emotional imports serve to delineate, negotiate, or undermine boundaries of identities.

In March 2013 we held a 2-day international symposium in Berlin-Wannsee, hosted by the MPIB in cooperation with the American Academy in Berlin, Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Chicago, and the Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien, Hannover. A volume entitled Voices of Displacement: Music and Memory in the German Jewish Experience of Modernity, co-edited by Yael Sela-Teichler and Philip V. Bohlman, is currently in preparation.