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Re: arsclist record collecting
see below request:
---- Original Message -----
From: "k mcbain" <fu.manchu@xxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Saturday, March 03, 2001 5:25 AM
Subject: arsclist record collecting
... my thesis on music collecting - a topic about which i
| have found very little info about with regards to critical and cultural
| studies, namely the meaning of the records, tapes and CDs themselves as
| opposed to the content contained within them.
| whilst there has been a whole body of work done with regards to
| 'collecting' (from books to household objects), the meaning of 'things'
| (including the stereo, hi-fi, radio and TV) in everyday life, individual
| consumption of music (as 'texts') and of course collective consumption,
| there is very little that i can find concerning the 'carriers' of music as
| a site for individual and collective cultural production of meaning
| if anyone has any idea as to any work regarding the uses and meanings of
| record collections and the social effects of changes in the reproduction
| of sound recordings on music collecting (following Benjamin's line of art
| in the age of mechanical reproduction) I would exceedingly grateful.
A number of collections generally will have a statement of purpose which reflects their values in keeping a collection of recordings. Notably, I suppose would be the Folklore collections and the Ethnomusicology collections. While on the other hand collectors collect because of the various interests they have. One radio station, e.g., didn't want the record jackets, but kept the jacket notes, because at the time (the late 50's) some of these notes were the only information about the music or composers or performers. Of course they kept the records for programming, but not in the original sleeves.
E. T. Bryant, a librarian, musician and historian wrote "Collecting Gramophone Records" London/NY; Focal Press. 1962. 160 pages. This might be what you are looking for. He made the case for the librarians to collect the whole of British record production...wherein each different library was assigned a different type of music to collect. Whether or not this information is in his book, I don't know, as I no longer collect books about recordings and have given my collection away. He addressed ARSC on this topic back in 1971 or 2 in Indiana. I recorded this presentation so there may be tapes of his speech in the archive.
One might suspect you could find your answer to "meaning" in such books as "the Agony of modern music" by Henry Pleasants; "Philosophy in a new key" by Susanne Langer; "Philosophy of modern art" and "Meaning in Art" by Herbert Read or Emotion and Meaning in Music" by Leonard B. Meyer.
"Why?" people collect, as "meaning," might better be found in books on psychology and psychiatry. Older people hang on to what they have for several reasons, not the least of which is the fear of losing what defines them. Some record collectors collect to own what others don't have, making themselves feel perhaps they have a more important role in life than would otherwise be the case. For perhaps similar reasons, people build theatre sound rooms in their homes, to show off to friends and irritate neighbors. Some people collect so they can deduct their costs as a profitable hobby against IRS tax liabilities.
Another Britton, James Martin wrote "the L-s-d of Record Collecting", Lingfield, Surrey; Oakwood Press , which related of course to the money that could be involved in collecting recordings as people collect art and autos, not just to have something of value, but to have something that would hopefully appreciate and keep them living in the style to which they are accustomed.
You might be able to extrapolate from my article, "Collectors and Collecting" in "Encyclopedia of Recorded Sound in the U.S." that to many collectors, collecting was secondary to telling others about music and records at record club meetings and gatherings and was, at least in the beginning, a means of meeting and relating to others with a common interest.
Hope some of this helps.
Paul T. Jackson -- Trescott Research
Information Resources & Library Development