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  • Steven Baur


Hierarchical distinctions that exist between groups and individuals in a society and the systems of power associated with such distinctions. Class status often determines what musics one has access to, and all aspects of musical practice can reflect, and are often largely shaped by, class distinctions, including venue (whether an ornate concert hall or a street corner), instrument(s) used (whether a vintage violin accompanied by a grand piano or a harmonica accompanied by stomping boards), the dress of participants (from gowns and tuxedos to torn t-shirts), the modes of reception (from restrained to rowdy), as well as the very forms and styles of music-making. Musical practices can help define class distinctions and consolidate class membership; they can express, celebrate, or challenge class values (explicitly or not); and they often carry strong class associations. Some scholars consider musical structures to be homologous to social structures and posit that music can act as a metaphor for a real or imagined social order, thus playing a role in shaping ideology....

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19th Century Music
Journal of the American Musicological Society