Wente's article in the December 2019 issue forms a basis for a musical topic of the mechanical using examples from concert, film, and popular repertoires.
Assistant Professor Allison Wente in the Department of Music had an article published in the December 2019 issue of Music Theory Online.
Wente’s article, “Queue the Roll: Taylorized Labor Practices and Music of the Machine Age,” forms a basis for a musical topic of the mechanical using examples from concert, film, and popular repertoires.
The article abstract is: By the early 20th century the machine aesthetic was a well-established and dominant interest. While this aesthetic has been examined in art and in literature, the representation of industrial labor practices and the role of the machine in musical compositions remain largely unexplored.
In this article, I use labor theory to frame a discussion of a musical topic of the mechanical in various musical examples from the United States and Europe in the 1910s, 20s, and 30s. Each example imitates, showcases, or features the sounds of the machine, and illuminates the ways in which industrialized labor influenced music. I organize the machine sounds into three categories: music written to sound like or imitate the machine, music written to highlight the skills of virtuoso performers while also showcasing what the machine can do, and music written specifically for machines. These categories encompass a wide variety of performing bodies, audiences, and spaces, evidencing the ubiquitous presence of the machine aesthetic in early twentieth-century music culture.
As the discussion of the examples in each part will show, the prevalence of machine sounds in music indicates the widespread influence of industrialization and its culturally dominant ideology, Frederick Winslow Taylor’s system of scientific management.
The full article is located here: http://mtosmt.org/issues/mto.18.24.4/mto.18.24.4.wente.html